June 2017: Good
This service is a year on from the Grace day away last year where we had a really good time reflecting on where we are at as a community. We used the parable of the mustard seed to reflect on how we dreamed the kingdom in our neighbourhood by drawing a tree which had what might be flourishing. A couple of ideas came from this:
a) tiny is good. Small seeds and small groups can produce wonderful good.
b) growth is about an ecosystem rather than things growing huge. So flourishing is likely if we have a good environment (i.e Grace can be a space that helps us flourish and good things flourish as a result)
c) the good is all sorts of areas of life not just a focus on church stuff
We then took time for each person to share about their own lives and things they were involved in which expanded c above. The theme arising from this was:
d) mission is not a project we do separate to the rest of our lives but what we are involved in most of the time - how can Grace support people in that?
A diagram then seemed to capture a sense of shift of what Grace is or could be
e) rather than a service being the main thing, Grace is a community that exists to resource people in life by fueling connection to God and the world.
Depending on culture and theology there might be two temptations:
Focus all spare time and energy on church stuff and attracting people to that . This reduces the sphere of God's kingdom and mission to a churchy perspective (not our temptation).
The other temptation is to focus on individual activism wanting to make a difference in the world - deconstruct the need for community and church and get on with stuff. This is more a temptation for people in Grace probably. On the day we were reflecting that a third way is better where a healthy community supports that activity and community seems to be important in God's kingdom after all God is community.
So another insight was
f) Some energy needs to be put into the relational side of Grace as a community to enable it to flourish and encourage people in the outward stuff and yet
g) much of that relational stuff is hidden below the surface out of sight but is really the important fabric of a community
The two themes could be summarised as community and mission (and maybe we might add worship as a third that Grace is about?) Then we came up with some areas to explore further:
- other stuff people are doing
- incidental/relational stuff that is hidden
- planning services for year
- ealing/wider community
- how to plan and use the monthly meals
So we'd like to use 'Good' as a way to open up this conversation again with a couple of questions:
What does good look like?
How does Grace support it?
What is God saying to us at this time?
And two arenas to reflect on this are in relation to our own lives but also in relation to anything we might do together in our neighbourhood(s).
Order of service
welcome - begin in the church
on the screen: video loops eg st etienne finisterre, loop bible quotes over
format of this service - derived from greco-roman meal as context for communion, followed by discussion (jonny)
balloon diagram from 2016 weekend rebalancing services and community etc (steve)
two bible readings (two voices?)
amos 'words of hope' liturgy
move into polygon:
setup: tables (or one big one?) in usual part. second room or polygon for stations. printed questions on tables (steve). food and drink (gill)
Table questions for discussion:
What does good look like? In Ealing, in London, in the world?
How does Grace support it? How do we support one another as we do good?
What do you sense God is saying to us at this time? Where do you see God’s activity? How can we join in?
Ealing map and statistics
London - fold-out book of banks of Thames
World - large map
Post-its and lines to connect, or place on map. Two colours? one for prayers, one for personal engagements, passions
How are you doing good in Ealing/London/the world? write it down and put your name (don’t be modest :) ) so we can understand who does what [part of the intention was to flush out what people are actually doing that they don't talk about!]
What do you want to pray for in Ealing/London/the world? Write it down.
'good' in candles - people pray and light candles