This past Sunday House for All Sinners and Saints experienced the first of our monthly worship services. The space we get to use is absolutely perfect: a hundred year old Lutheran church building minus the pews. The congregation disbanded over 2 decades ago and for almost as long it has been (and continues to be) the 4 Wind Cultural Survival Project - a Native American community center. They have allowed us to use the space on Sunday nights. We are grateful for the relationship that is forming between the two communities but are fully aware that historically when white folks have entered Indian space things haven't gone too well. Being guests of another cultural group in our own town is not an experience many of us as people of privilege have had and as difficult as it potentially may be for us, we see it as an opportunity to be challenged in some really beautiful and important ways.
The service was curated by the entire core crew (there are 9 of us, with 2 more joining this week). Jason put together some ambient techno for the 10 minutes before and after the service and during the stations of the resurrection. We sat in a semi-circle facing the West wall, above the stained glass was projected the words "I am the resurrection and the life". The service was a traditional Eucharistic liturgy including remembrance of baptism complete with aspersion (sprinkling water from the baptismal font on folks). The music was simple Taize chant led by a cello, a guitar and an angelic voice (Andie!). The leader's portion of the liturgy and the gospel reading was shared by 13 different people from where we sat. Only for the remembrance of baptism (at the font) and the Eucharist liturgy (from the altar) were the leaders standing. In place of the sermon were the stations of the resurrection; each of the core crew creating a way for folks to experience different resurrection accounts. Here are a few examples:
* triptych board - on the left the fist half of the John 20 account where Mary Magdalene doesn't recognize Christ until he speaks her name....middle board ... in large print "Mary" under which are empty quotes for everyone to put their own name which Christ also speaks, on the right the continuation of the passage - in front of which is an icon of Mary Magdalene.
*Another triptych only smaller with rounded tops like an icon. On the left, the Apostles Creed, with the "I Believe" in larger type. On the right, the Apostle's Creed, only with "I Don't Believe" in large type beginning each article. In the middle a question inspired by Thomas - what do we both believe and not believe at the same time? A paper was provided for people to answer this.
*Recalling the account where Christ meets his friends on the beach - friends who were depressed about having to go back to "normal life", 2 trays of sand with small rocks and shells and a forks to move the sand around offered people a tactile meditation on how Christ calls us both into and out of life as normal which changes the contours of our lives.
37 people attended including 5 children and several people over 50. A young woman who "hates church" (raised Missouri Synod) sat and wept. She told her girlfriend (one of our core crew) that it was beautiful and she'll come back.
I couldn't have been more pleased and the "success" of the service proves that I am not the one making this whole thing happen.