“How to Find Rest” at Open Table

Friday 26 July 2019 | Open Table
HOW TO FIND REST

Leunig_Rest

Bouncing off Psalm 23, and welcoming winter hibernation … bring SOUP, DRINKS &/or TASTY BREAD to share, with dessert provided; come with a story to tell in response to the stimulus on the topic of “How to Find Rest” (slides here). 

What does rest look or feel like for you? Is it a priority? Why/not?
What’s your best resting memory and favourite place to take a kip?
Do you readily rest, or–like a toddler–fight until you’re made to lie down?
What inner whirrings and outer impediments ward off hibernation during the lean seasons when you really need to take a break?
What is most restful for you, to unwind and recharge?
Are there substitutes that promise rest but only exacerbate exhaustion?
What do we learn about the meaning of life and the designs of our creator by the necessity of sleep and the benefits of sabbath?

… So, catch 40 or so winks during this season of winter hibernation, and come ready to share what you’ve learned about the way of rest as an antidote to our anxious, agitated, insomniac and workaholic culture.

Held at Shayne & Bron’s, 18 Kooralla Court, Karana Downs (directions here). Welcome from 7pm, official kick off at 7:30pm. Any questions before the night? Call/txt Dave on 0491138487.

Art     | Vincent Van Gogh’s “Noon: Rest from Work after Jean-Francois Millet.”

112 Noon Rest from Work after Millet

Text & Reflection   |  Psalm 23 (KJV):

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Or, for Jesus’ take on rest, in modern parlance, check out Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG):

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

+++

Way back on October 15, 2014, I posted my first Christ’s Pieces blog. The topic? “A Rest-less Sabbath: Musings from My Inner Voice.” With more transparency than I prefer, I offered a window into my anxious soul and wondered out loud:

If my ‘worldview’ is best gauged not from my words but my actions, then something is definitely out of kilter. Work—even Christian vocational ministry (perhaps especially -)—can become an idol. We worship that to which we sacrifice the most … time, money, energy, relationships. I thought I was doing all this for God. Yet, ichabod. Sometimes I wonder if His Spirit has left the building and I’m stuck slaving away. When a holiday seems like a mixed blessing—think of all those things I won’t be able to achieve while resting—then it’s time to recalibrate.

Sadly, I’m not sure I’ve made much progress on this front over the last five years. Why is it *so* hard to slow down, to rest and refresh when clearly it’s *sogood for me? I feel like a tired toddler, fighting with all I’ve got to stay anxiously awake, even as my eye-lids droop and my babbling makes no sense. There must be a better way! If it’s good enough for God to take a load off–come the end of a creative work week where the whole cosmos was brought into being–then it should be good enough for his image bearers.

DelightWonderPresence

As New York Times op-ed columnist and nominal Jew, Judith Shulevitz, explores here, however, rest takes practice. For neurotic workaholics miserable from the constant grind, a solid rest at least once a week facilitates “drudgery giving way to festivity, family gatherings and occasionally worship … [where] the machinery of self-censorship shuts down, too, stilling the eternal inner murmur of self-reproach.” (This is one of Tim Keller’s favourite and oft’ repeated lines, in sermons and Sabbath articles alike.)

What works for the individual is a pattern necessary for cultures, especially frenetically busy ones like ours: “To thrive, societies must designate set times in which work stops and the rest of life occurs.” (See Shulevitz’s book, The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time, from which she shares a talk here).

Not surprisingly, the Bible says quite a bit about rest, prescribing an antidote to our anxious, agitated, insomniac and workaholic culture.

Let’s start with sleep, that under-appreciated necessary biological rhythm. Psalm 127:1-2 says this:

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

Granted, sleep is subconscious, so it’s not surprising that it slips below the threshold warranting theological investigation, for all but the most observant scholars. In a book entitled, Christian Devotion, by a well-known Scottish author, John Baillie, you will find a chapter with the unusual title “A Theology of Sleep.” Here’s a taste of his astute observations on the Psalm above:

My subject is the theology of sleep. It is an unusual subject, but I make no apology for it. I think we hear far too few sermons about sleep. After all, we spend a very large share of our lives sleeping. I suppose that on average I’ve slept for eight hours out of every twenty-four during the whole of my life, and that means I’ve slept for well over twenty years. …Don’t you agree then that the Christian gospel should have something to say about the sleeping third of our lives as well as about the waking two-thirds of them? I believe it has something to say and that this text serves as a good beginning for the exposition of it.

