These arrived in the post this morning, the CD is in my ears as I write, the cards have reminded me to put up my wall, all the cards, notes and interesting quotes that once adorned the old study, I’ll be doing that later and probably still be listening! Thanks K 😉 [ You’ve also given me another idea!! ]
Roll out the Vicar… my contribution to our leavers service in the school.
A Leaving Prayer
God we pray:
May you who leave this place:
Take with you every blessing you have received here:
Blessings of friendship
Blessings of memories
Blessings of knowledge
And may you who leave here today to begin a new journey, leave us your blessing; your uniqueness, the mark you leave on this place that is only you.
May you all be refreshed this summer, Teachers, Pupils, Support Staff, and parents,
So when term begins again,
You may all meet new challenges, new places, new people,
with a bright and cheerful heart.
So we pray that all may grow and learn to live with Love.
May God bless you all this day and through all the days to come. Amen.
You will need to see the previous entry on Woodfest to set this in context.
I referred to the ‘Mushroom Man’ in the context of Luke 7: 11-17 to speak about thresholds, Jesus at the threshold of the town, the Widow at the threshold of life and death with her son. Jesus touches the edge of the bier and steps into the world of the mourners. I reflected on the way in which the Mushroom Man always allows people closer to his work, to touch and feel, smell and experience the wood, get involved in his world. He invites people to cross a threshold, an invitation which is sadly not given by many other carvers or turners. It is the simple opening of the door into his world which is so inviting, and yet, just as the funeral party are shocked at what Jesus does and says, so too are people wary of the Mushroom man to begin with. He is loud, a little brash, wanting to confront and provoke a little, but always with a twinkle in the eye, people soon start to realise he is also prophetic, this is how to enthuse about wood, this is how Jesus brings about the kingdom. Stepping over thresholds and crossing boundaries that others simply cannot. Each Sunday I do almost the same service twice in a row. I forgot my prop after the first, the turned mushroom from the man at the woodfest. As we began the second service, I wondered how to present such a sermon without the said item, however, right in the middle of the gathering (hymn, prayers, confession) someone arrived with it. She strode boldly through the church and came right up to my stall and presented it to me, I was so surprised that all I could do was give her a hug, but as I did, she said quietly, ‘there, I’ve crossed another threshold’. I imagine it was quite daunting to do that as our services are relatively formal affairs. The reactions of the congregation were mixed, one commented later that he wondered whether he should have been ready to defend me against an attacker! As I began my sermon the unease was still evident and of course what they had experienced they did not understand. I had not staged it, I couldn’t have been that clever, but so many words would not have been able to explain the actions of Jesus so well as the sudden arrival of the lady with the wooden mushroom. Sublime, she was, at least for me at that moment, Christ in stranger. I hope perhaps others might come to see that as well!