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Streams of living water

   

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Deeper Life Series

The attached worship and preaching series was designed for use at Zion Mennonite Church in place of what used to be Prayer Week services. It is based on Richard Foster's book. Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the great Traditions of Christian Faith (HarperSanFrancisco, 1998). Because of the time of year, we restricted ourselves to 6 Sundays, one for each tradition. My preference would have been to have 7 Sundays, allowing for an introductory sermon.

During the time of this series, the senior youth Sunday School class and one adult Sunday School class used Prayer: in the presence of God by Claire Ewert Fisher (published by Mennonite Church Canada) as a compliment to the series.

The banner and bulletin cover symbols were taken from an article in the Canadian Mennonite (May 29, 2000). Ron Rempel, editor, told us that they were public domain. We made our banners for this series out of three colours -- a light brown square as the background with the symbol in black and white. Any congregation interested in using this series is welcome to borrow our banners.

The fountain for the front was a small bowl fountain with rocks in it (a recent Christmas gift). It made just enough noise to be heard and shot the water up just high enough to be seen. We had it sitting on a table with various kinds of greenery (real and artificial) surrounding it. We had the fountain going from about 15 minutes before the service began through to the end of the service.

The order of service suggested in this material is based, to a significant degree, on the teachings of Robert Webber (see Blended Worship and Planning Blended Worship). We did not follow that order since the majority of people in our congregation do not like to have "things" after the sermon. We did have the procession at the beginning and the Responsive Recap at the end. All this, to say, adapt the materials as best suited to your congregation.

I have received permission from RENOVARE to distribute the Foster materials included here. If you use the series, you are welcome to use whatever materials are original with us. Please request RENOVARE's permission (see the copyright page in Foster's book) for use of the Foster materials.

May God's Spirit lead your congregation into a deeper relationship with God through the careful consideration of the great traditions of Christian spirituality.

Ray Friesen
Zion Mennonite Church
78 - 6thAve. NE Swift Current, SK S9H 2L7
zion@t2.net


STREAMS OF LIVING WATER

Deeper Life Series

Visual and Atmosphere

We tried to create an atmosphere that suggested prayerfulness and life. This included the following:

  • signs at each sanctuary door inviting people to enter quietly and prayerfully.
  • having a verse on the screen in front (using overhead projector) that people can meditate on as they wait for the service to begin.
  • music appropriate to meditation and prayerfulness
  • a fountain at the front surrounded by greenery
  • a banner each Sunday that was brought in as part of the processional and then placed in front. The banners from previous Sundays were hung around the stage. See appendix for symbols we used on banners and for copies of our bulletin covers.

Order of Service

Gathering

Gathering Song (if you so choose)

Welcome by the Worship Leader and announcement of processional hymn. (Announcements can be included here.)

Song: We alternated between two for the 6 Sundays:

Sunday 1 - Oh, have you not heard 606

Sunday 2 - Lord, I am fondly, earnestly 514

Sunday 3 - Oh, have you not heard 606

Sunday 4 - Lord, I am fondly, earnestly 514

Sunday 5 - Oh, have you not heard 606

Sunday 6 - Lord, I am fondly, earnestly 514

Processional: During the singing of the above hymn, the processional made its way to the front, in the following order:

  • Song Leader
  • Bible reader (each Sunday there were two Bible readers: this one and the one who read the texts later as part of the Service of the Word) - carrying the Bible, open, that is normally on the communion altar, (its the New International Version). The reader/carrier should walk to the pulpit with the Bible open to the text they will read and as soon as the song is finished and the people are seated, read the text. The Bible is then placed on the communion table.
  • Banner
  • Preacher

Scripture - read by the Bible carrier without announcing the reference. Should be read like a Herald proclaiming a message.

Call to Worship - appendix has copies of what was used at Zion.

Song or Songs - Strike an appropriate balance between general worship songs and songs appropriate to the theme.

For example, Sunday 1 the theme is Contemplation. You might want to sing a generic worship song, extolling the wonders of God, then a song like "There is a place" (5) or "Sweet hour of prayer" (11) and then "Lord, listen to you children praying" (353).

Prayer (or Confession or both)

Service of the Word

Children's Feature

OT Scripture

A song or psalm

NT Scripture

Sermon

Song of Response - (to be chosen in consultation with the preacher.)

Time of quiet reflection - while organ or piano plays a verse or two of the Song of Response. Either the WL or the preacher should invite the people to reflect on what they have heard and experienced and what it says to them about their relationship with God and what steps they want to take this coming week in that relationship.

Service of Thanksgiving and Prayer

Offering

Prayers of the People

Testimony (if you so choose, depending on length of your service)

Have someone share for 2-3 minutes about their experience with the tradition of the morning.