7-Tips-for-Falling-AsleepIt’s like God has hard-wired into the very shape of our REM patterns an amazing truth that we are dependent, vulnerable, needing rest that is not our own native possession. Our very existence is a gift of grace, and sometimes it’s only at our limits, when our proud heads drop as we fall unconscious on the pillow, that we stop resisting what makes us whole. Day dreaming on this theme lead the likes of Augustine to look up to God and recognise that “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you” (Confessions Bk I, Ch. 1; see also the beautiful visual benediction from The Work of the People, capturing how the “I Am” being here is the ground for a non-anxious way in the world).

If we fail to see this in our human family, then consider the animal kingdom. When times are lean and the wind chills, species as diverse as Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels and Black Bears (here, here and here) go into hibernation. Their system slows down with the seasons, first stocking up, then slimming down, emerging ready to go when the sun is shining. As Ralph Ellison says in his novel, The Invisible Man, “A hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.” 

Sadly, this seems a world away for Homo sapiens who work and shop 24-7 under the artificial glare of fluorescent lighting, trapped withing a self-enclosed ‘rhythm’ falsely promising to maximise productivity and pleasure with no need of down-time. As God chides his people whom he brought out of Egypt, but couldn’t break their toxic self-dependence nor stop their inner whirrings, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

We desperately need to get back in touch with our creatureliness, accepting the genuine rhythms of grace. May we be people wise enough to enter that Sabbath rest, whatever our inner drives dictate and exhausted colleagues champion.

Banksy_Rest

This Open Table night, then, is a chance to celebrate the sleepy season. To explore our patterns of rest, and reluctance to slow down. We’ll delve into where you to unwind and refresh, and expose substitutes that promise to renew the spring in your step but instead suck you dry. Perhaps we’ll even get practical, exchanging sleeping tips and how to shut out the tempting blue light or innumerable devices vying for attention late into the night–let’s put our insomnia and anxiety to bed once and for all. Whatever your story, come ready to share.

As a precursor, perhaps the following primer on Sabbath 101 will get you in the mood? (For more, check out Marva Dawn’s talk and book, Lauren Winner’s work, and Pete Scazzero’s guidance on Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, summarised in Module 4 of my course on Everyday Theology and Module 13 of Christian Worldview.)

TechnologyShabbat

SABBATH REST

In Christ, we have entered into the ‘Sabbath’ rest of the Lord (Hebrews 4:9). That is, whatever time of day, and whatever our circumstances, through the Spirit of God we can find peace. Nevertheless, even as we are not required to practice Sabbath as the Jews did (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5-6)—and though we are not saved by such practices—Sabbath is a key resource for emotionally healthy spirituality.

Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word that means “to cease from work”. It means doing nothing related to work for one 24-hour period each week. We are to separate (the same root as “holiness”) ourselves from our work.

Sabbath provides for us a key rhythm for our entire re-orientation of our lives around the Living God (cf. Genesis 2:2-3). Keeping the Sabbath in our culture is both revolutionary and difficult. It is an imitation of God in His stopping and resting from work. Without the Sabbath in a fallen world, we soon become like the rest of a frenetic and lost society. The Sabbath is an advisable command from God, as well as an incredible invitation to hold on to His lifeline. Our culture knows very little about setting a whole day aside to rest and delight in God. Resting in God is not an optional extra for fanatics but an essential core ingredient of discipleship.

In our pressurised Western culture, we are to live in a way that demonstrates freedom brought about by a confidence in God’s total provision. Ceasing from our work and resting in God is part of that witness. The Sabbath calls on us to build into our lives “rest”—which by the world’s standards is seen as inefficient, unproductive and even useless. One theologian said, “To fail to see the value of simply being with God and ‘doing nothing’ is to miss the heart of Christianity.” We need to note that what is being said is not the promotion of laziness but rather the promotion of a rest in God to build faith, hope, motivation and energy to then serve Him and the world in which we live.

One of the great dangers of observing the Sabbath is legalism—which Jesus roundly challenged. The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath. The Sabbath must be responded to by each individual before God. The important matter is the underlying principle. The key is setting a regular rhythm of exercising a Sabbath rest for a 24 hour time block each week. For the Jews the Sabbath began at sundown on Friday evening and ended at sundown on Saturday. The Apostle Paul seemed to imply that any day would be as good as any other (Romans 14:1-17).

