“War and Peace” at Open Table

Friday 6 April 2018 | Open Table
WAR & PEACE

WarAndPeace

Bring a main dish to share, and come with a story to tell in response to the stimulus below, this time held at Andrew & Liz Nichols’ house (155 Burbong St. Chapel Hill; call Liz on 0415624982 if lost!) and facilitated by Noel Payne.
Welcome from 7pm, official kick off at 7:30pm. Any questions before the night? Call/txt Dave on 0491138487.

Art     | “Will You?”‘ … “Will take my hand? Will you help me find truth? Will you help me seek justice? Will you please, please, please take my hand? by Indigenous artist, Jasmin Roberts (for Reconciliation Week; see Common Grace’s write-up here)Will You_Jasmin Roberts
Text   | 2 Timothy 3:1-4 on “the last days”: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” … and if you’re more of a story person, perhaps bounce off Jesus’ mixed advice on carrying swords for self-defence into the Garden of Gethsemane, in Luke 22:35-38, 47-53 (cf. Matthew 26:47-56: “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword” v52)
Poem | “Jesus of the Scars” by Edward Shillito (1872-1948), a Free Church minister in England during “The Great War” (WWI), himself discharged from the army with injuries from the battlefield:

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.28.48 pm

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars. 

The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.

If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.

The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.

+++++

warpeace

Inspired by Leo Tolstoy’s 1867 book title oft’ quoted but rarely read, War and Peace as an Open Table theme invites you to share a personal story of violence and/or reconciliation as a gateway to global conflict and God’s shalom. 

War And Peace Quotes War And Peace | Book Quotes Hub | Page 3

To prime the pump, consider the dynamics fuelling and resolving the conflict:

  • Would all parties agree on who was the oppressor and the oppressed, or do these categories blur with who is telling the story?
  • What was the battle over–whether interpersonal, communal/tribal, or national/ethnic?
  • For each party, what did they hope to gain? Was there an ideal outcome, a win-win even?
    d20f9c71ea5b624b1a33e85379346980
  • What casualties and injuries were incurred? Have these wounds changed over time, whether deepening or healing–the scars becoming counter-signs of character?
  • What allies or medics came to your attention, helping heal the outcome of violence?
  • What held each party back from seeking a peaceful resolution, at least at first?
  • Describe the process of reconciliation, whether actual or potential, i.e., what it would take to re-unite the divided people. That is, what makes for peace?
  • How does this encounter, and telling this story, impact you in the present? Is it a redeemed memory, or an ongoing source of pain?
  • In what ways does your experience of violence offer a window into global conflict that grips our countries, and from which we turn to the heavens for relief?

Let the conversation begin! … Bring food and a story to share,
and join us as together we explore WAR & PEACE as the pendulum of human history.

leo

 

 

 

 

Liturgy: Colossians Remixed

 

Lighting of the Candles   

We light a candle in the name of the Maker,

Who lit the world and breathed the breath of life for us

We light a candle in the name of the Son,

Who saved the world and stretched out his hand to us…

We light a candle in the name of the Spirit,

Who encompasses the world and blesses our souls with yearning…

We light three lights for the trinity of love:

God above us, God beside us, God Beneath us:

The beginning, the end, the everlasting one.

Confession & Handwashing                                             

Song                                   

(Wk 1) Solid Rock/Cornerstone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX0UYyJZKCc

(Wk 2) I need you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rR_Rdb1CTE

(Wk 3) O the deep deep love of Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vUhwyjdk8A

(Wk 4) See the stars by Andy Flanaghan (meditation) http://tidido.com/a35184373683301/al55d689e713b521ef22692b51/t55d689e813b521ef22692b7e

(Wk 5)  Holy, holy, holy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=414dGGTedpM                        This little light of mine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2kDsqGeoLU

(Wk 6)  Ubi Caritas, Audrey Assad, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_Pp0jKn1zQ    How Can I Keep From Singing, Audrey Assad, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li2hddmy63U

(Wk 7)  I shall not want, Audrey Assad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn7Wwa4T16A  God of Justice (we must go), Tim Hughes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUn05awXdsY

(Wk 8)  Christ is Risen, Matt Maher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZM-eNHrp5k  What a beautiful name, Brooke Fraser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc4WNBKa7Eg

Liturgy                 

Let nothing disturb you, nothing dismay. All things are possible. God does not change.

In the shadow of looming institutions and power structures, we come.

Lord have mercy

Surrounded by wars and rumours of wars, we come.

Lord have mercy

Drawn by the pull to possess, we come.

Lord have mercy

Seduced by the stories of our age, we come.

Lord have mercy

Let nothing disturb you, nothing dismay. All things are possible. God does not change.

As deep cries unto deep

We yearn for your ancient paths.

Faithful and true, grant us a vision of life large enough to reject the false claims of our age.

Faithful and true, anchor us as the tides pull at our feet of clay.

Faithful and true, show us those who have gone before and faithfully improvised in their age.

Faithful and true, make us faithful and true.

