well I led chapel at college on wednesday as promised. you have to understand that this is the theological college and not my local church. each of the faculty gets to lead/preach about 3 times a year i think. i've been here 2.5 years and its the first time I've actually preached a sermon. i usually do something more alt-worship without a sermon. I'm not against preaching, but everyone else does that, and we say we're supposed to be teaching people how to do worship. so I figure that i have to let our future clergy know that it's good to not have a sermon at least once a quarter!!
So I used the coming OT passage from Joel 2 but also earlier verses in Joel about the locust plague.
I photocopied a couple of hundred images of locusts and put them all over the floor and one wall. I had a short locust plague clip looping as people came in, along with "The Feeing Begins", track one from Peter Gabriel's "The Passion". The communion table setting was brown cloth (barren earth), red cloth (Joel's vision) and the "I am" potato-print calico from a couple of Easter's ago (Yawheh figures in the story...) I had a TV with just static on it as well (a good TOLLS staple, eh?)
The call to worship was a dramatic reading of Joel 2:1-11 with 3 voices from the Dramatised Bible. Worked really well to set the scene , give a sense of shock and dread.
I won't go into everything - this was all pretty straight 'churchy' - although other people don't seem to see it that way. ie. more in the 'creative worship' than 'alt worship' arena (hmmm... i'll have to explain that sometime)
The theme was actually about dreams (past/memory) and vision (future) in relation to the things that gnaw away at our world, the church and us.
We usually sing at this service, although I don't always use communal song, but I chose some golden oldies ("Comfort Comfort", "Seek Ye First" - i banned the chorus! - and "Jesus Please Watch Over Us"). These will only make sense in relation to the theme/sermon and congregation. (I can't believe that i just told you that we sang "Seek Ye First"! I don't think I've played it on the guitar since.. err... 1980-something. AND the new hymn book has it being played with extra guitar chords... what's an Em doing in there???)
but i digress...
I'm going out on a limb here and giving you my sermon... why? I don't know. self-hope or self-harm?? probably because I'd had what i thought was a rush on inspiration a week before, then didnt sleep the night before because I thought it was crap, then preached it on sleep-deprived adrenalin (familiar to anyone or is it just me?) and people seemed to like it - AND because I read it now and it seems very ordinary. I refuse to self-analyse my preaching here... but I have told myself to post stuff even when I think it's not perfect (...) because I think that's how we learn from each other. frankly there are no new ideas here.
I made a video clip which I used in the sermon. we had a pre-election debate between the prime minister and opposition leader (who thought of that title????????) Sunday night. I taped it on our crappy TV/VCR through our aerial which has been 'blowing in the wind' all spring. So it was a suitably dodgy TV signal with no help from me. I edited the two leaders with their mirrored repeating promises to throw money at 'working families'. (how bad are the non-working families feeling at this point in the campaign?)
I put that over the top on the U2/Lanois "Falling At Your Feet" from the "Million Dollar Hotel" soundtrack. There was a short clip of a journalist blinking that kept repeating too.... you had to be there.
I had placed small discussion pages from the UCA's election information kit among the locusts, and people were invited to gather around an issue of their choice and pray silently or aloud.
I had been too tired and inspirationless the night before to rework the communion liturgy, so it was pretty standard. we often have the option of real wine or grape juice for communion (the horrible, dipping, soggy bread way - I usually don't do this..!). It's very classy to invite people to come and partake, then forget which cup was which, and have to do a public sniff and say 'this one'....
It was one of those services where I am still disturbed by what came to me about locusts and static and being numb to that which eats away at life ("Sleeping Through Another War" - Seven Stories) and why the church doesn't have vision from God smacking into the windscreen....
I had meant to say somewhere (but it simply didnt fit) that the young prophet who announced the coming of the Messiah ate locusts for breakfast.