Decolonizing and Disrupting Liturgical Space

This past weekend I was part of a discernment retreat in Peachtree City, GA organized by the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE). FTE gathered forty or so young adults for a weekend of pondering life and leadership, as a young adult, within the Church. The retreat offered small groups, a keynote, discernment cafe based on elements from the Art of Hosting, workshops, and worship. I led a workshop called Liturgy and Improv: The Practice of Freedom. FTE pulls together an incredible group of people across the theological and denominational spectrum: including Baptist, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Church of God, Non-denominational, Methodist, and PCUSA. There are a lot of folks from the "I used to be "this" denomination and now I'm "this" denomination.

Worship is held twice a day, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.

The focus of our Saturday evening  service was handwashing.

We had some opening words, the story in John of Jesus washing his disciples feet was shared, I offered a brief reflection about handwashing, and we had a prayer.  Then the invitation to wash each other's hands was given.

The gentle, intimate act of handwashing started....and so did the singing.

Folks. Here's the scoop. Church of the Pilgrims has LOTS of improv in worship. We have stations set-up for kids around the sanctuary which means kids are cruising around all the time. We have time for testimony. We improv the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving. We move around during worship.

But....we sit in our pews. We still sing when the order of worship says to sing. We don't call and respond to the preacher or liturgist.

During handwashing on Saturday night, one person stood up and started singing. She gently stopped. Then someone else started singing. Some started to sing along. That song came to a close and another person started singing.

My PCUSA/UCC self was up in the front thinking to that same self, "um. now what."

The key element of improv is the "yes....and..." I could hear my internal voice saying "yes. yes. yes. yes." "Yes. This is what's happening. Singing is what's happening."

Then one person became deeply, deeply moved by the Spirit. Wailing soon followed. A group of people gathered as a prayer group. And from that group came speaking in tongues.

I started to  wonder about the rest of the order of worship. Do I ditch what we had to planned to do? How do I weave all this together? The ritual of drinking milk and honey was to follow the handwashing---the first meal in the early Church after baptism was a cup of milk and honey. After we washed our hands in the water of new beginnings, each of us had a glass of milk and honey. Would that just be stupid considering how the space was being transformed?

I was conscious of my body in the space. This isn't the kind of experiences we have at Pilgrims. Was my body, facial expression revealing a level of "shit, not sure what to do here?"

I also knew as the human leader of worship in that moment that considering the range of liturgical experiences in the room, all of this spontaneity could be causing anxiety to creep into the bodies of some folks. While the tearing and tongues was happening, we were still in community together. How do we/I continue to make this a space of welcome and openness and love?

I kept going with the liturgy. We kept going. I said something about gratitude and being fully human. We sang our final hymn over the sound of wailing and tongues (I could still hear the murmur of those speaking in tongues....what an amazing, Spirit-driven, fertile like soil sound to hear).

The next day someone from my workshop asked me what this weekend was like for me.

I shared how that worship service stretched by leadership, revealed that skills of improv are in me, and challenged my experience of a worship leader.

These are my realizations:

1) Pushing Boundaries Shows How Disruption is Socially Constructed: If a kid walks around during worship someone might say, "that is so distracting." Someone from a more traditional liturgical space could walk into Pilgrims and think "Jesus, this is awful chaos." How does liturgical space, even without words, define what is OK to do in worship?  Who decides what is respectable to do in worship?  How does liturgical space reveal these expectations in just how we carry our bodies, how we keep silent, how we dress, how and when we respond in worship? How do we as humans control the space, possibly snuffing out the movement of the Spirit?

2) Decolonizing Liturgical Space is Sacred, Badassery Work: One of the participants in my workshop said later that part of  his call is to "decolonize liturgical space." YES! Who is in charge of liturgical space? Can we claim that what we (those in the dominant power structures of society) experience as distracting in worship comes from our social context? That it comes from our experience of liturgy growing up? That what's distracting in worship is informed by the binary, by patriarchy, by whiteness?

Liturgy, in its white, North American context, was used/has been/is used to control. Liturgy is still used to structure, systematize, and build-up dominating ways of life. How is worship used to expose and detangle us from the lingering history of domination and the current systems of domination? How does liturgy create space for imagination, new ways of being together, intimacy, and community? How does liturgy let us experience the mess of being human together rather than the need to control each other?

