This Sunday I’m starting a three-week sermon series on forgiveness. October 31, week three, will be an intergenerational/family service, in which the kids will stay in the service rather than go to Sunday School. So I’m working with some folks on making that service a bit more interactive and multi-sensory than usual. (Yes, worship geared primarily toward adults should be that way too… baby steps.)
Rather than preach on forgiveness that day, I intend to use this story about a group of students at McKinley High School in DC whose artwork was vandalized. Rather than react in bitterness and seek revenge, they took the defaced items and made a brand new work of art with it, a canvas mural entitled “Renewal.”
During these three weeks I’d like people to consider a relationship in which forgiveness is needed and to pray for transformation, healing and courage. (Yes, courage—in my reading on the topic, I’m realizing that forgiveness is, in the words of one expert, not a “namby-pamby thing that doormats do. …Forgiveness is a brawny muscular exercise” that people with “a great passion for life” undertake.)
On October 31, the last day of the series (and here’s where I need help), I would like to give people random, torn scraps of fabric, that would represent that broken relationship. Then during a particular time in the service, people would bring those forward as a way of symbolizing a step forward into healing and forgiveness. Somehow these disparate, broken items could become something beautiful together, such as a drape for the communion table.
I am trying to figure out how to do this from a materials and process standpoint. It would be interesting to have a sheet of fabric that people could somehow attach their pieces to in the service, and then they could be sewn more permanently later (we have crafty quilters and banner makers in our church, which is a gift). The other alternative would be to have them put the items in a basket and have our crafty people put them together into a coherent image later.
The former is logistically challenging and not as aesthetically pleasing perhaps, but it could be much more powerful to see it come together in real time (I did this one time at a youth retreat with Legos—kids came forward and put their pieces onto the base and it was strangely powerful.) The latter has fewer logistics and might yield a more polished result.
I’ll be talking to our creative types this weekend but wanted to see what wisdom was out there on the internet. What kind of fabric, what types of materials, how might this work?