The Resonance and Otherness of Wild: Temple Worship for a Wilderness People

Oxford Terrace Baptist Church

Sunday June 6, 2010

Ancient fossilized Indigenous Footprints, Lake Mungo, New South Wales

The natural forces that so threaten us are the same forces that preserve and renew us…

When they forbid their prophets to go into the wilderness they lose the possibility of renewal.

Wendell Berry

Call to Worship: “The Invitation of God” grace

Opening Ritual:  (Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners/ Tangata Whenua, Lighting of Central Candle in Burning Bush)

Community Song: The Gathering Song

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour

Gathered here in one strong body

Gathered here in the struggle and the power

Spirit Draw Near

Hymn:  Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah

Prayer of Confession: Hagar Confession

Offering and Community News

Reading : Matthew 4:1-11

Sermon: The Resonance and Otherness of Wild

Response Stations: Audio: U2: ‘Flower Child’; Kev Carmody: ‘Campfire and Rain’

River Jordan : (blue fabric and pebbles down central aisle with communion cups filled with water and a recirculating water feature made from a wine bottle.)

Drink the cup.  Remember the Blood of Christ shed for you and all creation.  Remember your baptism as an immersion into the wild space and revolutionary history of the followers of an undomesticated God, committed to personal, social and spiritual transformation.

Take a stone from the river with you.  Like the ancient Hebrews, place it somewhere this week in a particular place or situation as a prayerful statement of your faith in and commitment to a better way.

Stones to Bread(loves of bread and large stones placed on plates and spread around the chancel)

Take the Bread.  As you eat remember the Body of Christ broken for you and all creation.  Remember his wilderness temptations as a retracting of the footsteps of ancestors.  Of both the spiritual source but also the wrong turnings of his people.

What footsteps guide you or have shaped your own view of what it is you need most?  Remember the manna of testing and provision in the wilderness. Of Jesus feeding of hungry masses and his promise to be the daily bread we most need.

Unburned Bush:  Footsteps of Ancestors (tall wrought iron tree structure with a central candle and with pumice soaked in methylated spirits placed in the centre of a large circle of sand with footprints in the centre of chancel)

Consider the footsteps of Moses upon holy ground.  The un-burnt bush was the place of calling where he was invited to hear and join his enslaved people.  He felt terrified and inadequate.  Whom is God calling you to join? What feelings does this create within you?

Take a candle and light it from the “burning bush” as a symbol of your call and prayer for others.  Offer the darkness of your fears and inadequacies to Christ and ask for the light you need to take the next step.

Hagar’s Well (water in a large bowl draped in black fabric at the rear of nave)

Have a look at your reflection in the water. Sometimes we think God only cares about people who are like us. You might like to wash your hands in the water, as a confession. This will probably disturb your reflected image.

Confess the times when you have failed to see or hear or have excluded the God who comes to us in the ‘other’, in the cry of those exiled.

You may wish to mark you forehead or hand with the sign of the cross as a mark of your reconciled identity in Christ whose ‘way’ was to suffer for our world as an ‘other.’

Read and Reflect:

Remain seated read and reflect upon the words and music.

some end up

in the wilderness

by mistake
- you, perhaps? -
taking a wrong turn

from a street that was crowded

into one that was empty

until you found yourself

in a place where the street

map doesn’t reach

if lent finds you in a place you longer recognize

in a faith that has no street map

where the crowds left long ago

you will know there is no easy comfort to be found

but if you wait, in the silence

maybe you can hear the stories of those who have walked the wilderness before

whispered in the wind

and the sand

and the silence

what are they saying?

is the wilderness everywhere that isn’t home?

everywhere your footing isn’t certain

everywhere you have to measure

water and food

words and thoughts

and carefully

because you do not know how long they need to last.

is the wilderness the place

where the easy answer
[the stone,
the temple,
the kingdom]

seems the only answer.

where or what is my wilderness?

what do i need to survive it?

did you know what you would do, god

when you turned down the stone

and walked away from the temple?

did you have another plan?

or did you just know that one wouldn’t work?

am i ready for you to have no answers?

am i ready for your salvation to be different

to every idea i might have had?

Wilderness poetry by Cheryl Lawrie

Flower Child: U2, 2004

Now she aches and she breaks, and she takes

On the weight of your world, ’cause she almost can

The seeds that you sow

Well you wanna watch them growing

The wind, where will it blow

My flower child

Growing wild, you grow wild

You grow wild in my heart

Community Song/ Benediction

For You…

For you, deep stillness of the silent inland

For you, deep blue of the desert skies

For you, flame red of the rocks and stones

For you, sweet water from hidden springs.

From the edges seek the heartlands

and when you’re burnt by the journey

may the cool winds of the hovering Spirit

soothe and replenish you.

In the name of Christ, in the name of Christ.

Words: Julie Perrin; Music Robin Mann ©1997

Postlude: Organ Voluntary

Much Grace to Christop and Mehrin, Mark Pierson, Cheryl Lawrie, The Fabulous Majende’s, Eric and Alison, Chris and Mike….& all the Just Worship Crew.

Christop’s blog on JW.


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