Grace - fresh vital worship since 1993

April 2014: Slow

slow flyer

Before start:

In baptistery set up clocks, particularly alarm clocks – if we can get a metronome that would also be good. All alarms to be going off as people come in.

Ask people to take off their watches and turn off their phones

Questions: ask people to consider:
How do you live your life?
How do you want to live your life?

Set up

Clear central space set up two screens back to back (use the Greenbelt screens)
Two projectors showing images reflecting slow/fast pace of life.
Ask people to sit where they think they are in life at the moment?

Welcome/Introduction (Sue)

Opening prayer/sentences/call and response liturgy (could involve slow and fast ends of room) of could use the prayer of St Hilda. Things to include might be -10 years ago when we last did the service there was no twitter, very little Facebook or social media. App for skiers to tell them how fast they are going. The world seems to have got even smaller and faster. Perhaps link to Lent as a punctuation point in the year – is there anything in An Altar in the World which is relevant?

Jesus lived life at walking pace
Eric Liddle Chariot’s of Fire – God’s pleasure at his speed.
Jesus didn’t race to Lazarus’ bed or graveside. Sometimes he heals people as soon as he sees them.
Slow food, toddler pace, hostages want world to speed up.

Video of the jar settling, play Radiohead track The Tourist (Hey Man Slow Down) (c 4mins)

Group discussion - Steve

the service is entitled slow, but you can't talk about slow without considering its opposite
it's not as simple as saying slow is good and fast is bad:
slow is bad when you're waiting for an ambulance
but good when you're waiting for the dentist

take a few moments to consider your feelings about fast and slow

are you a fast person or a slow person?
do you want to slow down or speed up?
is your life already fast or slow?
are you in a fast place or a slow place - spiritually, mentally, physically?
do you want to be in a fast place or a slower place?
how fast or slow do you want to get there?

do you seek slow love and fast food? or vice versa?
is work too fast and travel too slow? or vice versa?
are you a contemplative trapped inside a commuter?
if the motorway is empty do you slow down or speed up?
is your computer too slow or too fast?

Confession – Steve lead

Visual - the handwritten digital clock

O God, you are slow to anger and swift to have mercy;
Forgive us when we treat time as a commodity or an enemy,
when we abuse your gift of time.
In our fastness and our slowness,
help us to keep pace with you.
Free us to live in your time, a new time,
in which there is a time for everything under heaven,
and slow is not too slow, and fast is not too fast.
Transform us into people who see time as a gift and a friend,
who live as if we have time,
because we know that your time will never cease.
Through Jesus we pray, Amen.

Bible readings - Gill

Selection of readings illustrating fast/slow and get them read from each end of the room
Matthew 11 v28 give you rest
Screen revert back to Fast/slow loops

Reflective piece - Steve

reality is a static image, rolling past at 24 frames per second
if we slow the movie down, what will we see?

slow the projector in your head and lose the fluidity
embrace the flicker, the jerkiness
allow the frames of your life to disconnect and stop

now your life lies still in front of your eyes, what do you see?
play 'spot the difference' with each frozen moment
now you have time to examine carefully each corner and shadow
what details are revealed, that you always move too fast to see?

fleeting expressions and imperceptible gestures
betraying a truth not discerned
a turning you didn't take
another universe of futures, vanishing from sight

to us the stars stand still
but ancient eyes could not navigate by our skies
the north point of the sky moves in a circle 28000 years around
the north star we know is not the north star of our ancestors or descendants
they will see other constellations

does god see our lives the way we see the stars?
innumerable slow movements plotted and understood on charts long before the event
constellations drawn that serve for a while and break up
how slow is reality for god?
what do fast and slow mean in eternity
where every tiny moment and endless age are available for detailed inspection
a day like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day

if we slow down do we see more like god sees?
see all the details
creation's crazy minutiae
who would have time to see all that stuff except god?
is that why there's so much of it?

how quickly does salvation come?
if we slowed our lives down would we see every step and progression?
or would its detail still evade us
a blur of motion in the shadows of a static frame
a frozen block in the centre of the movie?

if we slow down will we see what god sees?
will we see what god is doing?

have you ever tried?

Footage – what the future holds on both screens – Steve to make happen

Activity - Sue

Draw your hand – pay attention think about what might want to do – write on it place it at the fast or slow end of the room produce some words.

Concluding ritual and blessing – Gill

Boiled sweets or slab toffee/sherbet flying saucers
For those who want to slow down or those who want life to move on

God the creator, who rested on the seventh day after the work was done, show you how to balance the slow and the fast, the work and the rest.
God the redeemer, who lived his life at walking pace,
strengthen you to go slow when the world is going fast.
God the sustainer, who came at Pentecost like a rushing wind, give you hope in the day when there will be freedom from the limitations of time.
Go into a world of speed and live at God’s pace.

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