Words and Pictures
What comes to mind when people talk about worship? Songs? Readings? Preaching? Words? Ever since the Reformation Christian worship in the west has become very text based. Everything seems to require words and understanding of words. In some churches the communion service is the only form of worship that goes beyond words to include actions and symbolism.
This has not always been the case, before people could read the stories of our faith were told through ceremony and art, icons and glass, by liturgical seasons and timings. Worship too was expressed visually as well as through music and voice. Of course some of those things may be quite familiar to you, they make up what some people call ‘High Church’ Worship and such worship can now be found in Anglican Churches, Methodist Churches, United Reform Churches, and of course Catholic and Orthodox churches.
The idea of using Items in worship rests in this long Christian Tradition that goes right back to the early church. However our aim is to use in worship Items that come out of our own experience and culture, discovering new ways of worshipping God. Such Items work well with a guide; I call it a Tag that has open questions to aid the worshiper in their exploration.
Because we are aiming to go beyond words in our worship it is a good idea to have a range of creative materials on hand.
It’s amazing how people will respond to a big pile of creative materials. All of these should be easily available from an Art Shop.
Try and make sure you have plenty of pens on offer both for writing and for colouring in. It is also good to have plenty of colouring pencils, and perhaps crayons and chalks too. Paint is messy but also good fun.
Paper and Card
Try to get a range of coloured papers and cards to match the other materials you are using. Tissue paper is a good material as is Tyvek, a synthetic paper that is far stronger than tissue paper. Sticky notes are very useful, as is some paper glue! Coloured film is ideal as a decorative material but can also be used creatively.
Clay allows people to be more three dimensional in their worship response. Choose a range of good colours, and perhaps get some basic modelling tools. There are also coloured clays that will bake solid in the oven if you wish to keep peoples work
Having a camera around means that people can keep a record of what they have produced, even if the next person to use an Item will start afresh. A digital camera is an ideal although expensive option!