Worship in paint (and sand and song)

June 29, 2008
FGC Gathering, Johnstown, Penna.

Worship in paint today was pretty amazing.

We got there a bit late, and the participants were gathered in a circle around the volleyball court.

A Friend gave vocal ministry, clearly and loudly enough to be heard 40 feet away, about smiling in your heart, and radiating gladness to the people around you. He repeated himself rather, but it was good.

Beverly Shepard began leading a chant, which a few people took up around her. Mostly Psalm-based chants, as I recall. Taize-like.

Soon thereafter a person took up a brush and began a swath of red paint across a few of the sheets of paper attached to the volleyball net.

Then most of the people – all the children and young adults certainly --went to pick up brushes and began to paint.

Several of the younger children, especially, began to play in the sand of the court.

A woman began etching out a labyrinth with her heel.

H. and S. painted happily. Then got too involved with flicking paint from their brushes onto the paper – they got eldered by JG friend in residence!
They went to play in the sand. Both made sand castles.

S. joined other boys in running about, then found the labyrinth and began running through it w/2 other boys.

A little girl, about 2, was happily painting her hands white and green with a brush. Then she enjoyed playing in the sand with her painted hands.

Beverly chanted, “Let the little children come to me/For heaven belongs to such as these.”

Then several of the adults were weeping. So were a couple of the teen girls. There were many long hugs given – between women in the 50s, between teen girls and women in their 60s or 70s. It made my eyes all wet, too, to see it. And to see that part of it was my six year old happily running through the labyrinth that was triggering these emotions for many of us.

And then the paintings were there, bright and vivid and vibrant colors and shapes moving across the papers, and all along the length of the volleyball net.
It was tremendously stimulating in an unprogrammed Quaker context – the visual (paintings), the auditory (chant), the tactile (sand and paint). Plus the emotional.
It was pretty great and overwhelming.

No comments: