Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Should We Care for the Poor? Social Justice Worship

On the 20th I joined in with Gordon UC Youth Group [thanks to Youth Worker Graham Baldock's invitation] to put together their 'quarterly worship' with a social justice focus and particularly looking at the question: 'Why should we care for the poor?'
We're going to put the outline and resources on our website here
It's one of those occasions where I developed new material and now know how the timing works and broadly who the young people are... so of course the next time will be better... we were just a bit pushed for time in the end...

The set up included [2] screens with data projectors, punters sitting on the floor in a semi circle, half lights off and [5] stations around the edge of the space for a planned 15-20min space...

I took a few minutes too long to explain what people were being invited into but once you start that it's hard to know where to stop... then..

1. Spoken Introduction/Call This is our worship. This is not a concert, not a game Not entertainment or an excuse to disappear… This is an opportunity to ‘make time for God’ And to reflect on social justice, Or this particular time, to ask… ‘why should we care for the poor?’ You are invited to listen, to think, to respond, to create… We will experience some thing together, be asked to talk And later to choose ‘stations’ and activities… Before finishing together… This is your time, but others time as well, Give each other the space to connect with God or to wonder… Let’s worship God…

2. "If Everyone Cared" Nickelback from youtube
3. Four Voice Liturgy
Read aloud from where you sit/stand to the rest of the group…
Voice ONE: God cares about issues of poverty and justice… This emphasis on justice flows through the Bible like a river. It’s no coincidence the Bible mentions poverty 2,100 times. This oral and written history of God’s attempts to be in relationship with humanity is filled with examples of God’s values of ‘siding with the poor or those on the edges…’
Voice TWO: Why should we care about the poor? About those who lack our choices? Through history, culture or circumstance? Is what Nelson Mandela reminds us of true? ‘That ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’… God, we give thanks for all we have…
Voice THREE: How do we contribute to poverty worldwide? Cash crops instead of food? Cheaply made shoes and t-shirts? Violence, selfishness, and consumption ahead of clean water? For those things we do or leave undone, we are sorry!! For judging others externally and settling for less, we are sorry?
Voice FOUR: What would you do, if you ruled the world? How would people know what you valued and hoped for? What would you complain about? And who would you choose? God, stir our world… Let’s think, create and pray…
[shared aloud by four punters]
4. "If I ruled the world..." vox pop clip and then discussion in 3-4s
5."What is Poverty?" we spent a few minutes with punters putting together a collage
6. Then 'What is Poverty?' clip and if we'd had time 'What is Social Justice?' clip
7. Dramatised Reading with the story of Zacchaeus...
Dramatised READING: Zacchaeus Luke 19: 1-8
It was a pretty unremarkable day in most ways really. This place is only a small town, with a long history, but you pass through here because it’s the only way to the city… It’s not unusual for a crowd to gather but the word was this character had created a stir wherever he went and the ‘usual suspects’ were out to see who all the fuss was about.
You couldn’t see, I don’t know what everyone else had come to find, but there was something about him. I seriously almost fell out of the tree I’d scrambled up, when he looked up and invited himself to my place.!! I was up there for my own safety and because I couldn’t see… I didn’t even really hear what he said at first… I was too busy trying to hold on to the flimsy branch. The fact he even looked up was a huge shock! He looked straight at me, no mistake!
Scumbag!! That’s who he is… ripping us off every tax year! Lining his own pockets… I thought someone was going to get crushed when the crowd surged forward. I didn’t hear it, but the whisper went along that the bloke asked to have lunch with that lowlife, Zack!! It’s not bad enough the Romans have ‘their foot on our necks’, but he’s financing them!! He’s the whole reason we’re poor! Jericho would be a different place without Zack! NARRATOR:
Zack hurried down from the tree, sandals flying, I think he fell down the first three branches… The crowd at first were grumpy but slowly drifted off, The disappointment was obvious! BYSTANDER:
Have you heard the rumours? What happened at that lunch? Later that day apparently Zack started giving money away. Te same crowds that jeered earlier were dancing in the streets. Is it real?
“I will give half my property to the poor. And I will now pay back four times as much to everyone I have ever cheated.” That’s what was overheard!! ZACCHAEUS: He didn’t just look at me, he really saw me… for who I am? In the face of that I really couldn’t keep cheating people the way I had been… You can’t buy self respect and I was tired of being alone in a crowd… This town will have to blame someone else for it’s troubles from now on…

8. Didn't have time to show "Teenage Affluenza" World Vision clip
BUT did speak about some Biblical stories about God's values and Jesus obvious siding with those on the edge including the poor... and how it's also our call... including the notion of how close we all are to poverty... one choice, one argument, one mishap!!!

1. Map and tealights World map on the floor/table with candles Place a candle anywhere in the world that needs our prayers. Could be infront of existing big screen or DVD Sarah McL ‘World on Fire’ on loop
2. Photo Reflection 6-8 laminated A4 photos What do these images say to you about ‘poverty’ Write a post it note response Maybe a think global act local, a prayer [stick on the wall]
3. Mural Projected on the wall The data projector image is on a bed sheet/calico Punters use fabric textas or ??? to draw what’s projected and colour in but to add comments, signature, commitments, or questions, prayers
4. Bible Passages/Snippets on canvas Writing about the ‘values’ of the Kingdom of God And how we/you might live them out…. On the canvass
5. Make Poverty History Have some $2 MPH bracelets plus photo frame scrolling images
Have fairtrade chocolate there for people to eat while they reflect on what you could do to think global act local e.g. 40hr Famine> Donate old clothes> Buy copies of Big Issue Simply Sharing Week> Lent Event> Fairtrade> soup kitchen etc

We finished with a glimpse of a world celebrating change and equality through "Dancing" Matt Harding clip

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