May 1998: Reimagining Worship
This service was part of the 'Reimagining Worship' conference 8th-10th May at the Round Chapel in Hackney.
The idea of sensuality. Using the senses to meet God, rediscovering some of what we've lost. (Jonny)
2. In darkness
In darkness, consider the scale of the universe and our significance within it. Video clip from '2001: A Space Odyssey', slides of stars and text. Candle prayers and lighting of the candle. (Mike)
Everyone is given a stone. A meditation on the uniqueness of each stone. (Dave)
'Inner City Life' plays with lyrics on the screen. Oscilloscope video loop. (Steve)
noise is unwanted sound which is why your parents call the music you like noise
but noise isn't just ab out sound
it's about information
noise is whatever drowns out or interfer es with or conceals meaningful inform ation
sound engineers, radio engineers speak of two things, signal and noise.
the signal is the message, the meaningful part of the transmission
the no ise is all the unwante d stuff that interferes with your ability to he ar or decipher the signal.
our lives are full of noise too much information
too many messages that don't add up to any coherent whole
all competing for our attention we can't find the signal o r m ak e a ny se ns e o f o ur li ve s
and so we go into the desert to escape the noise
but then we can hear our internal noise
some of which is very gross especially during silent prayer
and some of which is subtle but more deeply dis turbing
which is nerve da mage to the inner ear resulting in a perm anent whistling or hissing noise
inside your head that you can never escape
for someone like me who suffers from it there is no l onger any such thing as silence
if i am in a silent place what i hear is the high-pitched whistle inside my own head
and that's just the physical noise inside us
but our heads are full of mental noise.
the thoughts that won't stop chattering that stupid song that you can't get out of your head
that nagging worry about something you said
or didn't say
that hurt and anger that you can't let go of, churning inside you when
you're supposed to be concentrating on work that dumb
joke that keeps making you giggle on the bus so that people look at you strangely...
and when you're alone you can't pretend any more that any of these were necessary
so you try and put them aside to pray
and now you become aware of spiritual noise
all those things that comp ete with god
dist racting yo ur attention towards selfish or worldly concerns
drowning out your attempts to hear god's voice distor ting the mess a ge
or making you lose bits li e a mobile ph ne pas ng under a bridg
sin is a kind of spiritual tinnitus
thecloser we get to god's silence themoreweareawareof theunceasingwhineinsideourselves
trouble is we've lost the volume knob and anyway we're scared of silence because without all the activity and distractions
we'll have to face ourselves and god and we are frightened of what we might find
but god longs to heal us
to still the os cill osc ope s of our souls
turn the noise off
and give us peace
because only then
will we be able to hear
the music of heaven
'Calm Me O Lord', 'The Lord is my Light'.
A prayer about the misuse of the senses. We had linked images, eg advertisements, up whilst it was read. Most notably Eva Herzigova in the famous Wonderbra ad. (Steve)
blowing through my mind
and all the while i think of you
hello boys are you pleased to see me?
lord, when did we see you naked
and not rewind
some people bleed internally
for lack of anyone to touch them
and pronounce them clean
some people are just asking for trouble
it's a lovely day
come outside and smell the flowers
there was a drunk on the train tonight
we could hardly breathe
don't these people ever wash?
we could make beautiful music together
you could at least phone
we're sorry there's no-one here to receive your call at present
please leave your name and telephone number
and we will get back to you as soon as possible
if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out
with the remaining hand
because you can't, you won't, and you don't stop
take, eat - this is my body
drink it all of you - this is my blood
this product will only aid weight loss
as part of a calorie-controlled diet
the eye cannot say to the hand "i don't need you"
or how are you going to reach out?
the head cannot say to the feet "i don't need you"
or how are you going to dance?
we are the body of christ
but it's not quite nice to talk about bodies
especially in church
if you wanted us to be holy
why did you invent sex?
i gave up my body
to murder and resurrection
to put all this mess right
i can start changing things right now, if you want
7. Fruit and wonder
Fresh fruit is brought to the congregation who are invited to eat it, paying attention to taste and smell. (Jonny)
May the power and the mystery go before us,
to show us the way,
shine above us to lighten our world,
lie beneath us to bear us up,
walk with us and give us companionship,
and glow and flow within us to bring us joy. Amen.
'St. Patrick's Breastplate'.
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