Archives February 2013

Collective Worship: When I'm found in that desert place – Blessed be your name

Gathering

Song: Blessed be your name

Scripture

Walking the journey of life can feel like a tough journey through a desert. Yet, when we realise that Christ walks with us in those tough parts of our lives, then we can sing like the song “Blessed be your name”

Story of the temptation in the wilderness

Luke 4

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Conclusion: “You cannot live by bread alone, but on the word of God”

Footprints

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me.”

The LORD replied:

“My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”

Penitential Rite

Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us to one another and to the Father:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you heal the wounds of sin and division.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you intercede for us with your Father.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

May Almighty God have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Intercessory Prayer

For those who are having a hard time

For those who are tempted to take the easy way which leads to going against God way

Lord’s Prayer

Blessing

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Social Media Worship: thoughts on an experiment for Greenbelt

I could keep all this stuff close to my chest until we actually do this, or I could post this paper and invite a dialogue in the best traditions of the Internet. This is my current thinking about a Social Media experiment for Greenbelt 2013. The worship has not yet been commissioned for GB13 and is only therefore a proposal.  The experiment will take place at 2pm on Sunday 25th August 2013 based at (but not limited to) the Greenbelt Festival.

Introduction

This paper outlines a technical and theological approach to using social media to engage a diverse community of users to engage in an online worship event during the Greenbelt Festival

The impact of social media on the world and on communities have been significant. However, business and churches especially have been slow to properly understand the significance of social media and use it in effective ways to extend their reach into the lives of individuals. Hitherto, business organisations and churches have been broadcasters of information: using print, TV, radio and even SMS as methods of sending a one-way message to consumers which is entirely made up of the marketing-sanitised message which they desire to broadcast.

This is in direct contrast with the true purpose of social media which is to engage in a dialog with individuals also using the service. Whilst there is an element of broadcasting, it is moderated by responses and engagement. The most important part of the social media engagement is the stream: the composite flow of information which is significant both an individual elements but also as a gestalt: a complete whole.

Worship, once considered, is not simply a broadcast event. It does have some elements of that, as a message is delivered from a person (pastor, priest, or preacher) but response is also elicited. What Churches have been poor in achieving is in permitting, in encouraging a diversity of responses which might challenge a single accepted viewpoint. It would not be considered acceptable, for example, to stand up and engage in debate during the delivery of a homily, for example.

However, there are many emergent groups which do value diversity and the contribution of the ecclesia to the narrative of the community, and it is with these values that this proposal for social media worship is couched. Any community which lacks the confidence to engage with its users cannot authentically use social media in its true sense. If there is only one perspective which can be tolerated, and only one channel of communication, then the possibilities of social media as a process of theologia have not yet been fully realised. Such a community might use social media as a medium for broadcast, but it will only be in a limited  way[1. Any community which is more interested in the process of engagement, in responding in pastoral and theological terms to its user base, can find that social media in its true form is a useful tool for this.

The mechanism of social media worship

There are some limitations to the form and variety of worship that can be achieved entirely via social media. In 2010, I documented in my book Creative Ideas for Alternative Sacramental Worship a Twucharist liturgy. This was not so much a socially mediated worship as an experiment in communication as it supported a live face-to-face act of worship using a liturgy written in 140-character bursts. The liturgy and the responses were both tweeted and displayed on a screen.

I still do not consider that it is possible to hold an authentic Eucharist without face-to-face engagement with the sacred elements.

For this reason, the worship proposed is non-eucharistic, but which confirms to a traditional shape, reinterpreted in the light of the new media, and the new channels of communication which social media affords us.

Other experiments have used social media as an adjunct to face-to-face worship: eliciting feedback in the midst of live worship, but this is only possible when there is a locus of physical sacred space. How might this look when placed entirely in the ether?

When broken down and analysed, the shape of this worship could look like this:

  1. Gathering
  2. Welcome & Engagement
  3. Penitential Rite
  4. Absolution
  5. Word
  6. Response
  7. Meditation
  8. Intercession
  9. Blessing & Dismissal

Within each of these elements there is an element of broadcast and an opportunity for response, which is linked to a response to that response. As suggested earlier, it is that element which transcends traditional church models and moves the worship into the truly socially-mediated world.

