Well after many months of being far to busy to pop up to Grace, I made the Summer Labyrinth service. Its actually the 1st one I have made a the summer months are normally busy and I am either working or sorting out stuff for New Forms, or just spending time with Wife and Child!
This year the grass was nice and green, probably due to the lovely rain that came down last weekend (when Grace were camping and got very wet!). The path was clearly visible, and may last a long time in the church yard. The design was a "one way" affair, IE you walk the same path out of the labyrinth as you did coming in.
We started with a bit of liturgy which encouraged us to be washed clean, and then had an opportunity to wash our feet before entering the labyrinth. Feet washing is strange for us, its simply not part of everyday life. It helps to jolt me out of the now, and makes me able to focus on the act of worship and connect to God.
There were three stations to be used before entering, one on taking dirty stone and thinking about the grime that sticks to us in daily life, a Canvas Wall to put up words we had written about where we were at that point in time, and a set of flags to take one colour into the labyrinth with us.
Grace put out there new dustbin fire thingy with their logo drilled out and a nice fire lit. Which certainly helped when the drizzle started to fall!
The first act in the labyrinth was leaving the dirty stone behind during the journey. Thinking about leaving the dirt behind, then once in the centre drawing or writing on the coloured flag about what had occurred to us on the way in. Then finally on the way out we picked up a colour pebble to replace the stone we came in with.
On my walk I felt very much that Christ was telling me about the lack of time in my life at the moment. And that I have been trying to do all the wrong things to make time. It seemed to me that what I need to do is make space in life, not necessarily time slots, but just empty space. By having that space and not trying to fill it, God seemed to be saying that the rest will come.
Sitting here writing that down, doesn't really convey the feeling of last night, but it still seems right.
After walking the path in the light showers, we sat outside around tables and bean bags talking and drinking (wine, hot spiced apple juice, hot chocolate). Grace also provided strawberries, grapes, chips and dips.
Initially I just sat about, caught up with Mike, Jonny and Adam. But was mainly quiet, making space. Slowly I chatted with a few other people and I really started to relax into the evening. Having worked at least a 12 hour day most days for the last year. Travelled far too many air miles, and become pretty much exhausted, it was great to finally relax properly, become still and unwind. But not alone, with friends and strangers alike.
One conversation was with a lady who visited Grace for the 1st time, she is a portrait artist who has recently started doing some teaching around art in schools. She talked about how when she graduated and set up her business it was for the art and how the money just made life possible. However as time went past her clients would try to take control of commissions and she found herself questioning why she was doing what she used to love.
Now she is splitting her time a bit more, and in her own words "Its like the 12 year old stuck in side me has come back." We spoke with Jonny about his photography (which is pretty good to say the least), and again Jonny knows that if he did it for a living he would loose part of the love for the photograph.
So what does that mean? Well I guess for me it speaks again about making space, not spending too much focus working behind the computer screen, spending some time doing other types of things that I love, and making space.
The light from the sky faded, it became latter and time passed. Just as I was preparing to leave a police van turned up lights flashing away, and many thought that we were in for a bit of hassle.
Throughout the evening we got the occasional "hallelujah" shouted at us, or comments thrown in form the people passing by. One of the best was a chap shouting "take my photo, take my photo", which probably proves there are way to many people taking photo's at a grace service!
Anyway one police man came into the church yard, as it seemed someone nearby had called for an Ambulance. What was strange that I expected trouble, either that we would be accused of being some kind of rave, or some neighbour had complained, or something.
I guess my reaction comes from doing something on the edge of normality. Both in the world and in the Church. Before last night I would have said I would need to think on that, after last night I am just going to let it sit in its own space and see what happens.