Leader Resource 3: Creating the Closing Worship
In this program, the closing worship circle offers a time for the group to come back together to enrich each other's understanding of the story and of their own life experience. This is not a show-and-tell experience, but rather a participatory, co-created worship experience. You will need to do enough planning to provide a container for participants to share with one another and grow in spirit. You cannot script a co-created worship service, but you can guide it so that all participants feel heard and valued, and all hear and value the voices and experiences of others, regardless of age or life stage. With practice, you and the participants will become adept at co-creating worship to end each workshop.
Here are suggested elements for the closing worship for Workshop 3, Manna in the Wilderness. Add, subtract, and adapt to fit your situation:
Use the Ed Asner quote that begins this workshop:
There are genuinely sufficient resources in the world to ensure that no one, nowhere, at no time, should go hungry.
Use chalice lighting words familiar to your congregation or use Reading 452 from Singing the Living Tradition.
Where does bread come from?
If you had a group using Alternate Activity 1, Where Does Bread Come From?, invite participants to use their pictures and containers of grain to explain to the larger group how bread is made from grain.
Retelling the story
Invite the group that used Activity 6, A Share for All — Option 2, to explain that they are scribes writing 500 years after the manna in the wilderness story happened. Invite them to retell the story- and explain why they wrote it down.
Taking only our share
Invite members of the discussion group (Activity 5) to share part of their conversation about what it means to take only enough and not more. Why do they think the excess turned to rot in the story?
Mindful eating of homemade bread
Invite the group that used Activity 7, Making Bread — Option 3, to explain what they did and to pass around small pieces of the bread they made. Alternatively, invite the participants in Activity 7 or Alternate Activity 1 to pass baskets of commercial pita bread. Invite people to quietly savor a small piece and not to reach for more.
Begin a meditation or prayer as you normally would in your congregation. Then say, "As we savor this small piece of bread, let us imagine all that went into it." Invite participants to name aloud all of the things that contributed to the making of the bread and respond to each one, "We are grateful for the sun that shone on the wheat. We are grateful for the stone that ground it into grain, and so on."
Say, "We remember those who are hungry in this world. We especially remember those who come to [name a food project in which your congregation is involved] and promise to support the work of our congregation is providing food and bread for all." End your prayer by saying, "Help us to/may we remember all that makes it possible for us to be blessed with enough food to grow and to thrive and to remember to be thankful for that every day." End the meditation or prayer as you normally would in your congregation.
Telling a Modern Story
Invite the scribes from Activity 6 to share the story they created to help people today understand the same lesson that the manna story teaches.
Choose music related to bread. You might teach a traditional Gospel song such as "Honey in the Rock" or a traditional Jewish song such as "Dayenu." You might also teach a song such as Hymn 21 in Singing the Living Tradition, "For the Beauty of the Earth" or Hymn 1010 in Singing the Journey, "We Give Thanks."
Use words familiar to your congregation.