Last night, I went to a Solstice Celebration put on by the Centre for Inspired Living. It was a joint effort by the Centre's Director, Kerry Parsons and St. Steven's Anglican Church. An unusual alliance of a 'new age' institute married with a secular institution to present a celebration based on pagan rituals of honouring the Solstice.
It was Divine.
When Howard Parsons, St. Stephen's Minister, welcomed everyone, he spoke of the tradition of the 'church'. It's 2,000 year old heritage and history of being 'the accepted' way. He mentioned how, when Christian's were persecuted, we were perhaps more able to adapt, to adjust, to be relevant to the times because the very act of persecution questioned the foundational beliefs and practices of the church.
It's a lot easier now, he said. A lot easier now that the Church is known as the primary religion of the western world.
But perhaps, in that process of becoming the 'standard', the Church has lost its edge, and some of its relevance, he added.
And so, St. Stephen's joined with Kerry and the Centre for Inspired Living to present Soul Food for the Winter Solstice. A benefit concert to welcome in the light and to raise funds for Inn From the Cold -- a charity that houses homeless families. Inn from the Cold began in Calgary many years ago at St. Stephen's. It is fitting the event be held under its roof.
I sat in the church, amidst candlelight and music and voices singing and words spoken and I was moved. Moved by the majesty of the human spirit, the beauty of our voices and the wonder of our stories.
My friend BA was there. We sat and felt the communion of spirit that comes when hearts are touched, minds open wide and spirits take flight.
There was much music, joy, laughter, and heartfelt sharing of gifts last night. A small child walking down the aisle, her face aglow in candlelight, leading the procession. Singing together of Here Comes the Sun. Merging of secular and non to create an evening of wonder and joy.
Luke Bradley was one of the performers. A young man with a great talent who shyly offered his gift of voice and music. At the end of the evening, as I was leaving the church, he was sitting on a bench by the door waiting for his mother to finish a conversation. I walked over and said to him, "You have a great talent. An amazing voice. Stunning. I can't wait to buy your CD."
He smiled back. Somewhat shyly. His mother walked over and said, "Thank you! He doesn't believe his mother."
I too have a daughter who doesn't believe me when I speak of my wonder of her gifts. Of how talented she is. What an amazing voice and spirit she has.
For that moment in time, Luke's mother and I shared a bond, a bond unbroken in time of mother's who love their children and children who are somewhat embarrassed by their mothers' love -- and adoration -- and wish they'd just be quiet! :)
I looked back at Luke. "Believe her," I said. "It's true. You are very gifted."
"Believe her," Luke's mother said. "Does she look like she's lying?"
I laughed and left filled with the wonder of a special night. Filled with the joy of knowing, the days are growing longer, light is opening up the sky, hearts are healing, minds are opening, spirits are raising high.
At one point, as I sat and let the music wash over me, I felt the muse stirring. Not wanting to lose her thread of inspiration, I pulled out my notebook and wrote down the words she offered in celebration of the night. This is the poem I wrote while sitting in the quiet of the church.
is the night
lingering at the edge
waiting to appear
to open up
hearts and minds
to the wonder
of a thousand tiny fragments
of light ascending
into heavenly hosts
in the beauty of spirits rising
in Love and Light.
The Christchild is coming.
Love is in the air.