grace on staurday night combines rug making, colour and prayer - intrigued? so am i... maybe see you there
proost now has a us site at proost.us!
for years we have had this cool little thing in the uk called proost which is home to wonderful inspiring resources that have been produced from artists and communities doing creative things. this includes movies, books of authentic liturgies, music, experiences such as the labyrinth and so on. but to access the resources you no longer have to come to the uk site and negotiate foreign currency of pounds - it's all in dollars.
the big deal (and you guys love both big and deal) is that you can subscribe for a hundred dollars for a year and that enables you to log in to the back end of the site and download anything you like.
we have some friends in the usa but not enough! so if you know about us do spread the word - in many ways this is still a hidden gem. but thought you'd like to know...
excited about a new resource on proost this month - it's a collection of prayers from russ parker on the theme of wild spirit. russ led the pilgrimage to ireland i went on recently and we've known each other for probably 25 years now. this is typical russ - raw, direct, impassioned, creative and infused with longing and a wildness of the spirit... a must and ideal for pentecost of course. here's the latest proost news as well.
chris has posted a series of 12 dispatches/short poems that he wrote and has posted on cliff tops at the start of such retreats. they are totally wonderful both for retreat and/or pilgrimage. the reason i have added them on pilgrimage is that i happen to have a series on the go for that and they seem to connect with the wild places and wild spirituality akin to the irish pilgrimage.
here's the first and go here to find all twelve...
There are rumours-
Like smoke signals blurred in desert wind
He is here
Not in metaphor
Not whipped up in the collective madness of charismata
Not just politely suggested by the high drama of religious ritual-
With mud on his shoes...
lovely prayer from cheryl lawrie (as ever...)
In spite of our doubts,
may we recognise you in our midst:
wounded, bloody, and resurrected
in spite of our doubts,
may we know when we come face to face
with the love that is greater than all deaths
in spite of our doubts,
may we reach out to touch the wounds of the world’s pain
trusting that when grace and love surround them
they will become part of Christ’s resurrected body.
and in spite of our doubts,
may we live as though we are, too.
if you are planning ahead for easter have a look at proost's resources for easter. there's some classics there and a few new things.
on the subject of new it's wonderful to have a new artist or two on proost - steve leach (who is also training on the cms pioneer course) has an ep gardens with three electronic tracks responding to the three gardens of eden, gethsemane and paradise.
restless: evening prayer for restless hearts also looks and sounds really beautiful - from tim snyder and aaron strumpel - both also new on proost! the sample track on this page is quite amazing...
i remember when we created the labyrinth at st pauls cathedral how surprised i was that lighting a candle on a laptop by clicking on it with a mouse felt right - it was conducive to prayer, it mediated a spiritual encounter. that was back in 2000 and the world of digital technology has changed enormously...
on saturday at grace at home in the world we were exploring ignatian spirituality and in the grace facebook page is a list of suggestions of resources for people to follow that up. we did an examen at grace and one that was mentioned was an app called examine which i have since added to my phone and intend to try and use. it enables you to do the ignatian examen and it tracks the previous 90 days so you can get a sense of the flow. i'll let you know how i find it. i am making it a worship trick - 50 in series 4.
but it got me wondering what apps people use for prayer and spirtuality on a regular basis. perhaps if you have some you use, you could leave a comment, a tweet, or facebook message? it might also be that you have ideas for an app?! in which case add those as well.
ian adams latest book running over rocks came out over the summer. i read it on holiday (our holiday started out sharing a meal with ian and gail before cycling from south to north devon so it was nice to catch up with ian as well). it's a lovely book of spiritual practices.
there are a number of reasons i like the book.