Sending

Responsive Recap - Each Sunday close with a Question/Answer involving the worship leader or Preacher and the Congregation. For example, for the Contemplative Tradition, the responsive recap is:

Leader: What is the Contemplative Tradition?

Congregation: A life of loving attention to God.

Leader: Why should we explore it?

Congregation: Because through it we experience the presence of God that brings peace and rest in a world of troubles, restlessness and pain.

Sending Song

Benediction

Themes

The overall theme for the series is "Streams of Living Water." The theme joins several important images and meanings.

i) There are six traditions of spirituality (Streams of Water) that flow together into one Stream of Living Water that nurtures our relationship with God.

ii) Our lives are often like deserts. We long for God. Each of the 6 streams of spirituality, is itself a Stream of Living Water that helps satisfy our thirst.

iii) Several Biblical texts describe the saving action of God as a Stream of Living Water that transforms the dry desert into a luscious garden.

iv) Jesus, in John 4, offers the Samaritan woman and all of us the possibility of a Stream of Living Water flowing within us so that we will never thirst again. In John 7:37-38 he says: "If any one is thirsty, let that one come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, as the Scripture said, 'From that person's innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"

v) God's Stream of Living Water flows freely and each of the 6 spiritual traditions is one way of tapping into that stream.

Sunday 1 The Contemplative Tradition: Discovering the Prayer-Filled Life

Sunday 2 The Holiness Tradition: Discovering the Virtuous Life

Sunday 3 The Charismatic Tradition: Discovering the Spirit-Empowered Life

Sunday 4 The Social Justice Tradition: Discovering the Compassionate Life

Sunday 5 The Evangelical Tradition: Discovering the Word-Centered Life

Sunday 6 The Incarnational Tradition: Discovering the Sacramental Life

These titles come from Richard Foster's book, Streams of Living Water (Harper San Francisco, 1998).

Scripture texts: There are more texts in each section than you will be able to use but reading all of them will help give you a sense for the theme. The texts in bold are the ones suggested to be used by the preacher and read as part of the Service of the Word.

Contemplative

  • I Kings 19:9-18
  • Luke 10:38-42
  • Psalm 27:7-8
  • Psalm 105:1-7
  • Psalm 19:8-14
  • Psalm 1:1-3
  • Psalm 63:1-8
  • John 15:1-5
  • Mark 1:35

Holiness

  • Deuteronomy 6:20-25
  • James 1:21-27, 3:13-18
  • Psalm 1:1-6
  • Psalm 5:1-7
  • Exodus 20:1-17
  • Deuteronomy 5:1-21
  • Deut. 10:12-21
  • Deut. 11:1-12
  • II Peter 1:2-11
  • Galatians 5:16-25
  • Matthew 5, 6 & 7
  • Romans 12:1-21 (1-2, 9-21)
  • Philippians 2:12-18
  • Ephesians 2:8-10
  • Ephesians 5:1-2

Charismatic

  • Isaiah 11:1-9
  • I Corinthians 12:1-11
  • I Samuel 10:5-13
  • Isaiah 61:1-3
  • John 13:16-31
  • Acts 2:1-21
  • Acts 4:5-13
  • Romans 8:1-12
  • I Corinthians 2:1-16

Social Justice

  • Isaiah 58:1-12
  • Matthew 25:31-46
  • Amos (note 5:21-24)
  • Jeremiah 22:16
  • Micah 6:6-8
  • Isaiah 61:1-3
  • Matthew 22:37-40
  • Luke 1:46-55
  • Luke 4:16-21

Evangelical

  • Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  • II Timothy 3:14-4:5
  • Psalm 19:7-14
  • Matthew 28:16-20
  • John 1:1-5
  • John 3:14-21
  • Romans 5:12-21

Incarnational

  • Exodus 31:1-5
  • II Corinthians 4:1-12 or
  • Colossians 3:12-17
  • Genesis 2:4b-15
  • Genesis 39-47, 50:15-21
  • Esther
  • Daniel 1-6
  • John 1:1-14
  • Ephesians 4:1-2, 4:25-5:2

Meditation: These are the texts for people to meditate on as they enter, sit down, and prepare their spirits for worship. It is suggested that the words be on a screen at the front using overhead projector or Power Point:

  • Contemplative - Psalm 27:8 (NRSV)
  • Holiness - James 3:17
  • Charismatic - Romans 8:11
  • Social Justice - Jeremiah 22:16
  • Evangelical - Psalm 19:7-10
  • Incarnational - II Cor. 4:7

Responsive Recap: This is the question/answer, leader/congregation exchange just before the Sending Song. (These are based on material in Foster's book.)

Sunday 1

Leader: What is the Contemplative Tradition?

Congregation: A life of loving attention to God.

