One of the distinctive aspects of the You Are Here series is that it encourages listeners to let their imaginations run with the Bible story as it is read.
When the Bible is read aloud, many churches encourage listeners to follow along in their own Bibles. That sets the focus on the text, which is great for studies and sermons. If we wanted to focus on the narrative, it might be better to close our eyes and visualise what we’re hearing.
That’s the approach You Are Here encourages, and to get participants in the right frame of mind, each session begins with an imagination exercise. You’ll have to download the series to see how they work in practice, but as a little taster, here’s one of them. It’s from part six, and it introduces the Sermon on the Mount.
You may find it useful in other contexts well beyond You Are Here, so feel free to use it and adapt it for your own context.
Close your eyes and relax. Think about what you have done today… Imagine your day written down, the good things and the bad things together, written in the pages of a book… If there’s anything worrying you, or something you need to remember, note those things down in the book too. Take a moment to add them.
Now close the book and put it to one side. Allow your mind to go somewhere different.
You are sitting on the ground. You can feel the grass at your fingertips…. a gentle slope beneath you. The sky is blue overhead, interrupted only by the skylarks wheeling over the hillside.
You are not alone. Your family is with you. Next to them are your neighbours, your friends, half the town seems to be here. You have all walked here today, with one purpose in mind: you want to see for yourselves.
You have all heard the rumours. A man, a remarkable man – everyone is talking about him. He can heal the sick, and cure the blind. Two towns over, a local beggar who had never walked in his life danced right there in front of everyone. And he teaches – with warmth, and wit, and wisdom. You had to see for yourselves.
From where you are sitting, look up. Look across the seated crowd, across the heads of the men and women who have walked here with you, past the little children running in and out amongst them.
What does he look like, the man you came here to see?
He is speaking to the crowds. Is he animated? Quiet? Do the crowd laugh, or nod, or scratch their heads?
What is he saying?