`Since January 1 was going to fall on a Sunday, I had this great idea—why not do something different? Doing something different almost always means more work for me, but the heck–it’s a new year, a new start, perhaps doing things just a little different is what we all need. (I know I was wanting the Spirit to move and jostle me around a bit.)
I don’t think anyone’s world was too shaken when I had us worshiping in our fellowship hall, although some asked why we were back in there, “Aren’t we dont with the Sanctuary and Chapel renovations?” one person inquired. Yes, yes, we are done with the renovations and there are NO leaky roofs or building space malfunctions. It was ALL me and my decision (with the approval of the Worship committee and Session—I am a good rule following teaching elder after all).
During the time usually used for a sermon, I did a brief mediation on Christian hope and then turned things over the Spirit and the people seated in the room. Those present were encouraged to write, draw, ramble, etc their response or thoughts about the following questions:
After reflecting on the first three questions, you are invited to write your thoughts and prayers for the last question in whatever style you like—letter, poem, image, etc,—and place it in an self addressed envelope to be mailed to you later this year.
~What guides us into the coming year?
~What lessons from last year lead us into the future?
~Where is God’s exhortation and challenge for us individually and collectively?
~What are your hopes for this coming year—personally, spiritually, for our community, and for our world?
Then they were encouraged to either place them in a self-addressed envelope (to be mailed to them at a later date) or bring them home with them. I was quite surprised at the number of folks who chose to have them mailed to them during the year. Lots of great things happened in and through this worship service. I was surprised what I wrote in response to the questions (and I made up the questions). Praise be to God that the Spirit does truly move when we give space and trust in the presence of God.