3) Improv at Pilgrims Prepared Me: While we don't have falling out, falling down, tearing of the spirit or speaking in tongues at Pilgrims (why  not?! because it's not part of our tradition? what does that mean?!), the improvisation that goes on at Pilgrims prepared me for this moment at FTE. At one point I didn't have a clue of what to do next. And I kept telling myself "yes." Improv rooted me in the reality of what was going on. Improv let me see the beauty of the singing. It let me hear the murmur of the speaking in tongues. It pushed me to wonder "what's next?" And what does next look like? And how will what's next be loving and welcoming and continue to keep this open, fluid, Spirit filled space?

In essence, improv pushes me to decolonize my own body and mind in order that I don't control the shit out of liturgical space to benefit my own desire to control.

Liturgical Analysis with a Seven Year Old

Pilgrims kids are in worship all the time. We have three stations set-up throughout the sanctuary that invite our kids to engage in our liturgical experience at their own developmental level. On any given Sunday you can see our kids sitting in the pews with their parents or moving around to one of stations when their body has had enough of sitting.

When I observe our kids in these stations and I see them drawing, felt-boarding, working with the sand tray, I can wonder, "are they paying attention?"

Thankfully the Spirit intervenes on my wondering with an experience like this one.

On Transfiguration Sunday, we used tableau's to explore the transfiguration story together. See this video.

After we were done with the tableau’s, I went back to the storytelling station to check-in with Skanda, one of our seven year olds.

After the “Hey, how are you Skanda?” we quickly moved into this conversation:

Skanda: Pastor Ashley, what were you doing over there?
Me: We were creating sculptures with our bodies. That’s how we told the story today.
Skanda: Why did people get up there and do that?
Me: They wanted to show others how the story made them feel.
Skanda: Why didn’t my dad get up there?
Me: I don’t know. You’d have to ask him. Some people like to observe and watch things.
Skanda: How did you let people know you were going to do this? Did you call them up this week?
Me: No, Andy taught us how to do these last week. I just explained it again.
Skanda: Oh, how much longer until worship is over?

Love this kid.

Skanda had been back reading in the storytelling station the whole time. One, including myself, might think, “there is no way Skanda’s paying attention. That kid is totally checked out.”

Oh, but he’s totally checked-in. Not only listening and watching but also wondering about how I/we made it happen. “Did you call people up and let them know?”

Pilgrims are used to doing stuff like this in worship so phone calls and emails aren’t needed. And I adore Skanda’s thinking—what needs to happen prior to worship to get people on board? How do you create ownership with liturgy? Does Skanda need his own heads-up in times of transition?

He noticed we did something a bit out of the ordinary. Skanda paid attention to his dad’s participation. He wondered about what needed to happen prior to doing something like human sculptures. Skanda thought critically, at his age level, about liturgy and its parts–especially the parts that happen before the Sunday performance even happened.

Noticing
Wondering
Paying attention

Next time we have worship planning, I’m calling up Skanda.

The Art of Worship Planning

pilgrims

This article was published by Alban at Duke Divinity here. Below is a copy and paste of the article.

Worship planning is an art. It’s a discipline. It must be done over and over and over again in community order to get worship “under our skin.” How we plan worship reflects what we believe worship should be — a transformative, communal experience of observing, trusting, trying, reflecting, and taking chances for the sake of experiencing the Holy One. At Church of the Pilgrims (PCUSA) in Washington, DC where I am Minister for Spiritual Formation, we have created a process that has cultivated our skills for planning worship.

Worship at Pilgrims has been called a “wild mess” by Andy Wassenich, a church member at Pilgrims. While working well within the boundaries and framework of the Reformed Tradition, our worship changes liturgical season after season, with nuances each week. Walking meditations? Check. Pilgrims singing in three-part harmony? Check. Prayer stations, compost pile as communion table, Biblical storytelling, and bubble machine for Pride and Pentecost? Check, check, check. Over a decade, we’ve opened ourselves up to improvisation and spontaneity in worship allowing ourselves, at the same time, to be cracked open by the Holy Spirit and her empowering and prophetic ways. How did we get to this point? Of course, it wasn’t always like this.

I arrived on the Pilgrims scene in January 1999 after graduating from Union Theological Seminary in NYC where on a daily basis I experienced profoundly creative and ever-changing worship. Pilgrims’ was in dire straits in the late 1990’s: crumbling building, shaky finances, lack of identity and purpose, and existing without a called pastor. The congregation was small, getting smaller, and depressed.

