Grace - fresh vital worship since 1993

August 2007: Greenbelt - Communion by Numbers

august 2007 grace flyer

We did our 'Road to Emmaus' themed Communion By Numbers in the open air. Sitting around windmills. With a model of the 'New Jerusalem' made out of jelly.

Preparation: Friday

Friday night; talk through service at camp site, as necessary. Stuff little windmills into envelopes

Publicity; all to hand out postcards as we walk around the site.

Preparation: Saturday

Paul to collect rolls on Saturday morning. Will parsley need collecting?

2:15 meet in hospitality to assemble windmills and put parsley in plastic bags in envelopes, and

3.00 access arena.

Task list:

  • connect and test AV, test mics (Mark, Richard)
  • Assemble tables; 2 by stage (envelopes and bread/wine), 1 in centre for communion, and one at far end (bread/wine). (Paul)
  • assemble timeline (Ben, Sue, Sarah)
  • prepare bread and wine, for communion (Dean, ?Gwen and Marcella)
  • place communion table in centre of arena with tablecloth. Place chalice and paten on it. Mic stand at communion table. (Dean)

3:15 All who aren’t busy elsewhere;

  • plant windmills in ground, roughly evenly spaced, and asking groups already sitting down if they want to join in.
  • Display flyer graphic on screen
  • welcome people, explain about the service, tell them to get into groups of 6-10 around windmill, send one person to ?stage? to collect envelopes.
  • 1 person at stage handing out envelopes (Paul)

3:20 Dean to start giving verbal welcomes/instructions over PA.

3:25 Countdown animation starts

3:30 service starts

Props (in addition to envelopes)

  • black sacks (Steve)?
  • 4 folding tables (Richard and Sue; 2, Paul; Dean get 2 from St. Mary’s)
  • 1 white table cloth (Sue)
  • glass and plate for communion table (Dean)
  • 10 tea towels to cover bread and wine (Richard and Sue, Dean)
  • serviettes (60) (Dean)
  • paper plates (60) (Paul, MARCELA and Sarah)
  • 60 clear plastic cups (Paul)
  • rolls (60) (Dean)
  • 2 boxes red wine (Dean)
  • 2x1 litres still mineral water (Richard and Sue)
  • gaffer tape (Steve, Richard)
  • 1 washing up cloth (Steve)
  • Straw hat (Ben)
  • wicker basket
  • orange bag netting

1 Welcome

SCREEN: video of people walking?, greeting, question
MUSIC: Feeling Blue (Jakatta) plays quietly throughout
CAST: Dean

Dean to give formal welcome;

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

SCREEN goes black.

Dean says;

The sun is high in the sky as you set out on the road. Your long cloak protects you from the worst of the heat, but your throat is dry and dusty, and your journey has only just begun. Jerusalem is at your back, and the road you walk will bring you to Emmaus by dusk.
Who will you meet on the road? You hope there won’t be bandits. After the recent troubles in Jerusalem, you hope for a quiet journey. Will you be safe? Will you have stories to tell on your return?
Welcome to Grace. In this service we will explore the story of the road to Emmaus, told by Luke at the end of his gospel. We call this service ‘communion by numbers’ because it includes communion, and because it’s divided into 9 numbered sections.
The start of each section is announced like this;
When you hear this noise, you need to watch and listen to learn what to do.
Sometimes you will be asked to open one of your numbered envelopes.
(SCREEN envelope logo)
Sometimes you will need to sit and listen.
Sometimes you will see instructions on screen
(SCREEN Don’t forget sunscreen. Or an umbrella.)
Sometimes you will see words that we say together. These are in bold, slanted type.
The time for each section is limited, so you need to start promptly, and if you hear the gong sound, stop what you are doing and move on to the next activity.
The first activity is to get you thinking about travelling.
Imagine your life over the last year as a road.
Is it smooth or bumpy?
Flat or mountainous?
Winding or straight?
Describe it to a neighbour.

2. Reading part I

SCREEN: Live video of Sarah
MUSIC: Silence
CAST: Sarah

Luke 24:13-24 read by Sarah on stage

Now that very same day, two of Jesus’ disciples were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they were talking together about all that had happened, Jesus came near and started walking along beside them, but their eyes were prevented from recognising him. He asked them,
"What were you talking about as you walked along?"
They stopped, their faces downcast. Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him,
"You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days."
He asked, "What things?"
They answered, "All about Jesus of Nazareth, who showed himself a prophet powerful in action and speech before God and the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have now gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they could not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing."

