Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Recovery from a happy Pentecost

Sunday was a busy day, and to be honest I’m only really now surfacing enough to blog about it.

Morning worship – and I was racking my brains on how to put together two themes in the preaching. With the start of Christian Aid Week, we used this Sunday as the opportunity to launch our churches’ response to Make Poverty History. So my homiletical challenge was trying to link Pentecost with the crazy endeavour of hoisting an enormous Make Poverty History banner up the church tower, where it’s going to be very visible along the main roads which encircle Cotham. So I cheated. I changed the Old Testament reading from the lectionary to Genesis 11 (the story of the Tower of Babel) and talked about the power, for good or evil, of human organising – of how God confused the tongues, then used the diversity of those tongues to show a new vision for the human race. This includes the justice and relief of poverty which God dreams of, because poverty destroys humanity, and has no place in God’s kingdom.

After the service, we hoisted the banner up the tower. The organising team had done their homework in regard to publicity, and we had a photographer from the Bristol Evening Post show up on cue. Great plan. Then I got attacked by some of the members of the youth group who tied me up in Make Poverty History event tape. The photographer was delighted. I’m now nervously watching the newspaper to see the results… (POSTSCRIPT: And, yes, it was duly published. You can read the story here, but fortunately, the pictures aren't on the web!)

Down at my other church, they had invited Nick Park (him of Aardman Animations and Wallace and Gromit fame) to ‘launch’ their MPH banner which is hanging over the front door. He’d been at the Cannes Film Festival all last week, and pointed out that St Paul’s was pretty much the same as Cannes, only a bit more glamorous. The local TV news came and it was broadcast on the evening bulletin. My colleague Simon said later that they had a good number of people along and it was a fun service.

Evening – and our big alternative worship service. Previous years’ Pentecost services were notorious for things going wrong (I won’t go into it), so when I was reminded about this by email, I had circulated an ‘email exorcism’ with LOTS OF WORDS IN CAPITAL LETTERS and EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!!! before we started the planning. Most of the service had been put together while I was in Pasadena, so when I got back it looked like a good event was in the making.

It went better than we ever could have imagined. The planning was leisurely, we got time for a proper run-through and had half an hour to gather our wits over some tea before returning to open up. Great singing of a new song written by Richard and Tracey Wheeler, a huge frame suspended over the service holding white fabric trailers onto which were stapled spirals with prayers people had written. Then candles were lit underneath to create an updraft, and they spiralled in the wind of the spirit. Had about 70 people along, wine served after the service and then took off down to the pub. Good links, motivated attenders, lots of questions about what else we should be doing. Need to think our next move through properly. Pub meeting? How should we further seed community?

So it was lively Sunday. Some weeks at church it all feels like we’re doing something right. Evidently capital letters and exclamation marks work wonders, so HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home