abraham, lazarus and a rich man

[optional reading: the whingy bit.

i’ve been working against the flow over the last few months. it feels like my last good idea was a very long time ago. i’m hoping it’s a side effect of winter, and the tiredness of organising a trip, and the disruption of working in a crowded office space… and, i have to say, i’m pretty relentless at putting pressure on myself, which works against me… so i’ve been feeling a bit of a fraud as i’ve been planning the workshop for sunday.

the doctor told me yesterday that i sprained an ankle while i was away [no wonder it’s been hurting]… so i’m spending a few days working from the sofa at home. it’s given a nice opportunity to search for a spark of inspiration.

i don’t know whether the following is any good [i’m not looking for affirmation – i don’t really care if it’s any good!], but in the spirit of what i always tell people in workshops about unearthing their creativity, i’m putting it out there purely because it’s something. and sometimes the only way to get to something good is to go first with the something.]

This is a series of stations based around Luke 16:19-31, to use in the workshop on Sunday. i won’t be setting all of these up for Sunday, just one or two, and we’ll talk through the others. there are also a couple of stations still missing in the series [i think they’ll be about the judgement] – i want to finish them with the group.

Station: At the gates [1]

setup: a length of purple satin, safety pins.

We are led to believe it is inevitable that there are the rich and the poor in this world.
The call of faith is to work against the inevitable.

Wait here in the silence
for your confession to emerge.

if you would like, rip a piece of fabric and pin it to your clothing. Wear it as a proclamation of the times you have been complicit to the way of the world.

Station: At the gates [2]

setup: movie of beggars in the street with their signs. a series of cardboard signs framing the images with the pleas of beggars written on them; extra pieces of cardboard and black markers

Every beggar has a story that deserves to be told.

Sit in their presence and let them speak to you.

if you know of someone whose story needs to be told, write it on a piece of cardboard and add it to the wall.

Station: Do I have the faith of Abraham?

setup: large piece of black plastic covered in a thick layer of sand, bucket of sand nearby.

Like there’s room in the sky for all the stars
and space in the desert for all the sand
in Abraham’s world, there’s a home for all.

No one is left outside the gates.

If this is a vision to which your faith calls you
add a handful of sand to the pile.

And if this is a vision of which you need reminding, put some sand in your pocket.
let it become the grit by which your everyday actions rub up against.

Station: The words of the prophets
setup: recordings of different voices reading from the books of the prophets, as found in the lectionary readings from the preceding and following weeks – Habbakuk, Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah. the voices reading the passages overlap each other.

the following questions written onto a large sheet of card on the ground.

What is the call you have been avoiding?
what is the prophetic message you need to tell the world?

When you are ready, add your responses to the card.

Station: The water
setup: jugs and glasses filled with cold water; music – Foy Vance’s ‘Gabriel and the Vagabond’

Take a glass of water.

It may be that you have had a lifetime of waiting at the gates for someone to throw you a lifeline
a scrap of food
a glass of clean water.

This is for you.
May it hold enough grace to help you survive the harshness of today
and to give you hope for an unknown tomorrow.

It may be that you do not feel you deserve this water.
and probably you don’t

but, nonetheless, this is for you.
May it hold enough grace to let you begin again today
and give you the hope to live differently tomorrow.


  1. Kel

    looks like your creative mojo is working just fine

    excuse my ignorance, but have you published a book of your alt worship ideas?

    if you haven’t, you should

    I’d buy it 🙂

  2. I think I’m going to use these for personal worship times…
    I keep picturing myself sitting on the curb, holding a piece of cardboard… writing and re-writing the things I need; the things for which I find myself begging.

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