Living lightly in today’s world
…has been the theme of my past week – a broad theme embracing a range of experiences which have stretched me, moved me, inspired me and gladdened me. It’s been an amazing time! Andrew and I have both been at the beautiful retreat centre of Drumalis in Larne, Northern Ireland for the Five-Day Community for Spiritual Formation (about which I have written before here and elsewhere, check the link for more background). For the 7 of us on the leadership team the week was the fulfillment of so much planning, praying, shared silence and hoping; a two-year journey which has been a joy with such great companions! (Glad to say there are already plans for next year… watch this space!)
We have been in the company of around 35 people, mainly from across the British Isles, but with a handful from the USA. The rich sense of community shared, of barriers crossed and friendships made has been a very special part of the retreat.
I have loved the rhythm: aspects of light focussed our daily worship, evening, night and morning; regular times of silence gave us pause to reflect and explore; a time of listening in small groups each evening offered a different way to do this and regular, delicious meals, offered with gracious, warm Irish hospitality kept body and soul walking together.
The heart of each day was the food we received from our two wonderful presenters; Amy Oden, professor of Early Church History and Spirituality at Saint Paul School of theology in Oklahoma City (right), and the Irish poet, theologian, leader of the Corrymeela Community (and much else), Pádraig Ó Tuama (shown below with Johnny Sears from The Academy for Spiritual Formation, based in Nashville, who have enabled us to offer the Five-Day Community, and our team leader, Nicola Vidamour) Both Amy and Pádraig gave us so much nourishment and offered new avenues along which our souls and minds could travel in the silence which followed each presentation. There is so much more; it’s hard to find words big enough to convey the experience.
So I’ll end by adding a piece I wrote after one of Pádraig’s sessions in which he had taken us through the first two stories of John 6 in a way which made my mind soar and, after Pádraig had reminded us that the Celtic symbol for John’s Gospel is the eagle I tried to take flight myself. (It should download if you click the following link) An eagle looks at John 6.
You can also visit Pádraig’s website, In the Shelter, here.
Blessings on all who have shared my journey this week, and on all our journeys. Jill