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‘The feet of Christ were always on a journey towards God’

Worshipers at national 1001 NWC gathering enter ‘painting liturgy,’ walking with Christ to the cross

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Wiping off each other’s feet: part of the ‘painting liturgy’ for worship at a national 1001 new worshiping communities gathering. (Photo by Paul Seebeck)

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. – Worshipers gathered at “Living, Dying, Rising” — the national gathering for 1001 New Worshiping Communities (1001 NWC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — were encouraged to “slow down” Tuesday night, “to be in the presence of God,” by walking with Christ on the road to the cross.

“Something amazing happens when God is revealed to an ordinary person,” said the Rev. Daniel So, who, along with the Rev. Jeya So, co-pastors Anchor City Church, a 1001 NWC in San Diego.

Recently an 85-year old woman came to So after he preached a sermon on Exodus 3:1-6, where God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. Telling him a story of giving birth to her son 50 years ago, she said, “My husband was called away to work; I was so afraid.”

Daniel So serves communion during worship at “Living, Dying, Rising,” a 1001 new worshiping communities gathering. (Photo by Paul Seebeck)

The woman prayed and said she distinctly heard God saying, “I am here, I am here.” It wasn’t until that Sunday some 50-years later, So said, that she realized “God was revealing God’s name to her.”

After So’s brief reflection, conference worship leader the Rev. Abby King-Kaiser invited those gathered to walk on Christ’s road by entering into a painting liturgy she wrote for Common Ground, the 1001 NWC she serves at Xavier University.

She invited participants to dip their feet in, or brush them with, paint and to walk, make footprints, paint or write to remember Christ’s love and sacrifice — while listening to scripture and reflective questions from Holy Week.

“The feet of Christ wandered, but were never lost, always on a journey towards God,” said King-Kaiser. “As you consider Christ’s journey, consider your journey. Let no step go unexamined; where have you burned with the presence of God next to you on the road?”

The following are the opening and closing responsive readings for a “painting liturgy” by Abby King-Kaiser.

Opening Reading

Every day, we move.
Our muscles stretch and contract.
Our nerves constantly firing.
Our bodies unconsciously
aware of the world around us.
Every day, we move.

It doesn’t require thought
to slide your toes into your socks,
to pull your laces tight,
to step across a threshold.
Every day, we move.

We take for granted
the way our toes gift us with balance
the way our knees spring into action
the way we are carried from one place to another
by a collection of cells, all greater
than the sum of their parts.
Every day, we move.

We balance the past.
We spring into the present.
We are carried into a future not our own.
Our souls move with the Spirit,
following the One Who Loves Us,
the One Who Sacrificed for Us,
taking for granted those moments
we have been carried
from one moment to another.
Every day, we move.

Closing Reading

Journeying God,
Every day we move.
We will move with intention
remembering the footsteps of Christ
in prayer
in sorrow
in sacrifice
in resurrection.

Every day we move.
We will move with grace
carrying those who need our support
bearing the weight of the cross
knowing that we never walk alone.

Every day we move.
We will move with trust
unable to carry ourselves
carried by those
whose hearts burn with the love of God.

Every day we move.
Our movements testifying to the presence of Christ
on the road with us.

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