Steve led us in prayer at the bandstand – still in the process of being repainted but we started there. He shared what he’d learned from Philip Roderick on Wednesday up in York at Ian Adams’ conference last week, concerning body language in prayer. We started folding our arms with hands place on opposite shoulders and took time to look at the beauty of our surroundings and still ourselves to meet with our Creator. it felt very moving to stand, so positioned, in silence together, on the most glorious of mornings…
From there we did some slow walking, through the park, along the river to a weeping beech on the other side, whilst reading Isaiah 40, broken into suggested themed sections. For instance, v1-3 ‘for the people of Syria, Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere…’ v4-5 ‘For God’s long unfolding plan… for our prophets… For those with vision… For those with hope…’ and above all challenging us not to diminish God who is God!
At the beech tree, a cross had been placed in the tree and bread and wine set out on a folding table.
There we assumed our second prayer position with hands raised as we named aloud all those we held to God who need him now.
And finally to share bread and wine, we took up the cruciform pose as Steve read his specially written words:
Take this bread because it sustains us. It reminds us that whilst God is God is God, he took flesh in Jesus and more than that took on our burdens and more even than that took on our brokenness. And so in eating we remember with our arms in cruciform the cost of God’s all-enveloping Shalom. Amen!
Take this wine because it transforms us. It is the new wine of the Kingdom given that we might stumble through the curtains into the sacred place of God. And so in drinking we remember with our arms in cruciform the cost of God’s all-enveloping Shalom. Amen!
We go from this place as people who are like grass and yet made for glory, worshipping a God who is utterly Transcendent and yet utterly Immanent, sustained and transformed by the meal we have eaten. Shalom to one and all! Amen!
Can you imagine hearing those words with everyone’s arms outstretched in the form of the cross?
Steve – it was poignant and powerful and reminded us all of the potency of God’s Word – and personally, I reckon Isaiah 40 is almost unrivalled by any other chapter in the Bible. Thank you. I LOVE THIS CHURCH!