November 2008: Clean
1. Welcome and notices (Dean)
2. Opening (Ben)
Start with everyone standing in the middle of the church, and Ben recapping something of the end of the need to be clean enough to access God.
Sheet and piñata lowered from above as Ben tells story of Peter and the Sheet.
Sheet remains in middle of church.
Ben talks through story of Peter and the sheet as sheet descends.
Piñata containing shrimps, streamers, bible verses etc.
(full script of this section below)
3. Fallen leaves
Dean invites everyone to take a fallen leaf (dry but not too crisp), and write something on it that we do or use, that is always wrong or bad for us. Discuss a couple of leaves, and explores why they are bad. It isn't that they are unclean in or of themselves; they are bad because the disrupt our relationships with God and other people. Invite people in groups of 4 to take 2 leaves and work through them. Take feedback about 2 or 3 interesting leaves.
Screens; images of fallen leaves, sweeping up, cleaning
4. Confession (Dean)
Tent dwellers and castle builders confession text on screen
At end, place leaves on sheet.
5. Tube Train sketch.
This section explores the idea that we try to be clean in order to keep up appearances. Two lines of chairs across front of church, dressed with old copies of metro etc, sounds of tube train. Bits of theatre are enacted. Two monologues (Sarah and Steve) are spoken or played, as if they were the thoughts of people in the carriage. The monologues explore the gap between our inner thoughts and our outward appearances. Video; tube trains
6. Closing Liturgy (Steve)
Everyone places a leaf on a tree, symbolising reconnecting all our broken things to the source of life, God redeeming all the ways we harm ourselves. Liturgy here.
by Cheryl Lawrie
Section 2 detailed script
VISUALS: Simpsons/grace logo
Every now and then you'll find a documentary about children so susceptible to illness they have to live inside a plastic bubble. In real life it must be awful to endure. But if you're Bart Simpson, there's always going to be a bright side to a week in a bubble.
VISUALS: My bubble my rules
Told off by Marge for slurping his bowl of soup, he snapped back "Hey, my bubble, my rules!" You don't have to go far in London to see "my bubble, my rules". (mobile phone?)
All in all Bart gets pretty used to life in a bubble. In the final scene he's been released, and the freedom of the outside world is all a bit much... Hey, this air is a bit fresh... hey, I think I'll just hide in this air conditioning duct... It's very easy to get used to living inside a bubble...
MUSIC: HIGH SPEED EXCERPT/SEGUE WITH ROGER ENO VOICES
About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. Suddenly it was night time. And he saw the night sky open, and something like a sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.
TORCHES SHINE UP TO DESCENDING SKY-SHEET
MUSIC UP FOR DRAMATIC ASCENT
It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds, including one or two rather made up looking ones. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." And Peter said to the voice "Well, I get what you're saying. But I don't really fancy any of that stuff. And those elephants are cuuute!"
"By 'eck, you're fussy for an apostle!" said the voice. "OK, I shall send another consignment. These are really delicious these ones. I shall send a magical beast. And you shall strike it with your staff. But you must not look upon this beast as you strike it, so cover your eyes." "Why", said Peter, "will I die if I gaze upon it?" "No" said the voice, "it's just more fun this way" And the LORD provided a great cloud of witnesses, who created a landing strip for the magical creature
who descended from the heavens...
TORCHES POINT AT SLOWLY DESCENDING PIG
"Now, said the voice, kill and eat." "Wait!" said Peter. "What is it now?" said the voice. "I am about to beat the heavens out of a pig in front of all these witnesses... some of these people might be vegetarians"
"Well spotted!" said the voice. "Now that I am freeing you from all those rules and regulations, these are exactly the sort of things you need to bear in mind... I shall make it clear to them that this merely a metaphor – no matter how sweet it looks. They will tell you where you must place your staff.
MUSIC UP: SPIDER PIG
"Gather around" said the voice. "Take and eat. And you may also gather some of the goodies in a party bag, that you may pass to your offspring. They come in purity silver and regal gold. Sorry, Woollies was out of Hannah Montana. Find something tasty or sparkly that will remind you of the freedom you have. Everything is clean"
While you're gathering, you will find that three of the creatures have a message attached. If you could wave when you find one...
GET PEOPLE TO READ OUT TAGS
My father used to work for the probation service rehabilitating offenders. Most of them were happy to be given an alternative to prison. But, there were a few old lags for who prison was the lesser of two evils – especially at Christmas. They'd become so institutionalised, the responsibilities of the outside world were too much for them. With freedom comes responsibility.
We don't know whether Peter celebrated the new purity laws by knocking up a casserole of pork belly. What's recorded next is that he goes forth to share the Gospel with the gentiles. Now nothing and no one was impure, the great commission of Jesus had suddenly become a much bigger task. With freedom come new responsibilities.
It's meant that through the centuries, Christians felt free to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. Living among pagan peoples, offering shelter to the outcasts, lepers or prostitutes.
Like the prisoners, a list of rules can feel reassuring – it can keep you inside your comfort zone.
"Do not call anything impure that God has made clean"? ... are there any ways that God is asking you to step out of your bubble into somewhere new, somewhere that He has declared "Clean"?