From Holy Week To Resurrection Moments

During Holy Week * Sally Simpson was a house guest * Churches Together led a Good Friday Walk of Witness through Berwick, * a national newspaper rang me about their Easter Saturday feature on Holy Island pilgrims * a scientist drove four hundred miles to explore rhythm in nature and spiritual practice * Andreas brought a DVD of ‘The Bucket List’ for us to watch on Easter Day.

During the Good Friday Walk I met a Roman Catholic who was drawn to Saint Hilda and the role of women in the church. Next day he emailed: ‘I'm glad to be writing to you on Holy Saturday. This is a footnote from what i hope one day will be a 'book': "In “A Freedom Within: The Prison Notes of Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski”, the Primate of post-war Poland observed that on the first Holy Saturday, with Our Lord having descended to the dead and St Peter laid low by guilt and sorrow over his three-fold denial, Our Lady was de facto Head of the Church. The Polish nation in the person of Mieszko I is also traditionally believed to have been baptised on Holy Saturday, 14 April 966AD."

As a scientist Richard did ground-breaking research, but he followed a call to mentor a young generation as a a teacher. He loves God. He recently linked up with the Community of Aidan and Hilda. His quest? To connect the rhythms of God in creation with rhythms in his own spiritual disciplines – and to write a book. Some themes we discussed were:

• Thin places. Materialism saturates us with insensitivity. So seek thin places. Richard takes his family of four to the furthest reaches of the British and Irish Isles to find thin places in hills, backwaters, sacred sites and wildernesses. There, he seeks to connect the inner landscape with the outer landscape

• Old people. The old are increasingly treated as trash – a burden on the state. He takes his students, unplugged from I.T , to listen to old people in care homes, and to draw out the wisdom that is within them. When the old are not sectioned off from the rest of society the young naturally gravitate to them. Wisdom is nourished among young and old alike.

• The world’s future. It is at a cross-roads. Conflicts threaten it. The typical millennial blames religion for this. But a few years ago two hundred world Muslim leaders sent an open letter to Christians pointing out that there is an inherent divine indwelling within and between them – together religions can bring healing, not conflict.

• The threat of UK break-up. There is now a danger that both Europe and the United Kingdom may break up. In contrast to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (with their Celtic identity) the English have lost a sense of who they are. We have to help the English re-connect.

• Urban contemplation spaces. In urban areas we need to create community and school gardens and eco-parks – spaces where people can contemplate.

Richard is based at a Community College. In England and Wales a community college is a school which not only provides education for the school-age population (11–18) of the locality, but also additional services and education to adults and other members of the community. This education includes but is not limited to sports, adult literacy and lifestyle.

In 1924 Henry Morris wrote the now famous Memorandum which led to the founding of the Village Colleges. The movement seeded a change towards “community education” in many parts of Britain and abroad. This change was based on the belief that education should be a lifelong process. He called it “raising the school-leaving age to 90”. Schools were decaying. The purpose of the village colleges which replaced them in his area of Cambridgeshire was to “confer significance” on a way of life. This task started with the design of the buildings, which were planned as “silent teachers”. The buildings were to serve the whole community – not just the children. The village college would provide for and meet the community’s physical, educational, cultural and recreational needs. A key principle behind this provision was that Education (as Henry Morris wrote) should never lie in the hands of administrators, necessary though they may be as “hewers of wood and drawers of water”, but in the hands of “philosophers, artists, scientists, prophets and scholars, operating in freedom”. Sadly, the current dominance of bureaucratic administration threatens to ruin holistic education. Richard hopes the tide can be turned, and that such institutions may develop more widely into holistic hubs which develop mind, body and spirit of whole communities.

He thinks communities (such as Aidan and Hilda), with the Life Breath that scientists encounter in the material world animating their souls and connectivities become esssential to our future. For Richard, Celtic style worship patterns have three source ingredients: awareness (this requires stillness), action (in rituals and service) and words.

Andreas KrazTmeier, who made the Norwegian wooden cross in our Holy Island prayer room, arrived. After watching 'The Bucket List' we explored, not sky diving, but other heights and lows. I preached at two churches on 'Resurrection moments'. This week has been full of them.

Posted at 23:36pm on 16th April 2017
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