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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 just 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 4, The Battle of Jericho. Add, subtract, and adapt to fit your situation:

Opening words

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field. I'll meet you there. — Rumi

Chalice lighting

Use chalice lighting words familiar to your congregation or use Reading 452 from Singing the Living Tradition.

Telling the Story of Rahab and the Spies

If you had a group using Alternate Activity 1, The Spies and the Red Chord, invite them to act out that part of the story.

Newscasts from Jericho

Continue the story of the fall of Jericho; invite the group that created the newscasts (Activity 6) to share some of their interviews.

Questioning the storyteller

Invite members of the Questioning the Storyteller group (Activity 7) to share their comments, disagreements, and responses to the unknown teller of this story. Place the creations on the worship table or tape them to the edge of the table.

What does this story tell us about ourselves?

Invite the discussion group to share some of their comments and insights about what this story meant when it was written down and how we look at it today. How has the moral meaning of this story changed over time? What bearing does it have on our lives today?

Meditation/prayer

Begin a meditation or prayer as you normally would in your congregation. Then say, "This story is a difficult story, because the people in it did not behave in a way that was fair and just." Invite participants to remember times when they have not been treated fairly or justly, and say, "We remember how we felt to have that happen." Then say, "There are times when we have not treated people fairly or when we have hit or hurt someone" and invite participants to hold those moments in their hearts. Invite participants to promise that they will try their hardest to be fair and just and peaceful in the way they treat others and invite participants to speak aloud if they choose, naming one of the ways they will work to keep that promise. End your meditation or prayer by saying, "Help us to/may we remember that we are not alone when we make a mistake and act unfairly or with violence. We can admit when we are wrong and try again, and our family, friends, this congregation, and God/Spirit of Life/Spirit of Justice will be with us when we do that. End the meditation or prayer as you normally would in your congregation.

Music

Choose some music about peace. Sing Hymn 101, "I've Got Peace Like a River," Hymn 159, "This is My Song," Hymn 162, "Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield," Hymn 167, "Nothing But Peace is Enough," Hymn 168, "One More Step," or another familiar peace hymn or song.

Closing words

Use words familiar to your congregation.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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