Reflection on Practice from previous week

Read corresponding Colossians passage and share thoughts and questions                                         

Discussion / Art/Imagine

1. Questions: What didn’t make sense?

2. Challenges: what did you think was wrong?

3. Implications: if this is true, what does it mean for how the church follows Christ today?

4. Stimuli

5. Applications: what does it look like for you to live out of this vision?

Wk 1 Praying the papers: each person takes a page of ‘the Australian’ as stimulus. Discussion and group prayer.

Wk 2 https://www.telstra.com.au/thriveon

Wk 3 Are you gonna go my way, Lenny Kravitz – pray for the receptivity of our culture to the whole gospel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5PZQMwL7iE

Wk 4 “Thank God you’re Here” clip & discussion regarding faithful and unfaithful ‘improvisation’.

Wk 5 Praying the papers: each person takes a page of the ‘Courier Mail’ as stimulus. Discussion and prayer

Wk 6 Economy/Oikinomia, For the Life of the world, Episode 3, Creative Service (7:34-12:07)

Wk 7 “Praying the papers” identifying those who are being controlled or oppressed behind the stories.  Also, “Man” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfGMYdalClU

Wk 8 “O little town of Bethlehem” St Paul’s Media https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjQDl95tOcU

Everyday Practice/Challenges (see ‘practices’ blog for details)

Wk 1 : drawing the anchor

Wk 2 : the reef as flourishing

Wk 3: read a portion of the letter to Diognetus

Wk 4: Preach to Creation

Wk 5: Turn to face the sun

Wk 6 Inclusive Hospitality

Wk 7  Ethical Consumption

Wk 8: Advent Candles

Doxology (join with community of saints through the ages)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.

Praise Him, all creatures here below.

Praise God above, ye heavenly hosts.

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.    Amen.

Benediction (Dave)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you through the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

Resources

“Common Prayer: A liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne et al p480-482

“Iona Abbey Worship Book” by The Iona Community

Anchor icon art

Dear open-bookers,

Enjoy Claire’s artwork from our previous weekly practice, ‘drawing the anchor icon’ (in the tradition of first century christians).

Especially love the north Queensland version 🙂

Thanks for sharing, Claire!

Nikki

photo 1      photo 2 (2)

Practices

Practices are….

rich and repetitive actions we do,
over time and often together,
which engage our senses and imagination,
reminding us of God’s presence
and aiming us at his kingdom.

Here are some we’ve experimented with over the various cycles with Open Book

(We will continue to add to this list over time so you may wish to periodically revisit!)

Reclaiming Love Songs

reclaiming love songsReflection: What is your all time favourite love song? why? Our answers tell us something about our deepest desires.

Action: write your favourite love song on the back of a puzzle piece and place it in a strategic place such as in your vehicle [the puzzle piece is a visual reminder of how God will perfectly ‘fit’ the hole in our hearts]. Listen to your song once per day; identify the specific yearnings being expressed and imagine how God might meet these yearnings in the future.

Relationships as Growth

growthReflection: Happiness is a bad master. If you aim at it, it is elusive, a moving target (like a bird in flight). Sanctification is the slow, sustained work of the gospel. Ironically, if we invest in this difficult, counter-intuitive journey of growth,  deep, sustained happiness follows (like the bird roosting in the branches of a tree).

Action: Each morning as you face the day, consider one person who you will come in contact with that day. Ask: How can I contribute to their flourishing? and how does this relationship create an opportunity for me to grow? (consider the 9 fruit of the spirit for help if needed). Prompt: place a cross section of timber with visible rings with your morning coffee.

Prayer – Lord, please give me the patience and self-control to always lean toward persisting in relationships in favour of fleeing*; for a grace and humility to not control others and the perspective to know that the purpose for their existence is not my happiness. Please grant me a desire for others to flourish and for me to grow. [*exceptions such as abuse are acknowledged]

Sacred skin

sacred skinReflection: Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (Read 1 Cor 6:9-19) . Honouring our bodies acknowledges the sacred in what could otherwise be considered mundane, messy or unimportant. This is a helpful reminder in cultivating holiness as it relates to our physical selves.

Action: Take special care whilst showering daily to wash your feet with a fragrant soap, dry them carefully and anoint them with oil using the sign of the cross. Quote 1 Cor 6:19 to yourself.

Braveheart and brotherhood: Honour in struggle

tartanReflection: many people groups throughout history have established cultures of honour during times of great struggle. The tartan is a symbol of kinship in this way.

Action: As you uphold others in prayer, use the terms ‘father’/’mother’/’sister’/’brother’ to reinforce the importance of belonging to your community; and to remind yourself of the honour that we each carry as part of the body of Christ.  [prompt: place a piece of tartan in your place of prayer]

Calling on the Lord

gold tape

Reflection – calling on the name of the Lord is a practice described many times in scripture. People call on the Lord in thanksgiving, joy, desperation, anger, surprise, amusement and many more emotional responses.

Action – place a strip of gold tape in locations that you will see frequently.  The gold is a reminder of God’s heavenly presence on earth and a prompt to remind you to call on his name; reminding yourself of his presence and submitting to his rule.

