Monday, September 18, 2006

What's Coming

Mondays are always "pull together the pieces" days - time to figure out what happened and seems to need to happen next.

On Tap: Adam Ellis will be sharing a meditation with us next Sunday. I'm looking forward to meeting Adam, Dana, and Emma. They're going to be in town visiting family and so we've invited him to help us look to God this Sunday.

We are going to be exploring in coming weeks practices of contemplation, ways of expressing reverence for God's holiness, and how we might practice this in our Sunday morning gatherings. Don't ask me more because I don't even know what it will look like. Just seems several threads are coming together in this way . . . and so we will see how to develop our sense of awe in the presence of God - in the belief that this will be formative for us.

New plans for the spiritual formation of our children and students have been through December - and on line resources gathered. Now if we just finish the ceiling in the high school room . . .

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today and the Weekend

Confessional lasted about an hour this morning. I hear confessions only because no one can tell me anything that in its root isn't something I'm all too familiar with.

But confessional time isn't just one way; it's also a time to give spiritual disciplines - new actions and practices of faith that address the root causes of sin. The confessional is a time to clarify the real matters that are driving the sin, rather than the more periphal manifestations that look like "problems" or "difficulties" rather than inward diseases.

Of course, it simply looks like a bunch of guys sitting around talking in real terms about what each is struggling with. No matter, this really is a confessional practice within community from which I benefit as much as any other.

The Weekend
My weekend was an interesting experience of roaming about the Kingdom. Got to visit Fellowship Bible Church, join in an evening worship time at another congregation, attend a university chapel service, and just move about God's world.

God's world is an incredibly beautiful place. His people are varied in their expression of faith . . . but it is all faith nonetheless. To move about with a type of freedom to participate in all that is good, without having to obstain from anything that is flawed (what isn't?), is a blessing.

To see the flaws and not have to say anything about them . . . that is the way to move about the Kingdom.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sunday's Rock Liturgy

This week's communion liturgy is intentionally eclectic. In the middle of a formal responsive liturgy, we will listen to All is Forgiven by the Canadian rock group Default. This band is not a "Christian" band (I dislike the use of "Christian" as an adjective!) but their song about feeling unforgiven, and accepting forgiveness seems appropriate once we have confessed our sins to God.

To include it within a formal liturgy is one way of reclaiming and redeeming, and erasing the false distinction of secular and sacred. A solemn liturgy is certainly stylistically different than the rock song, but when liturgy is understood as the "people's work" this song is no less liturgical than my free adaptation from the Book of Common Prayer.

For all you who won't be here to experience it, here it is (the bold parts being the congregants' response) and the words to the song are found within the liturgy.
Let us prepare ourselves for our holy communion of thanksgiving with God.
As we contemplate our humble state, let us remember God’s Word to us:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27).
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Gen. 1:31).
Lord, we know that the heavens and earth are full of your glory, that your goodness and beauty have been woven into your creation. We confess that we alone, as men and women, have abandoned your purpose and corrupted your creation.

We have sinned against your holiness, and against your image that you gave us.
We petition your forgiveness,
For every selfish and unloving act;
For every prideful and unholy thought;
For every way in which we have rejected You;
Forgive us as we prayerfully confess, and repent, and seek to reform our lives through the power and direction of your Spirit . . .
Those who desire may kneel

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We admit and lament our many sins and evil ways, which we have committed in thought, word and deed, against You.
We earnestly repent, and are truly sorry for our sins. The remembrance of them is grievous unto us. The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father, for your Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past. And grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please you in newness of life, to the honor and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Everyone may be seated . . .
Let us embrace your forgiveness God,
And accept your grace which teaches us to live holy lives.

All Is Forgiven
As if the wait was not enough
And one can only take so much
You broke into pieces seems hopless now,
but at least you know the tables can turn around,
And time will repay you

And the rain comes and goes, and all is forgiven, can we learn to let go, so all is forgiven

You're on your knees reaching out
reaching for someone to lift you up right off the ground,
is anyone out there?
You can't breathe, you're chokin', you'll make it through, just keep holding on,
I know that it won't be long, til somebody saves you

And the rain comes and goes, and all is forgiven, can we learn to let go, so all is forgiven

And the times burn away, and all is forgiven,
Let the night turn to day so all is forgiven,
Don't stop the rain from pouring down
Let it wash the pain where it can't be found

And the rain comes and goes, and all is forgiven, can we learn to let go, so all is forgiven

And the times burn away, and all is forgiven,
Let the night turn to day so all is forgiven
All Is forgiven

We praise you for your grace and mercy on us,
For we are sinful and unworthy of forgiveness.
Teach us new ways, and discipline us to be conformed to the life of Christ. Let us not cowardly refuse your instruction, but in trust and thanksgiving welcome your work in our lives – whether it be sweet or bitter to us. For your ways are higher than our ways, and we cannot judge what is truly good.
May we humbly accept your work of recreating us into your image.
May it be so,

We know that we celebrate in this communion a oneness with God, won by Jesus Christ for our sakes, and given to us by grace.
All the works of God are beautiful in our eyes.
Let us receive the gifts of God for the children of God, the bread of Christ’s body and the cup of his blood, as we receive Christ with all thankfulness.

For in the night in which he was betrayed, he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise, after supper, he took the Cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins; Do this, as oft as you shall drink it, in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 10:16
The cup of blessing which we bless,
is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ?
1 Corinthians 10:17
Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.
All are invited to come and share in the Bread and Cup