SabbathSabbath involves four key elements:

  1. Stopping—embrace your limits and cease your work … it’s not a day for “different tasks” on your to-do-list
  2. Resting—prioritise whatever replenishes your soul, with activities different to your everyday tasks … sleep, re-creation, music, sport, worship, prayer, cooking, etc.
  3. Delight—take time to evaluate the “very good” of your co-creation with God and be thankful for God’s good work in your life. Play in the presence of our triune God
  4. Contemplating—this time is “holy to the Lord” (Exodus 31:15), so develop expectation of dwelling in God’s presence as one day we will in fullness when we see Him face to face (Revelation 22:4). Enter His splendour, greatness, beauty, excellence, and glory.

Just as God instituted Sabbath years for the land to rest and debts to be cancelled (every ‘perfect’ seven years, with the “perfect perfect” year of Jubilee after the 49th year), your holidays offer more sustained time of rest and re-creation. Perhaps you can work towards taking a “Sabbatical” after seven years of work?

Leunig_Hymn

 

 

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

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

 

Liturgy – Kingdom Calling

Theme: Vocation

 

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.

 

Silence (1 min) to confess our sins and still our hearts

 

Liturgy

O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you

As the day rises to meet the sun.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

 

Father God at work around us:

Thank you for your redemptive work: saving and reconciling

Thank you for your creative work: fashioning and beautifying

 

Father God at work around us:

Thank you for your providential work: supplying and sustaining

Thank you for your justice work: defending and advocating

 

Father God at work around us:

Thank you for your compassionate work: comforting, healing & guiding

Thank you for your revelatory work: enlightening with truth

 

Father God at work around us

Apprentice us in your ways

For your glory and the flourishing of all that you have made.

Amen.

 

Alternative liturgy:

Creator God Like Anna who waited to greet the Christ child

Show us where you are at work in the world.

Like Bezalel, anointed as an artist in the temple

Equip us with skills to glorify you.

Like Samuel who sat up at the sound of your voice

Help us to respond to your call on our lives.

Like Daniel who refused to eat food that was tainted

Give us courage to be faithful to you in our world.

Like Lydia, a worshipper as well as a business woman

Help us to put you first in our lives.

Like Jesus, your son, our teacher and example

Help us to worship you in all that we do.

Amen.

 

Worship

Leader: “We will now take a moment to reflect on God’s work in our world across all of history; as all of creation groans and eagerly awaits the redemption of all things. We will be using a sequence of images from the impressionist movie, Tree of Life (2011). Please feel free to watch, pray or join in with the meditative Taize song.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCxDZaWRAvo The Tree of Life 6 min clip

“Bless the Lord” lyrics:

Bless the Lord, my soul, and bless God’s holy name.

Bless the Lord, my soul, who leads me into life!

 

God at Work Reflections:

Leader: “often we find it easy to imagine God’s creative work or compassionate work but forget other aspects of the work He does. Each week we will consider a different part of God’s labour in the world (loosely inspired by Robert Banks) to help us consider the ways in which we join Him through our everyday productive activities.”

Share any additional insights/reflections gained since previous meeting.

“Take a moment to consider: God is a ________________. In what sense/how is God a ____________?”.

Read and discuss associated verses/themes.

Wk 1: Composer/Performer (Deut 31:19, 1 Sam 16:14-33, Ps 42:8, Zeph 3:17).

Wk 2: Metal worker/Potter (Ps 8:3, Is 29:13-16, Jer 18-19, Ez 22:17-22, Is 45:18, Gen 1:27, 1:31, 2:7, Is 64:8, 45:9b-12, Ez 22:17-22, Ps 139:13-16, 2 Cor 4:7). Activity: make vessels from air-dry clay.

Wk 3: Gardener (verses are numerous – group to brainstorm). Group reflection using images of gardens. Activity: planting seedlings

Wk 4: Builder (Ps24:1-2, Ps 104:5, Ps 127:1, Heb 3:4, Matt 16:8, Acts 4:11, Mark 6:3, Mark 14:58, 1 Cor 3:9-15, Jn 14:1-3). Clip http://http//www.abc.net.au/tv/dreambuild/

Wk 5: Tentmaker (Ex 26:1-6 & 15-25 & 35:10, Lev 23:41-43, Luke 9:57-62, 2 Cor 5:1-5, Heb 8:2-5 & 11:8-10 & 11:13-16 & 11:38-40, Rev 7:15). Prayer for refugees and prayer that we all will ‘pack light’ as we follow Christ.

