Pilgrimage in Pembs!

Well, we’re back from an amazing time away together of feasting and celebrating, praying and pilgriming (is that a word?), laughing and soaking up beauty and sunshine and space… We tasted a little bit of the renewed earth and have come home energised and enormously thankful!  The ThirdSpace pilgrimage day took us to Newport Sands where we began with the words ‘The Father has called you, the Christ walks with you and the Spirit will surely surprise you’. Newport Sands

There we found treasures representing our heart’s prayer and there we drew and named the ‘angels’ God has sent us at key times in our lives (as he sent his angels to St Brynach on Carn Ingli); we wandered through the dunes and took shelter and reflected on what ThirdSpace has meant to us saying:

 ‘May the God who is community be with us   as we seek to be community’. The dunes

Almost lost!From there to Nevern to the wonderful St Brynach’s Church with its ancient Celtic cross and time to rest and to meditate in the intense stillness there. 

For many of us the Pilgrims’ Cross on the pilgrimage route to St Davids was the most poignant part of the day, as we placed our treasures in the cracks in  the stones and placed a special blessed piece of driftwood for our good friend Tony who was still in hospital and so not with us…

The Pilgrims' cross

 

 

 

 

The final part of the  day was at St Non’s with an unforgettable time in the chapel there, as we anointed one another with water from the well, echoing those first words of the day and ended with the ‘companion’ liturgy.

St Non's

We were then treated to such hospitality that we cannot expect to see again this side of eternity from the Sisters of Mercy at the St Non’s Reatreat House. What a day. What a privilege. What wonderful companions.

Circle time!

Today at the bandstand we rememberd our core value on journeying and S led us on what we might learn from Jesus’ own spiritual journey as reflected in the story of the temptations and from then on. It was helpful to consider that he didn’t have it all sown up from the start, but that he had a journey to make to reach the understanding of his role as suffering servant and then to see that through.

Our prayer time adopted prayers found on the web on the idea of God circling us – an important concept when the journey is not without dangers and risks.  We drew chalk circles around us for each prayer…

Circle prayers left in evidence at the bandstand

Circle prayers left in evidence at the bandstand

We prayed:

Circle us, Lord
Circle us with the light of your presence within this dark world
Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation
Enable us to be victors over sin and despair
Enable us to become that which you would desire
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
ALL: Circle us with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle our family within the shelter of your outstretched arms
Protect them in each moment of their daily lives
Protect them in the decisions that they face
Protect their homes and relationships
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
ALL: Circle our families with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this world with the joy of your Salvation
Where there is sickness and disease bring healing
Where there is hunger and despair bring hope
Where there is torture and oppression bring release
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
ALL: Circle this world with the light of your presence

The kids had fun drawing witht he chalk at teh end. Rather like this image:

That's one way to advertise!

That's one way to advertise!

 

More on Pilgrimage at the Bandstand

More thought-provoking stuff!  B & G led last week, focussing on blessings as part of a Celtic pilgrimage experience. Loved the youngest blessing us oldies in the giving of bread and wine and loved so many of the blessings used in our time together. We closed with these words:

Blessings on you

who stand in the tension and the flux

of understanding God.

In the struggle to understand what is

and what isn’t

what was and what will be,

what we are

and what we should be.

 

Blessings on you who step out of the battle

waging on.

Who choose to be at peace,

who choose to listen,

and who choose to be humble in a world that

seems so very sure

and so very lost.

 

Blessings as we revisit places we’ve been

and look forward to the places we’d like to see.

As we embrace dialogue,

as we choose to love,

and as we rejoice in this journey,

continually thankful for the chance to grow,

the chance to think,

and the ever-present chance to change.

Amen.

Pilgrimage at the bandstand

Just thought I’d better update what we’ve beenup to for those who haven’t joined us but are interested in what we’re up to!  Last Sunday we began with a reading from Luke 24 of the disciples on their way to Emmaus.  They were so preoccupied by the events of that weekend that they failed to recognise the risen Christ jouneying with them and teaching them. It was suggested that we might also be so wrapped up in our own busyness and preoccupations that we might too miss what Jesus is saying and being NOW.

So thanks to Chris’s visit on the Wednesday before, we had a go at ‘slow walking’ – a deliberate slowing down to raise our awareness of our surroundings and of God’s presence.  We dispersed from the bandstand and – slowly – went our separate journeys to become aware of the now, of Jesus with us, of our own journey…  And wrapped arond our necks, a scarf, representing Christ with us as our close companion.

More of that needed – wonderful.

Then back  to take off our scarves and to wrap them around the bandstand as a symbol of our prayers for named people known to us and those far away in Haiti and ellsewhere who need Jesus’ companionship specially now.

For Pam and others in Haiti

For Pam and others in Haiti

For those not known to us...

For those not known to us...For Tony and for Kate

We finished using Steve’s ‘Companionship’ liturgy with bread and wine, with the added challenge to be pilgrim people who attract and invite others to join the journey…

Today, Paul and Fi helped us reflect on the spiritual journey we’ve come on and to consider both what we believe and how we believe it.  We heard a clip from a Frank Schaeffer talk at Greenbelt 2 years ago sharing how he’d come to reject the idea that he knew anything, in the light of his moving away from past certainties.  Fi shared the challenging story from the new Mars Hill Pastor about the Mennanite man who lived out so passionately his belief in pacifism  and could explain his belief in his position, whilst also acknowledging ‘But I could be wrong’.  Since we all have changed the way we’ve looked at certain issues of faith as the years have gone by, how can we hold in tension that same passionate conviction that makes an impact on how we live, whilst holding that with an open hand and accepting that we might be wrong?

