This is a simple prayer of commitment and blessing shared together that underlines the sense of journeying together, supporting one another and that God goes with us.
We hang our lives upon your mercy
measured out in miles
your boundaries and pathways,
coordinates and charts
that guide our steps
along roads you travelled before us
We will make time for you and your word
We will practice your ways until they are part of us
We will rest and play in you
We will be your people
We are not complete without one another
We cannot run the race alone
We will support one another
encourage one another
wait for the weak
pick up the fallen
through your strength and love
When we are together we will remember what it is like to travel alone
When we are alone we will remember what it is like to travel together
Wherever we are we will remember God who always goes with us
Go with us now, Lord, this day/night and always
From the Grace community, Ealing, London.
2. Hot towels
Pass round a plate of hot towels (the kind you get after a curry - we got some from a local warehouse which you can heat up for a few seconds in a microwave), give a blessing (you could use the one below) and then use the towel to wipe/wash your face, hands, arms, etc.
3. Book of blessings
Jonny Baker writes in his blog: 'Our latest unusual suspect at proost is juli allen. Her big thing is blessings. In her community/communities she listens in and joins in the evening reflections and dialogue and at the end improvises a spoken blessing that weaves the threads together. We got to experience this first hand at greenbelt in the proost lounge evening (thanks to everyone who took part and came along). At the end of the evening she gave us a greenbelt blessing, which she has posted on her blog.'
Here's the text of the blessing:
blessings on you who have entered this space,
who have travelled far and near to be in this space.
let your soul sigh in this space.
let yourself be undone in this space.
let yourself feel the love that surrounds, and permeates, and brings this space together.
breathe it in and let it wash over you.
for some, this marks the beginning.
the beginning of a new year,
a new song,
a new season.
for others it is a close, an end, a period at the end of a chapter.
hopes have been sparked here.
dreams have begun here.
revolutions and relationships have arisen here.
and as a phoenix, we will descend in all the glorious shades of red, and orange, and yellow.
this time together...
this space together...
this experience together...
we will take deep, deep down into our bellies
where a fire will burn that will take us through the next year.
until we meet again we will carry within us memories that will never leave us.
embrace what is left in this space,
and in this time soak up all that you can,
and be sent out knowing that you are loved and you are blessed.
4. Text blessings
Normally we tell people (particularly young people) to turn off their mobile phones during services, but for this activity you can tell people to turn them on instead!
You will need: some people with mobile phones who are willing to give out their numbers; pieces of scrap paper; pencils.
Invite people to get into groups of two or three, each group having one person with a phone. That person should write their phone number on a small corner of the scrap paper, tear it off and give it to someone else in a different part of the room - or you could put them all into a hat/bowl and people draw out a piece of paper.
When this has been done, have a short period of silence and listening to God, when people can pray that God will inspire them with particularly apt prayers. Then use the pieces of paper to compose a prayer of encouragement or blessing. Remember that you only have 160 characters to play with, so the prayer has to be short. If you wish, discuss it with the other members of the your group. When you have finished composing your prayer of encouragement, get one member of the group to text it to the number you have. Soon you will hear ringtones all over the church as people receive their prayers of encouragement and blessing.
For more excellent resources like this see Sue Wallace, Multi-Sensory Worship, Scripture Union, 2009.
may the God who is community
be with us as we seek to be a community
may God bless our dreams
and may God shatter our dreams
may God help us to be real
and to find depth in weakness and brokenness
may God help us to face and grow through conflict
rather than pretend by being nice
may we look at each other through soft eyes
and truly respect each other as human beings
may God help us let go of control
and the need to fix one another
may God help us discover we are needy in our own souls
and give attention to our own hearts
may God grant us the gift of an extraordinary love that flows from the heart of God
that covers a multitude of wrongs