We have realised that, because travel to France is still going to be difficult because of Covid-19, we need to put most of our events on-line for 2021. Bob has now led training events on Zoom which have worked really well, and we are learning that on-line is different not second-best. You will see details on the relevant pages. We still hope that Poems Alive in September will be here in France! In addition we are currently making plans for a monthly poetry workshop and regular creative reflection workshops. Please see the separate page for this.
I was asked recently to offer a video on an aspect of prayer for Salisbury Methodist Church. Here is my contribution on written prayer dialogues.
We offered some meditations last year for Holy Week and Easter under the title From Life to Death. If you wish to use them this year you are very welcome to do so. On Good Friday, we offered a traditional time of prayer from 12 – 3.0 using the words from the Cross at each half hour, with hymns provided by Simon Freeman. You will be able to find the reflections on the YouTube site Les Jardins des Arts Hanc – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC_UZAzlqlqkbrs7mhWnMK_1kvJu1KV8u
Notes for Holy Week: Monday – Spiralling
In these strange days of the Covid-19 virus, it can sometimes seem that the world is spiralling out of control. But another sort of spiral in this Holy Week could move from death to life. The meditation we offer today is with paper and pens, paints or pastels – and the only real ‘rule’ is to start in the centre of the page and spiral outwards in whatever way seems right. It might be that you want to do a spiral of thanks and prayer for those who brought you into the world, those close to you, those in healthcare at the moment, reaching out to the whole world. Or you might spiral out with the timeline of your life, starting with your birth and ending with the present moment – pausing to write down people and places, and offering what emerges on the paper. Or you might wish to do a spiral expressing something in your soul today. The point is not to make a beautiful picture, but to put marks on the paper in a way which seems right to you.
Notes for Holy Week: Tuesday – Reflecting with Small Objects
I first came across the use of small objects for reflection in pastoral supervision. It is a ‘projective’ technique in which you project onto an object a particular meaning. The invitation to you in this Holy Week is to collect some everyday objects – they could be small toys, kitchen utensils, stationery, jewellery or anything lying around. Some coloured cloths can be helpful too. Find a quiet spot and work out what you wish to explore. The question could be simply, ‘how am I really at this moment in time, and what do I need?’ Pick a cloth and lay it on a table. Look through your objects and, without thinking too much, start placing objects slowly on the cloth. When you have done all you need to do, review what you have shown. Stay with it for a while. Getting in touch with your inner world like this can be a prayerful exercise for many. You can then put the objects away, taking a photo before doing so if you wish, or leave the objects there and adding to them during the week. If others live with you make sure they respect this precious space.
Notes for Holy Week: Wednesday – Walking the Labyrinth
A labyrinth consists of a single pathway which you follow to the centre and then back out again. In a maze you can get lost and come up against a dead-end, but a labyrinth takes you on a journey where the path is clear. It has been described as a metaphor for life with all its twists and turns: the labyrinth can take you into the centre of yourself, or to the centre which many name as God. It can be used by those of faith and those with no faith. The earliest labyrinths are thousands of years old, and the classical 7 ring design has been found on pottery, parchments, clay tablets and rocks. In the Middle Ages, when Christians could no longer go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and other holy sites, because of the Crusades and plague, a more complex labyrinth design was built into the floors of some of the great cathedrals in Europe. The Chartres labyrinth is a very good example of this. In the last century there was a resurgence of interest in the labyrinth as a way of finding inner peace. A common way of walking the labyrinth was developed: a) Pause at the entrance. Become aware, offer the journey b) walk in to the centre ‘Releasing’ what needs to be released within you c) at the centre ‘Receive’ the gift which waits for you d) Follow the same path out – ‘ Return’ with your gift e) Pause on leaving the labyrinth and give thanks. Of course, you can use the journey in many different ways.
The Labyrinth in this Time of Covid-19
As well as offering a virtual labyrinth walk in our orchard labyrinth (which was created by a group of us out of local stone on March 30th 2019 when we thought Brexit was about to happen), it is possible to create a labyrinth design on paper which you can ‘walk’ with a finger. Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfectly – when drawing freehand the pathways will be different sizes. Below are the simple instructions on how to construct a classical 7 ring labyrinth. Have fun!
Notes for Holy Week – Maundy Thursday
You may simply want to stay with the YouTube images today and see where they lead you. But if you would like to do something yourself, you could take a bowl of water, or go to a wash-basin, and, as you wash your hands, intentionally connect with/pray for those struggling with the effects of the Covid-19 virus at the moment. Then connect with/pray for those on the front line, and every line, who are offering service at the moment.
Good Friday – Prayer between 12.00 and 15.00
The YouTube play list is https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC_UZAzlqlqkS-Jcn2tKM2dFQhFZzctPt
In the Gospels the crucifixion of Jesus lasts from noon until three in the afternoon. We offer today a time of meditation every half hour during that time, using Jesus’ words from the cross and a hymn or song. Thanks to Simon and Sally Freeman for providing these. If you wish to sing yourself, the words of the hymns are below – please print them off beforehand (or you may have a hymn-book of course).
Today is a day of waiting and a day of grief. If you wish to reflect further, you might explore grief through small objects, drawing or words….
If you are concerned about post brexit travel please look at the FCO website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france