Forest Church Fresh Expressions

Spooling Stories

A gallery of reflections on Decembers Forest Church gathering.

We gathered outside the Crichton chapel and watched the weather. I was a little wet and windy, but the rain mostly held off for our service. We remembered the solstice while we gathered, and perhaps the brooding pause between rain emphasised taking time to stand still.

Our plan for the service and the readings can be read here:
December Forest Church 2023

At least the texts can be! Here are some photos to help give you a feel of what the day was like.

To help us respond to the readings we used stands of cloth to store our experiences on wooden spools. Some people collected things, others rubbed the stains onto cloth and experimented with texture and colours.

A wide range of reflections were offered. These ranged from sensory experiences of the moment (which are beyond my ability to translate into words) to insights gained from studying the natural order.

The thought recorded above was inspired by looking at the growth near tree trunks as the light reached sections of the ground usually overshadowed by leaves.

Some formed these into stories that marked the moment and helped them prepare for the week ahead. For one participant standing still at this time presented a junction and a choice. On the one hand there was decay and rotting things, and in the other signs of evergreen life even in winter. They could then choose the path they would take.

So where was Jesus in all of this? Well, walking with us emotionally of course, providing peace and comfort. Also present creating and sustaining the landscape we walk in, through new life as well as time for things to return to mulch. The Gospel of John talks of the light entering the world if you can recognise it. Perhaps seeing with the light of Jesus and recognising all the things described above is part of the process of finding Jesus through looking.

What do you think?

The path to Elsie Shields. May your journey to Christmas be filled with peace!

3 replies on “Spooling Stories”

Mulch needs time and time and time again and then more time to decay into the beautiful compost of sustainable existence which life depends on. Impossible to speed it up with the tricksy time-lapse of half-hearted impatience.

The opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty. To doubt is to have faith worth doubting. God gives us enough light to understand what we need to in any given moment. And we can sometimes glimpse eternity in the beauty of His world and others around us.

The beauty of mulch lies in the compression of time into layers and layers of lovely leafmeal leaving life buried deep down in the soggy earth waiting to become a cradle for new shoots of creation in future times.

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