Reconciliation

magnet

Reflection – this is a thorny and difficult topic so, start small! We move away from those we find difficult, rude or even just mildly annoying!  We need to practice moving toward/leaning in rather than giving in to repulsion because that is what the kingdom looks like.

Action – daily reflection using two magnets. Turn your magnets to repel from each other (North vs North). Ask God to reveal personal and even institutional conflicts in your life/work scenarios. Turn your magnets to attract (North – South) and ask the Lord for opportunities to practice moving toward the difficult thing with a view of contributing to all things flourishing. Carry your magnet with you as a reminder.

Relational Giving

titheReflection – in many of our lives, our giving has become detached/impersonal. It is important that our giving meets another’s need but its also important that our giving transforms us.

Action – Take your tithe out in cash this month/week. Ask God for an opportunity to meet a need or bless another of his choosing. Carry the cash on you and listen.

Play

kinderReflection – Think of the games you played as children.  What is it about kids that Jesus loves so much. G.K Chesterton notes that children, like God, are “fierce and free” (but) “we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we”. Play is important – it helps us not to take ourselves to seriously or think ourselves too important. It orders our priorities and renews our mind and body.

Action – attempt one play interaction a day. Buy a kinder surprise; build your toy and display it as a reminder

Barefoot Saints

turfReflection – “A prayer for our earth” at the conclusion of St Francis’ encyclical on the environment (Laudato Si),   http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

Action – Stand barefoot outdoors for the daily prayer “Adam from Adamah, human from humus; Lord, we are part of the earth, and it is part of us; Lord, help me tread lightly on the earth”

“What if Grandma were watching”: lessons from the great depression

keep-calm-and-recycle-moreReflections: Share grandparents stories of austerity measures from war times or the great depression – making dresses from flour sacks, saving every resource as precious and the centrality of the family plot to cultivate food.

Action: This week focus on ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ as you keep in mind the question: How would I act differently in my use of resources if my Grandparents were watching?

Low-tech lunch

kingfishers catch fireReflection – All created things find their true and ultimate meaning in Christ. Watch “Wonder rush – As Kingfishers catch fire” Evan Koon’s expounding of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ famous poem youtube.com/watch?v=FlPOHGvhekQ

Action – fast from technology during your lunch break. If possible find a green space to listen to the birds and read aloud to yourself Gerard Manley Hopkins poem “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”

Greeting water

drinking-water-fountain-at-airportReflection: Water was one of the first things God created. It is essential for life.  We thirst for it, in order to continue our existence. Equitable access to clean drinking water is an important issue in need of just outcomes in our world. Many countries face water shortage for growing populations and some predict that, in times to come, wars will be fought over access to water. As Christians, water reminds us of our hourly dependence on God; Jesus referred to the Spirit as ‘living water’ given to those who believe or ‘thirst’ for God (John 7:37-39); He also explained that this ‘living water’… “becomes a perpetual spring within them (us), giving them (us) eternal life” (John 4:14)

Action: Wherever you find water this week (in a puddle, river, ocean or from your bathroom faucet), greet it as St Francis would have “hello water, you’re very good!” and consider it as Jesus did: it’s meaning for life now and how it reflects a greater eternal truth.

Centering prayer
chairReflection:  Our inner ‘whirings’ are a symptom of our brokeness (us turning in on ourselves).  Centering prayer is a way of increasing our capacity for ‘contemplation’, or ‘listening to God’.

Action:     1. Sit in an upright, attentive posture in a way that allows for an erect spine and open heart. Place hands in your lap.     2. Gently close your eyes and bring to mind a ‘sacred word’ or image to represent God  (choose a name for God or a characteristic for God like, Love, Peace, etc)     3. Silently, with eyes closed, recall your sacred word/image to begin your prayer. As you notice your thoughts, gently return to your sacred word. Do this however many times you notice your thoughts wandering.     4. When your prayer period is over, transition slowly from your prayer practice to your active life.

Pilgrimage

bootsReflection: The purpose of pilgrimage is to set apart a period of time to prayerfully devote one’s whole self to God. Through the act of rising early and walking for hours on end, one devotes body, mind and soul to God for purification. The act of walking provides a singular focus for pursuing God. So it can be made to and from anywhere. It is deliberate travel, for spiritual growth. It is a refuge from the noise of the outside world. It’s a journey, a time for prayer, quiet, travelling lightly, for surrendering to the unknown. It is the practice of embracing the here and now, today, this moment.

Action: plan a week long ‘pilgrimage’ in an area of historical significance or simply a dedicated Saturday on a trail in your local area. Be sure to turn off your phone, leave the world behind and pray as you go.

Fasting

fastingReflection: Jesus said when you fast and pray – he expected that we would! In the process of ‘going without’ we teach our body and appetites patience and put God in first place to the flesh. We promote self control over anything that might control us.

Action: ‘Go without’ a chosen pleasure for a defined period of time (a day, week or month). This could be routine eg. ‘ lunch on Wednesdays’ or occassional. Examples could include technology, food/fluids, entertainment, sleep, purchasing/money, work, social media.

Lectio Divina ‘Divine Reading’

bible

Reflection: This prayerful method of engaging the scriptures has been practiced by Christians in homes and monastries for centuries.