Their worship reflected their existence—it was deathly, put-me-to-sleep boring.

A year and a half later, Pilgrims called Jeff Krehbiel who is still serving. Pilgrims re-grouped, started getting involved in community organizing, became a More Light congregation, and re-designed our administrative structure (good-bye standing committees!). While revitalizing worship incorporated many of the same principles of those endeavors, it was a different task altogether. Instead of consulting worship planning books or creating more rules on how to run an efficient worship meeting, we accessed ourselves, harnessed our own creativity, and started planning and creating worship together.

Over time, we developed an art of worship planning that has transformed our Sunday liturgical landscape and the entire eco-system at Pilgrims, the interconnected processes and structures that make up our life together.

The Process of Our Worship Planning

In worship planning we begin the process of sharing responsibility for worship as broadly as possible, shifting the dynamics of “worship leader” and “worship participant” in order to break down the barriers between “provider” and “receiver,” so that worship truly becomes “the work of the people.” –Jeff Krehbiel, pastor at Church of the Pilgrims

Four to six weeks prior to the upcoming liturgical season, Jeff, myself, Rob Passow, our music director and Lauren Dwyer, our Elder for Worship, along with interns, currently Jess Fisher and Dana Olson, brainstorm names of four to six Pilgrims to invite to worship planning. Invitees could be folks who have been at Pilgrims fifty years or five months.

We send an email that includes a link to the lectionary texts to the upcoming season and any other relevant links or an article. We are clear in the email we are asking them for a one-time commitment of brainstorming on a specific evening. We ask invitees to read the texts prior to the evening and choose one that stands out to them for any reason. We’ve realized that is all the prep work that’s needed. Less is more.

Before the meeting, Jeff, Rob, and I divide up the responsibilities of who is going to lead what part of the gathering. At the start of the meeting, we give an overview of the planning process, liturgical season and the texts. Then we move into liturgical storytelling, sharing stories of worship from the past season that have stuck with each person. This creates a shared, collective experience right from the get-go and lifts up experiences of worship that have hits our hearts for one reason or another. We’ve moved away from the “I like” and “I didn’t like” evaluative response of worship experience. In the storytelling, we are asking people to dig deeper into an experience that challenged their participation or disrupted their own thoughts and patterns of living.

After the storytelling, Rob teaches us a new song that he envisions could be used somewhere in the service based on the texts. We sing as a small group, a cappella, feeling the music more than performing it at that point.. From there we jump into the texts, offering people time to look over the texts again and identify something that stands out to them because of an image, word, phrase, or social context. Then it’s time to go deeper either through a short, exploratory Bible study having individual time to ponder some questions or break into groups of two to three to explore.

After the reflection time, the group shares thoughts on the texts, taking time to identify patterns, connections, and contradictions and scribbling it all down on newsprint. When we’ve exhausted our wonderings, we start another piece of newsprint and share about on what’s going on in the life of Pilgrims, in DC, in our culture, and the world-at-large. How do these texts speak to our life right now? Soon, all the papers are up around the room, surrounding us.

We stand back and take a look. We ask, “how can worship make these experiences come alive?” We consider if there are sparks from recent Sundays that we want to continue, and whether there are things we want to stop doing for now.

With the doors of creativity opened, the Holy Spirit starts to flurry around the room, and improv, the artistic methodology of saying “yes…and” comes front and center. Ideas get tossed into the air, each affirmed and clustered to form a foundation from which we work. During the recent planning for Lent our intern Jess Fisher created a map of the sanctuary, distinguishing its moveable and stationary parts. When it came to placement of the liturgical furniture, the map facilitated an explosion of ideas related to our chosen theme of “The Body.” I sat in awe, listening to people give critical analysis in the weaving together of liturgical space, Christian ethics, and theology.

We leave the gathering with a pretty good sense of where the upcoming season of worship is headed. We’ve primarily spent time sitting with the macro-image of worship; we haven’t struggled with the nitty-gritty details of the service that can bog down creativity and create power struggles. But the big picture is all that Jeff, Rob, and I need establish our own marching orders to give life to participants’ ideas. We take the ideas, cycle through a number of more detailed conversations about responsibilities and delegations, and then toss the whole enterprise up into the sky and let the Holy Spirit continue on with her work.

