Worship Box: Firebox

The Portsmouth DYO, the very talented Ben Mizen came up with the idea of creating a number of “Worship Boxes” – a crate of materials which youth leaders would be able to just pick up and do with their young people: a digital camera and a bunch of digital photo frames was one idea, and he asked me to produce one from the Blesséd stable.

Given my propensity for setting light to things, the work I have come up with is “Firebox” – a small collection of some new and some classic Blesséd material which (more or less) involves setting fire to stuff – something I know teenagers enjoy and which contains the typically Blesséd signatures of candles and incense.




  • Multisensory, Non-electric, Portable, Reusable
  • Stones – large bag from local garden centre (the Range)
  • Balti Dishes of various sizes
  • Box of Charcoal
  • Box of Sherborne Incense
  • Bag of Play Sand
  • Handful of Sponges
  • Box of Candles from Direct Candles
  • Large Bucket (or can use the box the set came in)
  • Instructions – Scripts (Laminated)
  • Mirror Tiles, Gaffer taped with laminated images of ikons
  • Audio CD, and maybe a handful of MP3 Players
  • DVD of Images / Video
  • Supplying a number of rituals which can be utilised by small groups in worship. Title: “Firebox”

Ritual One: Love and Self Control

Equipment: Stones and sponges. Large Bucket of Water. Audio: Inner Journey


Love can be as soft as sponges, or feel as hard as stones. It can make us feel warm and enriched. It can frustrate us, especially when love is painful, when love is unreturned, or when the love someone has for us prevents us from following our own selfish desires: the parent who won’t let us out all night is the one who loves us.

Pick up a stone. Cradle it in the palm of your hand. Feel its smoothness and its broken edges.

Examine it closely. It’s been shaped by centuries of waves and weather, damaged by explosion, by digging and building. Yet here it is, in your hand, in this field. In this place. In your possession.

It has been shaped by experience, good and bad; just as we are shaped by our experiences of life, of love.

I will take your heart of stone, the prophet told the words of God to the people, and give you back a heart of flesh.

Our experiences can make our hearts as cold as this stone, as tough as rock. Emotions can bounce off of it and nothing can touch it.

Do we think this makes us strong? Do we think that by putting up a strong shield against people we’ll save ourselves from being hurt?

Do you really want a heart of stone?

I will take your heart of stone, and give you back a heart of flesh.

As you cradle this stone in your hand, pass onto it all those feelings of hardness in your life: those times when you have rejected others, been indifferent to their needs, their suffering. Let your selfishness coat this stone.

Now gently drop it into the water, and let it sink. It takes away with it those feelings, it’s toughness absorbs the tough things in your life, and the stream of living water which Jesus speaks of washes those feelings away.

I will take your heart of stone, and give you back a heart of flesh.

A heart of flesh is a heart which beats to the rhythm of the world, a heart of flesh is one which is open to the needs of those it meets. A vulnerable heart is one that is open to the love of God.

Take up a sponge. It is soft and yielding, it is flexible, pliable, responsive. It moves with you, and it moves with life. It is a heart which is open for God.

I will take your heart of stone, and give you back a heart of flesh.

Ritual Two: Let my Prayers Rise Before You

Place sand in Balti Dishes, charcoal on sand. Set alight and when fully lit, add incense to charcoal.

In the beginning, there was nothing: nowt, zilch, nada. In the midst of the nothing there formed a breath.

The breath of God was moving in the nothing, and as it held, it formed, shaped.

The breath spoke, and there was shape and form and substance.

See as the incense hangs in this place. See how it forms and reforms. Uncapturable, unmastered: shape and form and yet so wonderfully complex that we cannot describe it fully. That is God. Beyond shape, beyond describable form, and just like the scent of holiness that now hangs in this space, it penetrates all that it touches.

When you leave this place, the smell will be absorbed into your clothes; deep into the fabric of our lives, this incense weaves the power of God.

What do you see in the ever changing column of smoke. Look and you might see faces, animals, clouds and figures. As the dancing smoke takes shape, breaks and reforms, so all of God’s creation is brought to mind. And further, deeper, you see something more: a shape which is God’s plans for you.

Just as this smoke rises into the air, so do your prayers, your wishes, your deepest desires. Let my prayers rise before you like incense writes the Pslamist. Let your prayers rise.

And as your prayers rise, become absorbed into this holy smoke, breathe deeply. Inhale the breath of life, the breath of creation, the breath which brought you into being.

And listen.

Listen to what God says to you. Feel in your soul.

Breathe on me, breath of God.

Ritual Three: Candles in the dark

Place sand in balti dishes. Place candles in sand.

My life used to be all dark. And because I couldn’t see anything, nothing really bothered me. Of course, I’d stumble and trip, and I had no idea where I was going, lumbering around without direction, or meaning, or hope.

Light a candle

And then a little light came into my life. It shone in the darkness. It gave me a sense of hope, a feeling that I had a purpose. I knew that I had to protect and care for this light. I didn’t care where it came from, I don’t even suppose I care about what it is. It. Just. Is. Light – accept it and treasure it, and believe.
But now there is a little light, I become aware that there is something else out there. It isn’t just nothingness, but there are others. They stumble past past me in the blindness and the desperation that I had known, and fleetingly I wonder if I might be able to share my light with them in order to give them a little of what I have.

But now I also occasionally glimpse the place we are in. Dimly, I can start to perceive that this place is not empty at all, but cluttered, messy, disordered, chaotic.

As I become aware of that, I see that there is the opportunity for more light.

Light another candle

More light shows me more of my reality. I can see those in need around me, and get more of an idea of what I can do to help them. As their light gutters and falters, so I am able to share my light so that they can relight theirs.

Light another

More light. More clutter to deal with. In the dark I was very content in this place, but now I can see the mess that is my life, I have to do something about it. I start to sift through the wreckage, perhaps a little afraid that all this activity will diminish my own light, but as I progress, I find more candles, more sources of light and inspiration. I can give a candle to others without worrying about my own light and they, too, start to share, to help others, to light more candles

Light another

And we see much clearer now.

In the dark it was the same place, but now, in the light I can look upon it differently.

Jesus told us that he was The Light that shines in the darkness and now I realise that all was dark until I let this light in. I could have continued in the dark, but now, now I have His light, I could not bear to return to that dark. That glimmer of hope grew into a blazing light of day, and through it I am transformed.

I could not keep my light hidden. I had to put it where it would help me, and help others, where it could grow and illuminate the darkness.

See what a difference your light can make in this whole.

Ritual Four: Reflect

Equipment: MP3 Player with U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own, Mirror Tiles with Ikons taped to them so that the viewers face and the ikon can both be seen in the mirror.



Tough, you think you’ve got the stuff
You’re telling me and anyone
You’re hard enough

You don’t have to put up a fight
You don’t have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

We fight all the time
You and I…that’s alright
We’re the same soul
I don’t need…I don’t need to hear you say
That if we weren’t so alike
You’d like me a whole lot more

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don’t have to go it alone

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own

I know that we don’t talk
I’m sick of it all
Can – you – hear – me – when – I –
Sing, you’re the reason I sing
You’re the reason why the opera is in me…

Where are we now?
I’ve still got to let you know
A house still doesn’t make a home
Don’t leave me here alone…

And it’s you when I look in the mirror
And it’s you that makes it hard to let go
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own
Sometimes you can’t make it
The best you can do is to fake it
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own