April 2nd, 2021 at 6:30pm
Focus: Telling stories of grief, loss, and survival in many forms to connect to the Good Friday story.
Function: To know that God understands our grief and loss and find comfort in sharing our stories with the ones we love. (That people feel space to grieve and know that God loves them in the midst of their grief)
Setting: Front stage looks like a campground with trees, a fake fire, tent and camp chairs. Participants are invited to bring their camp chair & dress as if you’re going camping. I have 5 chairs that i’ll be bringing. I may find the sound of crackling fire to go over the speakers, or perhaps nature sounds.
The group is sitting around the campfire talking about 2020 and different forms of grief or loss. Occasionally, a hymn verse or two is sung in between their stories. We create a gentle storytelling and worshipful space.
Goal: I would like this to feel conversational rather than scripted. Each person will have a person to ask a question that will start their story.
Introduction to the audience: Welcome to our campground! This may seem like an unusual way to celebrate the story of Good Friday, but we ask you to play along with us. We will engage in authentic stories of grief and loss tonight and sing some songs together.
What is it about the sounds of nature and the smell of a campfire that helps us break down our guards and share our stories?
Stories & Songs– instructions: Each person who tells their story will invite another person to share their story (by asking a question) or we will start singing a song.
- Chris Kelley and farming 2019
- To be a farmer is to struggle with the land and the weather, Chris, how did 2019’s rainy year impact you?
- HYMN: Amazing Grace #487
- Abby Johnson – hymn story ‘It Is Well’
- Abby, I know that most hymns have a story behind them. Can you think of a hymn that is connected to loss?
- Johnson Kids- surviving (& thriving) school in 2020
- What was something new you did for school in 2020?
- What was something you missed for school?
- What is a new thing you have loved?
- HYMN: It is well #73
- Josh – Losing my faith
- Hypocrisy of Christians
- Embracing our differences
- The beauty of creation
- Jack Lake – losing vision
- Jack, over the years your macular degeneration has progressed and your eyesight has decreased. What do you miss about your sight?
- What do you still enjoy or have you found new things to enjoy?
- HYMN: Come Thou Fount #17
- Meriah –
- Does the Bible talk about loss?
- Example: story of Lazarus, the story of the cross (darkness at the cross)
- Is it bad if we are sad? Shouldn’t we just accept everything as “God’s plan?”
- OT stories & Psalms of feeling in too deep over our head and needing God’s help
- Does the Bible talk about loss?
Transition: Each of us has had a loss in our life, and especially since 2020. Perhaps it was a loss of our sense of or maybe you lost a job. Perhaps you lost a loved one from COVID or simply old age. Perhaps you are grieving normalcy. As we have shared our grief stories with you we invite you to reflect on your own loss.
Invitation to light a candle: up front here we have candles (with hand sanitizer too) we invite you to come up and light a candle to acknowledge your grief. We’ll sing a song to leave space for participation. If you aren’t able to get up or maybe aren’t ready to light a candle, you are welcome to sing with us.
HYMN: Old Rugged Cross #317
Point to Sunday: At the end of Friday, Jesus’ followers felt quite hopeless. Officials had executed their teacher, and it seems their hope was executed with him. There seemed to be no way out of the darkness.
You are not alone, no matter what pain you are experiencing. Fellow believers know the struggle of loss. God’s people throughout scripture knew the struggle of loss. God grieved Jesus on the Cross.
Conclusion: It’s normal on Good Friday to end the service sitting in our grief. I’ve had seminary professors tell students “don’t jump to Sunday too quick.” It’s easy to rush to hope when we’re in the presence of pain. Most of us don’t like to experience loss, grief, or inconvenience longer than necessary.
Grief is a lifelong journey. We know through the story of Jesus specifically, and the scriptures entirely, that God understands what it means to feel grief. This knowledge may not take the pain away, but hopefully we can find comfort in knowing we aren’t the only ones who have felt this way, and the pain doesn’t last forever.
God knows our grief and won’t leave us there. God isn’t just looking to heal our broken hearts or sick bodies. God has a bigger redemption plan in mind. Easter is coming along with the promise of God fulfilling God’s promises to set things right again.
It is Friday; we are full of grief, but Sunday’s coming. Sunday doesn’t immediately remove the pain of today, but it gives us a glimmer of hope that the pain will end.