the first is that i think i have become more and more interested in how to live a life. that is perhaps a glaringly obvious thing to say. is there any other option? in the summer john drane was reflecting with some of our pioneer students that the old adage believe-belong-behave had been reconstructed some years back as belong-believe-behave but now the front foot is perhaps on behave-belong-believe. i can think of a thousand argumenst to have with that phrase anyway which is not the point - the point is that it reminded me that lifestyle or how to live out a life as a human, as a person, in community, following christ, that somehow makes a difference in the world is what many people are seeking after. in other words its a life that is embodied, lived, practised. i certainly am interested in a life of faith that enables me to live in a more christlike, prayerful way, paying attention to the world, god, others.
the second is that i think ian has a great way with language - he seems to talk about faith in a way that is open and welcoming and accessible and creative. i am sure he has thought hard and worked carefully on this. it's no mean feat.
the third is that the practices are really good and helpful. there are 52 in total and they are organised into sections - like earth and body, stillness and movement, possibility and so on. you can dive into any section or any practice. you could pick a practice each week of the year. i think it would make a good book for a community to go through in a season like lent. the practices are also a good mix of ancient tried and tested along with creative and fresh ideas. here's how ian describes practices in the intro
Practices are the earthy business of encountering ideas, then working out how they might take shape in us. They help us move from aspiration to reality. They work slowly over time. We shouldn't expect immediate results, but we can expect that through them the change for good that we seek will come, gradually forming something new within us.
the fourth is that ian has great wisdom. he has soaked himself in much of the understandings of those who have navigated the religious life and draws on it in a way that is accessible but has depth. the section of practices of descent is a good example.
the fifth is that ian has written a poem for each practice so there are over 50 poems which is a delightful addition.
practice takes practise - in other words this is not a book to read like i did - in a week! it's one to try out and practise. in my defence i have kept the book with my journal having read it so that i will come back to many of the practices. it reminds me a little bit of anthony de mello's book sadhana a way to god - which is a book i have come back to so many times with its spiritual exercises.
ian and gail are leading a retreat in may which looks like an absolute bargain if you would like a weekend to be introduced to some of the ideas.
this is the sixth in a series of blog posts on silence. see also:
on silence  - fragile poet | on silence  - in the Presence of Silence | on silence  - ineffable and inephotographable | on silence  - individually guided retreats | on silence  - soulwork
these are a few quotes i stumbled across on silence on my retreat
The voice of God is best heard in silence (Anthony De Mello)
If you love truth be a lover of silence... More than all things love silence: It brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe (Isaac of Ninevah)
Filling every part of this infinity of infinity there is a silence, a silence which is not an absence of sound but which is the object of a positive sensation, more positive than that of sound. Noises if there are any only reach me after crossing the silence. (Simone Weil)
I have shown you the power of silence, how thoroughly it heals and how fully pleasing it is to God (Desert Father Amononas)
Sometimes you have to disconnect to connect (James Martin)
this is a prayer that i breathed in and out for the first two days i think to help me slow down. i have loved this prayer for years and posted it as a worship trick way back in the first series. on the first evening of the retreat the two lines 'say nothing, ask nothing' summed up my intention for the retreat. i wasn't there for activity or even lots of words in prayer but simply to be in the Presence of Silence.
Before your God
Let your God look upon you
That is all
She loves you with an enormous love
She only wants to look upon you with her love
this may seem a slightly stranger one but the recent single from the villagers 'nothing arrived' first struck me when i was preparing a grace service exploring the ideas of john of the cross. he suggests that we need to let go of our desires for ambition, pleasure, knowledge, possessions and religious experience. and in doing so paradoxically find peace and union with god. i'm sure it's not quite what the villagers had in mind but it's been knocking around my head ever since and came to me several times on retreat.
I waited for Something, and Something died
So I waited for Nothing, and Nothing arrived
It's our dearest ally, it's our closest friend
It's our darkest blackout, it's our final end
My dear sweet Nothing, let's start a new
From here all in is just me and you
I waited for Something and Something died
So I waited for Nothing, and Nothing arrived
Well I guess it's over, I guess it's begun
It's a losers' table, but we've already won
It's a funny battle, it's a constant game
I guess I was busy when Nothing came
I guess I was busy (when Nothing arrived)
bruce cockburn's song 'mystery' has some lovely lines that in the beauty of the environment i sang to myself in the silence. these are a few
You can't tell me there is no mystery
It's everywhere I turn...
