Tuesday, August 28, 2007

3 down, 3 to go

So, after each of these sessions, I'm amazed at how well they each have gone. For this particular lesson I felt the least prepared, but it really went beautifully. First, I must tell about our worship time. As part of their homework last week, I asked each person to tell the gospel story in their own words (or painting, or sculpture, or drawing, or dance or song, etc.) and that they would get a chance to share it this week. Our worship time centered around those stories. The telling of these stories was framed by the reading of 3 psalms - Psalm 95:1-7; Psalm 42; Psalm 118:1-7, 15-18, 28-29. For the first reading, we all stood with our arms raised in praise as the early Christians might have done. Then the first group of people shared their gospel stories and taped them to or laid them next to a big wooden cross. Then we listened to Psalm 42 read as we knelt in a posture of humility and repentance, as this was a psalm of lament. Then the next group of people shared. Finally we closed with a group responsive reading of Psalm 118. I had printed up the psalm in 4 different versions and everyone was instructed to read the bold lines on their page, which resulted in 4 different groups reading different lines. Sometimes it was 3 groups, sometimes it was 2 groups. And I asked them to be just as dramatic and emphatic in their reading as the other two readings had been. And they were! We closed with prayer.

The great part about this worship time was hearing the many different gospel stories:

One person had written a poem and printed it up on a large piece of paper - apparently she and I were both at Kinkos late last night :). She said that she felt it was kind of a 4th grade poem, rather sing-song-y, but at the same time, she felt that 4th grade was about where she was at with her faith. I would differ with her on that - for someone who has come to faith later in life, she's more mature than many life long Christians I know.

Another person designed a quilt that she plans on making. It is a picture of a fruit tree, with it's roots in good soil (faith), the sun shining on it giving it life (Jesus), the wind blowing through it (the Spirit), and I can't remember what represented God. But anyway, the fruit on the tree is the Fruit of the Spirit, but she explained that you don't just get the fruit right away, but by living a life rooted in faith and in the ways of Jesus. Also, the fruit falls off, and that shows how we have to continually be growing and renewing in faith to continue to bear fruit.

One person had printed up a series of symbols, and I can't remember exactly what they were, but they were really cool. Apparently he started with symbols that some early TV doctor used to write on a chalk board (obviously, this show was before my time) - Man, Woman, life, death, and infinity. Then he changed them - Man, Woman, life (a sunburst) and death (a lower case t cross) were the same, but then, he added a simple cross representing grace and finally a celtic type cross (I can't find an example of it) whose lines are completely connecting that he said represented eternity.

One of my favorites was from an artist who painted 4 miniature canvasses. I'm going to ask her permission to scan them and post them here. They were beautiful, and I can't even begin to describe them.

For the rest of the class, we tried to cover 2000+ years of history in 45 min. HAHA. I just touched on a couple of times and places to give them a kind of over arching picture of the history of the church. As we talked about each one (an early house church described by Justin Martyr, 4th century worship with description of Augustine, the Catholic church by the 1500s, the reformation in very brief form [we were running out of time] and finally the worship renewal movement of the past 40 years since Vatican II) I had them sit or stand in a similar way that the church we were discussing would have sat or stood to worship. So, for the house church, we sat on the floor, for Augustine, we stood, men on one side, women on the other, etc. Finally to talk about the worship renewal time, I had them all sit in a tight circle and as I described how each tradition seems to be learning from the other (the catholic church with it's renewed focus on the Word; the free church traditions beginning to incorporate ritual and sacraments in their worship, etc.) I gave each person one end of a cord. The cords (one for each person) were different colors and sizes and materials. As I talked I took the other end of each of the cords and began to twist them together, pointing out how they are becoming a stronger cord, but each cord still shows its own color and texture. I said that perhaps this is an idealist picture and maybe we wont really see this kind of convergence until the New Heavens and New Earth, but that perhaps we are starting to move this direction, and who knows what may come in this postmodern era, and whatever era is to come after that. (well, God probably knows :) I tied this picture back to the picture they had created with their gospel stories and the myriad of stories that make up the bible and how each of us sees a different facet of the diamond, a different cord color/texture of the big rope that all make up this beautiful thing called the Body of Christ. Ok, go ahead, call me an idealist, it's true.

Good class! I'm blown away by this group of people and their creativity. I know those gospel stories will show up again sometime. I don't know how or when, but they will.

Finally, I want to add a prayer that one of the team members shared with me after class. It was a prayer that formed in his mind as he observed the lunar eclipse this morning (did you see it? It was quite beautiful!). I've asked Matt's permission to share this prayer. May it be a blessing to you as it was for me:

Lord, we witnessed a magnificent visualization of your creation this morning. As the glorious Earth we inhabit passed between the sun, which sits at the center of our solar system, and the moon, which perpetually encircles us, it created the wonderful spectacle of a lunar eclipse. Let it remind us that so too does your son sit at the center of our own journey of faith, and that your love encompasses us forever. As the moon, which has always been a fixture sitting high above us, briefly faded from our view this morning, let us reflect that although we may sometimes struggle to see your presence, you are always there to bring us out of the darkness into your light. Amen.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a very inspired and proud Mom. I wish I could be there to see your class first hand.

Keep up the good work,
love MOM

10:08 AM  
Blogger Tylertopia said...

Hey Amy, I just commented on a previous post, hoping for a glimpse at the story telling outcome..hehe. :o)

I love the creativity some of your class used to tell THE STORY. What a fun group you must have. And the prayer at the end was beautiful!

7:14 PM  

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