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 6, The Binding of Isaac. Add, subtract, and adapt to fit your situation:
Listen to a recording of Isaac and Abraham sung by Joan Baez. Lyrics, written by Baez, Wally Wilson, and Kenny Greenburg, can be found on the Joan Baez website. The song was recorded on the 1992 Baez album, Play Me Backwards.
Use chalice lighting words familiar to your congregation or use Reading 452 from Singing the Living Tradition.
Isaac and Abraham: An Artist’s View
Invite the group who looked at the story in art and did their own paintings to share some of what they talked about, as well as their paintings. Place the paintings on or near the worship table.
If you had a group doing Alternate Activity 1, invite them to share their “I can say ‘No’” creations and to place them on or near the worship table.
Rewriting the Story
Invite members of the Rewriting the story group (Activity 6) to share their alternate ending by acting it out.
Invite the discussion group to share some of their comments and insights.
Begin a meditation or prayer as you normally would in your congregation. Then say, “This story is a hard story, one that makes us want to protest and say no! We think about Isaac in the story and want badly to change it- to have his father behave differently or to have God behave differently.” Invite participants to remember in their hearts times when they have been asked to do things they know are wrong.” Then say, “Sometimes we go along and do something even when we know it is wrong. In the silence of this community, let us forgive ourselves for doing wrong. Invite participants to promise that they will try their hardest to be strong; doing what is right even if others are doing wrong. End your 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.
Sing Hymn 95, "There is More Love Somewhere" or Hymn 101, "Abide with Me."
Do all the good you can,
In all the ways you can,
To all the people you can,
At all the times you can.
As long as ever you can. — R. Monckton Milnes