Friday, August 30, 2013

Greenbelt 2013 - Life begins ...

Last weekend I attended my second Greenbelt festival. Never mind Christmas and Easter - Greenbelt is rapidly becoming my spiritual highlight of the year!
For me it is a very serious attempt at building God's Kingdom on this earth. A place of love and respect and tolerance. A place of exploring our faith together and learning from each other, rather than falling into the 'I-am-right-so-you-must-be-wrong' trap!

I met old friends and made new ones, and enjoyed some wonderful conversations.

Highlights this year were listening to John Bell from the Iona community (now there is a place I will have to visit one day!) and hearing Jim Wallis, a Christian writer and political activist from the US and the founder and editor of Sojourners magazine, speak on social justice and the pursuit of the common good; participating in a session on Scriptural Reasoning  which was a beautiful example of how people from different faiths can explore and learn from each others scriptures together without telling each other what to believe or where the other is wrong (!); attended a very interesting workshop by Abdul-Rehman Malik entitled "Is there a bomb in your bag?", exploring what happens when we perceive to have an enemy in our midst; and many, many more.

As last year the OuterSpace communion service was one of my very favourite events. Here is what I wrote a year ago.
'Welcoming' simply doesn't describe it. OuterSpace manages to put on a service which is one of the most gentle, caring and embracing I have ever attended! I have pondered how and why that is.
My conclusion is that OuterSpace simply knows how to treat people as precious and delicate beings. And we all are precious in God's eyes!

This image of the cardboard box has been with me for a few days now and speaks quite powerfully to me. You know those big, heavy cardboard boxes, that look so tough and rugged on the outside? And yet, we don't know what fragile cargo it carries on the inside. 'Fragile' and 'Handle with care' are stickers we put on the outside to remind ourselves that we cannot tell from the outside what is on the inside.

Shouldn't we handle people with care all the time too?
Just because somebody looks big and strong or is gruff and prickly or appears confident and able, doesn't mean that they are not fragile and vulnerable on the inside.

Let's treat each other like precious beings. That's what OuterSpace has taught me!

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