Challenging stuff that we mulled over further at Costa… not forgetting that we’d been set homework to live out that radical humility in our conversations and homes and workplaces by actually saying ‘But I could be wrong’!

Wonderful as ever meeting at the bandstand and glorious to meet in sunshine and relative warmth!  Posts required to update us on who scores the most Pharisee points in relation to how we get on with our homework!!

The start of Pilgrimage

Couldn’t believe how many braved the icy roads, pavements and cold to come last night to our first in the series of Pilgrimage.  What a good evening it was – lots to chew over in Brigid and Liam’s accounts from Lourdes which inspired and enticed.  A few of us find the idea of the process of journey appealling… perhaps one or two will actually ‘do’ Santiago de Compostela one day.

Of course we’re all going to Pembrokeshire in 4 weeks’ time and planning a pilgrimage day.   The idea of hardship and self-denial, so usually linked with pilgrimage, isn’t immediately obvious in our expectations of our time together, but the weather may add something to make it all rather more authentic!

We ended our evening returning to our beloved Celtic Evening Liturgy from the Northumbria Community, remembering that we are on a pilgrimage together already.  It felt good to name and include those not with us, those known to us who are struggling and, not least, Tony in his present demanding journey.

It’s SO good to be journeying together AND there’s room for more to join us!

Snow at the bandstand!

DSC00193Well we’ve done all weathers now – and lived to tell the tale despite it being -5 degrees and no-one to blame for not turning the heating on!  It was beautiful, particularly when the sun came out and it was good to reflect, light our four candles (or was that  fork handles?) and pray for the world, our local community and our dear friends who are struggling with their very own time of anxious waiting.  Steve wrote something for our sharing of bread and wine, particularly focussing on the word ‘companion’ which literally means ‘with bread’.  Here it is:

Companions…

Those we share bread with are our companions along the Way – our “with breaders!” As we break and share bread together we do so as companions.

In our sharing bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: The fallen, broken, yearning, pregnant Creation.

In our sharing bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: The saints alive and the saints resurrected.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: The poor, marginalised and rejected of this world.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: Those known to us and those not known, who need Jesus now.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: Tony and Francis and Charlotte.

In our sharing of bread today we include in companionship:

ALL: Jesus, our incarnated, broken and risen Lord. AMEN!

 

Wine is for sorrow and for joy, for suffering and for celebration, for forgiveness and for New Relationship.

ALL: We drink until Christ returns. AMEN!

 

And so we pray:

ALL:  Send us out to wait and to work for the Kingdom. Make us people of hope , fanning the flames of redemption and resurrection in the world. AMEN!

 

All looking forward to Christmas morning in the park at 9:15 am. 

Join us?

Minus five but praising!

Minus five but praising!

God in a box?

Had this sent to me by our friend Christine who’d been to a Taize service at Portsmouth Cathedral this weekend – What do you think?

“It’s not all over, this birthing,

there are always newer skies into which God can throw stars.

When we begin to think that we can predict the Advent of God,

that we can box the Christ in a stable at Bethlehem,

that’s just the time that God will be born in a place we can’t imagine and won’t believe.

Those who wait for God watch with their heart and not their eyes,

Listening, always listening, for angel words.”

Can’t help but be excited at the thought of God being born in a place we can’t imagine… a bandstand in a park maybe?

Wend

The incarnation – not plan B

Tonight in the pub,  Wendy led us through thought provoking stuff on the coming of Christ. For some of us, our  answer to the question, “Why did Jesus come to earth?’  defaults to the centrality of the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus on the cross so that we can be right with God and spend eternity with Him.  We talked about a theology that can promote a dualistic view of heaven and earth where christians will leave this sinful fallen world and float away (upwards??) to heaven and eternal bliss (it didn’t really appeal to many of us). Was this a biblical view?

Perhaps, just perhaps, we’ve been missing something.

So, in the coming weeks, we’ll be continuing to  ask ourselves:  What does it mean to live incarnationally? What if we had not messed up, would Christ still have become one of us? Was His coming, plan A or plan B? And we’ll be thinking on this;

“And the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn1:14)

Jesus, Word of God, we are eternally destined to be bound in this created world

-in this network of flesh.

As the incarnate Word and Risen Lord, you are always inviting us to union with you:

“Listen, I am standing at the door, knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.” (Rev 3:20)

“Yes, Lord Jesus” we respond. “Come in. stay with us always.”

Amen

Celebratory meal 4/11/09

What a great time we had!  3 new jobs and 1 significant birthday!  Before the meal we took a moment to give thanks for all our blessings – and our liturgy included applause for those celebrating jobs and birthday.  Bread and wine featured as usual between courses – all contributed to an excellent Indian meal and Kitty’s chocolate muffins with a white chocolate and cream cheese icing, washed down with vintage Cava was a great end to a fun evening.  Most memorable conversation – the escapades of Cand F in Paris – unforgetable!