In practical terms, the social media worship therefore needs to be delivered by a team whose collective purpose is to both broadcast and respond. This requires a reasonable level of access to the Internet to achieve this. For this experiment, I propose that a team of three or four (depending on expected scale) are connected to the Cheltenham Racecourse internet (by WiFi or hardwire, whichever is more convenient) via laptop internet via a phone as the GB technical teams were unwilling or technically unable to permit us to access their Internet.

One of these machines can be set up to send out the key broadcast elements of the act of worship. We will call this the Worship Leader. They can be scheduled (using an application such as Tweetdeck) so as to provide a structure for the act of worship. The other users are poised to monitor and respond to the responses and the dialogue which the Worship Leader generates. I will refer to these as the Deacons.

Although the key medium of communication will be Twitter (largely because of the number of users able to access it), this can be mirrored onto a Facebook page/group to involve those not using Twitter. It can also incorporate links to other social media platforms such as Instagram and Flikr to elicit other (non-textual) responses. Other links to video and audio can be embedded into the stream and can enrich the multimedia experience of the worship. The vast majority of users will be able to engage in worship via smartphones using WiFi or mobile internet, but a proportion will also access it via SMS which is still a valid and widely used Twitter platform. The growth in bandwidth for the mobile internet has been phenomenal in the past 12 months and market penetration of smartphones will mean that those who are interested in such an engagement will be able to access it. Although the act of worship is intended for those primarily at the Greenbelt location, it is in no way limited to them as it will be available worldwide.

The worship will be accessed by following a dedicated Twitter Account: @tw_worship and during the act of worship all interaction will be tagged with the suggested hashtag #GB40SMW

It is a given disadvantage that one has to sacrifice characters for clarity in names and tags. This reduces the amount of available characters for interaction but as short mnemonics can be difficult to identify and are often used by others resulting in “crosstalk”. A good example of this was in 2012 when a far-right US rally led by Glen Beck was tagged with #gb12 over the same weekend as the Greenbelt festival also using the #gb12 hashtag. The confusion between social-conservatism and social justice was both amusing and potentially destabilising.

Example

This is entirely conjectural and does not represent any part of the Social Media worship as yet unplanned.

Worship Leader

Typical Responses

Deacons

#GB40SMW The Lord be with you
@gb40socialmedia and also with you #gb40smw
@gb40socialmedia ok
@gb40socialmedia what?
@GB40SMW We call to mind our sin.
@GB40SMW Consider where you have let God down
@GB40SMW when you have brought them to mind respond with Amen
@gbsocialmedia amen
@gbsocialmedia AMEN
@gbsocialmedia I need to confess @user You can DM confidentially
D gbsocialmedia I confess <redacted> D user God hears you. You are forgiven
#GB40SMW God hears all of you. You are forgiven @gbsocialmedia amen
#GB40SMW where do you find yourself? post a pic of your location
@gbsocialmedia bit.ly/MADEUPURL
@gbsocialmedia inst.gm/MADEUPURL
#GB40SMW Psalm 150: Video link: you.tb/URLHERE
@gbsocialmedia I love that vid. Where is it shot?
#GB40SMW Psalm 150: text bit.ly/LINKHERE @user Dartmoor. goog.le/MAPREF
#GB40SMW What do you need to ask of God in prayer?
@gbsocialmedia my dad is very ill @user your prayer is heard
RT @user @gbsocialmedia my dad is very ill
@gbsocialmedia I need help @user would you like to talk confidentially?<dm conversation ensues>
@gbsocialmedia why does God allow my Dad to suffer? @user <response and conversation direct or broadcast depending on confidentiality issues>
#GB40SMW Our worship is concluded. Go in peace.
@gbsocialmedia Amen! Thank you! #gb40smw

What do we envisage people to be doing in Social Media Worship?

A mixture of direct questions and open invitations can gather responses from those participating in worship. In common with most social media engagement, we do not see it as an exclusive activity. A very few will be connected to a laptop somewhere; others will access it on a tablet or a smartphone in the middle of another activity: eating lunch, attending another talk. Is this multitasking a dilution of worship? Alternatively, even when engaged in worship are there not plenty of distractions already in play which makes the intrusion of worship into everyday life just a mirror of the notion that everyday life intrudes into worship?

As this is an experiment into an unfamiliar territory, it might be worthwhile seeking some feedback from those who participated through a simple user survey (surveymonkey) or direct responses. This could determine reactions to the concept as well as trying to understand the context in which participants engaged (if at all).

If it is determined that this form of social media worship is unsuccessful, then at least we can cross off this particular model as an unsuitable one for worship.

Let’s experiment!


