Saturday, 15 September 2012

of sanctuary, creativity and nurture

This weekend so far has been a retreat weekend, with the Centre for Music, Liturgy & the Arts Sanctuary workshops. We have been led in our reflection on worship and the arts, on integration of the various aspects of our humanity and our worship, by Trish Watts and Tony Hole. And it has been brilliant, profound, nurturing, inspiring.
Sean Gilbert offered some words from sacred texts this morning, the crux of which has been resonating through much of the conversation and exploration of the rest of the day: worship is about our disposition, both for leaders and gathered people. We create a silence in which another presence may have its way with us (after Mary Oliver, 'Praying'); from TS Eliot: you are here to kneel. Our task is to open doors, offer an invitation, into the presence of the Divine.
We have sung, danced, entered silence, explored words spoken and written, and listened to each other, and to our gifted leaders through this time. It has been a weekend of being filled after a full year so far of giving of myself and my gifts, and I am so grateful for this time and space.

Here are a couple of pieces I am working on. The first my own, the second, out of the group I worked with on a ritual on identity and welcome.

I weep

the old book
gathers dust
on ordinary days

the faithful gather
greet, sing, speak
the old book
on holy days

clutching a slip of paper
a name, some numbers
she rises
lifts the book
opens to the page

ears hear words
lifted from the page
we haven't heard at all

the old book
           no faithful

(our group that shared poems chose this to be read to the whole gathering; a dancer in our midst added movement to it as I read)

we gather by the billabong
remnant place of growing
place of deep
still time out from
the flow

we gather by the billabong
each one valued
each one needed
in this place,
for this time
out from the flow of the river

we gather by the billabong
stirred, unsettled by new water
after rain

we have fallen here,
floated on wind and water
in this still place of knowing
for a season, for each other

we gather here,
each one whole with each other
together one
gathered here

I quite like these beginnings, and will probably return to them to polish them at some point, but thought it worth sharing as a snapshot of the experience, a taste of what some of you may choose to experience at future CMLA events.

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