School holidays here, so it was good to have 30 people at Alive@5 tonight with quite a few away.
Our theme was "In Your Dreams". Last month we looked at the Bible as God's adventure stories, so it makes sense to spend a few month looking at "big stories" in Bible. We matched up the OT story of Joseph (featured last month in a game but the story got lost in th process) and a couple of bits of the movie "Up", which is of course is about dreams lost and found.
Arrival Activity - photo books and an invitation to find a picture of something that you dream of... cut it out and stick it on a page an draw yourself as the dreams.
Welcome, Song, prayer of thanks
Theme Intro - introduced the theme of dreams with Grace's remarkable "Tree of Evergreen Lucidity" picture from Year 12.(still hunting for a photo to post....)
Bible - The story of Joseph read with images from The Action Bible on screen.
Theme reflection - What do you dream for? TV and movies tell us that we can be anything we dream and that's a lie. God hopes that we can be our best selves. What is God's dream for our world? We're invited to become part of God's dream.
Video clips - Two clips from the movie "Up". The remarkable 4 minute scene of Carl and Ellie's marriage and what happens after. Then the clip of the house taking off with the balloons until Carl discovers Russell outside on the verandah.
1. A Prayer Tree (see above for tree mention) with an invitation to name a dream. We had a multicoloured cloth (it was actually a parachute, this related to the multi-coloured balloons on "Up"), the silver tree and words spread across it. Download Fruits
What is one of your dreams for your life or
for our world?
Talk about your dream.
Wonder about what might help make it happen.
Look at the words around the dreaming tree.
Which one of these would help make your dream come true?
Write the word on a balloon.
Say this prayer, aloud or silently:
dreams and visions,
You invite us to imagine a better world.
You offer love, peace and joy for all people.
Help us to become people of faith, hope and love
who help to live your dream.
Help us to become all that we might be,
using our gifts for the sake of others
Be our strength and our guide on the journey.
Take the balloon with you as a reminder of your dream.
2. Craft - make something that represents one of your dreams for yourself or for others.
Our Alive@5 cupboard has been accumulating all kinds of stuff, so we simply put a whole lot of it out there for people to play with.They made all kinds of remarkable things.
3. Video - We made a 'green screen' video re-enacting the story of Joseph using BoinxTV. So, a green cloth, video lights, and a bunch of prepared background images to digitally put behind the actors. The story was narrated and the kids acted it out. They could see themselves on the monitor in front of the digital image backgrounds.
Show and Tell - each month when we gather back together we talk about what has been experienced.
Song - "Thank You God, for Everything"
God of far horizons
Bless us with hope of a new day
Bless us with longing for peace
Bless us with hunger for justice
Bless us with desire for freedom
Bless us with faith to trust
in your goodness
Remind us that we are your
children and you care for us.
I've realised that each month I'm learning the same lessons and need to crystallise them into some changes.
1. Quite simply, the whole thing needs more prep time.
2. Because we put the Bible story up front, and not at the end like "Messy Church" (for a couple of important reasons), this really needs to work well. It's about "experiencing" the narrative, not just hearing it.
3. The plenary time needs to be better scripted. This is probably the main area that needs more work. On the one hand involving more people, and on the other hand more carefully crafting what is said. When you don't have a "sermon", the brief comments about story and theme still matter as much, likewise our brief, simple prayers. When you're inviting people into a story without "telling" them "the point", language, delivery, atmosphere probably matter more than if you were being blunt and direct! So to be clear, this is about crafting the plenary as I would a sermon, memorising it, and the being able to go with the flow and improvise as required.
4. We had a profound moment on Sunday (after watching the remarkable 4 minute scene at the start of "Up" - chapter 3 on the DVD) and simplyI wasn't prepared for it, and my headspace was all about what needed to happen next. So there's something here about the different between a breezy, upbeat intro plenary and crafting a contemplative space into which God might speak.We experience the story andf then we pause and wonder about it. (This keeps sounding like Godly Play...)
5. I've already realised that we need a 'prayer station' each time. I think we also need the 'table of stuff' and an invitation to make something in response to the story. We can always change what is on the table. Everything else can vary as usual.
6. Take home - we need a take home thing each month - a prayer, a question, a symbol, an action....
I keep underestimating how much needs to go into crafting this. But underneath all of the above is that is hasn't been my role to 'pastor' this community, and for the moment it is, so I need to shift gear into that role as it requires something different personally and spiritually.