[1 Nicky Gumbel, the Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton and all things Alpha has tens of thousands of followers (https://twitter.com/nickygumbel) but only sends out messages (good though they are) and only follows around 200 people. This is not dialogue so much as broadcast


School Mass: Lent 1

This is the liturgy for School Mass tomorrow, using Lent 1 Propers.  Some parts from the Nursery Rhyme Mass

Gathering

 Here in this time (Our God is Here)

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Confession

to the tune of Ba Ba Black Sheep

Just like lost sheep we have gone astray
Done bad things and run away
So we come to say sorry
Make things better as you see
Loving Jesus make anew
Our lives so we can be like you.

Absolution

to the tune of If you are happy and you know it

You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know, so you really ought to show it,
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands

Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so you really ought to show it
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet

If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
When you say that you are sorry, you no longer have to worry
God takes away your sin, so say “Amen”. Amen!

Collect

Let us pray…

Father,
through our observance of Lent,
help us to understand the meaning
of your Son’s death and resurrection,
and teach us to reflect it in our lives.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

GOSPEL Luke 4: 1-13

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’

Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.”’ Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’

Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”’ Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you”, and  “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’

Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Peace

Christ is our peace.
He has reconciled us to God
in one body by the Cross.
We meet in his name and share his peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

Let us offer one another a sign of peace

Pray, my brothers and sisters, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his Church.

Prayer over the gifts

Lord,
make us worthy to bring you these gifts.
May this sacrifice
help to change our lives.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

Preface

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give thanks and praise

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

His fast of forty days
makes this a holy season of self-denial.
By rejecting the devil’s temptations
he has taught us
to rid ourselves of the hidden corruption of evil,
and so to share his paschal meal in purity of heart,
until we come to its fulfillment
in the promised land of heaven.

Now we join the angels and the saints
as they sing their unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord…

Eucharistic Prayer One for Children

Father, on the night before he died,
Jesus shared a meal with his friends.

He took the bread, and thanked you.
He broke it, and gave it to them, saying:
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this to remember me.

After the meal, Jesus took the cup of wine.
He thanked you, and gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood,
the new promise of God’s unfailing love.
Do this to remember me.

Christ is the bread of life:
When we eat this bread and drink this cup
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory

Father, as we offer this bread and wine,
and remember his death and resurrection,
send your +Holy Spirit,
that we who share these gifts
may be fed by Christ’s body and his blood.

Pour your Spirit on us
that we may love one another,
work for the healing of the earth,
and share the good news of Jesus,
as we wait for his coming in glory.

For honour and praise belong to you, Father,
with Jesus your Son, and the Holy Spirit:
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

Lord’s Prayer

to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy na-a-ame.
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us all our si-i-ns
As we forgive
all those us who sin
or trespass against us

Let us not be drawn into
Any kind of temptation
Deliver us
from the evil one
Amen, Amen, Amen.

Agnus Dei

to the tune of Three Blind Mice

Lamb of God, Lamb of God
You take away, the sin of the world
Have mercy on us, Lamb of God
Don’t let us stray away from the flock
You take away the sin of the world
So grant us peace

[priest
Come and eat, come and drink
You’re welcome here, come quite near
Share in his body and blood with us
It tastes like wine and bread but just
Know inside it’s not like that
It’s the food of God.

Post Communion

Father,
you increase our faith and hope,
and deepen our love in this communion.
Help us to live by your words
and to seek Christ, our bread of life, who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.

Blessing

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing

Christ give you grace to grow in holiness, to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him;
…and the blessing of God Almighty, the +Father the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you always
Amen

The Mass is ended.
Go in the Peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God

Blessed Be your name (Matt Redman)


Ash Wednesday Collective Worship

KS2 Teaching:
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KS1 is similar, but hugely simplified.

Objective:

To enable young people to encounter the idea of sin, the need for repentance and the wonderful opportunity of grace at a level which is appropriate to their age and faith development but which culminates in a key stage appropriate response and act of worship which reflects both traditional and creative methods of expressing the solemnity of Ash Wednesday

Strategy

Throughout the day (as timetabled), Fr. Simon to visit each year group. Each class to produce artistic/creative responses to that session and the meditation in each session which are then offered at the end-of-day act of collective worship which culminates in one of the Church’s finest multisensory rituals: ashing

Outline

Each theme below to be differentiated for each year group.