Action: 1. Read (slowly, perhaps multiple times);     2. Meditate (what is this saying to me/what stands out);     3. Pray (talk to God about it);    4. Contemplation (sit with God, relax, ask him if he  wants to reveal something to you);    5. Action (what should I do in response to this today)

Rule of Life

rule of life

Reflection:  If we want God to remain at the centre of our lives, we need sacred rhythms and rules to anchor us. We must intentionally commune with Him through the everyday rhythms of work, rest and play. A ‘Rule of life’ helps us be more focused and intentional in this pursuit.   http://traverse.org.au/base/everyday-theology/ – module 3, pp 28-34

Action: set aside 2-3 hours to prayerfully write your ‘rule of life’. It should reflect your particular circumstances, heart and story.

White Feather

featherReflection: The white feather can symbolise cowardice (as in the case of British society during WWI) or courage/superior skill and strength (as in the case of the US military). We are a strange paradox of weakness and victory in Christ.

Action: Carry the feather on you this fortnight; repeat 2 Cor 12:9 to yourself (… “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me); and watch/pray for opportunities to courageously act on Christ’s behalf for peace, reconciliation and flourishing.

Hope Remembered and Carried forward

song of the harp, 92x122Action:  Write down a song, a story and a scripture that have inspired your walk with God in the past. Each day spend 5 minutes reflecting on these ‘signs of hope’ given to you and conclude with the prayer “God, give me courage to live another day for you”

Reflection:  See Maki Horanai’s “Song of the Harp” (https://theartstack.com/artist/maki-horanai/song-harp) as a symbolic image of moving forward amidst the swamp of life, carrying a song of hope and the source of life. Maki’s work can be purchased from her studio at Mt Tamborine (contact details can be found at http://makihoranai.com/). Also, some passages of hope… Josh 10:25, Ps 3:2-6, Ps 147:11, Mark 4:30-34, Jn 16:33, Rom 5:2-7, Rom 8:17, Col 1:15-20, 1 Cor 15:54-58, 2 Cor 4 & 1 Peter 1:3-6.

Tracing Silence

silence-symbolAction: Trace the Japanese symbol for Silence. Pray “God, speak to us in the silence”

Reflection: Sometimes God is silent, at times, when we are most desperate for him to speak. Remember the persecuted Christians such as the Japanese in the 16th century. Pray that God would work something good in you through the times of silence in your own life.

Pumice stone

pumiceAction: During your daily bathing ritual, use a pumice stone to remove callouses from your feet. Ask God to bring to mind the name of someone who you are tempted to despise or protect yourself from. Plan to take steps toward them in love (listen to them, help them, pray for them, attend to them).

Reflection: we protect ourselves from the difficult, the needy, the awkward, the risky.    A pumice stone removes callouses to make the feet sensitive once again. Use the stone to remind yourself daily to be vulnerable and sensitive to the most difficult, even though it may involve risk (word of caution: of course, there are many situations where vulnerability can be abused and we may need to seek counsel when we are unclear about this boundary).

Crushed flowers: prayer for the persecuted

drying-cherry-blossoms-in-the-oven-2

Action: Crush a flower in your hand and smell the aroma released. Begin and end your prayer time with “Our pain is not wasted; our hope is in Christ”. Use a guide such as Voice of the Martyr’s global report at https://vom.com.au/countries/

Reflection: “this path is narrow; its difficult to walk here”(p80, Silence, Shusaku Endo). Just as the two men sang “we’re on our way to Paradise” as they endured the pounding of the waves during Japanese water torture, there is no one answer to suffering, trauma and betrayals. We have to be comfortable with ambiguity and see through the pain.

The Golden Rule and ‘Reverse Evangelism’

gold leaf IIAction:  Ask someone, who is not a Christian, about their beliefs. Listen attentively with love and respect, not as an opportunity to evangelise. Ask how they perceive Christianity. Listen, empathise, don’t defend. Thank them for their honesty. (‘Reverse Evangelism’ , The Evangelism Project, Peter Rollins, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDd4G22zrOI )

 Reflection (Using the gold leaf  to remind you of God’s glory in all of humanity – valuable yet fragile): It is important to anthropologise ourselves as a starting point for loving and respectful relationships. Take some time this week to consider your own ‘tribal’ boundaries eg. family, nationality, your church family, the ethos of the place you grew up in or the school you attended. How do these “loyalties” play into your perception and judgments about others? Imagine your attitude as a physical ‘posture’ toward the world and the many and varied people who you meet on a daily basis. Picture the position of your head, body and limbs. Be honest. In light of how your neighbour has experienced Christianity, imagine how you might change your posture toward ‘the other’. Sketch it.

Daily Needs Prayer Tool:

XP vessel and spongeAction: in prayer, pour water into a cup until it overflows onto a dry sponge.

Reflection: We are called to overflow all that we receive from God. What do you plead God for in the mornings? Patience? Wisdom? Solutions to problems? The whole world is thirsty for these things. As you fill the cup, pray for your needs but don’t stop at yourself; continue to pour as the cup overflows, pray for those same things for colleagues, family and friends who can all be blessed to be a force for good in the world today!