The Method of Our “Wild Mess” Madness

We collaborate. We think outside of the box. We touch. We listen. We share. We’re vulnerable.

Sometimes we cry. We incorporate our experiences, our lives and our personal work into worship planning. We brainstorm and then make it come alive. We’re interconnected. We taste, touch, smell, listen, feel. We do all of the above in worship planning and I think that this process makes it all happen in worship itself as well. –Lauren Dwyer, Elder for Worship at Church of the Pilgrims.

What does our worship planning create? What kind of culture has it created at Pilgrims? How does it impact worship?

Worship planning has let Pilgrims find its own unique voice not just in our expression of Sunday liturgy but also in Pilgrims eco-system at-large. How we brainstorm and “do” liturgy has impacted the web of life and interconnectedness at Pilgrims. Indeed, the intentionality of our worship planning method is not isolated to those evening planning sessions. Our methodology has now infused itself throughout the congregation, impacting how we run meetings, share meals at Open Table (our Sunday lunch for hungry neighbors), welcome first time worshippers, and plan our Capital GLBT Pride events.

Improvisation: Improv is a state and being of creativity that involves saying “yes….and….” Improv involves structure (like the structure in our worship planning and order of worship) and that structure creates safety to say “yes” to new ideas. The “yes…and” results in the creation of new patterns, behaviors, actions, and structures. There are no mistakes in improv; only risk-taking. We say “yes” to new ideas in worship planning and beyond all the time at Pilgrims. This doesn’t mean that all ideas are used. It means all ideas are welcome, noodled around with, explored, and honored.

Improv has also taken us “off script” more often than not in liturgy. We use the “call and response” model a lot; use an improv communion liturgy when it fits the service; and if the liturgist “messes” up like sharing a prayer of dedication before the offering has been taken, it’s not a mess-up. It’s liturgy. It’s life. It’s human. We stop what we are doing, re-group, and move forward without judgment or evil looks from the pew.

Safe, Welcoming Space: Improv is almost impossible without safe space. Improv connects to creating a safe space whether in the sanctuary, coffee hour, or a planning meeting for the Capital Gay Pride parade. Cultivating a safe space where ideas, bodies, spirits, stories, life histories are valued is crucial to taking risks that take us beyond our edge as individuals and a community. A safe place lets us find our edge, that emotional, sensory place within us that tells us we are moving beyond our comfort zone. It isn’t a place of pain or suffering; it’s a place where we move beyond our own, personal norms and socially constructed ways when we can die to our old ways, and rise to the new. Caitlin Bousquet, a recent member at Pilgrims, “in the couple of planning meetings I’ve attended, the people leading and participating have been very open to listening to, validating, and considering all input, no matter how out there it has been.  This openness has led to some really creative practices and experiences in worship.”

We can say “yes…and’’’ because we’ve created a safe, permission-giving environment to plan worship. This doesn’t mean we are void of discomfort, tension, or anxiety in our planning process. But we learn to live with these feelings as we come face-to-face to express our trust in the stories of faith.

Power:This is huge. Power and liturgy go hand-in-hand. Our worship planning has deconstructed power and constructed power in new ways. First, as clergy and a music director, we see it as our job to get out of the way. Deconstructing power means dismantling constructed sources of power—clergy, in particular, are socially constructed sources of power in a congregation. We provide a certain type of leadership and guidance in worship planning and then make sure our egos and any power tripping are taking a nap. The center of worship planning isn’t us as clergy, it’s the Biblical narratives which exist to agitate and heal our lives. Worship planning lets the texts do the work needed on us.

Power in worship planning is then centered on the texts and community, as the Spirit moves, does her thing, and creates a “wild mess” of a liturgical season.   Liturgy can affirm hierarchical, dominating, and life-sucking-can’t-afford-rent-because-minimum-wage-is-so-low kind of power. Liturgy demands relational power–the kind that creates space for people to connect and feel their own capacity to create Holy change. This means having a worship planning process that reflects the kind of worship we want to experience.

Impermanence:Each Sunday, eighty impermanent beings sit in Pilgrims sanctuary. That’s eighty human beings. We are born. We die. We are impermanent. As the scriptures and those around us show us, we are soil, and to soil we shall return. If we are impermanent, then why do we try so damn hard to keep worship the same week after week? Why do we bolt down with all our might the pulpit, pews, organ and whatever else when we ourselves will be released into the great, swirling energy of the universe? Why do we hunker down with nostalgia, like it’s been guerrilla glued to our DNA? Why do we have liturgy that works against our human nature of transformation?

