ex-ile had its first in the chapel gathering for the year on sunday night. I don’t know what we call it: worship I guess. It’s the part of our life that happens in the chapel as opposed to in someone’s home and it’s about mind:body: soul having space to pay attention to our connection to God and respond to it in some way.
As a community we’re not great at publicly telling our story or documenting our life. This time I don’t think anyone took any photos – despite Gus using masking tape and the whole floor space of the inner chapel room to install an amazing octagonal labyrinth.
People arrived to a pretty splendid pancake banquet – an early Shrove Tuesday (Dave White is a pancake-making legend!). Then we moved on in to Lent with a bowl of ashes in the centre of the labyrinth for people to mark themselves with a cross if that had meaning for them. There were also spaces to reflect on hopes (for ourselves, our community or the world) and the small actions we can take towards those hopes being realised; and an examen-style space – giving thanks for where we have experienced God’s presence and asking God’s presence in a place of difficulty or struggle… There was a great image-loop around the theme of “flip”: u-turns, new perspectives, changes of direction… And the scene had been set with some prodigal story-telling and Cheryl Lawries reflection which opened an invitation and hospitable space.
The problem with recounting an experience like that, especially without pictures, is how little space it leaves for the bits that are harder to put words to: the gentle companionable feeling of the space, the beauty of the light, a phrase from the sigur ros sound track that is still with me several days later…
“God’s kindom is here. Change your life and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15, our own expression”