Got the word count to 599 now. Tightened up sentences. Removed the St Teresa quote and added another scripture quote.
My presentation will focus upon criteria G Faith show an ability to reflect critically on their faith and make connections between faith and contemporary life.
In my presentation I would like to discuss ways for connecting worship with everyday life through creative worship.
I consider that worship is about being with God and about being prepared to go out to work in the world. It is a time of adoration and transformation as we commune with God. Either consciously or unconsciously worship changes us as God’s spirit speaks to our spirit. As John 4 v 24 shows “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Yet, is our worship relative to real life practices and should worship connect with the so called mundane world?
Actions matter, they speak louder than words and have a profound effect. Regular services already involve participation of the congregation through being asked to respond, stand, or sit. Holy Communion is the ultimate point of interaction where the reality of God becomes powerfully present. In turn, this act of remembrance initiates further action as we go out into the world and our worship becomes mission-shaped.
I have used various interactive, sensory and creative activities during an informal service over the past year. These activities ranged from writing prayers, lighting candles, reading prayers, led meditation to just being silent in front of smouldering incense.
In Matthew 22.37 Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind.” I believe this commandment can be explored through using a range of interactive creative activities. Creative worship allows people with different learning styles to engage with worship in ways that makes sense to them.
Fleming’s VAK model is used to categorize various types of learner which I believe can be related to worshippers. These types are; kinaesthetic learners who prefer to learn by doing and so would enjoy more physically interactive events such as writing prayers or lighting candles. Whereas, visual learners prefer visual aids such as drawing and projected images. Auditory learners benefit most through listening and so would gain much from led meditations, talks or group discussions.
However, it is important to bear in mind that exciting, liberative, creative form of worship may distress those who enjoy the read-response liturgical nature of C of E worship. They may feel uncomfortable with any deviation from the book-bound culture they are familiar with. Therefore a degree of sensitivity is required when organizing worship.
Yet, there is one activity that may suit people that relates to book-bound culture yet also can viewed as exciting as it is deliberately different to what the world expects. This activity is silence. Many people find their world too busy to have times of silence. Worship offer times to be still and silent. Silence is needed in order to truly listen to what’s going on in ourselves for then can God be heard. Yet to someone new to practicing silent pray, absolute silence may seem impossible.
Proven techniques such as the Ignatius Examen give a structured approach that aids silent prayer. Having a structured approach frees a person to experience silence and so enables them focus on God, rather than worry about how or what they should be praying about.
To conclude, my vision for connecting faith and contemporary life is through the use of creative sensory activities in worship that correlates with styles of learning. I believe such worship when considerately constructed can support the deepening of our relationship and growth as Disciples of Christ. 599 words