Stirrup Sunday (3 weeks late!)

Christmas-Pudding-Mix

Steve led us this morning on a prepared theme that was shelved due to folk being away and then alternative meetings in the last few weeks. Well, we are ‘alternative’ – so maybe this just underscores that in that we are doing it out of kilter with the Anglican church!

Our time began with the collect first in Latin (!) then in translation:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(1549 Book of Common Prayer)

Not an easy prayer for good Protestants – reward for works?? Then there’s the tradition of stirring up the Christmas pudding… But Steve’s theme was taken from Luke whose¬†central theme is that Jesus is the “overturner, the stirrer, the exciter.”

We were given different readings to walk with¬† – no slow walking today – it was chilly- so it was fast walking and reading around the park as we each contemplated this topic. Some had the words of the Magnificat, some the introduction to John the Baptist’s ministry, others Jesus’ reading of Isaiah in the synagogue…

Each is about an up-turning of the status quo – of the topsy-turvy kingdom of God that we are all called to be part of – a revolution we can be part of, which all began with the coming of Christ.

With some degree of hilarity we walked around the bandstand armed with stirring implements and stirred our prayers for those upside down values to prevail on earth and in us as in heaven – remembering the needs of the world and those known to us.

We shared bread and wine to words written for the occasion:

desolate dough and fallow fruit

 

Yahweh giver of life, breathe in us.

Stir us, trouble us, do not leave us alone.

Upturn our selfish ways.

 

Excite us with the story of the pregnant Mary – third trimester – still waiting. And Elizabeth now in her labour. The wise men – setting out now – in hope, following the celestial decrees. The census, being decreed – money and power grinding on.

 

The dough is dead unless the leaven is present, active, changing, transforming. Secretly at work – hidden inspirer. Upturning the given. Troubling the lumpen. And when its work is done, it dies.

The bread that is Jesus is alive and active and so we eat to mark what is past, to engage with what is present and to look forward to what will be.

Jesus given for us!

 

The fruit remains unfecund unless the all encircling airborne yeast touches and indwells. It bubbles and broils, giving joy to the liquid, unsettling the lifeless. And when its work is done, it dies.

The wine that is Jesus is alive and active and so we drink to mark what is past, to engage with what is present and to look forward to what will be.

Jesus given for us!

 

And so we pray:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thanks Steve – this left me wanting to write my own litany (?) of all the things to be reversed – maybe next week I’ll share what I come up with. Any help / additional ideas gratefully received!