We had sleepover for Maundy Thursday this year (usually we do one for Easter eve up to the 5.30 am first mass of Easter with the Easter fire). We took part in the Maundy Thursday service with footwashing and the stripping of the altars - this is such a powerfully symobilc service that even those who were a bit embarrased about being AT CHURCH caught the sense of loss that the removal of all the church decorations evokes. As part of the three days of Easter (the triduum) the church has a WATCH through the night on Thursday - remembering Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and his words to the discples whom he found sleeping "could you not watch for even an hour?"
Well we had planned to have the young people taking part in the watch as part of the sleepover but I was aware that AN HOUR of silent prayer would be unproductive if not just extremely difficult for many of them so we got the young people to work out how long they wanted to do - a quarter of an hour, half an hour, forty-five minutes or the full hour. They opted for thirty minutes which I was really pleased about. For those who are not at all accustomed to long periods of prayer I had several suggestionas to what they might do in the time. There are the stations of the cross in church and the Lord's Prayer stations are still in our North Chapel so these were available but I also wanted something a little less pressured. So I came up with Prayer eggs (or Preggs, as the young people Christened them!)
A few weeks ago Michael and I were in Hobbycraft and saw these brightly coloured hollow eggs that you could fill with whatever and I thought they'd come in handy (though I had no idea what to do with them at the time!!!). We offered the young people a choice of egg colour and then they could choose which of the following to include in their Pregg:
A tiny model sheep - to remind them of Jesus as the Lamb of God, Jesus as the good shepherd or the parable of the lost sheep
A 1p coin - to symbolis the meagreness of the widow's mite and the greatness of an offering however small if it is given with generosity or as a reminder of the parable of the lost coin.
A soft heart - to remind them of God's love for them
Letters - to spell out their name remembering that God knows them by name, intimately as a father and that he calls us each by name
A mirror - so that they can look in the mirror and see who it was that Jesus died for, or that "now we see as in a mirror but then we shall see face to face"
A cross - to symbolise... well... the cross and Jesus' sacrifice for us
A chocolate easter egg - to remind us of the sweetness of God's love
I thought later as well that we could have put a small foot in it to symbolise the foot washing or nails for the cross or any number of things. You could work out all kinds of things or even tell a story with them in the Godly Play style.
In the end I don't know who used the Preggs but they all seemed to find the experience of the silent prayer (aided by a candle in a jar for each of them in the dark medieval church!)
I was certainly more successful than some of the hot cross buns we made (they were delicious but not quite as planned!)
We then watched The Lion the Witch and the wardrobe on the new big screen (courtesy of the new projector which we bought with our donation!) which was pretty cool even if it didn't finished until 3.30am. The plan was that we'd then sleep from 4am until breakfast at 10am. Unfortunately we didn't get quite that much sleep! I think we might have to revert to PLANNING not to sleep if we do it again. No sleep is somehow easier to deal with than sleep interrupted and in short bursts! 12 hours sleep later I'm feeling a bit better and able to remember how cool most of the event was.