Wk 6: Economist/Investor (Matt 25:14-30). Watch animation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbPKhYBaWRg) Discuss how members feel and think about $. Will it be in the new creation? What would a kingdom economy look like?

Wk 7: Farmer. Watch Ram trucks ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7yZdOl_e_c). Discuss how God both ‘subdues’ and ‘tends’ us. How should we subdue and tend through our work?

Wk 8: Family businessman (Lk 2:41-50, Jn 5:16-18 & 9:1-7 & 17:1-5).  Discuss personal experiences, the idea of ‘apprentices’. How does it differ to other small businesses?

Wk 9: Participants consider their own profession

 

Dialogue

Wk 1: Video (3 mins) – LICC “frontlines”. Group share what our ‘frontlines’ are.

Wk 2: You Tube clip: “Carlos Nielbock: master craftsman metal worker”

Wk 3: “Work is Worship” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m06DYIAeCtU )

Wk 8: Urban Neighbours of Hope (http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/stories/s3528672.htm)

Discussion

  1. Questions: What didn’t make sense?
  2. Challenges: Something you disagree with or want to clarify?
  3. Implications: ‘so what?’ (for your vocational stewardship)?
  4. Applications: something useful right now toward fruitfulness on the frontline
  5. Visual stimuli

Wk 1 God is a composer/performer: Group reflections on “the Banjo player”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Ossawa_Tanner

Wk 2: Look at website www.theshalomimaginative.com (About, Gallery).

Wk 3: Wendell Berry’s poem “Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front”

Wk 4: Body of Christ Art: “in his image” by William Zadanak.. Addressing insignificance and the ‘body of Christ’

Wk 5: Michael Parekowhai’s “The World Turns”; what does it mean to share power as a Christian?

Wk 6: National Geographic ‘Flowers Blooming’ footage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjCzPp-MK48). Consider the redemptive process. What would I look like fully redeemed?

Wk 7: A Rocha clip (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff2MOVruo3l). Discuss ‘flourishing’. Reflect: in what ways have you dominated/been inpatient/failed to consult/reinvented the wheel/been insensitive in your workplace?

Wk 8: Stephen Hart http://stephenhart.com.au/fellow-humans/

Wk 9: poetry and prayer, using rhyme, rhythm and repetition

 

Everyday Practice and Closing

Wk 1: Prayer tool: pouring water into a vessel until it over flows onto a sponge. Leader: “We are called to be the ‘Tsaddiquium’. 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. Don’t stop at yourself; pray them for those around you who don’t know God but can still be a force for good in the world!”

Wk 2: Paint inside of the clay vessel metallic, representing God’s kingdom and thereby enriching wk 1 practice.

Wk 3: Lord’s prayer with your seedling. Finish with “Lord, help us to cultivate a love for your kingdom’s coming”

Wk 4: Communion. Reminder that we are given community and God’s empowerment through Christ.

Wk 5: Helium balloon as a prayer tool. What would the Lord have me relinquish in my work today? Eg. power, resources, time, worries or frustations.

Wk 6: Daily reflection on beatitudes using children’s version of the beatitudes (from Children of God by Desmund Tutu)

Wk 7: Night sky listening (humility and listening). Ask God, what should I be seeing and hearing in my current workplace?

Wk 8: Read the Apology of Tertullian, AD 197. Activity: share different coloured cottons and plait together as a symbol of our strength together.

Wk 9: set up previous practices as stations. Free time for members to circulate and conclude by writing a prayer for their specific work and praying for each other in pairs.

Sing the doxology:

“Lets join with the many Christians gone before us, across the globe, throughout time and also with the heavenly hosts”

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 (Read by Dave – we encourage you to stretch out your hands to receive):

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.

 

References

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

“Iona Abbey Worship Book” by The Iona Community pg.

“God the Worker” by Robert Banks

Transforminglives.org.uk liturgy (http://m.transforminglives.org.uk/files/files/Liturgy-Transforming_Lives_Toolkit.pdf)

Liturgy: Desiring the Kingdom

A number of people have requested a copy of the liturgy we used throughout our first cycle on James Smith’s “Desiring the Kingdom”.  We did tweak it each week so this is just the basic structure. Sources can be found at the end. Nik x

(Theme: Desire/loves and body/habits)

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.

