We met well wrapped up on a cold and frosty Sunday morning, ice on the puddles, white frost on the grass, the air was still and damp and our breath came out like clouds. On the bare branches of the trees that surround us at the bandstand there was still bird song and a feel that winter thought still here was coming to an end.
Our theme was emerging – we are emerging, growing, changing, maturing, what does all that mean. Emerging and changing in the church is nothing new, Christianity emerged out of Judaism and has contined to change throughout it’s history. Throughout this history different ways of worshipping have left their mark.
We have left our mark round and about the bandstand over time, one of the ways we left our mark was by planting some snowdrops. Despite the ground where they are growing being a short cut to miss out a corner the snowdrops were well and truly emerging this morning.
We stood beside them and said
This is your garden, Creator God
a thing of beauty
a poem that is being written
not in words,
but in colours,
This is your garden, Creator God,
a thing of beauty
We had a meander in the park thinking through two types of emerging church. One the Celtic church which emerged in this country 1500 years ago and emerging church today, with particular reference to ourselves.
Early Celtic/Monastic Church
· A genuine love of nature and a passion for God’s creation, coupled with a sense of closeness between the natural and supernatural.
· A love of art and poetry, seen within surviving illuminated Gospels and other works.
· Although they seem to have been theologically orthodox, there was a distinct emphasis on the Trinity, respect for Mary the Mother of Christ, the Incarnation and the use within worship of early forms of liturgy.
· Within their religious life we see an emphasis on solitude, pilgrimage and mission, sacred locations and tough penitential acts.
· There were few boundaries between the sacred and the secular
· We see an emphasis on family and kinship ties.
· There seems to have been greater equality for women than we see generally in the Church today.
· A generous hospitality was an important part of everyday life.
Thanks to faithandworship.co.uk
Emerging Church today
- Identify with the life of Jesus.
- Trinitarian belief.
- Try to live communal lives.
- Be open, inclusive and authentic.
- Serve with generosity.
- Be creative and innovative.
- Have a heart for justice.
- Attempt to transform society.
- No hierarchies, leadership without control, all leaders!
- Emphasis on sharing meals together.
- Safe environment for people whose opinion would be rejected by conservative and fundamentalist Christianity.
- High value on social activism, campaigning for global justice, hospitality, and acts of kindness and generosity.
- Environmental appreciation and concern.
- Add your own thoughts
Bible reading – Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope”
We included in our prayers today areas of the world where humankind is not in harmony with creation, places of war, famine or exploitation of the world’s resources and some more of the themes from Soul Space where we asked what people wanted to see detoxified from society.
NHS ‘Reforms’, Child Prostitution, Food Speculation, The Separation Wall in Israel/Palestine, Proposed cuts in benefits for the sick and disabled, Rampant Rich and Paralysed Poor – People Polarised
We also included in our prayers we know who may lack the harmony of peace or health, for those in difficult circumstances
Be with us Lord in our church as we acknowledge the importance of friendship, and appreciate how the love and companionship of our friends at Third Space mirrors the love you have for us. As we journey together help us to move from the familiar – into mission. Let us be like the sixth century monks that Michael Mitton likened us to, who took to the sea, raised their sails, navigated the storms of life, and trusted that God would lead them to a place where He wanted them to be.
Sharing bread and wine.
We are people who……
Have found Jesus to be beyond compare.
Invite all to join us without insisting they become like us.
Find more reality in searching and questioning than in certainty and absolutes.
Realise that how we treat others is the greatest test and expression of what we believe.
Firmly believe in the equality of men and women, that no-one is greater than another and that all people
bear God’s image.
Recognise that following Jesus is costly and we need to support each other in the work we feel called to do:
being peacemakers, striving for justice, befriending the lonely, healing the sick, serving the hungry and
destitute, visiting the sick and the elderly, inspiring children and young people, caring for God’s
In sharing bread and wine together look back to remember Jesus’ death and resurrection and look forward
to God’s feast for all peoples.
This is the bread of Christ,
the bread of searching,
the bread of caring,
the bread of community. Amen.
This is the wine of Christ,
the wine of peacemaking,
the wine of serving,
the wine of justice,
the wine of the Kingdom. Amen.
We bless you,
God of Seed and Harvest
And we bless each other
That the beauty of this world
And the love that created it
Might be expressed though our lives
And be a blessing to others
Now and always