Samhain, community, and drinking from the well

Last night Annie and I attended a beautiful Samhain celebration at the St Peter and Paul Episcopal Church, along with some other Bridgers. It was a wonderfully welcoming and enriching affair, consisting of food, drink, drumming, storytelling, and a liturgy to end the evening. The Rector, Kurt, talked a bit about the significance of Samhain (pronounced SOW-in): it's the beginning of winter, the "thin time" where resources are thin and also thin is the veil between worlds--a time where we can remember those who have gone on but are still a part of us. Then he simply told stories, and invited others to do the same. Which I jumped at, of course. There was no emphasis on "theology" or "doctrine," and yet there was a richness of liturgy and ritual that my soul loves.

Annie and I thought about it on the ride home. We love our Bridge community, but there are distinct parts of each of our hearts that aren't fully expressed there. I commented that it's too bad you can't have TWO churches, to feed both halves of your soul. Now, of course you technically could--P&P has High Mass at 10, with a half hour left over to jet over to the Bridge at 11:30--but honestly? I barely have the time and energy to fully participate in ONE faith community, let alone two. Especially with a baby Annie and I are acutely aware that any activity at ALL means sacrificing something else. Which sadly, makes community participation a minefield.

So now I'm left wondering where my heart lies. In the course of a brief evening, we made new friends--strong, solid bonds that I can already tell are lasting and meaningful. And I felt as if a whole new world was opening up for us, a world of community, of spiritual nourishment, of joy and freedom and self-expression. In other words, exactly how I felt when I found the Bridge.

It occurs to me that one solution is to do just what we--P&P and the Bridge--are doing already: sharing our community with each other, inviting each other to events and drinking from each other's wells. That way we can retain what makes each community strong while growing from what we all learn from each other. Which sounds wonderful!

For our part, our family will probably be visiting St Peter and Paul from time to time. And our new friends are very keen on visiting the Bridge. We have a strong sense of kindred spirits which is wonderful! I love the bridge in all of it's messy, gut-spilling whirling-dervish glory. I also love this new community's thoughtful hearth-side openness. I look forward to drinking the best draughts from both wells.


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Comment by Freeflyingsoul on November 28, 2009 at 12:19am
Yeah, Justin. And the good news is, they desire it too! Check out what John wrote me about the evening:

"I like the idea of sharing wells. I've often thought that, for finite minds to make any headway understanding an infinite God, it's vital for each person to see God from a different angle and tell the others what they saw. We need to be deeply rooted in our own vision, in order to see and to make sense of what we see. And we need to be deeply listening to others, in order to expand our vision. Hopefully sometime in the not-too-distant future, there'll be an opportunity for us to learn more about your vision."

And Kurt (the Rector) added this:

"Can't have too many wells! Thanks for sharing this lovely text, and thanks for opening a conversation (tale?) that, the Three willing, will keep unfolding!

. . .

You know, sometimes magic happens at a given event, and one needs to give thanks and call it that. But I am a great believer in the awesome power of storytelling, and find myself wondering if a sacred storytelling circle would be a gift not only for ourselves but for others."
Comment by Justin on November 27, 2009 at 5:11pm
I love the embracing of other cultures (stories, songs, and people) that both the Bridge and P&P do so well. I love P&P's focus on story telling and The Bridge's ability to tap into Spirit filled worship. Both beautiful, both Christ centered, I share in your desire to see the communities pour into each other.


“There is plenty of courage among us for the abstract but not for the concrete.” - Helen Keller

“Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being "drawn toward." Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one's friends and enemies. Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk.” - Carter Heyward


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