We are born. We die. Our worship planning and the ever changing nature of participants is an impermanent experience. We can’t get too tightly wedded to the group because within an hour, the group will cease to exist. People from the group might take on leadership in the liturgies they’ve helped plan but the group dies at the end of the night. The nature of our planning and liturgy mirrors our human impermanence.

Janet Walton, my Professor of Worship at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, has remarked if worship is the same week-after-week, if worship never changes, it reflects our view on the world. We don’t want the world to change. If we seek transformation, connection, fluidity, and social change for the world then our worship must be of that same nature. When people experience their own individual and collective power and grace in worship planning, worship is an ever-changing for the sake of the ever-present need for justice and liberation for the planet which is the body of God.

Creativity:

People who are not “professional” worship planners frequently approach the planning with a more open mind—or at least with fewer pre-conceived ideas. Their response to worship is usually more visceral (and less intellectual/analytical) than those of us with formal seminary and/or conservatory backgrounds; and they often ask better (or at least more straightforward) questions.—Rob Passow, Music Director at Pilgrims

The questions we ask near the end of worship planning: “how do we make these experiences come alive in worship?” followed by “what have we experienced lately in worship that we want to keep, what do we want to stop doing for now?” are crucial to our creativity. The questions focus on keeping actions in worship that are meaningful to us right now, breaking through unquestioned habits done in the name of nostalgia rather than connection and relevancy.

Our worship planning has evolved in participant’s confidence and questioning. Both confidence and questioning involve risk-taking. Do the Advent candles have to be purple? Can we build a wailing wall for the sanctuary? Can we worship without the lights? Can “non-ordained” people be at the communion table? Do we need a communion table? Can we have a compost pile as a communion table?

David Gauntlett, in his book, Making Is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity, from DIY and knitting to Youtube and Web 2.0 writes that creativity “helps us to build resilience….and the creative capacity to deal with significant challenges.” The discipline of worship planning, and the experience of Pilgrims liturgy, builds layers upon layers of creative experiences. Not only is creativity part of resiliency, “creativity is an act of defiance,” says dancer Twyla Tharp, as creativity breaks through the status quo and pushes our imaginations to explore, dream, and imagine a world made new.

Congregants-as-Liturgical Artists

The connection I see between our worship planning and our worship services is the inclusiveness and participatory nature of it. Through our many open and collaborative parts of our services the entire congregation is given the opportunity to add to the experience and the service.” Andy Wassenich, member at Pilgrims

With Pilgrims “liturgical ecology” or the connections, relationships and systems that reflect our methodology of liturgy, we’ve created congregants-as-liturgists. News flash! Liturgy isn’t about the clergy. It really isn’t about those participating either. It’s about taking the Biblical narratives and the Reformed Tradition that’s been passed down to us and, as a community, seek to interact with it in order to recognize the Holy One in life and the organizing of justice.

The ownership and participation in planning and liturgy that’s been cultivated through our process means we have particularized our liturgy, found our unique voice to enable us to deepen and nourish the continued wrestling of faith. Congregants-as-liturgists means those participating substantially infuse themselves into the liturgical experience. Pilgrims have learned to design the liturgical experience and greatly impact the content of the liturgy.

When we improve our Prayer for Great Thanksgiving, those at the table offer prompts that create space for thanksgivings. “What aspects of creation do we need to give thanks for? “What acts of Jesus do we live with gratitude?” Those gathered around the table call out their responses, moved by their own experiences and the Spirit at work.

Recently we’ve been using two questions to reflect on worship: “What did you notice in worship” and “what do you wonder about?” Both get away from the “it’s all about me” attitude about worship, and pushes us to reflect critically within an artistic framework. In this type of reflection process, Pilgrims are thinking critically and imaginatively about their experience. We also get insights into how to nuance upcoming services.

Liturgy as a “Wild Mess”

When we create a “wild mess” in worship, we experience what change feels like, looks like, smells like, and tastes like. We learn to take risks for the sake of justice. We push through age-old, conventional, status quo driven boundaries of worship. We sing new songs, we engage the Biblical stories in multi-sensory ways, and the sacraments are authentic, ancient expressions of grace within. “Wild mess” of a worship service breaks through social and ecclesiastical norms so we can embrace the hope and possibilities of the Commonwealth of God. We learn what it looks and feels like to take a stand.