 

Pottery reflection:

clay pot 2Action: Form a clay vessel with air-dry clay

Reflection: as you mould and pinch and smooth, consider how God has formed you and will continue to form you.

Optional: Paint the inside metallic, representing God’s kingdom. You could even use the pot as your cup in the cup and sponge prayer practice.

 

Seedling Prayer
seedlingAction: Plant a seedling; daily pray the Lord’s Prayer with your seedling. Finish with “Lord, help us to cultivate a love for your kingdom’s coming”

Reflection: Consider how God cultivates/grows the earth and how you might participate with him in this. Place your seedling in a prominent place as a reminder of your mission in the world – to serve his vision for all things.

 

Relinquishing Prayer

xp balloons IIRelinquish imageAction: release helium balloon (or reflect on similar image) as a prayer tool.

Reflection: What would the Lord have me relinquish in my work today? eg. power, resources, time, worries or frustations.

 

 

Children’s Bible stories

beatitudes children's story tutuAction: Daily reflection using children’s bible eg. the Jesus Storybook Bible

Reflection: A good children’s bible is a wonderfully simple paraphrase of the truths that may have become too complex and heavily laden in our minds.

 

Night sky listening

Night Sky listeningAction: Spend 5 minutes nightly, prayerfully admiring the night sky

Reflection: In an attitude of humility and readiness to listen, ask God “what should I be seeing and hearing around me at the moment (ie. in my current workplace/context)?”

 

Plaiting

Plaiting CordActivity: plaiting hair or cotton

Reflection: pray for unity and strength in your family and in your relationship with God. “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecc 4:12)

 

 

Aromas

anointing oilActivity: anoint yourself with oil during your morning time spent with God

Reflection: Just as the Jewish people leave spice on the tips of their tongues at the conclusion of the Sabbath to allow the ‘aroma’ of this special time to linger, anointing oil can help remind you of God’s presence as you continue throughout your day.

 

 

Hessian 

hessianActivity: place a square of hessian in your wallet to remind you of the principle of simplicity in your consuming

Reflection: Consider your purchases carefully as you remember the inspirational life of Saint Francis of Assisi (and many other giants of the faith who have chosen lifestyles of simplicity in order to more faithfully follow Christ). Remember our responsibilty in caring for the cosmos and our fellow human beings.

 

Baking Bread

breadActivity: Bake bread at home

Reflection: consider our food, the earth and the work that goes into cultivating and processing the food that we eat. Contemplate the role that God has given us in ‘arranging’ the natural world. Consider how food is a daily reminder of our dependence and the truth that no matter how capable or well resourced we are, we are not self sufficient.

Sign of the Cross

basic_celtic_cross_knotActivity: Mark yourself with the sign of the cross before crossing the threshold of your home to enter your day.

Reflection: A very old practice used to demonstrate and remind yourself that you belong to Christ; bought at a price. Bonhoffer used the sign of the cross throughout his time in prison. Though there are several variations, one example is to use the thumb to mark a small cross on the forehead, lips, heart and shoulders. You may wish to add a prayer such as: “Lord, I am yours, be glorified in what I think, in what I see, in what I say, in what I desire, in what I do, and in where I go today”.

Gratitude Journal

writing-1240442Activity: record 5 things you are grateful for at bedtime nightly or do verbally with family over dinner. Prompts to get you started: opportunities, nature, food and drink, places, our bodies, dreams and hopes, memories, art, animals, people, happy and challenging experiences.

Reflection: Studies show increased happiness, sleep, decreased depression and anxiety and improved blood pressure are associated with performing this task regularly and scripture instructs us to give thanks (1 Thess 5:18, Ps 92:1-2).

Placing a Stone in Water

stone in waterAction: place a stone in water and position somewhere visible throughout the day.

Reflection: borrowed from monastic traditions, this practice is a symbolic reminder of our commitment to Christ through baptism and daily commitment to live for Him. It also reminds us of Rev 2:17 which makes reference to God giving us a new name, written on a stone.

Jelly making

Jelly heartAction: make red jelly (in heart shape mould for added effect!)

Reflection: Pray Ezekiel 36:26 for yourself, that you will remain open, vulnerability and sensitive to those who are hurting. That you will become more like Christ in sacrificial love for others.

Ez 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”

Pop art

pop art exampleAction: apply ‘pop art’ effect to a photo of yourself. Display or use as bookmark

Reflection: there is light and shade in all of us. Ask yourself: what are my blocks, jealousies, prejudices, hatreds and ways of comparing myself with others? Consider Jesus own teaching about forgiveness (Matt 18:21-35).

 

Earplug activity

earplugsAction: use earplugs during your designated prayer time.

Reflection: with earplugs in, pray for your needs and those of your known friends and family. Then, remove the earplugs and ask God to help you hear ‘the voices from the margins’ before praying for those with whom you have no immediate contact or natural compassion for. Finish by reading ‘the beattitudes’.

 

Silent Meal

mealAction:  silent thanksgiving while eating the evening meal or breakfast

Reflection: consider the ‘sources of nourishment’ in your life eg. relationships, beauty, nature, music, rest, interests.