  • Recall Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday
  • Identify today as Ash Wednesday
  • Set Ash Wednesday in context of Lent, Holy Week and Easter
  • Describe Ashing: where the ashes come from and what they are used for
  • Burn a Palm Cross with a blow torch to make the link clear
  • Doing Bad Things
    • The reality of bad things in the world, in the playground
    • How bad things affect relationships
    • How people feel when bad things are done to them (Golden Rules?)
    • Opportunity to recap School values
  • Bad things make God sad = sin
  • The effect of saying sorry and meaning it
  • The promise of forgiveness
  • The reality of grace
  • Opportunity for personal reflection on our actions
  • Including guided silence and reflection with music and images (visual)
  • Ritual with stones and large pot of water and/or cairns of stones scattered and then rebuilt depending on year group (kinaesthetic)
  • Task:

Draw/Paint/Collage in small groups/individually (decided by class teachers) pieces to offer reflecting on Ash Weds.

Examples might be:

• Ink ripple prints recalling the water/stones ritual earlier
• Charcoal as an art medium, recalling the Ash
• Collage of news items/internet images of things for society to repent about (older age group)
• …or of course any others thought up by Young People, Art Manager, Class Teacher etc!

Collective Worship

Gathering Song: King of Kings, Majesty

Mr Davey recaps the day’s Ash Wednesday activities

Collect

Lord,
protect us in our struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline of Lent,
make this day holy by our self-denial.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Gospel: John 21:1-19

Retold in first person in the style of my next book Frontline Evangelism with Young People

1 Later, Jesus appeared again to his followers by Lake Galilee. This is how it happened: 2 Some of the followers were together—Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the two sons of Zebedee, and two other followers. 3 Simon Peter said, “I am going out to fish.”
The other followers said, “We will go with you.” So all of them went out and got into the boat. They fished that night but caught nothing.

4 Early the next morning Jesus stood on the shore. But the followers did not know it was Jesus. 5 Then he said to them, “Friends, have you caught any fish?”

They answered, “No.”

6 He said, “Throw your net into the water on the right side of your boat. You will find some fish there.” So they did this. They caught so many fish that they could not pull the net back into the boat.

7 The follower Jesus loved very much said to Peter, “That man is the Lord!” When Peter heard him say it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself. (He had taken his clothes off to work.) Then he jumped into the water. 8 The other followers went to shore in the boat. They pulled the net full of fish. They were not very far from shore, only about 100 yards. [b 9 When they stepped out of the boat and onto the shore, they saw a fire of hot coals. There were fish on the fire and some bread there too. 10 Then Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish that you caught.”

11 Simon Peter got into the boat and pulled the net to the shore. It was full of big fish—153 of them! But even with that many fish, the net did not tear. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat.” None of the followers would ask him, “Who are you?” They knew he was the Lord. 13 Jesus walked over to get the bread and gave it to them. He also gave them the fish.

14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his followers after he was raised from death.

15 When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these other men love me?”
Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Take care of my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Then Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 A third time Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was sad because Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!”

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep. 18 The truth is, when you were young, you tied your own belt and went where you wanted. But when you are old, you will put out your hands, and someone else will tie your belt. They will lead you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Then he said to Peter, “Follow me!”

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Forgiveness Song

As the following song is sung, the art offerings are brought to the front. Candles are safely placed around them.

When I say I’m sorry
I know that You hear me
When I know I’m wrong
Your love will set me free

I’m sorry for not obeying
Sorry for sometimes straying
Sorry for things that make You sad

Liturgy of Ashing

Dear friends in Christ, let us ask our Father to bless these ashes which we will use as the mark of our repentance.

(Silent prayer)

Lord, bless the sinner who asks your forgiveness
and bless + all those who receive these ashes.
May they keep this Lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Amen

The Ashes are sprinkled with Holy Water

Every person, beginning with the priests are offered to be ashed. They are then given a small prayer card. They are ashed with the words:

Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.
God loves you. God forgives you. God restores you through Jesus Christ

They are then given a small prayer card which says:

Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.
 God loves you. God forgives you. God restores you through Jesus Christ
Bickleigh Down Primary School, Ash Weds 2013

If anyone declines Ashing, they will be offered a prayer of blessing and a card. If they decline both, they will be offered a card.

Fr. Simon recaps on forgiveness and grace leads the Lord’s Prayer (Traditional Version) and teaches a very silly song on forgiveness:

You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know, so you really ought to show it,
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands

Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so you really ought to show it
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet

If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
When you say that you are sorry, you no longer have to worry
God takes away your sin, so say “Amen”. Amen!

