Grace - fresh vital worship since 1993

August 2013: Greenbelt 2013 - begin. create. a communion

Health and safety sketch

Officer: Good day to you God - Lord of Lords and Ancient of Days.

God: Hello Brenda.

Officer: I believe you are embarking on a major new project?

God: Yes, I’m really excited about it – it think it’s my most ambitious project to date.

Officer: And is there a name for this project?

God: Well, it’s early days, but I think I’ll call it “The Universe”.

Officer: Well, it’s my job as health and safety officer to complete a risk assessment with you

So, firstly: how are you planning to bring this… “universe” into being?

God: Well, I’m going to engineer a series of quantum fluctuations in a closed vacuum state forming an elementary series of one-dimensional ‘strings’ of pure energy. Now, obviously from there, I’d have to create a multi-dimensional space-time foam to balance things out, mathematically speaking so that energy and matter could then be interchangeable.
Anyway, that’s first billionth of a second.

Officer: (signals with hand to speed things up and cut the details). So…

God: So… the whole universe is in a hot dense state. Then for fourteen billion years or so, expansion starts and…

Officer: Wait! (pauses, looks at notes) Will you be using any flammable or explosive materials for this?

God: (Enthusiastically) Oh yes – it’s basically one huge explosion – millions of degrees hot…

Officer: …and do you anticipate any sharp edges? Anything that could take someone’s eye out?

God: Well, trillions of sharp edges… But clearly they couldn’t take anybody’s eyes out…

Officer: (writing down) good…good

God: Because I haven’t created any sentient beings with eyes yet. That’s next…

Officer: … So; you’ll be creating sentient beings from all the hot, spiky stuff? (pause) Will you be giving them protective goggles?

God: No – I want them to see all this stuff! Properly! (pauses, adopts conciliatory tone) Look, you are Heaven’s longest-serving Health and Safety official, but you did once tell me that the Cherubim should be made from bulletproof asbestos.

Officer: … an opinion I stand by. Tell me more about these sentient beings…

God: Well, there’ll be crawly ones, swimmy ones, flappy ones and er, super intelligent thinky-create-y-worshippy ones.

Officer: Not again?! After last time? Will you be designing them to worship you?

God: Yes … and reflect my infinite glory from age to age … if they want to.

Officer: (incredulous) If they want to ... And if they suddenly decide they’d rather worship something swimmy or flappy instead? (regains bureaucratic composure). So: what potential risks would you identify with these beings doing their own thinky-worshippy thing? Look (hands over risk assessment form to God), why don’t you fill that bit in?

God (takes risk assessment form and starts ticking a long list of ticks. Looks up briefly) How would you define “high pressure” canister?

Officer (finally losing patience): Look - even by your standards, this is a pretty risky endeavour, is it not?

God: It is, very risky.

Officer: … And if it all goes wrong…

God: I’ll go and sort it out.

Officer: (sucks air through teeth) can I urge you to reconsider the bulletproof asbestos then?

God: …No, Brenda. And if I do go down there, don’t even think of preparing a risk assessment form.

Officer: (out of her legalistic comfort zone a bit) Well, as long as you are prepared to take full responsibility for this universe project and all the possible consequences.

God takes the form and signs it.

Officer (takes form back): In triplicate please…
(pauses, looks at foot of form in closer detail) I’m sorry, silly me! Good day Your Infinite Holinesses!

God: Good day Brenda.


Loving God – Creator of all that lives and breathes
You have made us in your image – gifted to create
Yet time and again we have denied you:
We have believed a lie: that creating is the preserve of the “creative”
We have assumed we have nothing to offer and hidden our gifts in the ground.
We have followed the spirit of the age - consuming instead of creating.
We have not risked the vulnerability that comes when we create for others
For all the ways we have denied the very way you made us:
Forgive us and restore us, O Lord

Inspire us Lord to become creators
To see the ways that you have made each one of us creative
Help us to see how we can create through the simplest acts
Give us courage to take the risk of creating
Help us feel the joy that lies in bringing something to life
And how we can use each act of creation in your service
Restore us O Lord, to be co-creators with You


May God the Loving Creator
Who saved us from death
Forgive us all our sins
Nourish us in all goodness
And spur us on to create
In the power of the Holy Spirit

Video after confession, "long sequence with a man carrying a candle in nostalgia, from Andrei Tarkosvky"

Prayers of thanksgiving and intercession

As God’s fragile and beloved creatures, let us pray.

For your acts of creative genius:
for the magnificence of the universe in which we live
for the brilliant beauty of our small blue planet
for the countless forms of life which thrive all around us
for the intricacies of human love
for the mysteries we bear within our own selves
We confidently thank you.

For your acts of creative vulnerability:
For a universe marked by chaos
For the fragility of our planet home
For lives which come and go in the blink of an eye
For halting human attempts to love
For your image, unrecognized, in us
We hesitantly thank you.

For stewardship of the image you have entrusted to us:
for courage to inhabit the majestic span of our universe
for wisdom to care for this earth we call home
for compassion to nurture all living things
for the resilience to cherish friend and stranger alike
for the strength to confront our own weaknesses
We humbly pray.

For the fulfillment of your vision, now at risk in the realities of creation:
for an expanding universe, pointing to its origins in you
for a planet healed by powers bent on preservation
for life’s rich diversity, protected and nurtured by all
for human vulnerability, exchanged as token of trust and gift
for the flourishing of your creative image in us, your beloved creatures.
We confidently pray.


Lift up your hearts
We lift them up to god
Lift up your heads
We lift them up to god
Lift up your voices
We lift them up to god
Lift up your hearts
We lift them up to god

We lift our lives to you,
God our father and mother.
You brought the world out of nothing,
revealing your hand in a labour of love.
You imbued the universe with your character;
The stars in the sky reflect your light,
the deepest oceans your subtlety and power.
You set women and men at the pinnacle of your creation,
and invested us with your image and likeness.
Gave us the capacity to love or to hate,
to worship or devalue
to create or destroy,
to choose hope or despair.

But we chose badly.
We set our face against you,
proved inadequate to your trust.

But again you took a punt on us.
Made in your image, your image we rejected.
So you became like us to restore us to you.

In sending your son Jesus Christ to live among us
you took the greatest creative risk,
and kept nothing back.
You revealed yourself utterly,
and we rejected you utterly.

But rising from death you turned rejection into loving acceptance,
and showed that creativity overcomes the power of death.

Therefore, with the whole company of heaven
we proclaim your great and glorious name,
for ever praising you and singing

holy, holy, holy
holy, holy, holy
lord god almighty,
lord god almighty,
heaven and earth are full of your glory,
heaven and earth are full of your glory,
hosanna in the highest,
hosanna in the highest.

On the night before he died, at supper with his friends,
Jesus took bread and wine,
the fruit of human creativity,
and recreated it to be our inspiration and sustenance.

Jesus blessed you, Father, for the food;
he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said:
this is my body, given for you.
Do this in memory of me.

Then Jesus gave thanks for the wine;
he took the cup, gave it and said:
this is my blood, shed for you all
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.

Therefore, Father, with this bread and this cup
we celebrate the cross on which he died to set us free.
Send your holy spirit on us now
to live lives of extravagant creativity,
using fully the gifts you have blessed us with,
to bring colour into grey places
and to encourage generously the gifts of others.

So come now to this table,
where everyone belongs,
and everyone fits.
Come to the place where God blesses and inspires us.

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