Infinity always gives me vertigo
And fills me up with grace...
And don't tell me there is no mystery
It overflows my cup...
This feast of beauty can intoxicate
Just like the finest wine
and in a moment of feeling at one with the world, with god, with myself, experiencing being looked upon by the love that loves us, of union or connectedness 'gorecki' by lamb (which i last heard i think at nic's funeral or at least it will forever be associated with that in my mind) was just extraordinarily appropriate, ecstatic even as i sat on a bench in the woods
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you
Still my heart this moment
Or it might burst
Could we stay right here
Until the end of time until the earth stops turning
Wanna love you until the seas run dry
I've found the one I've waited for
All this time I've loved you
And never known your face
All this time I've missed you
And searched this human race
Here is true peace
Here my heart knows calm
Safe in your soul
Bathed in your sighs
Wanna stay right here
Until the end of time
'til the earth stops turning
Gonna love you until the seas run dry
I've found the one I've waited for
The one I've waited for
All I've known
All I've done
All I've felt was leading to this
All I've known
All I've done
All I've felt was leading to this
Wanna stay right here
'til the end of time 'till the earth stops turning
I'm gonna love you till the seas run dry
I've found the one I've waited for
The one I've waited for
ian adams runs morning bell - it's a simple e-mail and usually one sentence to reflect on prayerfully each day, a call to prayer. it gets sent via e-mail, twitter, facebook - take your pick. i realise i think i have never made it a worship trick so will add it to the series...
starting today is a series on silence with images and thoughts from me...
this is the fifth in a series of blog posts on silence. see also:
at the end of my retreat i looked back and had written about 65 pages in a journal trying to notice what i was experiencing. and i summarised in the last conversation with my guide for the week in three themes which were contemplatve prayer, soulwork and vocation which i pictured as a cord of three threads woven together. i want to say something here about the middle one - what i call soulwork.
i remember being astonished when i watched the tv series the big silence at how powerful it seemed for the people to be in silence. they were from different walks of life and not particularly religious. but for all of them in different ways once they had slowed down somewhat they seemed to notice things about themselves and their lives - whether to do with deep longings, resltessness, vocation, grief, woundedness, who they are. it just surfaced whether in memories, dreams, prayer, or from seemingly nowhere. perhaps this is why some people seem afraid of silence, we're actually afraid of facing ourselves? i quite liked kester's thought on this that the word retreat may not be a great description of this kind of experience - it's not an escape, but more a moving forwards by to put it bluntly dealing with some of our own shit. but what was lovely is that stuff surfaced in an environment that felt safe for those people because it was guided and it was in the Presence of Silence, which is a presence of unequivocal embrace and acceptance by the love that loves us, a presence that enfolds and holds us in our own vulnerability and woundedness. i appreciate that for some that experience of presence may not be your own - i have a faith and belief in god who is like this and is in some extraordinary way a friend of the world who reaches out in relationship. but i also think that many artists and poets have named the experience of this presence intuitively in similar ways. it's hard to describe - ineffable in fact!
i had three dreams in the week that ended up being quite significant soulwork. i won't share the details of them all as i don't want to hang my soul out in public in too raw a fashion all in one go. but i'll share one that's weird enough - in it i was kissed on the mouth by a girl who seemed familiar but i didn't think i knew. at the time i was trying to be welcoming in setting up an event. the dream then shifted to being at a family gathering in which people were watching movie clips. i was sat with my two lads and laughing and joking. as one clip was shown i asked them what they thought. and one shrugged and said 'that was 17 years ago'. i knew that they were asking why there was a gap since then with nothing inbetween. i went inside a marquee to get a glass of wine a little confused. as i began to uncork a bottle the cork burst out and sparkling red wine overflowed and i wasn't expecting it to be sparkling.
