Great ideas for Sunday worship spring up from unlikely places. Be ready for God to stretch you at anytime is a message from the gospels. But then again sometimes it's ordinary things like books that contain the ideas you need. The picture above is a case for me. A lovely sculpture. A symmetrical structure. What do you see? A square of love? but look between the letters. What's there? Yes, air. Air, God's world surrounded and enclosed by love. Maybe like me the first thing you saw in the sculpture was just a great big expressive OOOO which maybe immediately requires an answering AAAAhhh.
Love surrounds us. Love in the middle of a very modern city centre claims the space for us and forces us to react. OOOO ---AAAAh. Look at me. I'm a sculpture showing love to everyone as they past.
Yes it's great when ideas for worship especially as this one did right after worship last week. That looks a lot like the reading for Sunday I thought as I peered through the oooo and discovered the four loves.
Sunday was about that new commandment God gave us through Jesus. Love one another as I have loved you. In particular the reason why we should do this. Simply because it is by this that everyone will know that you are my disciples.
No pressure there, then. God's disciples., us you might say.
Listen again to last weeks sermon
'A bit of a day out for me this Sunday so I can't really comment on worship at Banchory Ternan East. I wasn't there. I'd travelled all the way from Banchory to Portethen. Not a holiday, you understand, but time spent with a congregation preparing to look for a new minister. Not a holiday, but tacked onto a week away for me looking into my roots in border country. So the question was how to prepare for Sunday in a hotel room without my usual supply of books and commentaries and only a rather feeble WiFi to rely on.
Help came from an unusual source. The film Paddington Bear. Not a true life adventure documentary, but the video antics of a bear who loves marmalade. I've always had a feeling of kin ship with Paddington. He likes marmalade. No breakfast is complete for me without marmalade. What more proof is needed that he would be there to support me when needed.
John reminds us that Jesus' sheep listen to him. Jesus reminds us that He is one with the Father. We remind ourselves that we are Jesus' sheep so we listen. It seems a good soundbite, but what does it mean? Listening to Jesus is the same as listening to God. Yes, but how does that work? It contains ideas of stretching yourself to dig from John's gospel. Working in your comfort zone is alright as long as you are listening to God who, by the way, often wants to stretch you. Who said there's little humour in the Bible. Listen and stretch, ah yes a satisfactory message for Sunday is emerging even if it does sound a little like a keep fit DVD. The church is vacant, going through the process of looking for a new minister so it seems as though listening to God while at the same time preparing to be stretched may be the right way. But how to explain it in less Goddy terms. Enter Paddington the movie, go on, forget about ideas of making butterflies of hope, ask the congregation to enter into the story. The bear who comes full of hope to UK, but finds only one family 'The Browns' willing to take him in. Grudgingly all members agree and before you know it Paddington is surfing down the stairs in a bath. He didn't mean to, it just happened and he had to go with the flow (ha ha). Well more than that he had to control it somehow. Even though the process wasn't always smooth the Browns gave Paddington a home. What better way to act on what you hear from God. A vacant church full of listening people, a talkative God and suddenly a vision appears of what it means to find a new ministry. A group of people sharing a sense of belonging in the presence of God listening to him, to each other and the community around them. Now there's church in action.
Short Reference list this week:
Paddington Bear -the movie
Peter invites the disciples to return to their fishing, They cannot catch anything.
The risen Jesus tells them where to find fish, and invites them for a meal.
Jesus then renews his invitation to Peter to ‘follow me’.
They do and the church as we know it starts. It's our turn to follow Jesus. On Sunday we reminded ourselves of this by working out where we would be on a particular date and writing that place on a paper 'foot' shape. These we laid on the floor making a passage to the door. Then we reminded ourselves using the prayer of St Theresa of Avila that we are the only hands and feet Jesus has on Earth to help him these days. Check out how the East church serves the community and helps out in the world on our website: Banchoryeastchurch.com
.Sometimes working as the church in the world is not straight forward it's as if the dove of peace hovers over barbed wire sometimes. Check out on this site how you could get involved further in all that the East church does to serve the community and help out in the world.
During lent we created a path way of tear drops. Each tear carrying something in the world that was causing us concern.
Then on Easter Day, these were transformed into petals of hope and journey which we used to decorate our pulpit along with the caption "Tears turn to joy. Easter Day. Jesus is risen."