We had a ‘Circuit Service’ tonight for the dedication of the Easter Offerings. British Methodists will know what that’s about and I don’t suppose it will make any difference to those who don’t know. An order of service, or liturgy, for the worship is provided by Network and the service was organized and led by women of the Circuit, so I’d anticipated having a night off. However, when I arrived at the church my colleague felt it would be fitting if I were to lead the blessing at the end of the service. That’s OK, but this is where the problem arises.
This is what the order of service said: (bold type is to be said by the whole congregation)
Mahatma Ghandi said, ‘ Be the change you want to see in the world.’
Jesus said, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses’.
Let us go in the power of the Spirit, to make a difference in the world, for the glory of God. Amen
I was immediately troubled by this. It took me a moment to realise why, and I’m not certain that I wasn’t being over-sensitive. I’m not a liturgist, but it seemed to me that the pairing of ‘Ghandi said…Jesus said…’ at the close of the service was not very appropriate. On the other hand, everyone had a copy of the order of service, so would know if I made any changes. And I don’t want anyone getting the idea that I’m agin the idea of quoting Ghandi.
My solution was to keep the structure, but add a couple of ad libs, something like as follows:
But as we have heard, the desire, even the determination to be changed and be an agent of change is not enough. Our transformation only becomes possible in and through the power of our creator God. So we end our service with the words with which we began:
Jesus said, …
What do you think?