i find dreams intrigung and have had a few over the years that have been significant. what i think is disarming about dreams is that they come from the leftfield (whether as gifts or written out of some deep place in ourselves or both?) somehow bypassing the rational filters and defences we so readily have in place. immediately i began thinking about 17 years. what happened 17 years ago? and over breakfast a memory came back to me that i suspect was almost exactly 17 years ago in which i was hurt and lost trust. as it turns out that wounded me a lot deeper than i liked to admit at the time. i'm not going to spell that out in a blog post for the world to see. but essentially through the dream and then in conversation with my guide i became convinced that a part of me had fragmented, split off or been shut away (or bottled up!) because of my own woundedness and loss of trust. so i spent some of the next days reflecting on what this part of me is, talking to her, and welcoming her back into my life, praying for integration where there had been fragmentation. i experienced the Presence of Silence somehow holding me together almost literally in a healing way. i suspect this will take quite some time to settle down in me and work through its implications. i think i have a good sense of what this part of me is and hope i can help her flourish as i learn to trust again.
this is weird i know - do feel free to move on and ignore this post! but this is one of the things that happened to me when i stepped out of noise and into silence. i wasn't expecting it. i went to slow down and be in silence. i didn't even know it was there or an issue. i have no basis for supporting this other than an intuition but i have wondered since how many times that part of me has tried to get my attention and failed over the last seventeen years. the wine was just waiting to burst out after all. in silence there is time to notice, time to pay attention, time for our attention to be got, time to become aware. and stuff surfaces, stuff happens in the Presence of Silence and it is soulwork.
becoming who you are is what many contemplatives suggest is our life's work. thomas merton has a fairly oft quoted line on this
There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find him.
in some ways it's a bit counter intuitive as they also have an emphasis on letting go, on emptying yourself out but i came to experience a whisper in the Presence of Silence of two simple word that said to me as i was wrapped and held together in my cloak and the love that loves us - be you. since the silence i hope to try and lean into that a little more, become a bit more me.
this is the fourth in a series of blog posts on silence. see also:
i have added a set of photos to flickr which includes the self portraits in the last post but a bundle of other photos as well - in the Presence of Silence.
a few people have asked a bit more about how a silent retreat is structured. i am sure they vary immensely and i think there would be a lot to be said for just booking a remote place and being in silence alone. that is certainly how sara maitland went about it. but the retreat i went on is guided so you are in a place and team used to helping people navigate silence. the place i went to is st beunos in n wales. you can see from this picture that is in a fantastic location. in one direction is the snowdon mountain range and in another the sea. st beunos was featured in the tv programme the big silence if you saw any of that. as you'll see from the web site you can book in to retreats of varying lengths - 3 days, 8 days, 30 days... i was on an 8 day retreat. it's 8 full days. we arrived the night before and left the morning after.
st beunos is an ignatian retreat centre. i'll say something another time about ignatian spirituality which i think is amazing. it is roman catholic run by a community who share an approach to spirituality that is full of wisdom. i don't think for a moment this should put you off if you want to do some silence - it's a great place for silence whether you are christian or not, or indeed whether you are roman catholic or not.
the structure of the retreat is called an individually guided retreat. what this means is that anyone on a retreat meets with one of the team, a spiritual guide, for about a 40 minute conversation each day. this can take whatever direction you like. my guide was wonderful (as i suspect they all are) and it usually began with a conversation about how i was doing, how i was finding the silence, what had been happening, and if i wanted some suggestions for what might be helpful to think about or to pray. i discussed what i was experiencing or noticing, dreams, contemplative prayer, and my fragmented self amongst other things.
then the rest of the time is silent. mealtimes are slightly weird but you get used to it. as everyone else is there in silence it's easy enough as everyone is in the same boat. each evening there was the option of attending mass which i did - i enjoyed hearing the stories of the resurrection appearances (it was the week after easter) which sparked my imagination in prayer. and later each evening was an optional group silence in the chapel for about 30 minutes. it seemed to co-incide with sunset when i was there so i often watched the sunset and then crept in late. the group silence was a bit of a surprise - i found it had a different feel or thickness to it and enjoyed resting in that space with others. i went to that every day.
