a week of full rich days
Well, it has been a week of creativity this week. I'm not sure I can get it all down faithfully, but I want to try, for better or worse.
The Esther Project has entered a period of discernment, in order to listen for the call of the Spirit into the next phase of our life together. The Esther Project was the focus of my supervised field education placement, part of my formation for ordination in the Uniting Church, which will come to an end after just over 9 months at Easter. Happily, those who have been gathering would like to continue to gather as The Esther Project beyond Easter. So we need to discern where we will gather and how we will organise ourselves with more shared leadership.
It is clear that ideally we need for me to continue in a key leadership role for another 5 years or more, as it takes at least this long for a community to be established, and I have been the vision caster of this community.
It is less clear whether staying at Christ Church will be the long term plan, or whether we might need to incorporate The Esther Project into a placement for me in another congregation, or create a placement separately or alongside an existing congregation.
Our conversation continues, or will do, when I email the summary of the discernment afternoon last Saturday to the core EP group ... (it's coming).
Christ Church continued its journey towards Easter with another portion of the story from Luke on Sunday morning, told by me with help from the children, who made themselves into a stellar fig tree. I'm not sure I told the story as effectively as I might, or perhaps it's a difficult passage, concerning the call to repent or perish, but the congregation didn't offer any wondering for this story ...
This Sunday, I am preparing the parable of the lost son and his brother, and their father (sometimes called the parable of the prodigal son). I've been moved this week by Steve Taylor's reflective retelling of this parable, and, while I will be telling the story reasonably 'straight' as it is recorded, I am hoping in some minor additions, and in my expressions, to convey some of the cultural background to such a story that a 21st century Australian listener doesn't have, to enhance the possibilities for meaning making and wondering.
On Steve Taylor's version, he spoke it into the Chapel worship space at college on Wednesday, which he had curated with Jonny Baker, who is visiting for some conversations around emerging / alternative forms of church. It is one of the most engaging worship spaces I have been in. Jonny's use of music, ambient, chants, as accompaniment to the eucharist; the poetry (spoken by the Irish poet himself and oh so musical); Steve's telling of the parable, and its invitation to us to finish the story; space for reflection; Jonny's photographic images; the warm, fresh baked bread for the eucharist (which was removed from the bread maker in the space as we began) ... sensory, creative, steeped in and also reinventing in order to keep alive our rich tradition - this is what worship should be.
And I've been involved in the Landscape of Desire installation, putting it together, hosting a couple of spaces as people enter into this installation. the feeling of being there - immediately I felt the gift of space to breathe, to engage, to reflect on my experience and journey through life in its darkness and its light, its dryness and its quenching of thirst ... the artistry of Jonny, Bltyhe and Cheryl is such a gift.
That's a long post, so I'll leave it there. I have found it an extraordinarily full week, and thankfully I have managed to carve out space in which to write some things that needed to be written - and essay, the discernment summary - and have found that this is part of what has been exhausting. The carrying around of the words I needed to write. So here is a challenge, to keep space in the diary for the creativity to flow, or it builds up inside and becomes a burden that is exhausting to carry.