Anglicans don’t often focus on the Book of Revelation, but the ultimate vision in Chapter 22 certainly merits consideration as a focus for the day. The ideas below are inspired by the Link of the Week on Textweek.com.
The writer (Michael R Lomax) focuses on Healing and notes the difference between “healing” and “cure” – which could be a useful subject for adult reflection. This would provide an opportunity to offer anointing for healing at your service, especially if it hasn’t been offered for a while. Sometimes this is done at the conclusion of the service after others have left, but it can be quite profound to have a minister available in the sanctuary during communion. Those who wish to be anointed remain at the altar rail while communion proceeds. In this way of offering anointing, there is no conversation about what healing is being sought. The minister simply anoints with an appropriate short prayer (there is an example) in NZPB on page 743. Sometimes people receive anointing on behalf of someone else they wish to pray for, and in such cases it is appropriate for them to mention the Christian name (if they wish) before anointing. Note that offering this option to the congregation tends to eliminate any embarrassment about receiving anointing for oneself, since others won’t know why you are seeking anointing. It is helpful if the congregation have some meditative singing (healing or communion focus) while this is proceeding. This should take very little longer than the normal administration of communion.
The Link of the Week also provides the inspiration for celebrating the 5 senses with its description of John’s vision: You could have a small fruit tree in a pot, a clear jug of water, and 12 different kinds of fruit on display (fruit could be cut up and shared, especially with children). Each of the fruits could have an arbitrary “life” value associated with them, and children could be invited to decide how to label each fruit (no wrong answers!) – see Galatians 6.22f for 9 ideas!
A learning point for children could be around God wanting us all to feel better when we are sad or hurt or afraid. Which fruit do they think would make them feel stronger and happier?
There is a colouring page and puzzles for this reading here. It is a downloadable pdf file you can print out.
Each member of the congregation could receive a fragrant leaf (Eucalyptus would be ideal) to crush and smell during the prayers, which should include “the healing of the nations”.
A question the congregation could discuss in the sermon slot would be What would healing for nations look like today? What kinds of healing are most pressing? Have you lived somewhere where there was much hurt or hatred?
The leader/preacher could help people to understand that “The healing of nations” is corporate, and not merely private or individual.
Music for the day could be focused on song directed to the praise of God (rather than objectively “about God” as so much older hymnody is). See the links at the bottom of this blog for hymn and song suggestions.
One contemporary text (available in Together In Song) is Brian Wren’s hymn “Let All Creation Dance (in energies sublime)” which is set to the familiar DARWALL tune. Google the title in inverted commas to find instances of the full text.