then the rest of the time you can do as you please. you are encouraged to leave work stuff behind, leave technology behind, and not to take lots to do. i read a couple of books - they were on silence or devotional rather than books to get lost in. i think i listened to 3 music tracks all week and even then that was because they related to what i was thinking about (they were jon hopkins fourth estate - a 30 minute ambient piece, lamb's gorecki which described my experience of union with the Presence of Silence perfectly, and bruce cockburn's mystery whose lyrics were just so fitting). other than that i sat on benches a lot, listened to birdsong, walked the labyrinth every day, went for really long walks most afternoons, prayed (though that was mainly being in the silence rather than a hugely active conversation), used the art room to do a few pastel drawings. and that was it really. that's how it works. what is extraordinary is that making space for silence seems to allow space for stuff to happen that either you don't have time for normally, or are not noticing or giving attention to. i'll say more in another post about some of what happened or surfaced for me when i switched the noise off...
on the silent retreat i lived outside. it didn't rain in n wales for 10 days! but it was cold. so this coat was wrapped around me almost permanently often with hood up. (since i have got back i have found i want to be outside more - in fact the first day i had to get out! i decided that outside is my chapel.) i came to experience silence as something to be enfolded in or by and the coat became more and more a sign of that sense of being wrapped. so in a strange way i think that while this photograph may not be magical in and of itself it is my favourite from the retreat. i had in my mind the phrase 'a cloak to mind your life' which is from a john o donahue blessing...
before i went on silent retreat most people who i mentioned it to said something like 'i could never do that' or that it sounds scary. i realised that all these comments had combined in me to think that i would experience it as difficult. maybe it's because it is unknown, or maybe it is because it's so different to our lives (at least in london), or maybe it is because we think of silence as absence. i found the opposite to be the case. i loved silence. in a way what is there not to love? i had set messages on phone and computer to say i wouldn't be responding, i had left all tasks behind, in fact i had no agenda whatsoever even for prayer, i was in a beautiful place, it was safe with people experienced at navigating silence. i found it like breathing or drinking in - and i was incredibly thirsty after three years pretty much non stop with the start up of pioneer training. of course it took a couple of days to stop twitching (as my guide put it). but it was pleasureable, had an ease about it.
one of the companions in my week was sara maitland's a book of silence. in it she explores silence in a much more radical way and in much more solitude and length of time than i was. it's a fantastic book and i found i identified with many of her experiences albeit in a smaller way. she too did not experience much darkness or difficulty. but one of the things that set her on her quest was wanting to address this thing in peoples minds of silence as absence. she says she found it to be the opposite and in her research others who have navigated silence have found the same. here are a couple of things she says
As time passes i increasingly realise there is an interior dimension to silence, a sort of stillness of heart and mind which is not a void, but a rich space.
I did not see lack or absence but a positive presence. Silence may be outside or beyond the limits of description or narrative language but that does not necessarily mean that silence is lacking anything. Perhaps it is a real separate actual thing... not a lack of language but other than, different from language; not an absence of sound but the presence of something which is not sound.
i came to call this sense the Presence of Silence. i think it relates rather well to terrence mallick's the love that loves us! it's hard to describe (which i'll probably come back to in another blog post - ineffable) but i sensed this Presence of Silence many times - walking in the hills and snow, sat quietly listening to birdsong on a bench, in the chapel in prayer, walking the labyrinth, and she came to me in dreams which i proably don't normally notice. to give one example each evening was an optional (everything was optional) group silence. at this you simply sat with others in the chapel in silence. the first time i went to that i was late because i had watched the sun go down outside over snowdon (tough eh?!) but here's what i wrote in my journal
After supper I watched the sun go down - such a beautiful day. So I was late for quiet prayer with the group in the chapel. That silence surprised me - it was weighty, the air was thick and when people left it thinned...
