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What is Soaking Worship?

This Friday evening, I am going to curate an hour of ‘soaking worship’ at Thorpe Acre Church for one of our weekly Parish Prayers session (7-8pm). What does that mean?

I can assure those who might come along that it has nothing to do with getting wet. That might be the case for the prayer walk being planned for the following week (hopefully not!) but those who come to ‘soak’ will be entering an environment that is planned to be warm and dry.

My part, other than acting as steward for the event and pointing people to the safely distant chairs we have marked out, is to press play on a list of music I have drawn up and pray that God will meet with each person who comes along. That is why I have described myself as ‘curating’ rather than ‘leading’ the evening. My guests (congregation? fellow worshippers?) simply need to relax, turn their hearts towards God and enjoy his presence in a deliberate pause introduced into their day.

I have already done the two key parts of preparation. Firstly, I gathered all the worship music I could find on my computer into a huge playlist but three days of continuous music was never going to cut it! Prayerfully, I explored mountain and discovered what felt like a good place to rest – in this case, the theme of Amazing Grace. I selected various versions of the titular song as the main structure and then sought out other pieces to weave between them. Once I had it narrowed down, I then found a cushion to rest my head, pressed play and revelled in my own, personal soaking time. One song got dropped out on the way but I now have a tried and tested set of music to work with.

I still have three things left to do:

  1. Let those in my church have some more information about what is planned (which will be supported by this blog post).
  2. Use my music production tools to blend the individual pieces together so that it flows smoothly into the hour we have allowed.
  3. Produce some kind of map to help my guests orientate themselves on the evening. We are still holding back from congregational singing so I am deliberately not including all the lyrics but I want to give an overview of the thematic journey I had in mind and some scriptures and other snippets they can consider on the evening or take away with them.

What do my guests need to do? Most simply, to turn up for all or part of the hour (and, ideally let the church office know their intention to attend as soon as possible, so we can be ready if we do need to track and trace). With infection prevention in mind, we are only providing chairs in marked spots but people might want to bring cushions, pillows and blankets. A prostate position can be very appropriate for this kind of event – I promise to gently wake any who fall asleep at the end. Before lockdown, I had plans in place to create a regular opportunity like this with live music but, for now, this will see us another step along the way.

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