So … last night we made history! The gathering got together for the first time in the crypt of Rochester cathedral. There was not as many of us as I would have hoped, but we were able to worship and think with God on the theme of ‘new places’.
One of the families brought us a presentation, put together mainly by Emily, and athought based on new places which got us thinking and mulling over what it is about places that draws or repels us. Howard used the example of Abraham going to new places and we were massively struck by the way that in every new place Abraham went he ‘built an altar’. I had never really noticed this until Howard read from the bible – ‘and he buily an altar’ became a very clear theme which jumped from the text. It was quite poignant I think listening to that as we sat by the stone altar in the Ithamar Chapel. We then went on to chat about why Abraham made a point of building altars before moving into open space (an adapted COTA idea) to give us time to engage with what we had heard.
For us ‘open space’ was time to sit quietly alone, to gaze at an icon and listen to God, or to write prayers to burn with incense. This was a particularly encouraging time as I was able to notice different ages engaging together with ancient spiritual practices. Observing a 5 year old sitting in front of an icon and asking questions and processing what she sees was auite a powerful thing to behold.
After praying our worship continued in sharing cakes and drinks.
I think this was a very encouraging start. Again, our size shouts to us of our vulnerability. Again, I am conscious of how fragile a community we are. Again, however, I feel convinced that God is leading us in some way that we are all unsure of – and again that links with Abraham who had to go, did go, but was never sure of where it was he was supposed to be going to.