'St Francis Invites '.
A single child (or willing adult) is placed in the centre of the church while everyone sings the following to the folk tune 'Jolly Miller' below
In Assisi was a knight of wealth and fame
Who gave up everything in Jesus'name.
His name was Francis and he gathered some
To praise with him - NOW YOU CAN COME.
As the last four words are sung (with emphasis), the centre-person points to another member of the fellowship and then gently pulls them into the centre. The song is sung again so at the end of the next singing there are 4 people in the centre, then 8, then 16, then 32. Very soon everyone is in the centre.
The 'game' concludes with a very brief reminder of how important it is that everyone of us in a church bear a responsibility for evangelism - and how a church could thrive if every member heard and acted on this message. Very Franciscan!
(Original introduction) Last week I mentioned that we were about to start a retreat. It is being led by my wife, Pam and is taking place in a small retreat house owned by friends about 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Assisi. So you will not be surprised that the theme is St Francis. We're not visiting all the Franciscan sites because this 8 days is intended to be part holiday to gain some real refreshment for a small number of very busy people. But yesterday we did go into Assisi, starting in the amazing Basilica and almost literally ambling across the city via Santa Chiara and finishing in the delightful little church of San Damiano. It was good to take in the breadth of the centre of the city at a leisurely pace and the comparatively new statue of Francis looking over the valley towards the church of Santa Maria del Angeli led me to a reflection on the 'still heart' of Francis that must surely have been a part of him that contributed to his 'Canticle of The Sun'.
Those thoughts were very helpful this morning as an introduction to a short reflection on the God-centred cosmology of Francis and our responses to the vast stores of understanding we now have about the universe at both the macro and the micro scales - and thought about the challenges of celebrating this knowledge and day-after-day discovery, in a myriad of scientific fields.
My fellow retreatants were kind enough to join me in singing 'Stars and Planets' sing your glory' amidst the glory of the Umbrian hills and in the delightful warmth of this early September morning. It was for me a very special moment.