Sunday was my favourite day at Greenbelt. The Rebekah was having Jonathan for a chunk of the afternoon. She and Jamie could see a film and then get very cheap hot chocolate and cake from the kids area if they had a small child with them which seemed to provide enough of an incentive to take him off our hands for a good long bit of time, so I had more time to do what I wanted.
I often like to do an early morning activity and this year there was an area called Soul Space where an early morning molten meditation went on.
This involved about 10 minutes of listening to background music and a few bible verses repeated – while looking at a repeating film of either syrup being poured into a pot or clouds moving across the sky.
Then a sort of sharing of the peace (usually hate this and went to change a baby’s nappy at this point in a service when mine were smaller – all that false smiling and hugging – yuck) where you just said “peace be with you” or “God loves you” or another prayer or blessing and tied an piece of wool round the person’s wrist (the man leading the meditation did make it clear that it wasn’t “magic wool” just a visual representation of the blessing). I actually really liked this as there wasn’t a lot of fake smiling and heartiness it was really quiet and peaceful and a couple of weeks later I still have my not-magic wool blessing round my wrist.
Then there was another 10 minute meditation similar to the first and then we quietly left. A peaceful start to the day.
Sunday Morning Communion
To be honest this wasn’t as good as last year – the bloke leading the sung worship was rather strange with a long piece of hair at the front which needed flicking about during his over exuberant keyboard playing and shouting at the congregation for a response. A bit overly American Pentecostal for my liking really – but just decided to enjoy the strangeness of it. I loved the streamers that they used over our heads as their visual this year and there is something amazing about sharing communion with a group of friends in a crowd of thousands. Don’t even mind doing the peace too much in that setting.
Wild Goose Big Sing
Wild Goose are part of the Iona Community. They sing mostly unaccompanied 4 part harmony short songs from around the world. Two of these were simply made up of the word Alleluia, some might have a short phase such as peace be with you. They are taught very very quickly – the leader of the part you are singing sings it once, you copy it once and then you sing it all together. When I did this a couple of years ago I found it terrifying! I was sure I couldn’t remember the harmonies and was really nervous about getting it right. This year I just sang it out without worrying and seemed to get the harmonies better and enjoy it much more. To the point that I thought I’d get the music book that they said had songs that are not too difficult for children but are not embarrassing for adults to sing (not going to be stuff like Jesus You’re My Superhero or If I Were A Butterfly then) with a view to hopefully using some of them in our singing for fun group. This singing sounds amazing as hundreds of people gather together at the grandstand of Cheltenham race course and give it their best shot!
The late afternoon saw me in the Abide area – small yurts and meditation spaces provided by Moot a neo-monastic community from London. They were doing an Ignation style meditation, which is where you read through a bible passage and you try to imagine it in detail and from different perspectives, imagining the sights, smells, sounds and feeling that the people there might have been experiencing. They chose the story of the woman pouring the perfume over Jesus’ feet. I enjoyed this but this was the first time I had queued to get in somewhere over the weekend and consequently the first time I had been sat on the floor really squashed. they did acknowledge this as half way through we were instructed to get up and have a stretch which was well needed.
I had asked Martin to make the spag bol using the frozen braised mince we had brought with us – unfortunately the pot labelled braised mince turned out to be something else unidentifiable so we had unidentifiable with tomato sauce and tuna and pasta and it tasted good! Whoops.
We headed out early and into a very squashed performance cafe (lovely venue but far too many people trying to get in – think Greenbelt need to put some of the bigger acts on else where and let the performance cafe be for lesser know people who might get a smaller audience) to watch Beth Rowely who was, as Martin said, a little disappointing. I then rushed out of there to meet Sally and go to Taizé worship.
Last time we went to Taizé the tent was quite full but still had space to lie down in if you wanted. This year we thought there would be no problem with space as the big top was much much bigger, how wrong we were. There wasn’t much space to fit in we ended up squashed and behind chairs unable to see anything. Despite this we had a lovely time the Taizé chanting is sublime and I am finding that I enjoy the 10 minutes of silence in the middle more each year. I like the way the service just runs without announcement or distraction (aside from numb feet!) and feels so very peaceful.