Grace - fresh vital worship since 1993

October 1997: Harvest

1. Intro

'invitation to the feast'

2. Thoughts from Mike Riddell

'alt.spirit@metro.m3' pp51-56

3. Songs

'Heal me', 'Calm Me O Lord' [from the Grace album]

4. A time of confession

including Isaiah 55:1-2

'everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no meny, come, buy and eat!
come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
why do you spend your money for that which is not bread?
and labour for that which does not satisfy?
listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.'

a prayer of confession:

we have been taught that possessions and prosperity go hand in hand. for the times when we have believed it, forgive us lord.

[all: forgive us lord]

while we know that we cannot earn your blessings, we have been taught that we are shameful and do not deserve to be blessed. for the times when we have believed it, forgive us lord.

[all: forgive us lord]

we have been taught that your hand is an empty, angry fist. for the times when we have believed it, forgive us lord.

[all: forgive us lord]

we have failed to recognise that our worth comes from the fact that you find us worth loving, you find us worth dying for. yet we have been taught to expect little or nothing from you. for the times when we have believed it, forgive us lord.

[all: forgive us lord]

we have, at times, been sold a model of ourselves as perfectly self-reliant, and we have built upon it, shutting out others, and in doing so, we have shut you out as well. forgive us lord.

[all: forgive us lord]

be with us tonight lord and reassure us that you are both giver and forgiver. please bless us with a richness that money cannot buy, in jesus' name.

amen

5. Ritual of reflection:

set up around the church are five areas, each with different foods or objects. these symbolise the richness of the feast of life in god. each area symbolises a different issue in life, for meditation while sitting at these areas. you may go to all the areas or just stay in one place.

at the first three areas please taste the foods as you would partake of god's gifts.

the stations:

wine - the wine symbolises the joy that god pours into our lives. not an occasional emotional experience, it is a basic part of a relationship with god. 'the chief end of man is to glorify god and to enjoy him for ever.' [scottish shorter catechism]

bread - the bread is symbolic of justice, the justice needed in this world. everything that we have belongs to god, and is there so that we may share it with others. are we a begrudging people? do we share easily?

milk and honey - to represent the things in our lives that god gives to us which we cannot buy. what are these things in your life?

god, what are we like? - at this place we reflect on how me-centred we can become. we live in a coutnry so rich that we can afford leisure time, within a world so overflowing with people that, for most, harvest is never enough. and yet our god made an earth with more seeds than can possibly be fertilised.

a place of invitation - here you might think of another person who you would like to experience god's feast in a greater. this is a place of invitation for people in need of society, inclusion, love or any of the many blessings of heaven. you might light a candle for this person. [the congregation assembled dinner place settings on the altar, with candelabra etc. the results were so beautiful that we were reluctant to take it down after the service. "does anybody have a camera to record it?" we said, but nobody did. as a result of this, steve collins bought a camera and started to photograph alt worship services to create smallfire.org]

this section of the service will take about 20 minutes.

6. Songs

'Wild Hope', 'My Heart is Restless', 'Patrick's Breastplate'

7. Reading

the parable of the banquet

8. Intercession

prayers to include the positive and negative, possibly some 'harvest of skills' put together during the time of intercession. intersperse prayers with the taize chant 'o lord hear my prayer'

9. Songs

'Healing thing', 'All things made new'

10. Blessing/final thoughts

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