Simon Rundell (2011), Creative Ideas for Sacramental Worship with Children, Canterbury Press
Blessing

Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,
to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Our service is ended. Go in the peace, love and forgiveness of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Recessional Video

Matt Redman – Blesséd Be Your Name (source: Blesséd)

END


The Body of Christ ('at the altar rail')

The Body of Christ
The Blood of Christ
of Christ
The Body Body of Christ ist
The Blood
Blood of Christ
ist

These crows circle round
but they bring bread rather than
snatch away

rist
of Christ

My turn is coming
‘Lord I am not worthy’
I make the sign on my body
But on me it leaves no marks

The Body of Christ
The Blood of Christ

Despite the enormity of its task
it does not stick in my throat
the grace spreads inward
and perfuses me with

Him

I was not worthy
but He came to me just the same

The Blood
The Blood of Christ

He is past me now
For his work is never done
and I must wait until the next day
before I can come to the throne again

Simon Rundell,
College of the Resurrection, 2001


Liturgy for Ash Wednesday

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Grace, mercy and peace from God Our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you all
and also with you

We say together the words of the entrance Antiphon:

Lord, you are merciful to all, and hate nothing you have created. You overlook the sins of men to bring them to repentance. You are the Lord our God. (Wisdom 11:24-25,27)

My dear friends in Christ, we come together this evening to begin our Lenten journey, a journey which will take us from this place to the foot of the cross and through to the glories of his resurrection.

The traditions of Ash Wednesday are a recognition of the importance of penitence in a healthy and vibrant Christian life: that none of us can live up to the tremendous vocation that is ours as Christians. We are in constant need of the mercy and forgiveness of God.

Today we express this by taking part in a corporate act of penitence and reconciliation, beseeching God for the grace to use this season of Lent as a time of spiritual preparation and devotion. As a sign of this, we will later mark our foreheads with Ash taken from last year’s Palm Crosses, blessed on Palm Sunday and remind ourselves that we are but dust, and to dust we will surely return.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word

No Gloria in Lent

The Collect

Let us pray for the grace to keep Lent faithfully…

Lord,
protect us in our struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline of Lent,
make this day holy by our self-denial.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

First Reading: Joel 2.1-2,12-17

1Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near –
2a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them
in ages to come.
12Yet even now, says the LORD,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
14Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain-offering and a drink-offering
for the LORD, your God?
15Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
16gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
assemble the aged;
gather the children,
even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her canopy.
17Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep.
Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O LORD,
and do not make your heritage a mockery,
a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
“Where is their God?”’

Psalm 51.1-18

1 Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness; ♦
according to the abundance of your compassion
blot out my offences.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness ♦
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my faults ♦
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you only have I sinned ♦
and done what is evil in your sight,
5 So that you are justified in your sentence ♦
and righteous in your judgement.
6 I have been wicked even from my birth, ♦
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
7 Behold, you desire truth deep within me ♦
and shall make me understand wisdom
in the depths of my heart.
8 Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; ♦
wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
9 Make me hear of joy and gladness, ♦
that the bones you have broken may rejoice.
10 Turn your face from my sins ♦
and blot out all my misdeeds.
11 Make me a clean heart, O God, ♦
and renew a right spirit within me.
12 Cast me not away from your presence ♦
and take not your holy spirit from me.
13 Give me again the joy of your salvation ♦
and sustain me with your gracious spirit;
14 Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked ♦
and sinners shall return to you.
15 Deliver me from my guilt, O God,
the God of my salvation, ♦
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.
16 O Lord, open my lips ♦
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
17 For you desire no sacrifice, else I would give it; ♦
you take no delight in burnt offerings.
18 The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; ♦
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5.20b-6.10

20We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,

‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are
putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see – we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

Gospel Acclamation

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.
The Lord is a great God, O that today you would listen to his voice.
Harden not your hearts.
Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.
Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 6.1-6,16-21

Jesus said to the disciples, 1‘Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

5And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 19Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Homily

The Litany

God the Father,
have mercy on us.

God the Son,
have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity,
have mercy on us.

From all evil and mischief;
from pride, vanity and hypocrisy;
from envy, hatred and malice;
and from all evil intent,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From sloth, worldliness, and love of money;
from hardness of heart
and contempt for your word and your laws,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From sins of body and mind;
from the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.

