I’m at Fitzroy Uniting Church on Sunday at 10am.

I wasn’t going to do spaces, but i have lost my voice [as has most of melbourne], and though it will be back by sunday, it won’t survive a service. So spaces it is…

It’s Pentecost Sunday. We’re using Ezekiel 37:1-14, Rabbit Proof Fence [by special request of someone in the congregation], lots of music, silence and the spaces. i’m kind of hoping that they’re not in the mood for some grand celebration. It looks dark, but it ends on a gently optimistic note [well it will, the blessing hasn’t been written yet]. And i wrote it with this little community in mind, so hopefully it reflects their story and context, and might not make sense anywhere else…

The spaces go something like this…

[images, large mound of sand]

The bones lie dry in our valley too
telling their stories of discarded dreams
and broken trust;
disillusionment, fear and tiredness.

If this is a story you know too well
or if those you love are living it,
take a handful of sand.
Let it trickle back into the ground
in the shape of your prayer
for yourself,
for the church,
for the world.

If you can speak with Ezekiel’s faith
into these stories with the promise of life,
take a handful of sand.
Let it trickle back into the ground
in the shape of your vision
for life,
for the church,
for the world.

pray for God to breathe life
into all that is lost…

[sandpaper, images]

The world fights for breath.

We hoard our last gasps of oxygen
for fear there is no more to come.

And as the world slowly dies around us
our fear is that our lifelessness is too much
even for you, God,

that there is nothing more you are able to do.

Rip the shape of those things
you are unable to trust to God
into the sandpaper

if you can, leave them here,
to be held by the faith of this community.

[bread, wine, images]

surrounded by the desolation and tiredness
we search for what keeps us alive…

the hunger for god
the memory of jesus
the promise of the spirit

take the bread and the wine
let their story of faith
be your story of life

[black card, black pens, white pens]
in the valley
when everything is stripped back
to bare bones
it’s hard to tell which are ours
and which are theirs

we realise how fragile
the things that gave us shape and colour,
uniqueness, diversity,
– that defined us against each other,

the most resilient part of us
– what’s left when everything else is gone –
are the things we have in common
with everybody else.

write your grief for what has been lost in black
and your celebration for what remains in colour…

[newspaper, black markers, written onto black card]

you do not give up
on the broken and the lost

you do not give up
on the fractured
or the shattered
or the dying
or the dead

you do not give up
on the fearful
or the hateful
or the impossible

you do not give up
when there is no heartbeat left
or no heart at all

you do not give up
you do not leave us for dead

thank god.

when you ready
and if you would like
add to the newspaper the situations in your life and world
that you need God not to give up on…


  1. Thanks for this Cheryl. I have found Paddington United Church in Sydney which has a ‘space’ feeling about it. A bit far to attend regularly but I get their weekly notices and enjoyed teh time I managed to attend.

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