Aoradh family day…

We had a lovely Aoradh gathering today. The kids planned their own worship service, around the theme of food (food in the bible, being grateful, being more fruitful) then- well we ate of course!

Sharon had made a cake, which we all wrote our names on in icing, then we ate that too.

Lots of our young people are in transition. Two of them away to university, one to college, others to new schools or new exam years. We decided to give them all an envelope full of things each adult had written to each child.

A good cake takes care.

All those lovely ingredients gathered and mixed and moulded.

Bowls licked clean.

Oven warmed and ready to raise and brown.

So it is with you my girl. All the lovely parts of you are in the mix. God is stirring them up, and the oven is warm.

You will feed many with rich lovely things.

You will feed many with love.

 

Good Shepherd Sunday…

It was today, according to the Lectionary.

It was also our Aoradh family worship day today, and it was lovely as ever. We used the general theme of Good Shepherd in our worship, then we ate together and sat round a fire in the garden until the spring rain set in.

Today we did a thing with some of Si Smith’s flat pack nativity figures- the shepherd, and lots of sheep. We asked people to write worries on the inside of the sheep, then add them to the flock- first feeling the better for the company, then we added in the shepherd. You get the picture.

Here are some of the flock;

Aoradh worship gathering…

 

 

(An old photo of one of our gatherings.)

We are just back from our monthly worship gathering with Aoradh. We had planned to use a larger space this week, as people had expressed a desire to sing. That old fashioned, uncool kind of worship from the 80’s and 90’s- you may remember… (More on this later.)

In the end we used Andy and Angela’s big lounge, and we had power points reflections, music, communion, sharing and lots of other simple but lovely things- oh and we sang too. All the elements of our worship were collected in the moment- prepared by different people, but it all fitted together remarkably well.

Then, as is our way, we ate. Lots.

To meet with such lovely people and worship is such a blessing. There are times to look up, to look in and to look out. Today we mostly looked up, but because we did this together it was all the more special.

To finish, we pinched a blessing that Jonny mentioned that Grace had used recently- a lovely one by John O’Donahue. We cut it up, and circulated it, asking people to read the one they had chosen, and to take it away as their own words. I ended up picking up two- the ones highlighted below.

May the blessings released through your hands
cause windows to open in darkened minds

May the suffering your calling brings
be but winter before the spring

May the companionship of your doubt
Restore what your beliefs leave out

May the secret hungers of your heart
harvest from emptiness its secret fruit

May your solitude be a voyage
into the wilderness and wonder of God

May your words have the prophetic edge
to enable the heart to hear itself

May the silence where your calling dwells
foster your freedom in all you do and feel

May you find words full of divine warmth
to clothe others in the language of dawn

May your potentiality be released
to explore new horizons of what’s possible

May your becoming bring gentle surprises
as you remember you’ve not arrived

Garden resurrection…

We had a lovely day yesterday.

As a celebration of Easter, some of the Aoradh crowd gathered at our house. We ate a meal together, sang some songs, then did some activities with the kids- including the ubiquitous easter egg hunt.

Then we sat round a fire, next to a little stone ‘tomb’ and told the story of the Mary, and the garden.

Then we lingered. And spoke of life, and faith.

It felt very special- in the way that deep time with friends can be… a lovely way to celebrate Easter.

Aoradh family day…

Some Aoradh folk met today for our monthly time to eating a meal and worshipping. 18 of us sat around our garden table- including some of Michaela’s family who are visiting from Nottinghamshire.

As ever it was great. We ate, laughed, the kids played and danced.

And it was Paul’s birthday! Hope it is a good year…

After the meal we spent some time thinking about setting out on new journeys- letting the wind of the Spirit blow- and remembering the old practice of peregrinatio.

To help us visualise this, we made paper boats, wrote prayers on them, and set them sailing on the Clyde. Watching them disappear out on the mighty river was magical. We hope this compensates for the little bit of extra flotsam (or is it jetsom?) that we added to the old river.

We read some poems, and a prayer together. I loved this- borrowed from Mark Berry (here)-

Three loads I carry as I walk,
Three packs I balance on my back.
Each one I meticulously packed,
Each I carefully stowed and strapped down hard.
Not one I felt I could leave behind,
Not one could I do without.
Three weights I feel dig in my shoulder,
Each one present and distinct,
Pulling me in different directions,
Making my way harder than it seems,
Causing me to miss my step and trip,
Yet often they feel as one,
So tightly are they bound together,
So long have I carried them.
At times they feel alien jabbing and ripping me,
At times they are part of me.
They are things of great value to me,
Things that make me who I know I am,
Things that give me place and time,
Things that though at time they give me pain,
Are me.

One great sack carries all I hold of worth,
All that I think I love,
All that I hope never to lose.
How could it be possible to leave this bag?
I could no more cut off my arm or leg!
This I bind closest to me,
I wear it next to my back,
This load gives me stability,
It sures me when I feel feeble.
It is my frame, yet still it is heavy.

One carries all my certainty,
That which I have no doubt is ordained.
In each part a word or thought,
A prayer or poem which gives me purpose,
It is what keeps me on.
It holds my map, my itinerary.
How could I abandon all this,
For whom should I walk,
Which way should I go,
How would I know, how could I be sure?

One load binds all three,
It wraps around the other two,
At times holding them,
At times pushing them sharply into my skin.
My fears I carry in this last bag,
My fear of losing the others,
My fear of walking alone,
My fear of being lost.
My fear of being pointless,
Of going nowhere, of being no-one.

But,
All this speaks of me; my loves, my faith, my fears.
My scale of what is valuable,
My sense of what is good and right,
My insecurity.
I am content in each step and yet I count each mile,
I want to pass, to savour each view,
To go the places I could not plan to visit,
I want in each to leave something of me, something good behind.
Somehow, I don’t know how,
I know I must risk leaving parts of me by the road.
I must give up my load,
Lay down my pack.
Not in wild abandon,
But in faithful surrender.