3. Confession

ENVELOPES: Y; Instructions (inc liturgy), parsley in plastic bags. Responsibility of Steve and Rebecca.
SCREEN: newsprint slides, Psalm words, Leunig cartoons.
MUSIC: What’s Going Wrong (Deep Child)
CAST: Steve

SCREEN: announce 3, with envelope icon and instruction to open envelope.

Pause for 30 seconds, to allow groups to distribute parsley.
SCREEN: newsprint images alternating with psalm excerpts.
MUSIC: What’s Going Wrong (Deep Child) starts with presentation.
SCREEN; ‘now say the prayer of confession on your sheet’.
MUSIC volume lowered
Groups say the prayer.


4. Reading Part II

SCREEN: Live Video
MUSIC: Silence
CAST: Sarah

Then he said to them, 'You foolish men! So slow to believe all that the prophets have said! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer before entering into his glory?'
Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.

5. Telling the Story

ENVELOPES: Y; coloured paper (Responsibility of Ben and Sue)
PROPS: paper, sticky discs to attach sheets to rail. pens
MUSIC: Feel so sad (Spiritualised), Cloudless (Peter Gabriel), Saloman’s last sleep walk (Anthony Phillips)

Emmaus Meditation (Ben)
MUSIC: Feel so sad (Spiritualised)

Your feet hit the road goodness knows where. How much further to Emmaus; it’s not even a heat-hazed mirage on the horizon.
Catching up with the stranger and the disciples wasn’t too hard. They were so deep in conversation that they’ve almost lost interest in walking at all.
You fall in line, solid as the risen Jesus but invisible. The man has just begun his trawl through the Old Testament - every man and woman of vision you remember from Sunday school. And some you don’t. The kings, the leaders, the mad-haired prophets living in caves, and yelling doom. They’re all pointing forwards to now... the centre page spread in the middle of God’s story.
But then he goes on - to the disciples. Some of them will die a martyr’s death, some of them reach a ripe old age. One will write a terrifying apocalypse.
Then he starts looking even further forward. You know some of these too... To the saints and the martyrs - St Columba, St Ignatius, Martin Luther, Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Billy Graham... but there are lots more you don‘t know... Not so heroic, but still crucial, and clearly very special, especially to the man.
Then he mentions you. What’s he going to say? You lean forward to listen and time slows down to a treacly crawl. Then it stops altogether.
The voice is in your head now... what do you want him to say about you? “Good stuff“, sure...
But in your wildest dreams what could he say about your life still in progress - what could that love, that faith those gifts, turn into? Don’t worry, you don’t have to die a martyrs death.
But beginning with Moses and the Prophets and ending with you...
What do you want him to say...
Hear it in your head... told with a smile by the man himself...

Activity (Sue)
MUSIC: Cloudless (Peter Gabriel), Saloman’s last sleep walk (Anthony Phillips)

Where do you fit in the story? What would you like Jesus to say about you?
Take a pen and a piece of paper – and use it to record how you would want Jesus to talk about you – you might write your name or draw a picture of yourself, add one or two words you would want Jesus to use to describe you?
Then take one of the adhesive labels and add yourself to time line of the kingdom which goes around the arena.

6. The peace

SCREEN: envelope 6 icon, liturgy, hug images
MUSIC: Great Cloud of Witnesses (Lies Damn Lies) playing throughout
CAST: Dean

After this liturgy, screen changes to ‘hug’ images.

Explanation of the peace by Dean

Groups get into hugs, including onlookers who would like to take part.

The Peace of the Lord be with you.
And also with you.

7. Reading Part III

SCREEN: Live video
MUSIC: Silence
CAST: Sarah

When they drew near to the village to which the two of them were going, he made as if to go on; but they said 'It is nearly evening, and the sun is almost down' and pressed him to stay with them. So he went in to the house with them.
While he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, 'when he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us, didn’t our hearts burn within us?'
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found gathered the eleven apostles and the other disciples, who said to them, 'The Lord has truly risen and has appeared to Simon.' Then the disciples from Emmaus told what had happened on the road and how they knew he was the Lord at the breaking of the bread.

8. Communion

ENVELOPES: Y. Instruction sheet, 10 white slips, 10 pink slips (Paul and Dean)
PROPS: Bread, wine, cups, serviettes, 2 tables with bread and wine.
MUSIC: Maria (Closer Musik) plays throughout, then anything suitable
CAST: Dean

Each group opens envelope 8, which includes 10 white and 10 pink slips of paper. Everyone takes a slip in each colour. There is an instruction sheet included in each envelope.

Each group collects bread and wine from 2 tables. Sue and Sarah each stand by a table, but allow people to take their own plate, roll, cup of wine and serviette.

MUSIC: Maria (Café solo)

As the table is prepared;

Come, eat, drink, you who hunger and thirst,
For a deeper faith, for a better life, for a fairer world,
For healing and wholeness – Come!