In all times of sorrow; in all times of joy;
in the hour of death,
and at the day of judgement,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy incarnation;
by your birth, childhood, and obedience;
by your baptism, fasting, and temptation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By your ministry in word and work;
by your mighty acts of power;
and by your preaching of the kingdom,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By your agony and trial;
by your cross and passion;
and by your precious death and burial,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By your mighty resurrection;
by your glorious ascension;
and by your sending of the Holy Spirit,
Good Lord, deliver us.

Give us true repentance;
forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance
and our deliberate sins;
and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit
to amend our lives according to your holy word.

we say the Trisagion together

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

Blessing and Imposition of Ashes

After the litany the priest joins his hands and says:

Dear friends in Christ, let us ask our Father to bless these ashes which we will use as the mark of our repentance.

(Silent prayer)

Lord, bless the sinner who asks your forgiveness
and bless + all those who receive these ashes.
May they keep this Lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Amen

The Ashes are sprinkled with Holy Water

At Imposition of Ashes:

Remember, Child, you are dust and to dust you will return.
Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ

God, Our Father,
The strength of all who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers
and because in our weakness
we can do nothing good without you
grant us the help of your grace
that in keeping your commandments
we may please you both in will and deed;
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen

After the giving of ashes the priest washes their hands; the rite concludes with the Prayer of the Faithful. The Profession of Faith is not said.

Prayer Of The Faithful

Let us pray to the Lord…
Have mercy on us and hear our prayer.

Dear sisters and brothers, we have listened to God’s message and have accepted the ashes with humble and contrite hearts, as a sign of our determination to abandon sin and return to God. Let us now ask for God’s help saying:

Let us pray to the Lord
Have mercy on us and hear our prayer.

We pray that all Christians during this Lent may abandon their spiritual laziness and indifference and use this opportunity for their personal renewal and charitable works, let us pray to the Lord…

We pray that the families might come together to a more intense time of prayer and diligent attentiveness to the Word of God during this season of grace, let us pray to the Lord…

We pray that we may grow in charity by generously sharing with the poor and the less privileged the material blessings you have given us, let us pray to the Lord…

We pray you to touch with your grace of conversion and renewal all those who live in sin and under the bondage of Satan, let us pray to the Lord…

(Pray for personal/local needs)

Lord our God, help us all to come back to you with humble hearts and contrite spirits. Help us to abandon our sinful ways and experience your love and mercy. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

Amen

The Peace

Christ is our peace.
He has reconciled us to God
in one body by the Cross.
We meet in his name and share his peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

Let us offer one another a sign of peace

Pray, my brothers and sisters, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his Church.

Prayer over the gifts

Lord,
help us to resist temptation
by our lenten works of charity and penance.
By this sacrifice
may we be prepared to celebrate
the death and resurrection of Christ our Saviour.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Preface

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give thanks and praise

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
| we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.

Through our’ observance of Lent
you correct our faults and raise our minds to you,
you help us to grow in holiness,
| and offer us the reward of everlasting life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through him’ the angels and all the choirs of heaven
worship in awe before your presence.
| May our voices be one with theirs
as they sing with joy the hymn of your glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy…

Eucharistic Prayer B

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,
and according to your holy will,
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body
which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for all
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.

Christ is the bread of life:
When we eat this bread and drink this cup
we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus,
until you come in glory

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,
his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins
of the whole world;
rejoicing in his mighty resurrection
and glorious ascension,
and looking for his coming in glory,
we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

As we offer you this our sacrifice
of praise and thanksgiving,
we bring before you this bread and this cup
and we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.

Send the Holy Spirit on your people
and gather into one in your kingdom
all who share this one bread and one cup,
so that we, in the company of
Our Blesséd Lady, St. Anne, St. Cecilia, St Edward,
and all the saints,
may praise and glorify you for ever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord;

by whom, and with whom, and in whom,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

We break this bread
to share in the body of Christ
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share the one bread

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace

Come not because you are strong,
but because you are weak.
Come not because any goodness of your own
but because you need mercy and help.
Come because you love the Lord a little
and would like to love him more.
Come because he loves you
and gave his life for you.

This is the lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
Blesséd are those who are called to his supper
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Communion Antiphon

The one who meditates day and night on the law of the Lord will yield fruit in due season. (Psalm 1:2-3)

Prayer after Communion

Lord,
through this communion
may our lenten penance give you glory
and bring us your protection.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
Notices

Blessing

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing

Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,
to deny yourselves, take up your cross,
and follow him;

and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

The mass is ended. Go in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.


