Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Movement of the Spirit Worship Guide

Oct 23, 2005: Harvest

Station 1 Sukkot
In the Books of Law, God sets a festival called the Festival of the Booths or Ingathering—called Sukkot. Here the celebrations of the harvest are sanctified by God through the blessing of ritual. The celebration of plenty is coupled with the remembrance of the Exodus. Read about the celebration of Sukkot on the piece of paper. Take a card and write about a journey that you remember from your own life. Celebrate that journey by tying your card either inside our on the outside of the tent. If you would like to sit in the tent to remember your journey, feel free!

Station 2: Reaping
The image of reaping is embedded in our culture and in our religious story. The Harvest was such an essential element of common life that the entire calendar was structured around it. The cycle of planting, growth, and harvest served as a rhythm of life. Because the reality of death has had a substantial influence on the human psyche and the development of civilization as a whole, the personification of Death as a living, sentient entity is a concept that has existed in all known societies since the beginnings of recorded history. In our culture, we have the image of the Grim Reaper. In our scriptures, the book of Revelation imagines the end of all life on earth in a highly symbolic dream event. Here is one image of reaping that is indicative of our relationship with God. God sends the harvesters to collect the harvest of our souls—and we are resurrected in a new life in a new form. As the harvest of our fields leads to the complex foods we create, our newly created lives will be in the service of God in ways which we can not imagine any more than a grape could comprehend its place in a glass of wine, or a grain of wheat its place in a cake.
Read the passage from Revelation 14:13-20. Look at the interprative painting. Reach out and feel the harvest of the vine. Imagine the end of your life as a harvest instead of an ending. Have you harvested the gifts that God has given you?

Station 3: Extravagence
The colors of fall are probably one of the most effective evangelists of the natural world. The reds and golds and yellows and oranges and browns and greens float together in a seas of leaves blanketing the hillsides, like waves reflecting the sunset. God clearly delights in diversity and richness and extravagance. It is clear in our Creation account that God blesses the manifold of the Holy Creation. The Spirit of Life: that blowing breath that sweeps over creation at its inception, the mighty wind bursting through the windows of the early church and setting it on fire. That Spirit of exuberance and vitality is present in every moment. Life makes a grand finale before it goes to sleep for the winter.
As children, we harness such creativity and celebration of life with crayons. Isn’t it a shame that we grow up and think we shouldn’t use them anymore? Use the colors to make a picture of God’s majestic creation. If you can’t draw a tree, just use the colors to give the expression of trees, or whatever else you choose to create. Have fun!

Station 3: Anticipation
In the Christian calendar, harvest leads to the New year. Advent begins with the oncoming of cold weather and empty trees. The goods are dried and readied for the winter, and then we wait. We wait for the surprise at the peak of the winter, when the world is asleep. We wait for the Birth of the Christ and then hold it fast, and carry it with us until spring. Light a candle in anticipation. Anticipation is like that little flame that sparks to life and then creates a little light. If we hold it close, it will light our path for the days to come.
Look at the lyrics of “This little light of mine.” Since it is such a familiar tune, sing it to yourself (either out loud or in your mind) on the way over to the next station in the sanctuary. How does that anticipation make you feel?

Station 4: Fellowship
Fellowship is the central aspect of our religion. Look around you. Usually this room is full of people, worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We fellowship with the ancestors of our faith by reading the scriptures.
We celebrate the Risen and Living Christ by being in fellowship with each other.
This more personal experience called “Movement of the Spirit” is interactive in form so that it might provoke fellowship within your self. Though we come together in a “congregation,” meaning “with each other,” to worship, it is so much more fruitful if we have enjoyed time of Sabbath and reflection on God when we are by ourselves.
Take one of the introductions to spiritual disciplines. Look it over and pray with it. These are practices of prayer and devotion that can help plant a spark in your spiritual life. Though these are personal devotions, we as a body of believers can encourage one another in our more personal “faith walks.” Pray for guidance as you are led to find out more about a particular discipline that might carry you through the course of winter. Because we have a better opportunity to adhere to our goals with each other’s encouragement than if we struggle in private, sign your name to the covenant with a discipline that you will practice. Set a goal for yourself, like doing the discipline once a week or once a day. Those of us who sign the book should look in it from time to time, seeing what our brothers and sisters are doing to strengthen their walk with Christ, and then give them encouragement in that discipline. This is one way to give life to the “accountability” that we owe one another as members of the church. You’re not stuck with a discipline if you decide something else is more attractive to you. Just change it in the booklet. Notice you will be using a pencil. The important part of this covenant is both sticking with your goal and encouraging others. This is called fellowship.
You can also find all of the information on each discipline at our church website.


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