 

Hand Spelling

hand spellingAction: with your index finger in the palm of your opposite hand trace the letters to spell out a message of gratitude such as “Life is Gift”

Reflection: Ann Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, used this technique to ‘unlock’ communication for her student. Anne’s service was a gift  of enormous proportions to Helen. Consider how God has nourished and enabled you through others and give thanks.

Hugs

hug

Action: whenever giving a hug as a greeting, remember God’s ‘open arms’ posture to you.

Reflection: Consider the components of a hug and how they parallel having an open heart.

 

Washing & Drying the Dishes

washing-up

Action: sing the hallelujah chorus while washing the dishes (you may want to post the words nearby)

Reflection: give thanks for the everyday ordinariness of serving Christ in the mundane.  “when you did it for the least of these, you did it for me” Matt 25:40

 

Drawing the anchor 

anchor icon

Action: practice drawing the anchor icon daily as an act of meditation during a break or quiet time.

Reflection: consider the early Christians and the persecution they faced from the Roman empire. Consider how our faith is the same, whilst faced with the ‘empire’ of Global Consumerism.

 

Reef Reflection

reefAction: Hold and reflect upon your piece of bleached coral as you confess the ways that you have bought into the cares of the world, removing the power of the cross from your life. Contrast the image of the thriving reef and remind yourself of Jesus’ path to true flourishing – justice and sacrificial faithfulness. Over the course of one week, read Matthew 5, 6 and 7 for a reminder of how Jesus instructed us to live. 

bleached coralReflection: Consider how God’s idea of fruitfulness, thriving, shalom is like a reef. Rising sea temperatures and pollution bleach and kill the coral. How has our culture’s image of ‘the good life’ similarly ‘bleached’ the vibrancy of our faith.

 

Lives well lived

letter to diognetus

Action: Daily reading of portion of ‘letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

Reflection: “only the non-ideological, embracing, forgiving and shalom-filled life of a dynamic Christian community formed by the story of Jesus will prove the gospel to be true and render the idolatrous alternatives fundamentally implausible” Colossians Remixed p114

Preaching to Creation

dsc_0002-1

Action: Sing with, pray with or preach to a living thing around your home or on your way to work each day eg. a pet, tree, insect, bird.

Reflection:

“God wrote, “I love you” – he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing. The way a kitten chases her tail. The way red poppies grow wild. The way a dolphin swims.” (The Jesus Storybook Bible p12).

In Psalm 19 we read of the heavens singing and the mountains shouting.

In a friend’s dog, Lil, we see a faithful companion ever-present in painful times.

In Francis of Assisi we see precedence for preaching to creation in his famous sermon to the birds.

The gospel is good news to all of creation. In declaring (singing, praying/lament or preaching) the story of God to creation, we remind ourselves of the story in all of its detail and grandeur!

 

Turning to face the Sun/Son

skyAction: Whenever advertising catches your attention, look to the heavens and remind yourself “Enough”. Keep a sunflower in a prominent place to remind you of your practice.

Reflection: Just as a sunflower always turns to face the sun; we must constantly look to ‘the Son’ to remind ourselves that competing frames of reference, like consumerism, should have no power over us, the people of the cross. The narrative of Christ says “Enough”: “Enough” stuff; you are “Enough” in that you image Christ; and God is more than “Enough”. In Ephesians 5:5b “a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world.” Our contentment is a sign of the kingdom when we direct our addictions/our affections toward God and we are ‘FOUND IN HIM’

 

Inclusive Hospitality

lindsays-resurrection-paintingAction: Ask God for someone in your daily work to whom you should be actively listening; preferably someone without a voice. Listen. Include. Pray. OR next time you have friends for dinner, invite someone who is often excluded.

Reflection: ‘Table Benediction’ by Darryl Johnson, http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/table-benediction

 

Ethical Consumption

ethical-consumption-iiAction: Download an ‘ethical shopping’ app to help you make informed decisions about the impact of your purchases on the environment and people living in relative poverty OR simply avoid products from high risk processing zones (China, Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka)

Reflection: “Who pays the price? the human cost of electronics” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ns-kJ5Podjw

 

Advent Candles

advent Action: lighting of the advent candles and reflections leading into Christmas with 5 minutes of silence and stillness.

Reflection: An ethic of suffering. “Nature trembled and said with astonishment: What new mystery is this? The judge is judged and remains silent; the invisible one is seen and does not hide himself; the incomprehensible one is comprehended and does not resist; the unmeasurable one is measured and does not struggle; the one beyond suffering suffers and does not avenge himself; the immortal one dies and does not refuse death. What new mystery is this?” (Second-century bishop Melito of Sardis).

 

Tracing Silence

silence-symbolAction: Trace the Japanese symbol for Silence. Pray “God, speak to us in the silence”

Reflection: Sometimes God is silent, at times, when we are most desperate for him to speak. Remember the persecuted Christians such as the Japanese in the 16th century. Pray that God would work something good in you through the times of silence in your own life.

