Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rest in the Lord

Sunday, as you might expect in a busy parish with the vicar away, was pretty full on once again - so I was glad that I'd programmed a "holiday" into the evening, in the form of some worship stations for the youth group's last proper session this year.
The preceeding days had left no time for preparation, so we went for a fairly minimalist approach in terms of number and complexity of stations, but even so preparations were pretty intense, and I needed all the help and goodwill of my splendid older children to be ready in time...but when everything was installed, it was a good and peaceful place to be.
Our theme was holiday/holy day.
Drawing on the lectionary, which featured both the sending out of the 72 and the sending out of the 12, the 1st station invited reflection on what/who we would choose to take with us as we set out for time aside with God...and what we might long to leave behind. (There were pages with a suitcase printed on them to write your list)

Remembering that when we slow down we have more hope of noticing those good and beautiful things we tend to take for granted, the next station involved folding a prayer of thanks inside a paper flower and floating it in a bowl of water...contrary to everyone's expectations (except mine...I always trust any suggestions from either Jenny or Jonny Baker!) these floated and the buds opened, offering the prayer to God

Since the one thing we inevitably take away with us is ourselves, there was the opportunity to write or draw in sand something that we sought God's help in changing....we could then smooth over the sand before moving on, - representing forgiveness and a new start

On holiday, we usually need to know where we are going...though the journey can be as important as the destination...so there was a pencil labyrinth to follow, with an invitation to take it slowly, imagine an ideal landscape to travel through remembering that safe arrival is a given with a labyrinth

At the centre of the room was sanctuary a tent (thanks, Maggi - the whole thing grew from this)...offering shelter, space to reflect (HS looped some material from "Tune in Chill Out" and we projected it so that you could read if inside the tent, while relaxing on bean bags) and refreshment in the form of fair trade chocolate. In my determination to show that God was nothing if not generous, I overdid the suplies for the first couple of groups, so they got the feeling that it really might be inexhaustible and proceeded to eat their fill and beyond...A bit of crisis management was needed (thank you, Hattie Gandhi)....but as supplies appeared more limited, so greed was tempered with consideration, and while 3 large bars fed 8 people, the remaining 2 fed 12 with left overs to encourage the clear up process.
Life in the tent was a bit wobbly (no pop-up tents left in Argos, so we used a standard pegged model, with assorted weights holding it up) but it was nonetheless a lovely place to be, and though it almost collapsed several times, there was always someone around ready to rebuild it and make it as beautiful as before.

Responses from the youth group were pretty positive, getting more thoughtful and prayerful as the evening wore on...and it was certainly what I needed at the end of a long day.


Caroline said...

Oh Kathryn, that sounds so wonderful. I wish I could have experienced it - but your description makes me feel like part of me was there. Thank you.

marcella said...

It sounds wonderful. I wish I'd been there instead of asleep

Mary said...

Yes indeed -- lovely. But have you got a link for the folded floating prayer flowers.... please?

Kathryn said...

Sorry Mary...they are on a CD at the back of the Tune In, Chill Out book.
If you are seriously desperate, I could save it and then send it...but it's a tad complicated because my PC has a dead CD drive, so I have to use one of the kids' machines and then save on a USB stick....Happy to do so tomorrow if it's going to be useful for next w#end or thereabouts

Mary said...

No, absolutely no urgency, it just sounded lovely and something I want to use. If you ever have time please do send it, or perhaps I should buy the book! We're not planning anything particularly alternative at the moment -- for various reasons simply getting through the summer without the rotas crashing for our main services seems quite enough of a challenge.
Of course, we could be quite low-tech and you could print it and give it to me at Greenbelt...

the reverend mommy said...

Being still and slowing down sounds exactly what the doctor ordered right now.
Your experience sounds so wonderful.

Cal said...

Oh, can I be in your youth group? Please, pretty please!