Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hopelessly Devoted To You...

I have an assignment for our next retreat. I have to come up with a devotional for the beginning of the first day. (Hmmm...wonder if this had anything to do with my suggestion, on my last post-retreat feedback form, that people be given some guidance on creating and leading devotionals.)

As an almost-graduate who's been through the rotation of devotionals and table graces, I shouldn't be too terribly worried about this task. My classmates' interpretations of what consitutes a devotional have included everything from by-the-book Matins and Compline to interactive stuff to, in one case, a long personal testimony.

But...I just don't enjoy coming up with group devotionals. Frankly, I don't always get very much out of sitting there on the receiving end of them either. My inclination is to use the short-form Morning Prayer out of the Book of Common Prayer; it's much more eloquent and elegant than anything I can create, and it's short and to the point, so why re-invent the wheel? But I can't help but think that I'm expected to come up with something unique; something boffo.

One of the things I've learned in my year as regular Assisting Minister is that "boffo" rarely shows up on the average Sunday; it's generally "muddling through." So maybe I need to lower my self-expectations to my Sunday ones and just muddle through with something adequate to the task.


RevHRod said...

LC - I think well done liturgy with well selected texts beat out a lot of the sappy stuff that gets offered as group devotions. Maybe the trick here is in how you frame it. Introduce the form and share some of your delight in that form. That might be the best model you could offer.

Joan said...

You're right! Why reinvent the wheel? Morning Prayer is a beautiful devotional and everyone may not be familiar with it.

Tom in Ontario said...

I do a simple Bible Study the way Kelly Fryer does in her series. I start with a simple prayer asking the Holy Spirit to come and inspire our reading and discussion of scripture. Then I read a scripture passage, usually form some daily lectionary. Then we discuss three questions:

1) What do you think God is doing here? (In other words, what's going on in this reading? What's God up to? What's the plot of the story? Who are the characters and what are they up to?)
2) What do you hear God saying to you, personally? (What is God saying to you about your life, relationships, work, and so on in this reading? What is God saying to you about what you're called to be or to do?)
3) What do you hear God saying to us (as a small group, congregation, community, nation)? (How is God calling, challenging, directing, forgiving, and loving us in this reading? What is God saying about what we're called to be or to do?)

Then we go around the group and offer a prayer out loud or in silence. Each person gets a turn and if they want to pray silently they just say "Amen" when they're done to let the next person know it's their turn.

It doesn't have to take long but sometimes it can.