 

 

Pumice stone

pumiceAction: During your daily bathing ritual, use a pumice stone to remove callouses from your feet. Ask God to bring to mind the name of someone who you are tempted to despise or protect yourself from. Plan to take steps toward them in love (listen to them, help them, pray for them, attend to them).

Reflection: we protect ourselves from the difficult, the needy, the awkward, the risky.    A pumice stone removes callouses to make the feet sensitive once again. Use the stone to remind yourself daily to be vulnerable and sensitive to the most difficult, even though it may involve risk (word of caution: of course, there are many situations where vulnerability can be abused and we may need to seek counsel when we are unclear about this boundary).

 

Crushed flowers: prayer for the persecuted

drying-cherry-blossoms-in-the-oven-2

Action: Crush a flower in your hand and smell the aroma released. Begin and end your prayer time with “Our pain is not wasted; our hope is in Christ”. Use a guide such as Voice of the Martyr’s global report at https://vom.com.au/countries/

Reflection: “this path is narrow; its difficult to walk here”(p80, Silence, Shusaku Endo). Just as the two men sang “we’re on our way to Paradise” as they endured the pounding of the waves during Japanese water torture, there is no one answer to suffering, trauma and betrayals. We have to be comfortable with ambiguity and see through the pain.

 

The Golden Rule and ‘Reverse Evangelism’

gold leaf IIAction:  Ask someone, who is not a Christian, about their beliefs. Listen attentively with love and respect, not as an opportunity to evangelise. Ask how they perceive Christianity. Listen, empathise, don’t defend. Thank them for their honesty. (‘Reverse Evangelism’ , The Evangelism Project, Peter Rollins, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDd4G22zrOI )

 Reflection (Using the gold leaf  to remind you of God’s glory in all of humanity – valuable yet fragile): It is important to anthropologise ourselves as a starting point for loving and respectful relationships. Take some time this week to consider your own ‘tribal’ boundaries eg. family, nationality, your church family, the ethos of the place you grew up in or the school you attended. How do these “loyalties” play into your perception and judgments about others? Imagine your attitude as a physical ‘posture’ toward the world and the many and varied people who you meet on a daily basis. Picture the position of your head, body and limbs. Be honest. In light of how your neighbour has experienced Christianity, imagine how you might change your posture toward ‘the other’. Sketch it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liturgy: Community & Growth

Lighting of the Candles

We light a candle in the name of the Maker,

Who lit the world and breathed the breath of life for us…

We light a candle in the name of the Son,

Who saved the world and stretched out his hand to us…

We light a candle in the name of the Spirit,

Who encompasses the world and blesses our souls with yearning…

 

We light three lights for the trinity of love:

God above us, God beside us, God Beneath us:

The beginning, the end, the everlasting one.

 

Prayer & Silence Confession (tasting lemon)

Receive God’s Grace (tasting honey or sweet)

Prayers of Adoration & Gratitude (whispered simultaneously)

                                                           

Song 

(Wk 1) This I believe (the Creed), Hillsong

(Wk 2) intro (Jeremy Begbie) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2u20RxqPvo

Holy God – the Trisagion Hymn, Eastern Orthodox https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CmQd7BgNis&index=27&list=RDICnHiJbmjLI

(Wk 3) Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Ordinary Time)

(Wk 4 & 5) Author of my days (Ordinary Time)

(Wk 5) O Praise the Name ‘Anastasis’ (Hillsong)

(Wk 6)  The Servant Song & Servant King

(Wk 7)   You Cannot Lose My Love (Sara Groves)

How Deep the Father’s Love (Deep Still 2)

(Wk 8) Handel’s Messiah, Hallelujah Chorus

 

Truth Declaration – Liturgy of Love

“You are one” clip http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/you-are-one (4:25)

 

Prayers for Others

(respond aloud with single names if group member are comfortable, or pray silently)

God, we bring to you someone who we bumped into or remembered today …

God, we bring to you someone who is hurting tonight….

God, we bring to you a troubled situation in our world tonight…

God, we bring to you someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust…

God, we bring ourselves to you that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and warmth of affection…

 

One Another Ministries (grp member choose one – read – members share thoughts or stories).

LOVE one another — Jn 13:34-35, Rom. 12:101 Pet. 1:221 John 3:11

ENCOURAGE one another — Rom. 1:121 Thess. 4:185:11Heb. 10:25

INSTRUCT / TEACH / ADMONISH one another — Rom. 15:14Col. 3:16

CARE FOR / SERVE one another — 1 Cor. 12:251 Pet. 4:8-11

SERVE one another — Gal. 5:13, Col 3:23-24, Phil 2:5-7, Mark 9:35 + 10:45

COMFORT one another — 2 Cor. 13:11

FORGIVE one another — Eph. 4:32

EXHORT one another — Heb. 3:12-13

STIR UP one another TO LOVE + GOOD WORKS — Heb. 10:24-25

PRAY FOR one another & CONFESS SINS TO one another— James 5:16

BEAR With / BEAR the burdens of one another — Rom. 15:1Gal. 6: 2Eph. 4:2

BUILD UP one another — Rom. 15:2

LIVE IN HARMONY WITH / WELCOME one another — Rom. 15:5-7, 1 Pet 3:8

MINISTER TO one another — 1 Thess. 5:12-14

WORSHIP GOD together — Rom. 15:6Heb. 2:1213:13-15

 

Discussion / Art/Imagine

  1. Questions: What didn’t make sense?
  2. Challenges: what did you think was wrong?
  3. Implications: if true, what does it mean for how the church follows Christ today?
  4. Art & time to imagine
  5. Applications: what does it look like for you to live out of this vision?

