Really good reports … from a park

Good reports keep rolling in about groups using We Make the Road by Walking. Here’s one:

Awe and Wonder: Chapter One
We had Worship in the Park on September 7th as we began our journey with We Make the Road by Walking. Salem has had worship/church at a local park for the past three years since I’ve been here. … Last year, we gathered near the Nolichucky River and centered our worship around Luke 15. This year, we set up in the same place with similar weather- in the 80s, a beautiful day with birds singing, the water flowing, the sun warming, and we gathered by the river. (we failed to sing any ‘gathering by the river’ songs– that was my mistake…)
We did sing about creation… Morning Has Broken and All Creatures of Our God and King. I used Brian’s words to create a Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, and Invitation to the Table. I used his ideas from chapter one text and commentary for a short Homily. I focused more on the suggested texts as a Proclamation of the Word. We hear the Creation story, but how many times have we heard it proclaimed/read aloud outside, in the midst of a beautiful park, near a river bank?
We used a tree stump as our communion table, green fabric covered the stump, the white cloth covering the elements kept the flies away and a mason jar complete with wild flowers finished our ‘altar’. I reused the bulletins I kept from last year and glued new ones on top of the old. I used Lowes paint stirs and stapled card stock and then paper bulletins onto the wood stirs to create a bulletin ‘fan’ like you might see at a wedding or church in the deep south in the dead of summer. These are easy to hold, keep the flies away, and do provide a little relief from the hot sun. I kept the bulletins black & white, but added color with stamps. Yes…the “Pastor” stamped her congregation’s bulletins. These are the joys and benefits of a small congregation!
We had a great service and the only thing I would change is that next year, I’ve vowed to use less liturgy so the congregation doesn’t have to look down as much but can enjoy the view more so.
Below is what we used. As I mentioned, I used Brian Mclaren’s words– this chapter was written so beautifully and so writing liturgy for worship was fun. I have a feeling it won’t be this easy as we journey further. For now, here is what I compiled:
(continued after the jump)

Call to Worship:
Ripe peach, crisp apple, tall mountain, bright leaves, sparkling water, flying flock, flickering flame, you and me…here, now!
God’s Creation is here, all around us!
We should never become bored with creation because God never ends and God’s creation is forever!
It is amazing, wonderful, surprising, fascinating! Let it be!
Light. Time. Space. Matter. Motion. Sea. Stone. Fish. Sparrow. You. Me. We enjoy the unspeakable gift and privilege of being here and being alive.
Let us give thanks to the Lord because all of God’s creation is Good!
*Prayer of Confession:
Creator of the Universe, you give us air to breathe and you keep the world alive. We fail to acknowledge you in all that you’ve made. We fail to be alive in the midst of your creation. We let the cycle of life and death overcome us. We let death have the final say. But you are the beginning and the end. Help us to be alive in the midst of your gallery. Grant us grace to be recreated in a new day, to be alive in your Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
Invitation to the Table
So here we are, friends. Here we are, Alive! And this is why we walk this road: to behold the wonder and savor this aliveness. To remind ourselves who we are, where we are, what’s going on here, and how beautiful, precious, holy, and meaningful it all is. It’s why we pause along the journey for a simple meal, with hearts full of thankfulness, rejoicing to be part of this beautiful and good creation. This is what it means to be alive.