a thickness, a cloak, a blanket, an almost tangible something in the air - a cloak to mind your life? from now on i know this as the Presence of Silence.
the irony of this is that my experience of god, of life, of faith in the last few years i would say has been characterised by what i have come to call unknowing. by that i don't mean that i don't know things but i know a lot less than i used to. there is much more mystery at the heart of things. and whereas in my younger years (wow i really do sound old!!!) the experience of the sense of the presence of god was really important, i have now simply set my life's direction to follow in the way of christ and that won't change. i take what epiphanies i am given as gifts on the way but also what i have been given is enough. there is no better story to live a life by. i guess i am no longer adolesecent in my spirituality?! i have tried in my own way to pass through the veil of the senses. so i was very happy for the week's silence to just slow down, to be quiet, to still, to unwind, to be, to be in god, in the world. and not expecting to experience this sense of presence. but i bumped into her almost everywhere i turned! now i am back into london, into life, into noise, i am sure this will evade me but it was an extraordinary tangible thing. i will recognise her more clearly now...
i am very excited! yes some people don't believe that my laid back self does excitement but i am honestly (at least inside)!
the first copy of making communion, a collection of communion liturgies from grace has landed on my doorstep hot of the press. this is the latest in proost's pocket liturgy series. it is the longest yet at around 150 pages. i feel very proud of it having helped put it together.
there's a couple of reasons i particularly like this book...
the first is that grace have spent a lot of time over the years trying to work out how to be creative with communion whilst also being respectful to the tradition we are located in (church of england). so this book gave us a chance to write a summary in a 20 page introduction of how we have thought that through and worked it out. i hope and suspect this may be of interest to lots of other communities who are trying to negotiate similar challenges. if you do read it we would love some feedback and further discussion around that.
the second is that there are 24 liturgies or ways that we have celebrated communion. most have been written by members of grace. a few are from other communities and used with permission. but there are some really lovely and inspiring prayers and approaches. many are on the grace web site in the archives but it's great to pull them together in one place.
you can order a physical book through lulu who we use to self publish.
if you are a proost subscriber, then you can access the book as part of your subscription. did you know that there are now around 25 books published on proost?! i have all the pocket liturgies on an ipad so can pull them up at any time. the books alone are worth more than the cost of a subscription before you add in the movies and albums and other stuff.
this is a space to think, pray, relax, meditate
the photo above is of my feet when i was sat in the space (clearly being distracted). the last three years have been the busiest of my life. i realised at the start of this year that i can't do another at the same rate. i like the start of the year because it is a space to reflect and rethink some patterns. but i know i need to rebalance my life in some way for the year ahead. here's a few things i am thinking about that hopefully will help
rhythm of life. jen and i have found developing a rhythm of life really helpful in the last couple of years. what i mean by this is that we have plotted on one side of paper what our yearly, monthly and weekly pattern looks like. we try and make it a natural rhythm with the seasons of the year. and have then added some things that we want to try and do that are energising - for example inviting people round for meals at least once a month, a termly day of silence, not working more than two weekends in a month, having a weekly meal where we linger at the table for the evening and share bread and wine... we then talk about this every month or so. it's not a heavy thing - it's light touch. and in some ways it doesn't matter what's on there - it just helps create a conversation about it.
retreat. since starting the cms pioneer training, we have asked students to take a retreat each year. well you can't do that without doing it yourself. this is now essential for me. this year i am booked in to an 8 day silent retreat which i am nervously looking forward to.
holiday/rest. the last couple of years i have not managed to take my quota of holiday from work. this is entirely my own doing. i intend to change that this year and have sat down with jen and already diaried things we will do which already feels good.
art. imagine a world without gigs, music, film, photography, festivals, poetry, books, exhibitions? whenever i look back over the year and thngs that have energised me art is always a big factor - both the enjoying and the creating. and yet it's easy to forget or not prioritise it.