 

Wk 1  The Scream, Edvard Munch (1863-1944) depiction of modern alienation

Wk 2 http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/my-neighbors-music

Wk 3   The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci (1494-1499)

Wk 3  The Table of Hope, Joey Velasco

Wk 3 http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/table-benediction (1:53)

Wk 4  American War Cemetery Personal Reflection Activity

Wk 5  Vulture Stalking a child, Kevin Carter, 1993 (Sudan). Reflect on 9 sources of nourishment; which are lacking in your life? In the life of the communities to which you belong?

Wk 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SloBtoNwD9k ‘Punkmonks’ monastic community, East Germany

Wk 6 Helen Keller biography https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxiJ02-hpZY

Wk 7  The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt (1661-9)

Wk 7  Light of the World, William Holman Hunt (1851-3)

Wk 8  The Wedding Feast at Cana, Paolo Veronese (1563, The Louvre)

Wk 8 The Marriage at Cana, Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen (1530, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

Wk 8 “For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles” Episode 7: the church. Acton Institute, Evan Koons 2015 (8:54 mins – 12:36 mins

 

Everyday Practice

(Wk 1) Jelly making – heart of flesh/vulnerability

Ez 36:26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

(Wk 2) Pop art – Light and shade in all of us. What are my blocks, jealousies, prejudices, hatreds, ways of comparing myself with others?

(Wk 3) Earplug activity – hearing the voices from the margins. Confession using images/earplugs then pray the beatitudes.

(Wk 4)  Foot Washing – humility and service (to be remembered throughout the week whenever drying your own feet “Lord, wash me so I can love”

(Wk 5) Participants to use art reflection to consider a unique practice targeting weak areas of nourishment eg. meeting with godly friend, bedtime.

Also (while sharing of fruit platter) silence and thanksgiving during evening meals or breakfast (for sources of nourishment in participants lives).

(Wk 6) Hand Spelling (Helen Keller) “Life is Gift”

(Wk 7) Free Hugs Campaign, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN8CKwdosjE

Discuss components of a hug and how they parallel having an open heart.

As opportunity arises to hug another remember God’s open arms to you.

(Wk 8) Drying the Dishes – Post your hallelujah chorus words at the kitchen sink and give thanks for the everyday ordinariness of serving Christ/others in the mundane.

“when you did it for the least of these, you did it for me” Matt 25:40

 

Benediction (while holding hands)

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/prayer-of-saint-francis (1:35)

 

Doxology (join with community of saints through the ages)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.

Praise Him, all creatures here below.

Praise God above, ye heavenly hosts.

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.    Amen.

 

Resources

http://www.theworkofthepeople.com

“Common Prayer: A liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne et al

“Iona Abbey Worship Book” by The Iona Community

 

Art Stimuli: Community & Growth

 

Scream_EdvardMunch “The Scream”, Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944)

SacredHeart “The Sacred Heart” (of Jesus) in stainglass

Jelly heart  Everyday Practice Reminder: Jelly Heart.

“Lord, give me a heart of flesh”

last supper The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci (1494-1499)

table of hope joey velasco The Table of Hope, Joey Velasco

joey velasco V joey velasco IV joey velasco III joey velasco II additional Joey Velasco works

American War Cemetery Personal Reflection Activity

vulture stalks child Vulture Stalking a child, Kevin Carter, 1993 (Sudan).

Prodigal son Rembrandt  The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt (1661-9)

the forgiving father ‘the forgiving father’ by Frank Wesley

Light of the world  Light of the World, William Holman Hunt (1851-3)

The wedding feast at cana  The Wedding Feast at Cana, Paolo Veronese (1563, The Louvre)

the marriage at cana The Marriage at Cana, Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen (1530, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

 

 

Art Stimuli: Kingdom Calling

Week 1: “The Banjo Player” by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_The_Banjo_Lesson

Week 4: “In His Image” by William Zadanak

In his image by William Zadanak

Week 5: “The World Turns” by Michael Parekowhai

the world turns michael parekowhai 2 the world turns michael parekowhai 1

Week 8: “Fellow Humans” by Stephen Hart

fellow humans by stephen hart

Week 9: Poetry and Prayer

poetry 1poetry 2

Practices Images:

Week 1: Overflowing Vessel & Week 2: Clay pot

XP vessel and sponge clay pot 2

Week 5: Relinquishing Activity using Helium Baloon

Relinquish image xp balloons II XP balloons

Week 6: “Beattitudes”, “Children of God” by Desmond Tutu

beatitudes children's story tutu

Week 7: Night Sky Listening

Night Sky listening

Week 8: Cord Plaiting

Plaiting Cord