"Mommy, I really like it when we do something in worship, not just sit and listen." That was my darling daughter several weeks ago, reminding me that it'd been a while since I'd planned an interactive component in worship, aside from the standard singing/praying/speaking stuff we do every week. Sure, those things are experiential too, but she was talking about something tactile. Children in particular appreciate this, and folks of other ages do too. (And at Tiny, the people who don't need or appreciate it are still game to go along.)
Here is what we've been up to. We've kept it pretty simple this month---and as you will see, I'm borrowing liberally from other sources. The good thing about these activities is that they create an artifact that can be displayed in the sanctuary or fellowship hall.
Week 1: HOPE: We didn't do anything this year on the first Sunday of Advent because it was communion Sunday, and that's plenty experiential! (It was also Thanksgiving weekend so I kept things low-key re: worship planning.) But last year we had people write things they were hoping for on colored paper, and we collaged them onto a large poster with the word HOPE printed on it. The letters of HOPE were in outline, and the hopes filled in the letters, if that makes sense.
Week 2: PEACE: I used strips of paper from an old falling-apart hymnal and had people write prayers for peace on them and put them in the offering plate. These were made into a paper chain that decorated a small tree that's on our communion table:
Week 3: JOY: Again, I had people write on strips of paper---this time it was an occasion of joy they have experienced recently, and instead of hymnal strips we used different colors of construction paper. These will be assembled on a piece large butcher paper to form a tree like so:
Week 4: LOVE: In lieu of a sermon we will do something interactive as the message. In the past we've done an impromptu Christmas pageant, or a processional of different Christmas symbols (nativity scene, poinsettia plant, bells) and explained the meaning behind each symbol. This year we will adapt the ABC's of Christmas which I saw on Fidelia's Sisters a couple years back. I think we'll have the various lines printed on individual pieces of paper for people to pick up when they come in. Then when the ABCs come they will "popcorn" up from within the congregation.
Epiphany: The children in the Upper Room are putting together a torn-paper collage like so:
I hope it will be finished by Epiphany. We intended to have everyone work on it at our Christmas potluck last weekend but time got away from us!