stop doing some things. i have already shifted one thing in my life this yar and i have a list of others. i realised in converation with a friend that i am my own worst enemy here. i do things out of habit and because i can - some of those i smply need to let go of or let others do. so i will be working on those habits. part of the reason for stopping is that i want to carve out time for thinking and possibly studying a day a week if possible.
prayer. i need and want to pray but find it difficult like everyone else in the world! i am someone who likes change so need to keep it fresh. this year i am starting off by using a book that cost me one pence second hand finding god in all things exploring ignatian prayer along with prayer exercises from sadhana by anthony de mello (which you can also get for one pence), a book i have had for years. i intend to read them both slowly and linger with them trying out the exercises and prayer.
someone to reflect with. i am fortunate to have a great community grace that i journey and explore faith with. if you are not part of a community why not join one or start one? - if you are near ealing come and join us! i also have someone who i meet with 3/4 times a year for some intentional conversation about my life in relation to faith. this is a wonerful thing to have found.
so there's a few of my thoughts on what i am hoping will help me find space to think for the year ahead. i had originally started this post with the intention of reviewing two books. these are two very recent books on finding space to think and pray. i'll recommend them by way of an end to the post because if you are looking for a book to help you these might be ones to explore.
the first is less is more: spirituality for busy lives by brian draper. when this book arrived we had two people living with us and before i had had a chance to look at the book they had both picked it up and read it and loved it. it's a book that explores exactly what it says in the title. it's contemporary, practical and easy to read. the irony is that i was too busy to read it at the time!
the second is return to our senses by christine sine. she is a prolific blogger and creates lovely prayers and liturgies. spirituality is her thing. this is another very easy to read book with very practical ideas and suggestings for prayer using things like gardening or breathing.
both are the kind of books that would work best if read an practised slowly - even though they are both easy to read. they would also be good books to explore and try the various ideas with others - maybe a book for lent? and they are both cheap to buy which is always a plus.
i have just got back from breakout, a national gathering of pioneers. i was invited to try and draw together reflections for the last session. this felt a little daunting! the previous day ann morrisy had been taking a couple of sessions. i had never heard her speak which is surprising but i have clearly missed out... anyway she was wonderful, a breath of fresh air, full of imagination and wisdom. as she spoke there were so many choice phrases that i wrote them down. in the final session the best way i could reflect on her words was simply to turn them back as a gift again to people as a blessing by putting the words may you in front of them (a couple of the lines came from other moments rather than things ann said). a few people asked for a copy so i am blogging it as a worship trick
may you get your timing right through prayerfulness
may you take the risk of bringing your broken self and not your sorted self so that the gospel can flow
may you take micro actions that become graced in the least predictable ways
may you resist the temptation towards a theology of answers
may you have many graced encounters where you build on the wisdom discovered by youthworkers in informal education
may you fill out the comma in the creed and break open the story of jesus life and the way he lived
in crisis and in celebration in your communities may god grant you the improvising craft of apt liturgy
may you remember to pause, not be reactive and reflect
may you foster poetry where lament and grief is always legitimate and tears flow
may the deep joy of the holy spirit make you an animateur of fun, play and laughter
may you remember to talk dirty about faith
may you accept the invitation to express venturesome love
may you see many chins pucker in the blade of the moment when jesus story co-incides with peoples story
in your punctured confidence and weakness may you stay vulnerable and alongside
may the holy spirit enliven your imagination such that you find the world magical, enchanted, breathtakingly wonder-ful
may you not be seduced by the tempter and always know that it is not not money that will bring the kingdom of god
may you find friendship with radicalised older women
may you develop the practices and gaze of soft eyes, compassionate responses and hospitality
may you take the risk of conversation that is two way
may you have the courage to unhitch the caravan
may you wholeheartedly embrace the ministry of awakening to traces of ultimacy and rumours of glory and be a midwife to 'god in the soul'
may you hold true to the task and call you have been given such that 'you don't half put it up em!
may you treasure and listen to the youngest
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there are five broad areas of content - click on the buttons below to delve deeper. or below is a list of all the categories i have posted under.
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.