Our August 18 adventure in Oak Hill including a labyrinth trip

I didn’t write a regular reflection last Sunday because it was not a regular spiritual gathering. It was the third annual summer gathering of our Cooperative Ministry, on an Oak Hill member’s century farm.

Happily , we were able to be outdoors on the front lawn, as the morning rain had stopped and the fog lifted. The late summer crickets kept us company as we sang creation-centred and church camp favourites, heard some beautiful Mary Oliver poems, and shared some spiritual practices. We had one word prayers, comments on what grows in our gardens, what nature teaches us, what we’ve observed from waterways we know . {We live in an area of many rivers, and near the world’s highest tides on the Bay of Fundy, and there are many rivers and shores and landscapes in our collective memory]. Four young children were there with parents and/or grandparents and enjoyed running about, very peacefully.

After we’d sung and read and reflected and prayed and sung some more, several heroic souls stayed behind to fire up the barbecue. Most of the others walked or biked or drove down the road a little, to Lorie’s new outdoor labyrinth. Lorie and Jim are newcomers to the area. Lorie with the help of Jim and some friends and neighbours has created this labyrinth with a profusion of many variety of flowers, and has an explanation of it in place, so that any passer-by or visitor is free to come up and enjoy a labyrinth walk whenever she/he/they might wish.

I will post the labyrinth blessing separately. Lorie told a bit of the story of the labyrinth before we started, and a friend read a powerful testimonial from someone who had walked it.

Here’s what amazed and delighted me! After we’d done the blessing, I’d thought we’d all be hungry and scurry back to enjoy burgers and potluck picnic food, with the understanding that anyone interested could come back and walk after lunch.

But not so ! The four children led the way! They scampered in, and gradually most of those present strolled in after them , parents or grandparents keeping company with the children, others following more sedately. Of course, we don’t know exactly what was happening within each person, but I sensed Spirit was at work within each.

Sometimes one prefers a quiet solitary walk – and the opportunity for this remains, both at Lorie’s labyrinth and at our indoor Wesley labyrinth. But this day it was about community: the leadership of children, adults , who may or may not have met before, walking around together, and those remaining outside holding the space. More community developed as people who didn’t necessarily know each other walked or biked back and forth, and I suspect went deeper in their conversation than they might have at a purely social occasion.

If I get permission I’ll try to add a wonderful photo of everyone walking. Meanwhile , I glimpsed the power of community released into a fresh new-to-them spiritual practice , going with the flow, trusting the path.

A very leisurely and companionable lunch followed. it was indeed a morning and afternoon to remember !

Sometimes we need to free ourselves from the accustomed order , the accustomed pews or chairs, the accustomed plans – and walk, literally walk, where the Spirit invites us!

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