for bible study #3 at ncyc we took the theme for the final day -"diverge" or being sent. we recreated the lake galilee pool with blue cloth and stones, made a cross with the black cloth and decorated it with fairy lights, candles, pot pourri and bread rolls (hot cross buns actually - in january!). previously people had been seated in groups of four. on this occasion the seats were around the perimeter and we asked people to sit with someone they hadnt met before.
the entrance piece was the clip "Tijuana Dream" from All India Radio on 2 screens, and this poem on 2 screens:
Who can say no to the river's going to the sea?
As much, or more, go I to you, O God
confounder of all my dreams, save one
- you love me.
the start piece was the "stepping into the world" video clip from the excellent "way of pilgrimage" dvd from the upper room. this suited the convention theme and text perfectly.
we invited people to take off their shoes (it fits with the text, trust me...).
Spirit of all, beyond me and within me,
within the vastness of your creation,
alongside the flawlessness of the magazine world
come to my ears and whisper that my littleness is loved
come to my heart that my little love is enough
come to my head, that my mind might not be overwhelmed
come to my feet, that today’s steps are all that is required
come to my eyes that I might notice the little things
come to my tears that I might find you in the ordinary
come to me as I step forth in the big world this day
Spirit of all, beyond me and within me.
adapted from “The Celtic Wheel of Year” by Tess Ward, O-Books 2007.
We reminded people of the journey we had taken during the week. The biblical text was Mark 6:1-13 - Jesus ending out the twelve.
I talked about being a "welcoming church" and used a couple of clips from my course of the same name - namely "rejected by church" (link to file 4.7 mb) from the united church of canada, and "bad vicar" from webb & mitchell.
the point of this was that the text is a reversal - not about being welcoming but being welcomed. the discipels are called to go out and rely on the hospitality of others. the two bits of input that followed were about the importance of hospitality and meal table in the ancient world, and Jesus' example of visiting and eating with people who who 'unclean'. ie. Jesus' commission to the disciples is to go to anyone and everyone.
this day's meditation was again in the Ignatian tradition, but of the kind where one imagines the story taking place in the present day. you can download the guided meditation here.
we told of dietrich bonhoeffer's ministry in the prisons in which he was detained, and showed a clip from the movie demonatrating this. we then used the following quote from "The Cost of Discipleship".
“The call of Jesus makes the disciple community not only the salt but also the light of the world: their activity is visible, as well am imperceptible. “You are the light.” It is not “You are to be the light,” they are already the light because Christ has called them, they are a light which is seen by people, they cannot be otherwise, and if they were, it would be a sign that they had not been called. How impossible, how utterly absurd it would be for the disciples – these disciples, such people as these! – to try and become the light of the world. No, they are already the light, and the call has made them so. Nor does Jesus say, “You have the light.” The light is not an instrument which has been put into their hands, such as their preaching. It is the disciples themselves. The same Jesus who, speaking of himself, said, “I am the light,” says to his followers, “You are the light in your whole existence, provided you remain faithful to your calling. And since you are that light, you can no longer remain hidden, even if you want to.” It is the property of light to shine.
Again people were given a quote from Daniel Augsburger, this time about authentic witness:
Authentic witness is the practice of genuine presence with, sensitivity to, modelling for, and then sharing with others about one’s deepest beliefs, values, and hopes.
Preach the gospel at all times;
if necessary, use words.
St Francis of Assisi
Live the answers faithfully.
Listen, be patient for the questions.
Authenticity… comes from the Greek word authentikos, meaning “original” – as an original oil painting is from the hand of the artist… To be authentic is to be true to essential humanness, to be true to one’s nature.
Authenticity has come to mean being true to oneself, transparent with one’s motives and intentions, genuine and sincere. Noble as these characteristics are, they miss the core meaning of authenticity. For one to be authentic there must be a model of personhood, an exemplar of wholeness and balance… an original measure of humanness – of what is truly human – that is superior to simply being natural, unaffected, and simply oneself. Authenticity is being a self that expresses mature, complete, balanced, and fully human being. Christians stake their existence on the claim that Jesus Christ is the authentic model for authentic life as an authentic person in authentic relationships and authentic community. Authentic witness is given to this authentic model – Jesus Christ – when it is done in his own uniquely authentic way.
We are free to choose how to go about sharing our faith with others, but our options and our choices are never neutral. The methods we choose either embody or contradict the story we are seeking to share. Stories of Jesus are historical information. Beliefs about Jesus are personal conviction and opinion. Theologies of Jesus are thoughtful interpretations. But encounter with persons who embody Jesus’ character – his compassion, concern, honesty, courage, selflessness, and above all, God-centredness is more than encounter with story or belief or theology. It is authentic witness so the Jesus who is now among us…. Only an authentic witness (person) can give an authentic witness (proclamation).
Such spirituality… is open-ended in relation to the future but grounded in past reality. It is not elusive, diffuse, mysteriously transcendent. It is tentative, not dogmatic, humble not arrogant, mystic, not mysterious, open not closed; it is confident not strident, firm not absolutist, not set in concrete, yielded to all that is good and of God, not claiming to possess what is good or to be in control of what is God.
What makes witness authentic is neither the charismatic personality of an individual nor the perfection of a particular life; it is the presence of a community of witnesses who verify, validate, and authenticate their life together. Witness is a shared task, not an independent one.
From “Dissident Discipleship” by David Augsburger, Michigan: Brazos Press, 2006, p176ff.
Shalom is proclaimed, and the proclamation (the kerygma) makes is a present offer;
Shalom is lived, and its embodiment in community (koinonia) makes it a reality here and now;
Shalom is demonstrated, and the service (diakonia) makes it visible to others.
David Augsburger, quoting J.C. Hoekendijk, in “Dissident Discipleship”, p183.
People were invited to share a bread roll in their groups.... Jesus says, “When you go on my mission, don’t take bread, for you will receive bread. Don’t take money or a bag of clothes, for you will be provided for. Trust in God’s goodness and rely on the hospitality of others.” I invite you to break a piece of bread and give it to the person on your right, say their name and the words, “You are welcome here. Receive the hospitality of God.”
We sent people out with their shoes and a blessing:
May the blessing of the Maker be yours
warmth and welcome and stars in the darkness
encircling you, hallowing you.
May the blessing of Jesus be yours
justice and adventure and bread for the journey
strengthening you, encouraging you.
May the blessing of the Holy Spirit be yours
saints and friends and family and strangers
welcoming you, cherishing you
Blessing and laughter and wisdom be yours
May you be full of integrity and healing
May you be strong and creative
and a teller of great stories
May you party with the saints
and dance with the angels
May you journey with God
all the length of your days.
from “A Book of Blessings” by Ruth Burgess, Glasgow: Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
Again we said St Patrick's Prayer (long version) before we left.
The exit music was "Lovebleeps" by Laura B accompanied by a bunch of images of people looking like they were "called", travelling, etc animated in Boinx Photopresenter along with 2 side screens of a travel loop.
that was it really. thanks again to duncan. we had an afternoon timeslot and doing meditative stuff put a few people to sleep, but aoverall those who hung in there seemed to be engaged. if we'd ahd the venue as I wanted it though I would have done a number of things differently. a good learning experience...