So, here is the Bamboo Encounter from Saturday, August 24th. You will find pictures here, a link to the song we sang at the end, the order of worship, the opening prayer, etc. If you go to the Bamboo Encounter Facebook page, you can see photos that others have tagged "Bamboo Encounter" and reflections from others.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning for our last meeting of summer. Our next meeting will be in the fall month of September, on the 4th Saturday. There was a threat of rain and storms for later in the afternoon, but we weren't hit by those. We experienced some breezes inside the bamboo and were able to hear the blowing of the leaves and the clacking of the bamboo.
There were eight of us humans total gathered, with a sweet furry friend who joined us. I knew from several people that weren't able to make it out that day for various reasons. There was someone new that came out that day. One never knows who or how many will be able to make it. And that's really okay.
Once I get into the bamboo and get things set up-- the welcome table and the Eucharist table, then I am able to enter into the calm and peace that the bamboo offer.
I recently read a great article that explains physiologically why being under a tree covering calms folks. Though this isn't that same article (I think I posted it on Bamboo Encounter's page), this is a good one to read: "Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health".
The opening prayer for the morning:
"Creator God, as we come into the bamboo in this final month of summer, help us to set aside all distractions and concerns to be open to your presence, preparing our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls to recognize your presence in our midst. May we connect with you in this space-- whether in the silence, the rustling of leaves, the knocking of the bamboo, the spoken word, or through one another. Amen." (DD--8/20/19)
[I did edit it while I was praying it to include Gracie, our furry friend who was with us that morning.]
Scriptures for the day:
1 Kings 4:29, 33-34 (CEB)
29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and very great understanding—insight as long as the seashore itself. 33 He described the botany of trees, whether the cedar in Lebanon or the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He also described cattle, birds, anything that crawls on the ground, and fish. People came from everywhere to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; even the earth’s kings who had heard about his wisdom came!
Psalm 104:19 (CEB)-- 19 God made the moon for the seasons,
I encouraged all to go back and read the rest of Psalm 104 at some point because reading Scripture outdoors that talks about nature adds to the reading and living of it.
I said this: "Reading the Scripture outdoors helps us embody it. It comes to life."
And I shared a quote: “Nature, as it tells the story of an outdoor Creator and as it mirrors Scripture, is not limited to any particular denomination, church, or rite.” Steven Chase, Nature as Spiritual Practice, 62)
Then I shared this short reading/quote from Thomas à Kempis about God's creation: "If your heart is straight with God, then every creature will be to you a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine. No creature is so little or so mean as not to sow forth and represent the goodness of God.” Imitation of Christ, p. 114 (from Nature as Spiritual Practice)
We had a time of silence and reflection and then a time of sharing. That time of sharing in community is one of my favorite times as folks share (as they wish) what came to them during the readings or during the silence. It is very holy time for me.
After the sharing from reflection time we share Holy Communion, Holy Eucharist. The Scripture verses for this gathering:
John 6:33,35 and 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Common English Bible (CEB)
33 The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
16 Isn’t the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn’t the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread.
After sharing at the table, we sing a song, share the closing prayer, and we part.
The song this past gathering was a Taizé song by Jacques Berthier: "Bless the Lord"
Bless the Lord, my soul,
And bless God’s holy name
Bless the Lord, my soul,
Who leads me into life
The blessing that we read in unison for the closing of our time together:
Blessing— (from Church of the Woods, a program of Kairos Earth)
God’s Blessing be with you,
Christ’s peace be upon you,
The Spirit’s outpouring be within you and amongst you,
This day and always. AMEN.
If anyone who attended this gathering or any of the others would like to comment on their experiences in the bamboo, I invite you to do so.
The worship is the bamboo has been life giving for me and I'm grateful for the seed planted and the wildness to step out in faith to try something new.