Meditative Singing (Taize: “Wait on the Lord”):

Wait on the Lord, whose day is near.

Wait for the Lord: keep watch, take heart!

Silence/Confession (3 mins)

Responsive reading:

O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you

As the day rises to meet the sun.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen

Come, let us bow down and bend the knee:

let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

Walk with us, Lord: the journey is long

Psalm 84: 1-2, 4-7, 10-12

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

I long, yes I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.

With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.

Walk with us, Lord: the journey is long.

What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises!

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,

Who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.

The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

They will continue to grow stronger,

and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

Walk with us, Lord: the journey is long.

One day spent in your temple is better than a thousand anywhere else;

I would rather stand at the gate of the house of my God

Than live in the homes of the wicked.

The Lord is our protector and glorious king,

blessing us with kindness and honour,

He does not refuse any good thing to those who do what is right. 

Walk with us, Lord: the journey is long.

Prayer

* group members feel their pulse

Lord of Creation,

Create in us a new rhythm of life

Composed of hours that sustain rather than stress,

Of days that deliver rather than destroy,

Of time that tickles rather than tackles.

Lord of Liberation,

By the rhythm of your truth, set us free

From the bondage and baggage that break us,

From the Pharaohs and fellows who fail us,

From the plans and pursuits that prey upon us.

Lord of Resurrection,

May we be raised into the rhythm of your new life,

Dead to deceitful calendars,

Dead to fleeting friend requests,

Dead to the empty peace of our accomplishments.

 

To our packed-full planners, we bid, “Peace!”

To our over-caffeinated consciences, we say “Cease!”

To our suffocating selves, Lord, grant release.

Drowning in a sea of deadlines and  death chimes,

We rest in you , our lifeline.

By your ever-restful grace,

Allow us to enter your Sabbath rest

As your Sabbath rest enters into us.

 

In the name of our Creator,

Our Liberator,

Our Resurrection and Life,

We pray.

Amen

Dialogue

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. Art Stimuli:

“Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio (wk 1);

“Objects and Ornothology Series” by Deb Mostert (wk 2)

“Christ Pantocrator” (early Christian Icon); “Prince of Peace” by Akiane Kramarik; and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” movie trailer (wk 3)

“Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear; “Sacrifice” by Rayner Hoff (wk 4)

“Baptism” by Nolan Lee; “Feasting Table”; “The Plodder” by Michael Leunig (wk 5)

The “West” Window of Coventry Cathedral glass etchings by John Hutton (wk 6)

5. Applications: what does it look like for you to live out of this vision? How can I change my everyday habits to desire the kingdom of God?

Everyday Practices to engage the senses:

– Just as the Jewish people leave spice on the tips of their tongues on the conclusion of the Sabbath to allow the ‘aroma’ to linger, anointing oil can be used at the conclusion of time spent with God, both alone or corporately (wk 1)

– Drawing on the inspirational life of Saint Francis of Assisi, the group discussed the importance of simplicity of consumption in being a follower of Christ. We cut out squares of hesian for our wallets to remind us of our responsibilty in caring for the cosmos and our fellow human beings. (wk 2)

– The act of baking bread at home, can be helpful in cultivating gratitude for our food and reflecting on our role in joining God in ‘arranging’ the natural world (wk 2)

– Reflecting on Bonhoffer’s use of the sign of the cross throughout his time in prison, we are reminded of a very old practice which can be useful in sustaining us and reminding to whom we belong. Though there are several variations, we used the thumb to mark a small cross on the forehead, between the eyes, lips, heart and shoulders accompanied by.. “Lord, 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” (wk 3)

– Gratitude Journal: Studies show increased happiness, sleep, decreased depression and anxiety and improved blood pressure are associated with performing this task regularly (1 Thess 5:18, Ps 92:1-2). Record 5 things you are thankful for before bed each day for one month. Prompts to get you started: Opportunities, nature, food and drink, places, our bodies, dreams and hopes, memories, art, animals, people, happy and challenging experiences (wk 4)

– The placing of a stone in water to symbolise our commitment to Christ through baptism as we commit each day to live for Him (wk 5)

– Communion (wk 6)

Sing doxology:

    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 (read by the leader):

    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.

 

References:

“Common Prayer: A liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne et al pp. 271, 554

“Iona Abbey Worship Book” by The Iona Community pg. 111