Over the summer I have been trying to shift my mindset away from survival mode that was necessary to pivot when we started sheltering at home to a more creative, responsive and intentional mindset for fall. One of the key ingredients in that shift is joy.
The good news is that our church is now able to offer outdoor, socially distanced, masked, worship services. We will soon do a back to school blessing service for families. The challenge is that families must stay in their spots and there is no singing or recitation. That got me thinking, how can we pray and praise with our bodies?
Ribbon streamers came to mind. In the past I offered streamers to children during prayers of intercession, Pentecost, or during hymns. In the past I have purchased reusable streamers from discount supply companies. During COVID-19 we are not sharing any objects, so I came up with an inexpensive way to make ribbon streamers that families take home with them.
I used disposable plastic table covers, cut into one inch strips, folded in half and tied to make 27-inch long ribbon streamers. Here are five ways they could be used. Have another idea to share? Please comment below.
- During prayers: wave the streamers gently when saying, “Lord, hear our prayer.” Wave them above your head prayers of gratitude, “Thanks be to God.”
- Even though singing is not advised, we can do motions to familiar songs, like “Praise ye the Lord.” Divide the group in half. Have one half stand and wave streamers for “Praise ye the Lord,” and the other half stand and wave for “Hallelujah!”
- Talk about God’s covenant with Noah, having children make their own rainbow arc with the streamers.
- Let children create their own motions as a psalm is read.
- Talk about how the wind reminds us of the Holy Spirit, we cannot see God, but we can feel God’s presence and see good things God is doing.
Also, if you are able to safely use a parachute in your setting (we are not yet), you might enjoy these ideas for using it for different Bible stories.
This fall offers many opportunities to embrace the joy of worship in new ways. I look forward to seeing what colleagues around the country come up with. May God bless these weeks of preparation for fall ministry.
Note about the environment: I will say that we are a children’s ministry that tries very hard to honor God’s creation by reducing our plastic use, so creating these out of disposable table cloths is cheap, but not ideal. We are mindful that this will likely be our one plastic purchase this year.