Liturgy as a “wild mess” means critiquing Empire, the powers-that-be, and the social structures that oppress, defile, and disfigure who we are as created in the image of God. It means offering a liberating way of being together, practicing in-the-moment ways of being equal, compassionate, vulnerable, and powerful. When we started this type of worship planning at Pilgrims, we had no idea what kind of liturgical journey we were embarking on, that it would impact our congregational eco-system like it has. We are inherently experimenting with our life stories and the story of the movement of God. With this type of planning, you can’t expect what will come at the end, you can’t predict. One of our long time members, Gerry Hendershot, puts it, “Every time something is added to our already symbol-laden worship, I think, ‘That’s it, we can’t add anything else.’  Then we do.” As in the process of creating social change, we engage in a process of creativity and critique with an outcome yet-to-be seen or experienced. It’s wild, messy worship full of integrity, intentionality, and experiences of change. It’s also a hell of a lot of work. And we love it.

Lent 2014 at Pilgrims, Part 2 of 3.

Our "created just for this Lent" communion table.
Our "created just for this Lent" communion table.

Lent 2014 at Pilgrims, Part 2! Read about Part 1 here. During our worship planning session for Lent, Mary Ester, one of our members, said we should move the furniture (communion table, pulpit) out of the sanctuary and have the preacher, storyteller, and announcement person be in the open, arid space. Mary said she can hide our bodies behind furniture. Let's break down the barriers between bodies and people.

So we did. We have a newly constructed, small, wooden communion table that looks like it might fall over at any minute. The preachers, storytellers, and liturgist are just in the middle of our liturgical space.....with our bodies.

I've noticed, within me, this keeps the energy moving. Up until this moment in the service there has been lots of movement in body, energy, and voice. Even though Jeff maybe be moving around just a bit while he's preaching, it's enough to keep up the flow that's already present. The thought of a preacher getting behind the pulpit at this point in the service feels like an energy killer.

This means sermons with notes!

More vulnerability. More risk. More of the preacher being "seen" by those around.

After another hymn, announcements, choir singing we move on to communion....

Before we come to the table, we do a walking meditation. As Jesus moved himself towards Jerusalem, his primary mode of being was walking. So....we take on that body movement and posture in a walking meditation before we come to the table.

We ring a meditation bell, Rob (our music director) starts a very simple droning on the piano, and people walk mindfully around the sanctuary. One of the leaders offers up three meditation questions, one at at time, that are based on the theme of the Sunday + Biblical character.

Examples: When the blind man was healed, I wonder what that healing felt like in his body? I wonder what healing feels like in our own bodies?

Mountain Pose
Mountain Pose

After about 5 minutes of walking with questions, we come to the table singing "Come Bring Your Burdens to God" and stand near the table in mountain pose under the three crosses. The question becomes: where will you stand? Close to the table? Out on the margins of the mashed up community? The invitation is a "all is welcome, no exceptions" and claim your own place at the table. Where will you stand? Close to the table? Close to others? On the  margins of the mashed up group?  What pushes your comfort zone without putting your body in major discomfort.

This is yoga---finding your edge. Taking your body to the edge is place between new sensations and pain. You seek new sensations. Avoid pain. This is how change takes place in the body.

We offer time for prayers---for broken and whole bodies, for the broken and whole planet.

Our communion liturgy is improvised. Jeff and a couple of others have chanted some initial words that move us through the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving and people call out the content. Example: Let us give thanks for the planet which God created (chanted). What of creation do we need to give thanks for? (spoken) People call out the thanks.

We work our way through the primary elements of the Prayer. We improvise the Words of Institution. Example: Leader shares "On the night before Jesus was betrayed, what happened?" People fill in the rest of the story. It's a multitude of voices at once. 

We share the bread. Share the cup. Offer anointing of hands with the words, "Jess, your body is sacred."

Our closing hymn each week in worship.
Our closing hymn each week in worship.

We sing "Sacred the Body" hymn #27 out of the Glory of God as the closing hymn each week. Note: This hymn was created by Ruth Duck for a worship service I was part of while at Union Seminary in NYC. #amazing

In the next blog post on liturgy, I'll give my reflections on the liturgy as a whole and the "back story" ritual and  movement theories that are present.