Below is an introduction to something our community – Resurrection Church – did tonight as a part of our weekly worship gathering. We met at a local park – this one. I read the introduction and then sent the group on their way. Bummer for me, I had to pick up one kid and then deal with another kid’s sick friend, so I missed out on the conversation. But that’s the great thing about a liturgy that is truly participatory…the Spirit knows how to lead the Church! Please feel free to use / modify / or otherwise rip off this for your own community of faith.
Our lives are filled with ever-present obligations and responsibilities. From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep, an endless list of have-to’s and should-have-done’s consume our minds. We are bombarded by the tyranny of the urgent. A crying baby needs her milk. A deadline needs to be met. The pantry needs to be filled. The car needs a new tire. These “needs” never stop. To make matters worse, everything we read, watch, and hear from the outside is aimed at either trying to create a need within us (advertising), convince us that the crisis of the day in the world should be our crisis (the news), or help us escape from having to cope with this thing called life (entertainment).
The Gospel – the Message of God’s Kingdom – is like a Molotov cocktail thrown in the middle of our living room. God is not interested in helping us prop up our distracted, conflicted lives. He doesn’t want to give us keys to a better self while the self we have is riddled with sin, pain, guilt, and shame. He doesn’t want to slap a new coat of paint on the walls and call it a new house. No, he’d rather burn it down and start building you a mansion.
Don’t be fooled by the current attempts to sanitize or domesticate the good news of Jesus Christ. Here are some truths that should be stated plainly. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ has been raised from the dead. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!
Today, we will practice together a liturgy of resistance. Recall that liturgy simply means, “The Work of the People.” It’s what we do as a community to worship God and orient ourselves in God’s kingdom, which is in fact the real world. There have been times in the history of God’s people where our worship takes on a certain edge. Sometimes, we have to stand up to the powers that be and say, “Enough’s enough. You are not God. You are not in control of our lives and we don’t have to live by your rules.”
So today, in solidarity with churches around the world that have no permanent place to worship, we are proclaiming this park to be our sanctuary. The leaves of the trees will be our musicians, the birds will be our choir, and the trails will be our pews. Printed on these papers are a few scripture verses that remind us about the truth of God’s kingdom. There are also a few questions to think about and discuss. For the next hour, let’s walk through the park and ponder these verses together. You may walk alone for a time if you wish, but I would encourage you to be together as much as possible. Turn your cell phones off and try to keep the small talk to a minimum. Choose one person to be the facilitator and to read the verses and questions. Don’t worry if you don’t finish all the questions – let the Spirit lead!