Friday, August 17, 2007

Being a contemplative and ritual orientated group, I really enjoyed these stories of other groups practices and rituals from the Bede Griffiths Sanga newsletter. I would love to hear other stories of how you meet, live and celebrate the mystery together.

Shirley du Boulay wrote:
Our group is held at my flat, which is quite small so we cannot easily have more than eight people. Before they arrive I light a candle and some incense, switch off the telephone and put some music on. I leave the door on the latch so there is no need to ring the bell and people can arrive quietly to an atmosphere that is already peaceful. We try not to engage in conversation yet,though, as we have become good friends, this is sometimes hard!

At 5 o’clock one of us strikes a bell and we sing the Gayatri Mantra and settle down for 30 minutes meditation, each of us following our own practice. This is the heart of our meeting and themain reason why we are there together, but after the meditation we also read sacred texts such asthe Upanishads. At about 6.15 we stop talking and end with ten moreminutes of meditation, so that our discussion is framed by silence.

Thérèse O'Neill wrote:
We started getting together nearly five years ago, we are a small group, our numbers have fluctuated and there are now five of us; living in the country we are all rather far apart. We meet once a month at 12.30 and usually begin by celebrating a "Kiddush" (sharing bread and wine after the jewish tradition). It includes a reading (chosen by one of us in turn) and reflection on the text, and bidding prayers or intercessions. After the Kiddush we enjoy a meal and the opportunity for sharing our problems, joys, family events or "putting the world
to right". We end with a period of silence and meditation.

Once during the summer, we have a picnic outside an old and beautiful small church, an idyllic setting, and this has become a sort of tradition!"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Experiences of Church and Worship

I keep updating this - so its worth a look at the latest entries at the bottom ...

Every Friday the community play a game. I send out a Friday Question on the email - which is sometimes silly, sometimes political, sometimes spiritual. Our friends and families play along too.
Today's question was:

What is the most profound experience of "church" (Whatever that means these days...) that you have ever had?

These were some of the responses:

It would have to be the first time I went to the Easter service in New Norcia. That was a great experience! Even the drive to Seabird and the Lectio on the beach in the sand dunes...also the walks through the scrub with Dom John and the boys.
- Jason

One of the fondest is the our homegroup doing a bible study one night in 30+ degree heat, with out legs dangling in the pool. And about a year later two of the group being baptised there.
- Phil

Probably Easter, Good Friday. Very goosebumpy. Sometimes during a song at church I'll get the same feeling. Sometimes during the prayers too.

Same as Jason for me - especially when I was confirmed and received into the Roman Church. If I had to pick another, there were some moments when we did the early Dom John retreats in his little prayer room that were spine tingling - the Lectio, the Taize, the silence, the candles, the wooden cross onthe floor, the falling apart room...
- Chris

"Life in the Spirit" Seminars held at St. George's Reservoir many many years ago, but I'll never forget the experience, nor the lessons of God's great gift and love for us, learned at that time. My first experience of a New Norcia Easter comes close, too.
- Hilary

For some reason I think of an easter communion time west of Bourke in NSW around a big gidgee wood bonfire on a red dirt plane. Cold as.... clear early morning sky and as the Sun rose the full moon set ... 70% of God's communication, like ours, is non verbal.
- Mal

One of my most profound experiences came totally by surprise. I was running late to pop in on a workmate's wedding at the St Hilda's chapel. Very posh and I really popped in out of a feeling of duty to be honest. As I sat down right at the back someone got up to read 1 Cor 13 (the love passage) and I thought "oh this AGAIN" - you know, because you hear it so often at weddings. Anyway somehow I either REALLY listening or God REALLY turned up the volume because I heard it properly for the first time, and well, it is so utterly magnificent and I just wept. And really really felt my unlovingness but was so thrilled by God's amazing love for us. As if that wasn't emotional enough the reading was followed by a superb boy soprano, one of the teacher's (she was getting married) students. So more Kleenex. Sigh.
- Sally

Liturgical Common Sense

In the midst of all the liturgical talk from Rome thse days comes some common sense from an Australian Source.

Elizabeth Harrington writes an excellent article here about how to interpret Liturgical documents in these times of much pain and confusion.
I especially like this bit:

The way that some people use these documents to attack others causes me great concern.

“Love one another as I have loved you”... if we’re not prepared to act by this commandment, what good will all the liturgical laws in the world do us.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Ever get tired of being grown up?