“Water colour is like a cat, it wants to go its own way.” Ruth Councell offered this bit of whimsical, yet incisive insight while finishing off a lovely record of the country gardens surrounding her.
Friday, one coach driver, one coordinator and two assistants, Lizzie and John Hopthrow, their country home and it’s heart, a small but diaconal team of servers clad in green polo shirts, Self selected Bishop’s Spouses, one interpreter, and a scribe with camera, collected as community to simply be still together.
The afternoon tour into the countryside was an opportunity to experience a ministry provided by participating members of The Quiet Garden Movement who set out to provide “Quiet Gardens and Quiet Spaces for individuals, churches, schools prisons, hospitals, and others.” Offered, are a shared spirit of generosity and hospitality, Intentional welcome, and a meal of tea and cakes.
The journey which began on a coach, headed for the countryside bearing a diverse set of unnamed expectations, was met with hospitality and Grace, yielding restoration and creative insight and Endeavour. Body and spirit relaxed into the setting finding permission and delight in journaling, walking the labyrinth, sitting with face uplifted to the warmth of the sun, capturing an occasional photo of environs or friends, or removing shoes to feel holy ground with hungry soles.
The dance of an afternoon sun upon vegetation, the sound of a tractor and the accompanying aroma of freshly mown hay, the buzz of large furry bees industriously harvesting pollen from Morning Glories, the occasional call of a bird, all intermingled with a flow of still and creative moments. These were the elements God provided for the day’s massage of the soul. The excursion produced a time set apart from the flow of the day’s events in which to pause and know oneself present and alive in a community of fellow travelers also looking to “be still and know God.”
But, the opportunity for refreshment does not come without an intentional investment of time, (kronos in Greek) that commodity, the world confuses with value. This clarity of knowing the distinction was reflected in the following words offered in the garden by Bishop’s Spouse, Mazoe Nopece: “I love gardening. I have flower patches in front and fresh vegetables in the back. It is easy to think of peace in a garden and a God who loves. Sometimes we feel indulgent enjoying the peace of a garden, but you need that!”
When asked what this time together in the country garden had yielded for her, Celia Osnaya nodded her affirmation adding “(at home in Mexico) the Church has lands for camping, surrounded by many very high mountains. Seeing this makes me to want to invite people in the same way to enjoy that land.”
Prayer was offered before embarking on the return to the Campus. Hearts recalled the promise, “whenever two or three are gathered in my name, I shall be with them.”