Enchantment in Worship

I’m spending a day locked in a retreat house reading for the research I’m doing into liturgy and culture. A decade ago Keith F Pecklers SJ gave a call to greater liturgical formation for the ‘future of Christianity’ as he looked at worshipping in a postmodern world.

Liturgy in the postmodern world must aim for enchantment, not entertainment… If presiders are to be effective instruments in the enchantment of their congregations gathered together in holy assembly, the churches will need to recognise the fact that presiding is a craft to be learnt; it does not come with the grace of ordination. (p199 Worship)

I wonder what delights I will discover at the ‘Worship Transforming Communities’ conference next week. I’m looking forward to continuing the discussions I’ve been having with colleagues about liturgical formation. #worship2013

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What Would Young Adults Say to The Wider Church?

I’m about to have a bishop arrive at my house to discuss how we engage with young adults 20-40 as church.  I just clicked on this link as I was going through my overflowing inbox.

Young Adults Leaving ChurchI am struck by the humility of everyone speaking to camera.  I’m also struck by the apologetic nature of the comments.  How do we as The Church ™ continue to instill an atmosphere that whether explicit or implicit makes younger people feel that they are interlopers?  The image says ‘leaving’ but I suspect that ‘leaving’ is a million miles down a road not traveled.

Last night I was asked how I ended up as part of the church.  As I told my story I recounted that at 18 years old I thought that I wasn’t allowed in church.  People like me are not acceptable in church.  We’re not good enough.

Is this the lived experience of most young people or is it the prevailing media narrative as told through film, sitcoms and newspapers?

I’d better dig out the hoover before the bishop arrives.

Worship Idea – Pentecost Popcorn

Fr Simon Rundell published one of the best idea for Pentecost on his blog whilst I was on holiday. I found myself in a bar in Rhodes looking up popcorn machines on eBay. When the day of Pentecost had arrived, we were gathered in Holy Nativity Church with the scouts and a load of visitors when there was the sound of a violent air powered popcorn machine and the pop of corn all over the altar.

I hate watching videos of myself. If you want to see it done well, check out Simon doing it himself. He didn’t accuse the first followers of being small and round!

The Raisin Exercise

The Church of England today launched its Lenten discipline with a fanfare.  It is a wonderful initiative to take look at the world around us and take it all in.  As a psychologist, Ruth has been using mindfulness techniques for years to improve people’s mental health.  We have actually used the raisin exercise in church on several occasions as a teaching tool about all of the things we miss in our busyness.  Take 10 minutes, a pack of raisins and a small group in a reflective service.  Here is the text:

Pick up a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand. Look at it. Examine it. Describe the raisin. What does it look like? What color is it? How would you describe the texture? Now, feel the raisin in the palm of your hand. What does it feel like against your skin? Pick it up with your other hand. What does it feel like in your fingers? Is it slimy? Rough? Smooth? Soft? Hard? Squeeze it softly. What do you feel? Smell the raisin. Describe how it smells. Put the raisin in your mouth, but do not eat it. What does it feel like on your tongue? What does the texture feel like now? How does it taste? How does the taste compare to the way it smelled? Move it around in your mouth and notice every aspect of the raisin. Bite the raisin and think about what you taste. Now how does the raisin feel in your mouth? Finish chewing and eat the raisin. How did it taste?

Merry Christmas Everybody – O Little Town of Bethlehem

It has been a busy few weeks in our house.  Beginning a new parish ministry at the start of advent is always going to feel like you are jumping onto a moving conveyor belt.  We have also been consciously pressing the brakes and trying to ‘do’ advent without rushing into Christmas.  This has involved some interesting mental gymnastics.  I don’t know how well I have managed to compartmentalise myself whilst preparing all of the Christmas services has been an interesting experience.  Whilst I’ve been telling people to await expectantly I’ve been going to my computer, digging out common worship and looking up Christmas responses ready for tonight, tomorrow and the next few weeks.

In the midst of all of this, we managed to spend our day off in the same room playing music.  Ed came and did drums and Ruth and I spent an afternoon recording the other parts for O Little Town of Bethlehem.  It was finished on Friday ready for the Online 9 Lessons and Carols Service but embargoed until this afternoon when the service was transmitted.  In typical Metanoia fashion, it was a crazy idea Ruth had whilst I was noodling the Chili Peppers in the rehearsal room.  Hope you like it!

Now Christmas is here and I’m heading off to midnight mass in a few hours.  Then I’ll grab my guitar and go play Slade for the families who come tomorrow morning to meet around God’s table.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!

Bethlehem

Waiting.

Are You Gonna Go My Way?

One of the many things I need to do now that I am back online is sort through all of the tasks that have been backing up.  Here is one of the clips of The Rock Mass that I’ve managed to get off my computer and up to YouTube.  Thanks to Trash II Treasure for the shooting and editing.

Guess I’d better update Metanoia’s website.