Saturday, March 26, 2005

Good Friday to Better Sunday

This week before Easter, this holy week, is so full of preparation and details that it takes effort not to lose contact with the Reason.

Yesterday was Good Friday -- the day we remember Jesus' crucifixion. (Which doesn't sound like a very Good Friday.) Our church shared worship with New Community of Faith -- the one my husband Bran pastors -- and did the planning and preparation together. Some people created prayer stations for our labyrinth, reminders of the path of passion and purpose: the dust and dirt, Jesus' prayers in the garden, the cross and crown of thorns, the legend of Veronica (who wiped Jesus' face), holy communion... Almost all the folks who worked on it were new to worship planning, and it was wonderful! Poetry and sand and Van Gogh and olive branches and prayer, in the midst of a great labyrinth and candles and music.

The service was deeply moving, particularly when Karla (from New Community of Faith) spoke as Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the cross and sang. Bran stapled current news to a 10' cross on the floor, reminding us of the crucifixions that take place today. And people prayed in their seats and at the cross, moved by Jesus' path and by their own.

It was a truly Good Friday, and Jesus was in the house!

Tomorrow is Easter, when our sorrow turns to hope for new life. Not just his. Ours.

I feel so blessed to be doing this work with these people in this time. God is good. And even better.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

worshipping together

On Monday, a group met with Kevin Callahan, an architect and liturgical designer from Scottsdale, whom I met at the Emergent/National Pastors' conventions. The task group working on our sanctuary had earlier met with a traditional (mid-century) architect, but for this we invited everyone who wanted to learn more about sanctuary (re)design. Seven or eight came, including some who had not attended earlier gatherings.

The next day, I asked people what they had thought. And light from the grace of God streamed in on the answers.

What I learned from what they thought is how much people hunger to worship together -- to feel connected to each other during worship -- and thirst to drink in the living water of God's presence. In professional ministry, we tend to talk about liturgy vs. free prayer, mid-80s praise music vs. circle drumming, and so forth. But when people are drawn by an outsider to feel about their desires for worship, and their understanding of their worship space as part of their life as a church, their longing for the Holy in community is palpable.

Both Holy and human. A lot like Jesus, Christ. Go figure.

New light streaming through the stained glass urges us to intimacy and awe.

Hallelujah. May our longing sustain our courage to change.