Today I led worship for our presbytery eLM ministers network (equipping leadership for mission). It was Ascension Day, and one of our colleagues is about to finish her role. So it was a time of thinking about leaving, and change. I used the text that follows in Acts 1, about the apostles choosing the successor to Judas.
The theme was "Falling Up". I had a pile of autumn leaves in the centre of the circle. I played a video loop of leaves falling from Pexels and two instrumental pieces - "Falling Asleep" by Tindersticks (from the Claire Denis original motion picture L'Intrus / Vendredi Soir) and "Falling" by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis from the soundtrack to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
The call to worship was a piece from my book Deeper Water - "We bring who we truly are".
Acts 1 - Jesus ascends and the disciples wonder what to do next. There's a Jesus-shaped gap to fill. There's also a gap left by Judas in their company.
So we reflected on leaving places of ministry, or significant ministry tasks, and how we would love it to be as if Jesus has left the building but it's also as if Judas has left - the good and not-so-good of ministry left behind us. What feelings do we have about leaving, and who and what are left behind?
I'm delighted to announce the publication of my book of creative worship resources, Deeper Water, published through Mediacom Education - available here. (You can download the Contents page and Introduction.) The 180 page book contains gathering words, seasonal prayers and liturgies, creative prayer stations, guided meditations, drama scripts, all-age blessings, and 11 original songs, most co-authored with Tim Beale, David MacGregor, Allan Hoare and Leigh Newton.
The wonderful cover illustration was made by our daughter Grace Mitchell.
While much of the material could be used or adapted for Sunday morning worship, it also lends itself to more varied settings - worship in the round, retreats, camps/conferences, 'alternative' settings.
Several years ago I started putting worship words of mine into a folder with the idea of possible publication. These go back to North Ringwoon UC where I started a drama group in the 1990s. While at The Joint Board of Christian Education and Uniting Education I edited a book of guided meditations and started writing prayer resources for The Upper Room's Devo'Zine. Later when we moved to Adelaide from Horsham, I had the opportunity to lead worship at Rosefield UC, and at the College Chapel services for Parkin-Wesley and later Uniting College. At rosefield we started Alive@5, a monthly all age worship and learning time, and Interactive Christmas and Easter events. Material from those programs is also included here. During this time I started attending the Uniting Church's national Songwrite event and was encouraged to work on some songs. A year of supply ministry at Blackwood Uniting Church gave me the opportunity to write regularly for worship and to curate some epic worship services.
Finally, during the challenges of 2020 I found myself with the time and need to reflect and write. Three new songs were completed.
So the collection is something of a journey and hence an eclectic collection. I'm grateful for the individuals and communities who have been part of that journey.
Next week we're doing an online launch with the help of a bunch of friends. Come join us on my Facebook page. It's a public event so you don't need to be a Facebook member.
Here is a new lyric video for the Advent / Christmas song "Sing of a Promise" written by Allan Hoare and myself. Lyrics and music here. I wrote the verses and then Allan added the bridge. Allan wrote the music and we then tweaked it together. Allan has made the recording. The song is with CCLI, however you're welcome to use the video for non-profit worship or education purposes. Hope you like it.
Recently I posted a new song lyric - "There is a Thin Place". I asked my friend David MacGregor to write the score. The song is in the style of Taize and I asked David to provide instrumental and vocal parts. This is the draft from my forthcoming worship book "Deeper Water." I hope to have the completed book to Mediacom before the end of November. We hope you like it. [NOTE: The second file is a corrected/updated version of my earlier post.]
I wrote this in 2005. For some reason it is impossible to find on this site, so here it is again.
Oh, God today Oh, God today Oh, God today has a human face Oh, God today Oh, God today Oh, God today has a human face Heaven's child in earth's embrace Blanket wrapping grubby grace Oh, God today has a human face
Oh, hope today Oh, hope today Oh, hope today has a human face Oh, hope today Oh, hope today Oh, hope today has a human face New life born in dusty shed Promise crying to be fed Oh, hope today has a human face
Oh, peace today Oh, peace today Oh, peace today has a human face Oh, peace today Oh, peace today Oh, peace today has a human face War zone cut by infant's sigh From Baghdad and Palestine Oh, peace today has a human face
Oh, joy today Oh, joy today Oh, joy today has a human face Oh, joy today Oh, joy today Oh, joy today has a human face Angels pointing down our street Heaven swirling at my feet Oh, joy today has a human face
Oh, love today Oh, love today Oh, love today has a human face Oh, love today Oh, love today Oh, love today has a human face Prodigals are welcome here Refugees no longer fear Oh, love today has a human face
All earth today All earth today All earth today sees heaven's face All earth today All earth today All earth today sees heaven's face Mystery present in this place Turning point of time and space All earth today sees heaven's face
All earth today All earth today All earth today sees heaven's face All earth today All earth today All earth today sees heaven's face