(SCREEN: responses)

The Lord is here.
His spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

Latin com = together with
pannis = bread
i.e. someone we break bread with

Almighty God, father and mother to us all,
In love you gave us Jesus your Son,
to be our travelling companion,
and rescue us from sin and death.
Your Word goes out to call us home
to the city where angels sing your praise.
Therefore, on the night of his betrayal
Jesus our companion
took bread,
blessed it,
broke it,
and gave it to his followers, saying
“Eat! My body is broken for you.”
Send your Holy Spirit that this bread may be for us the body of Christ.

The bread is passed around each group. As each person passes a piece of bread to the left they say the words on their white slip of paper.

SCREEN: Share the bread, following the instructions on the white slips of paper. Then, after a moment, fade to black

On the night of his betrayal,
Jesus our companion
took wine,
blessed it,
and gave it to his followers, saying,
My blood is poured out for you.
This is a new promise;
All who come to me will have life”
Send your Holy Spirit that this wine may be for us the cup of our salvation.

The wine is passed around each group. As each person passes a piece of bread to the left they say the words on their pink slip of paper.

(SCREEN: Share the wine, following the instructions on the pink slips of paper. Then, after a moment, fade to black)

(SCREEN: Show following prayer)

We have seen Christ in the breaking of bread.
May we spot him readily in our ordinary lives.
Give us ears acute to those who are silenced,
hearts softened to those who are poor,
minds sharpened to end injustice,
and eyes opened to see heaven in ordinary.

Sample white slip;

"When you are passed the loaf, break a piece off, and hand it to the person on your left, saying;
We break this bread with those who hunger for justice.
When they have eaten, hand them the loaf."

Sample pink slip;

"When you are passed the wine, drink some, wipe the cup, and then pass it to the person on your left, saying,
We drink this cup with those whose blood carries the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

Text of the white slips;

  • We break this bread with those who hunger for justice
  • We break this bread with those who long to live life free from fear
  • We break this bread with those who search for food and water each day
  • We break this bread with those who earnestly seek the truth
  • We break this bread with those who toil and strive towards a better future
  • We break this bread with those who long for companionship
  • We break this bread with those who make steps towards peace
  • We break this bread with those who have faith for a miracle
  • We break this bread with those who wait in the hope of a transplant
  • We break this bread with those who dream of a land free from occupation

Text of the pink slips;

  • We drink this wine with those who see too much blood flow
  • We drink this wine with those who watch loved ones die
  • We drink this wine with those who are judged by their race or skin colour
  • We drink this wine with those who carry in their blood the stigma of HIV/AIDS
  • We drink this wine with those who long for someone to dry their tears
  • We drink this wine with those who desire to be accepted and appreciated
  • We drink this wine with those who are trapped in the cycle of debt
  • We drink this wine with those who are far away from home in a strange land
  • We drink this wine with those who find the pressure of life is just too much
  • We drink this wine with those who agonise whilst loved ones are missing

9. Blessing

ENVELOPES: Yes; 10 paper windmills (Ben)
SCREEN: windmill film, liturgy
MUSIC: Silence during explanation and blessing, then Dipped in Golden Dreams (Sunstar)
CAST: Dean

Envelopes contain windmills.
SCREEN: Image of windmill. Film?

Verbal explanation (Dean)

Take large windmills away, and place them near your tent where people will see them. In this way, we will be a blessing to everyone on site.
And when you see one as you walk around, you can remember that the story that began with Moses, and went through all the prophets, and that Jesus told to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, is a story that you are caught up in.

Blessing (on SCREEN);

Let the wind of the Spirit be forever at our back
as we travel the path God gives us.
May we be generous companions,
revel in chance meetings,
climb hills with determination,
and choose wisely when our path divides.
The blessing of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
go before us, and remain with us,
now and forever,

Music; Dipped in Golden Dreams (Café Solo, Jose, Padilla)

Clearing up

We have until 5pm to clear away. It’s important that we remove all tape and paper that is stuck to the rail. Let’s sort paper from other rubbish, and recycle.


<< swipe left

The service was in the Parade Ring of the racecourse.

People gathered in small groups around windmills that we had planted in the grass. Each group had a set of envelopes containing the parts of the service.




Envelope 5 Telling the Story: A Kingdom timeline had been created along the railing. People added themselves into it.



The timeline began with Creation...

...and finished with a model of the New Jerusalem in jelly!


Envelope 6 The Peace: Group hugs for the peace.

Distributing the bread and wine.

Dean introduces the Eucharist.


Statue of the Queen Mother.


Envelope 9. Blessing - making windmills.


At the end people ate the New Jerusalem...






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