Leader: Why should we explore it?

Congregation: Because through it we experience the presence of God that brings peace and rest in a world of troubles, restlessness and pain. (Foster, 58)

Sunday 2

L: What is the Holiness Tradition?

C: A life lived out of the character of God.

L: Why should we explore it?

C: Because through it we are able to live the life of God in an ungodly world. (Foster, 96)

Sunday 3

L: What is the Charismatic Tradition?

C: A life immersed in, empowered by, and under the direction of the Spirit of God.

L: Why should we explore it?

C: Because through it we are empowered by God to do his work and to evidence his life upon the earth. (Foster, 132)

Sunday 4

L: What is the Social Justice Tradition?

C: A life committed to compassion and justice for all people.

L: Why should we explore it?

C: Because through it God's compassion is lived through us and God's justice becomes real. (Foster, 182)

Sunday 5

L: What is the Evangelical Tradition?

C: A life founded upon the living Word of God, the written Word of God, and the proclaimed Word of God.

L: Why should we explore it?

C: Because through it our minds are renewed so that we are transformed and we are able to give a reason for the hope this is in us. (Foster, 232)

Sunday 6

L: What is the Incarnational Tradition?

C: A life that lives out in everyday moments the reality of God.

L: Why should we explore it?

C: Because through it we experience God as truly present and notoriously active in daily life. (Foster, 272)

Texts to open the Service (read by Bible carrier):

  • Contemplative Isaiah 55:1-3
  • Holiness Psalm 1:1-3
  • Charismatic Isaiah 44:1-5
  • Social Justice Isaiah 35:1-10
  • Evangelical John 4:5-14
  • Incarnational Isaiah 41:17-20

Sermon titles:

  • Contemplative - Listen!
  • Holiness - Obey!
  • Charismatic - Receive!
  • Social Justice - Act!
  • Evangelical - Believe!
  • Incarnational - Live!

Appendix I - Calls to Worship

Contemplative

Call to Worship

Leader: In response to God's invitation
we have gathered to worship.

People: As a deer gets thirsty for streams of water,
so we are truly thirsty for God.
As a people living in the world,
we come seeking God's face.

Leader: Open your lives then,
and expect to meet God.
Open your ears
and expect to hear God.
Open your hearts,
and expect to be satisfied.

People: In openness and with eager expectation,
we are here to worship,
convinced that God will meet us,
and that his river of life flows for us.

All: Let us worship God together.

Holiness

Call to Worship from Psalm 24

Leader: The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it,

The world, and all who live in it;

For he founded it upon the seas

And established it upon the waters.

People: Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?

Who may stand in his holy place?

Leader: He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who does not lift up his soul to an idol

Or swear by what is false.

He will receive blessing from the Lord

And vindication from God his Savior.

Such is the generation of those who seek him,

Who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

People: Lift up your heads, O you gates;

Be lifted up, you ancient doors,

That the King of glory may come in.

Women: Who is this King of glory?

Men: The Lord strong and mighty,

The Lord mighty in battle.

People: Lift up your heads, O you gates:

Lift them up, you ancient doors,

That the King of glory may come in.

Men: Who is he, this King of glory?

Women: The Lord Almighty --

He is the King of glory.

Charismatic

Call to Worship #669 Hymnal: Worship Book

Social Justice

Call to Worship

Leader: With eager anticipation,

with a keen sense of God's faithfulness,

with a faith deeply rooted in what God has done

in the past,

Come to worship God.

Congregation: Longing to drink at God's life-giving stream,

Convinced that we are forgiven,

Rejoicing that salvation has come,

Looking forward to a word from God,

We gather to worship.

Leader: Come, to worship a God of compassion;

Come, to meet a God of justice;

Come, to be renewed by a God who hears everyone's

cry for help.

All: Let us worship God together.

Evangelical

Call to Worship

Leader: God invites you to come with the Samaritan woman

to ask for a drink.

People: Like the people of Samaria,

we come from a dry land

with parched lips and tired spirits.

Leader: God promises to give you to drink,

to create within you a life-giving fountain,

to send a cool breeze of refreshing.

People: We believe the promise,

we can already taste the water,

we feel the breeze on our face,

we are convinced God will meet us here.

Leader: Come then, and let us worship the Lord.

Incarnational

Call to Worship

Leader: Why have you come here this morning?

People: As a deer gets thirsty for streams of water,

so we are truly thirsty for God.

As a people living in the world,

we come seeking God's face.

Leader: Open your lives then,

and expect to meet God.

Open your ears

and expect to hear God.

Open your hearts,

and expect to be satisfied.

People: In openness and with eager expectation,

we are here to worship.

We have heard God's promise.

We are convinced that God will meet us.

We know that his river of life flows for us.

All: Let us worship God together.