“Creator God, who formed us from dust, breathe in me again. Give me a new imagination to perceive new possibilities today.” Prayer of Approach from Lectio 365, week commencing 6th July.
Many of us have had to be creatives and innovators in recent months, including those of us who would have never considered ourselves to be creative. Normal methods and usual routines have been interrupted and disrupted, making us feel like we are walking down literal rabbit trails, not just proverbial ones.
But the beauty of disruption is that it often facilitates creativity and innovation.
As restrictions ease slightly, there is understandable frustration that we are still unable to gather as church congregations in the same way. But maybe once again we can allow God to turn our frustration into innovation. Maybe we can come to him as his tired and frustrated and even sad children and allow him to do as the lovely prayer above suggests – to breathe into us, giving us new imaginations and eyes to see new possibilities where we saw before only obstacles.
Prayer has been googled more than ever during these past several months. People have been worried, frightened, stressed, even grieving and have been searching for a way to process all that they are feeling and experiencing. How can we as the Church help them in this? How can we, as the children of God, visually demonstrate the hope and peace found in coming boldly to a Father whom we know to be good, kind, wise, loving and powerful?
What could it look like to facilitate prayer for those searching, needing a safe space to process? What could it look like to guide them in reflection, helping them to express their thoughts and emotions?
Do we really need our church buildings to do this?
Scotland is filled with beautiful outdoor spaces and though our Scottish weather is a bit unpredictable, still, it is summer and people are outside as much as possible right now. And through the ancient Celtic Church, we in Scotland have a beautifully rich heritage of prayer, even worship and devotion, being held outside, utilising our natural, beautiful surroundings and resources.
What could it look like to set up places and spaces of reflection and prayer in outdoor spaces where social distancing can still be easily maintained?
We love what Blantyre Old Parish Church have been doing. They have opened their church garden up to the community and provided various, changing reflective “prayer stops” to help people pray and process without the need to touch anything, making it completely safe and stress free to engage with.
Our friends at Discovery Church in Dunbar gained permission this past Advent to create a labyrinth in the local park to help their community engage reflectively with Advent. They created it with simple branches, twigs, rocks and logs gathered from the nearby forest and beach.
Other churches have been dreaming up and implementing similar things just recently.
What could this look like where we live, for our local communities?
“Creator God, who formed us from dust, breathe in me again. Give me a new imagination to perceive new possibilities today.”
If this is something that gets you excited and you want advice and inspiration, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org and be watching for “Hope Spaces” resources soon to be released!
* Photo creds: Jon Tyson