Howto: Send Daily Text Reflections

For the past few years I have been sending out a Lenten Journey reflection. In fact, this usually continues long after Lent, but this year it fell away slightly due to technical issues and the pressures of parishLife, but things are sorted out on that front now, and we are back up to speed for Lent 2013.

If you want to subscribe, go to http://www.blessed.org.uk/daily-texts/ to see how to do it.

I have had a few requests to explain how to do this, and at the risk of flooding the world with prayers and reflections (what a shame!) here is how I do it. There are plenty of other processes out there, but this works well for me. Note that this explanation uses Android, other solutions are available (indeed I used to have an iPhone many moons ago, and I found a solution then, so follow the process for your other-fruit-based products, which is the most important thing.)

1. Text Bundles

In the past I have had generous donations from the people who receive these texts. They are free to receive, but if anyone is willing to donate to support this work, then a fiver to my PayPal account: fr.simon@rundell.org.uk would be most helpful.

If, as the sender, you have unlimited texts, then this would be the best solution, but although my Three tariff has a lot of texts, it gets used up when you send 150 a day out and I am forced to purchase an add-on. Note that even though I am sending each text individually, some carriers regard this as spamming. I was kicked off GiffGaff for this, despite my protestations that sending prayers out was not selling anything, they still canned me. Boo!

2. Collating the Distribution List

Google is my backend for almost everything. When people let me know they have subscribed, I add them to my Google contacts and add them to a specific group. In my case, I put them in a group marked “Texts”. To do this: enter their details, at the top there is a button which looks like a group of people, it provides a list of the groups you have created. Add them to that.

90dd5519-4ef6-4a82-8bd5-fb49c5c7a416

 

This is why the subscription process is manual: I have control over it, and if anyone wishes to unsubscribe, then I can simply delete the entry in the contact list or remove them from the “Texts” group and it is instantly updated on my phone.

3. Planning

I don’t just make this stuff up on the fly. In fact, I have a document containing the whole of Lent in a table. (note: now on Office365 legally, are you impressed?) which contains Scriptures, Rituals, Reflections and Links for each day (and on some days more than one). I usually put the links through the bit.ly URL shortner which saves space.

lentenjourney_masters

 

I save this document in my Dropbox so that I have access to it on my phone.

2. Dropbox on a smartphone

You can access your dropbox on your smartphone, only downloading the files you want to access (so it doesn’t clog up your phone memory!). Many smartphones comes with an app already installed to read Word documents, and some are certainly better than others. For this purpose you need an app which allows you to copy and paste from the document you are viewing. I find that the free OliveOffice does this job very effectively.

screenshot_2013-02-12_0809

Of course, you could cut out this part of the process and just type the text in the SMS app below, but as my texts often include shortcoded links, I want to get these right.

screenshot_2013-02-12_0842

 

3. Sending Group Texts

From my chosen document reader, I selected the appropriate day, and selected “Share” (third button from left) and selected to share that text with my text app Pansi SMS.

Pansi is an excellent SMS program, and the best feature is that you can send not only to individuals, but to a Google group. Select the “people” icon at the right of the “To” and select the “Group list”

screenshot_2013-02-12_0843

Now you can see why I collated the names in my Google address book and gave them a specific group, in this case called “Texts”. I select that group…

screenshot_2013-02-12_0844

and select “Send”.

The whole send process takes about 10 to 15 minutes to send 150 messages. You can also schedule the sending, so (for example) on Good Friday, I schedule them to coincide with the three hour-long meditations on the Cross, when I am particularly busy. I suppose one could schedule the whole of Lent, but I suspect it would clog up the memory of my phone.

One of the addresses I text to is my Twitter account so that people who don’t have a UK mobile can also get them. Texts to non-UK mobiles cost a fortune and you don’t want to go there…

Of course, you don’t have to use this technique for just Lent reflections, there is no limit, but this process can enable us to use SMS creatively.

I hope this helps you.

 

 


"In the Storm" by Mary Oliver – a Kinetic Typography video

[vimeo 59413535

In the Storm

Some black ducks
were shrugged up
on the shore.
It was snowing

hard, from the east,
and the sea
was in disorder.
Then some sanderlings,

five inches long
with beaks like wire,
flew in,
snowflakes on their backs,

and settled
in a row
behind the ducks —
whose backs were also

covered with snow —
so close
they were all but touching,
they were all but under

the roof of the duck’s tails,
so the wind, pretty much,
blew over them.
They stayed that way, motionless,

for maybe an hour,
then the sanderlings,
each a handful of feathers,
shifted, and were blown away

out over the water
which was still raging.
But, somehow,
they came back

and again the ducks,
like a feathered hedge,
let them
crouch there, and live.

