Stinky Worship II: how it went...
On Friday I posted requesting help with ideas for Sunday's service (the first in our missionary society self-denial programme) I needed to make one small room at church smell really bad.
I had several really good suggestions on the blog. I was not convinced church incense could really be called "stinky" - in my youth I spent a fine Easter at Mirfield and got to appreciate scented worship! In the end I did not have time to search the $2 shops for Stephen
's "fart bombs
" - I wasn't sure anyway how some of the congregation would respond ;-)
And then... I remembered seeing Durian for sale frozen in the local Chinese supermarket. (While there is apparently a World Durian Festival
, most sources warn that this fruit is banned on Asian Airlines because of its smell like "rotting flesh".)
So we set up four prayer stations:
- stinky prayer: a small enclosed room in which one of our Durian-loving members cut up the fruit, whilst others prayed first for local concerns, and then for people whose lives are lived in smelly cities
- noisy study: in the church Bob led a Bible study using the KJV, whilst industrial and crowd noises were played in stereo over the loudspeakers - then people prayed for people living in noisy crowded slums
- information exchange: this group tried to get information related to our theme, they phoned my daughter who had researched the info, the trouble was she was at work at Parnell Baths - a great place for a swim, but a nightmare phone system - then prayed for people who do not have our easy access to the information we need
- hot work: this group moved rocks large (adult size) or small (large pebbles) from one side of the lawn to the other in the sun - then prayed for people with hot repetitive jobs
Feedback was mixed, one anonymous critic was heard to say "If we have much more worship like this I'm going to another church!
" to which a deacon replied "I'll give you a lift!
" On the other hand several people mentioned that they found these prayers more "real" than often when we pray for others, and that even if not realistic, sharing a bit how others feel, smell, hear helped them pray.
The sermon included the line that "Take up your cross
" (Matt 10:38) does not mean we lean against it hoping for sympathy! These ideas were all based on Tranzsend
's always excellent Self Denial pack
I hope that we manage to generate even more interest and money this year than last :)