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My Easter - Part One

22 April, 2003 12:20 PM

I'm sorry that my blogging has slowed over Easter but we had an interstate visitor and man did we have 4 days of Christ and Culture.

On Thursday night from the airport we took Naomi (Nomes), a dear friend of ours to that classic icon of Melbourne eating — the Vegie Bar on Brunswick St. (Nomes is in her early 20's and after sharing some short-term mission trips together and a mission thinktank called 'unearthed' we just love dreaming and doing mission and it rocks to have her down). Anyway - back to the Vegie Bar. I love the deconstructed feel of this place for it stands in the face of so much sterile modernity constructions. Revealed beams, scarred walls, rough textured concrete flooring, edgy art and trance music. It has a real vibe. The imagery and the multiple messages somehow manages to direct conversation to things meaningful. Yet I hear of church after church that is selling or demolishing their old stain-glassed buildings and going for sterile modernity constructions that feel more like a boring office space than a place of spiritual inquiry and solace. Imagine the kind of space one could create. Perhaps not multi-purpose as per the Saddleback/Willow Creek church growth model of church but so much more multi-experiential. It this just me or are others feeling the same? If anything we should be selling our large multi-purpose buildings that are not naturally part of the community and buying up stacks and stacks of small creative spaces that are. Just a thought.

On Friday morning we made our way up to the local park for a �Ecumenical Stations of the Cross�. Good concept. Using a public space to facilitate reflection on the death of Christ but 10am on a public holiday saw few using this park. So it was Church just moved to a new location. We were talking about this at �Living Room� last week and wondering how could you do something like this in a way that connected in with the natural rhythms and gathering places of our communities in this area in the days leading up to Easter. An art inspired spiritual journey along Brunswick Street or in North Fitzroy or on High St?

In the afternoon we got on our bikes and took the Yarra trail into the city. There is a real bike-riding ethos in Melbourne. Some people in the inner north are quite vocal about this and see a bike ride as a stance against our the environmental vandalism caused by our dependence on cars. I love this for I see it as an expression of a longing for Shalom and a restored world. Kingdom stuff that believers should be at the forefront of. But for many of us and me included a bike ride has been or is often just exercise or a way to improve our body image. But how about it as expression of my worldview and my values. Sure makes a bike ride all the more meaningful and challenges our sacred/secular divide.

In at Federation Square was the MILK art display. MILK is an acrostic for �Moments of Intimacy, Love and Kinship�. It was a beautiful day and there were hundreds of people just taking it all in. No sermon. No music. But a picture tells a thousand words and you could not but come away inspired to be more accepting, loving and appreciative of others. On Easter Friday God was there. The reason for the Cross brilliantly illustrated.

We decided it was time to put some of this into action. So I loaded a foam mattress into the back of our car with doonas and pillows and we headed off to the drive-in. We (my wife Chrissy, Nomes, Yolly and I) all crawled into the back of our 5-door hatch and with the rear door lifted up we got mega cosy watching �The Wild Thornberry's�. It was a moment of intimacy, love and kinship. My daughter is still raving.

But this is only Friday and Sunday is still coming.



Rob, regarding your first point...multi-sensory spaces. I feel the same. Working in an office the last thing I want is more sterility...

Paul » 22 April, 2003 2:55 PM

Rob, I liked your comments on those large multi-purpose buildings that churches are going for these days. In a way I'm kind of hoping that plans for my church's megastructure will fall through. It just seems to make more sense to take church to the people, rather than expect them to move away and join us at 9:30 on a Sunday morning. Imagine a place of worship right in amongst the busy-ness of a suburban shopping centre on the weekend. Sounds good to me.

Darryl » 23 April, 2003 7:51 AM

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