well, our pre-Pentecost labyrinth retreat had a very small turnout. the gathering worship focused on Ezekiel, with 5 stations, followed by a labyrinth walk, then a brief gathering afterwards. after a major saga of boiling, burning, soaking and scraping bones, I managed to borrow a real skeleton from a physiotherapist!
STATION #1 – RING OF FIRE
Ezekiel 1:4-6, 11-14, 26-28
I had a laptop showing a looping series of abstract images of light, fire, colours. People were invited to think of a time when they had been overwhelmed by God's presence, and to use crayons and paper to express this experience or their response
STATION #2 – HEAR THE CALL
I used cheryl's clip from "Whale Rider" along with the Switchfoot song "I'm on Fire", and cheryl's idea of remembering your call and writing your name in a bowl of water. we used the really nice baptismal font in the chapel.
STATION #3 – SWEET AND SOUR
People were invited to reflect on when their words seemed to fall on stony hearts, and what that felt like. They were asked to find some words in the Bible that were life-giving for them, and to reflect on these. Then they were invited to eat some honey on rice paper and know that God's words are life-giving. (unsoftened rice paper was terrible, I'll use unleavened bread next time!)
STATION #4 – SPEECHLESS
Recent new headlines were spread around, along with candles, paper, pens, and some photos printed on vellum paper (see here), and some strips of cloth. People were asked gag themselves with the cloth, to identify a situation which made them want to speak out, and then to reflect on why we sometimes remain silent. Is there a time to be silent and a time to speak? They were invited to write on paper the kinds of things that they would want to say about this situation. Then they were asked to consider whether this was a time to be silent or a time to speak, and if so, to take the news clipping with them as a sign of commitment to do so. They were also invited to light a candle in prayer.
STATION #5 – DRY BONES
People were asked to sit with the bones of the church and the dry bones of their own life, and to ask whether they sought a quick dressing-up from God, or a deeper regeneration of flesh and muscle, real eyes and a real heart. They were invited to take a piece of bone (one of the boiled ones from the butcher, not the real skeleton!) - to carry it to the centre of the labyrinth and throw it into the fire.
We provided some printed prayers for reflection in the centre of the labyrinth - Roddy Hamilton, Doug Gay and Bruce Prewer. Recorded music by Steve Everist and Ian Chia. We also had poems by Kevin Hart, James MacAulay and Ed Ingebretsen that people could read and reflect on. When we regathered, I had mark berry's pentecost film playing in a loop.
We are summoned today by the prophets’ cry:
by Ezekiel and Jeremiah
by Isaiah and Amos
called to that place
of unbearable holiness
summoned to an apocalypse
of holy presence
a blood-red sky
a fiery inferno
a collision of love and judgement
at the limit of God’s mercy
turning body to bone
flesh to ash
today we come to the time and place
where God’s patience grows thin
sweeping away injustice and oppression
exposing hypocrisy and deceit
uprooting powers that exploit and destroy
around us and within us
a place where the weave of creation
seems unravelled by the Creator herself
a Spirit-dance of chaos
of ecstasy and exorcism
returning dust to dust
leaving only the elemental -
earth, wind and fire
We are called today to a funeral -
a burial of those things
that we place above and before God
today we incinerate
any easy way to goodness and holiness
any safe way to security and peace
any cheap way to nourishment and fullness
and we are returned to the place where,
without trust in the One who creates and saves us,
all indeed might as well be ashes and dust
so that perhaps,
a new creation might be born
You are invited to enter the prophet’s story
to hear Ezekiel’s call and remember your own
to see Ezekiel’s visions and seek your own
And then to walk along the labyrinth towards the Pentecost fire
that faith, hope and call might be rekindled
and that each of us might be inflamed by the Spirit’s presence.
May this Pentecost fire
first be for us
so that it can become for us
and for our world
an annunciation of joy
a revival of faith
a birthing of hope
God of yesterday, today and tomorrow
Circle us with fire this day
Circle us with fire
i wish i could write like that! yours? stunning.
Posted by: cheryl | June 03, 2006 at 04:21 PM
you're too kind. coming from you that's a compliment. but I'm not sure that it's good enough to get me on the cover of the Rolling Stone.......
Posted by: craigmitchell | June 03, 2006 at 05:24 PM
Thanks so much for sharing these wonderfully creative and stimulating ideas. Am sorry your event wasn't maxxed out in attendance. Just keep going (and letting the rest of us in on it.) I appreciate your blog.
Posted by: Jennifer | June 08, 2006 at 03:08 AM