Sunday, 29 May 2011

Resurrection chaos with the peaceful Ichthys

I realise that I have said very little about the worship at the IEPC and wanted to try and correct that at least a bit. It was deeply satisfying, deceptively simple and uplifting in a sort of slow burn way. I really like worship like this, meaningful yet very joyful. Messages both implicit and explicit.
I shared an appartment at the halls of residence with the female members of the worship committee and I know how hard they worked, putting together at least three services every day, often re-writing at the last minute and dealing with lots of last minute hiccoughs. We had very early morning starts for the musical and practical rehearsals. They were putting in 12-14 hour days in very difficult circumstances.
At the final sending service they had really wanted us to gather at the beach but for all kinds of practical reasons this wasn't possible, too far, too late in the day. Yet in many ways we were at the beach.
Each of us received a large paper fish. As part of the reflection we were invited to write on the fish. This followed on from a wonderful multilingual reading of John 21, the miraculous fish catch and Christ's resurrection breakfast with his friends on the beach. The fish were then gathered into a wodnerful net which was hauled forward to the altar. In the choir we had to keep on singing and singing as people kept on wanting to write more and more, or make sure that their fish had an eye on it, of proper scales or a smiley face.
Then instead of sharing the peace in a traditional way we drew the shape of the fish, the ichthys, on the palm of our neighbours' hands. It tickled a bit and made us smile but it was a great idea and just really worked well.
I was moved by the idea of the fish being the love banquet, the true eucharist and reason to give thanks. So closing prayers did take us symbolically to the beach, to that liminal place of resurrection where the fishy fruit of the chaotic ocean meets the bread of the civilised land. It made me think about embracing the chaos being part of the resurrection message, only if we dare to do that will the miraculous catch of just peace be possible.

And of course we've also been singing all through the convocation, mostly things not know to me beforehand, including this ... not quite about the beach but still about bread and fish.

“On the green, green grass they gathered long ago.
To hear what the Master said.
What they had they shared some fishes and some loaves.
And they served until all were fed.
Until all are fed we cry out.
Until all on earth have bread.
Like the One who loves us each & every one...
We serve until all are fed."