If someone you didn’t know
told you this,
as I am telling you this,
would you believe it?

Belief isn’t always easy.
But this much I have learned —
if not enough else —
to live with my eyes open.

I know what everyone wants
is a miracle.
This wasn’t a miracle.
Unless, of course, kindness —

as now and again
some rare person has suggested —
is a miracle.
As surely it is.

Mary Oliver

I was asked to do this video for Mthr Anna and the wonderful Holy Ground at Exeter Cathedral. I put loads of work into it, and then went away for the weekend thinking I had another week to get it ready. I was wrong. It was due yesterday, and so I let them down. I am truly sorry. However: here it is.


Assembly: Stormy Weather

Gathering: Stormy Weather

[slideshow ids=”4204,4203,4205,4206,4207,4202,4183,4184,4185,4186,4187,4188,4189,4190,4191,4192,4193,4194,4195,4196,4197,4198,4199,4200,4201″

“Come down to the lake!”. He said. He was the only one amongst us who seemed to have a clue about why we were there or where we were going, but if there was one thing this “following” had taught was was that sometimes you had to trust that it would work out.

It appeared we had a destination, a direction, a course. There always had been one, even if most of us in our group hadn’t really worked it out, content to just follow. The next step was clear: to the other side. There was a cabin at the back, and He, who had been teaching and healing non-stop for weeks went straight to the cabin and went off to sleep, exhausted. The rest of us, pleased for this short break, just sat around on deck, chilling out. The Sun was shining , not a cloud in the sky. God was in his heaven and we were simply happy to be alive, in this place. We travelled serenely on our set course, towards our destination. The lake was as smooth as glass, the wind was gentle and there we felt marvellous and I thought to myself as we skimmed lazily over the water how I never wanted this to end: sheer bliss.

Almost as soon as I thought that, it all started to change: those whispy clouds started to thicken and that gentle breeze started to rise and the sky started to darken – the weather can close in around the lake really quickly, whipping over those Golan heights and before we knew where we were, we found ourselves in the middle of a storm – too far to go back and find shelter – we were committed to going forward, committed to the oncoming storm.

Well, the rain fell, the wind blew and the waves rose and we started to look a bit worried at the waves coming in over the side, and even dare I say it, swamping us. This was no joyride now – it was getting serious. We were getting blown off course – now I feared we’d never make our destination.

The storm blew more and we started to fear for our lives and where was he? Why wasn’t he on deck with us? Why wasn’t he telling us exactly what to do, why wasn’t he keeping us right on to our hoped for destination, why wasn’t he telling us how to cope… but there he was, still asleep, apparently not caring or not aware of our impending doom.

I shook him awake “C’mon we’re drowning! Set us a course, tell us how to get to Port. Shall we abandon ship, leap overboard and take our chances, find a different course… WHAT SHOULD WE DO!!!”

I was in a complete panic, and as I shook him, he opened just one eye to see me, soaked to the skin, looked at the sheer terror in my eyes. He however remained clam, very calm, disturbingly calm.

“Be calm” he said to me and just raising his head a little, he glanced up at the sky and said…

“Shhh”

Very quietly. He didn’t raise his voice, he didn’t need to, for there was a calm authority in his voice which didn’t need volume.

“Shhh”

And it went quiet. It went calm. All that rage and fuss and all of that fear which went with it, went away.

“You can carry on now” he said as he rolled over and went back to sleep, and we could stop, take stock and continue on to our final destination.

In my fear I called out to him, in my lost-ness I sought him out and he calmed things for me and in me before letting me get to my destination and complete my journey.

How can he have such authority? How can he have such power that even the storms of life become calm before him? How can he have such power that he wields it gently and without fuss to take away my fear?… because I asked him.


EDL – laugh against racism

Dealing with the English Defence League (those noxious racists who drape themselves in the flag of a long-dead Palestinian Saint who has no English connections whatsoever) by taking the Mick, the Euro Disco Lovers aim to reclaim those letters and shove the others down the Google rankings. In a small way, this link (and your click on it) will help that. Check them out!

This was our fave 70s classic. It’s about dancing right?