Monday, 2 March 2009

Tears and joy for worship on water

When preparing for Monday morning prayers in the ecumenical centre the major constraint is time. We have just thirty minutes - and of course it is Monday morning too so it's sometimes a little difficult to really start on time. If we want everyone to be back in their offices by 9.00 then 20 minute sermons tend not to work ...

Today we based prayers on thirsting, searching and longing for water, and celebrating the gift of water. Yes ok I admit it was also an unashamed attempt to plug Seven Weeks for Water with colleagues in the house.

After words of welcome we began by listening to a rain stick. (I've since discovered that you can learn how to make your own by going here or here.) The noise it makes is wonderful: gentle and yet powerful; promising too somehow.

The choir led the singing beautifully, even managing to get the Goudimel version of Psalm 42 to sound like a light dance and not the dirge that sometimes comes out when "Comme un cerf altéré brame" is sung by congregations.

In my three minute sermon I focused on tears - as something that makes us truly human, signs and symbols of both grief and joy. Tears are an essential part of a spirituality of resistance, an expression of our deep emotions, a way perhaps too of becoming streams of living waters for others.
"Mon seul pain ce sont mes larmes" says the French of Psalm 42, tears have been my food, the bread that feeds our thirst for God and for justice.

As well as a Geneva Psalm we sang the Rivers of Babylon and O Healing River and we prayed, for those suffering from cholera, for a former colleague dying of cancer, for all of us as we wipe away tears and seek to care for God's beautiful planet,

You can find the outline here.

And remember water is about justice, justice rolling like a healing stream.