Tuesday began much the same way that Monday did. We were on the same schedule, and started the morning with Morning Prayer, then breakfast and then into our morning program time. I continue to be so moved by the music we are led in here at Companions. While I certainly enjoy many different varied styles of worship, what this group of 70+ folks can do with their voices and a piano and a few handbells is quite wonderful. I’ve started sketchnoting some of the lyrics from the chants that we sing – you’ll see those show up in the illustrations below.
Our theme for the day was from Hebrews 11: the great cloud of witnesses. One of the main points that Luther made in the morning was about how we perceive or understand the cloud of witnesses. I think we often think of it as a nice idea, or a reassuring concept to imagine the cloud of witnesses. But there was a challenge to really consider the actual presence of the cloud of witnesses among us. Do you see them? Do you perceive them?
Luther spoke about how the cloud of witnesses is really a cloud of stories – and those stories are the companions with us – that we learn from those who have gone before us. During the desperate times that we currently live in, we really need to be the people we were called to be. And we have stories of those who show us that it can be done.
As we spoke about the cloud of witnesses, I imagined them as being a cheering crowd for us, a supportive presence – but we also spoke about the ways in which the cloud of witnesses actually serves another purpose – to challenge us, to push us, to not let us be staid, or satisfied with the status quo. While we may feel tempted to be resigned to the despair around us – the cloud of witnesses helps us, urges us, and challenges us to search out the force of hope that comes from God.
During the time of Integration after Luther’s presentation, there were more opportunities for us to reflect with one another, to share stories of those who we might say are part of our clouds of witnesses and then we were given the opportunity to do more acrostic poetry. From the comments of those around me, there are some who really enjoy this practice, who find it quite easy, and there are others who find it quite challenging (but they are still open to it and the way that God might speak to them through it). I enjoyed the chance to come up with another poem, based on the phrase WITNESS TO HOPE. Below is my poem (because I know that you were really hoping I’d share another one):
in our live.
They are to be remembered, but they also watch.
Never judging, but hoping.
So we might know their stories.
Too often, we forget that they are here.
Help us to know their stories, their histories.
Open us up to being changed and charged by them.
Provide us with the courage we need.
Every day, let us embrace the powerful force of hope.
After another good lunch, we had our sabbath time. When you’re at a place like Zephyr Point, Sabbath time is full of so many possibilities. I’ve had the chance to do some blogging, a little bit of work, and then I’ve gone down to the beach each day. The water….well, it’s not warm. But once you get in, it feels pretty amazing. I haven’t jumped off the pier yet, but…there are still a few days left, so we’ll see.
After the afternoon Sabbath time, we had our afternoon worship with eucharist, which was a really wonderful time of gathering together and celebrating God’s word through prayer, music, and breaking bread with one another.
I captured a few audio clips of singing that took place, and I will try to get those uploaded at some point – maybe I’ll throw together a quick video later this week.
After dinner, we met with our lectio groups again for a time of reflection, prayer and contemplation on the passage of the day from Hebrews 11. During my extended time of reflection, I ended up making a coloring sheet that I thought I would share with you all. I focused on some attributes of God that I needed to reflect on, so you can print it out and write in whatever word for God that you’d like to focus on and pray over while you color the coloring sheet. You can download it by clicking on the image below:
We closed our day with a short Compline service. It was a wonderful way to end our time together on Tuesday as we spent time in silence, enjoyed a few Taize songs and had the opportunity to offer up prayers for the world, friends and family and ourselves.
It’s a really great group of folks here, and actually a pretty broad range of ages represented; it’s been a lot of fun to get to know people this week. And again, have I mentioned how beautiful Zephyr Point is? From someone who left the heat and humidity of Chicago, coming to a place that is 80º (and not humid) during the day and 45º at night…it’s awesome.