Doves and Marshmallows
On the way to 5 Senses to Prayer Book 2 - #18
… It's that time of year
When the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
May your New Year dreams come true
And this song of mine
In three-quarter time
Wishes you and yours
The same thing too.
From The Christmas Waltz written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra in 1954
It’s that time of year when there’s so much going on! Our heads are full of end of year responsibilities and activities. The shops are full of products and displays and sales and noise. The schools (here in Aotearoa) are full of sports days, shared lunches, prizegivings and plays. The houses are full of Christmas trees and flashing lights, gifts to be wrapped and piles of washing unfolded because we’re too busy.
Into all of this noise and hustle and bustle… God breaks in!
As we get nearer to the celebration of the birth of Christ, we find in the birth of Jesus, a pathway away from all the noise. The so-called importance of all the clutter and fussing, the busyness and bustling occupying our minds and time, fades into the background.
The central focus of our celebration is in God loving the world so much that he came be with us. Emmanuel. God with us. We’re not alone. God has come.
Our response to this Good News plays out in how we live out our faith. All those lovely Advent words like Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are more than just words - they’re connection points and concepts for those who are followers of Jesus to grapple with and work on living out in every day of our faith journey. God is with us and we share God’s hope, peace, joy and love with the people in our world.
I love the Chrismas song, “You’re not Alone” written by Norah Jones and Leon Michels. Written during the first year of the Covid pandemic it captured a sense of the isolation in a world that was not filled with peace and certainty.
Our first prayer today is a peace prayer for us to give God our worries. I was hanging doves on my Christmas tree and pondering peace with a knot of worry in my stomach. “How can I bring peace?” I asked God as I placed the doves on the tree. When all else fails and we don’t know what to do - isn’t it wonderful that we can turn to God in prayer?
Our second prayer brings us the comfort of marshmallows. If you’re in Aotearoa, you might find yourself around a campfire or brazier this summer, talking and relaxing with friends as you toast marshmallows. If you’re in the northern hemisphere you may find relaxation and warmth from a cup of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. Celebrate God’s involvement in your life with this prayer.
May your own journey this week be God fueled and peace filled.
On the journey
Folded Dove Prayer
Sense of Touch – Supplication & Petition (SP.T.9)
Follow a set of instructions to fold an origami dove. On the wings of your dove write or draw a symbolic prayer to God of a worry you are holding. Hang your dove from some fishing nylon and a coat hanger hung next to an opening window. Pray that God would give your prayer wings and take your worry away. As the wind blows your dove should appear to fly. Whenever you see your dove flying, give thanks to God for moving in your life.
Getting ready checklist
· Instructions for making an origami dove
· White square paper for folding
· Pens to write on wings of dove
· Fishing nylon or white curling ribbon to hang doves
· Coat hanger or other hanging item from which to hang the folded doves.
Further suggestions and adaptations on using this prayer
Position your prayer station next to a window or draughty space. Instead of a coat hanger stretch a string along the window and secure it tightly. Pre-hang curling ribbon cut in different lengths and create a curtain of ribbons. When participants have finished their prayer, they tie or tape their dove onto a piece of curling ribbon and leave their worries blowing in the window.
If you have a window without curtains or an outside porch where you could hang these doves, you could carry out this prayer regularly whenever you have worries. Fold a dove and hang it and whenever you see it moving, be reminded that God is moving in your life and is with you in your worries.
As a group talk about worries and what it means to you individually to have worries. How can worries be avoided? What strategies do you each employ to deal with worries? Give your worries to God in this prayer. If you don’t have access to a window you could hang the worries from a round hoop. Have further ribbons coming off the hoop to fasten to a light fitting or curtain rod. Use a hairdryer to create wind and watch your worries fly.
This is a great Pentecost, Advent or Christmas prayer. Depending on your time frame you could get a group together to pre-fold white doves before your gathering. Hand these doves around the group at a suitable time in your gathered event and invite participants to write their worries on the wings. Enlist the help of a practical and creative person or team to get the doves hanging from your space while your gathering is still happening or to be installed before the next gathering. Leave your worry dove prayers on display for a few weeks.
Visual Images - Static, Projected, Live Props
· Blowing away worries