Holy Trinity’s House Group held an Advent meal this week, based on an Iona Liturgy (I was going to write ‘Wild Goose’ – brand name from Iona – but actually we had cottage pie …). It was a bit like a Passover Seder, in that there were symbolic foods, and question and answer sections. And like the Seder, it was a happy meal too, with lots of conversation and sharing.
There was a place for John the Baptist, and we drank water for him. The same for Mary but we drank milk. And a light for Jesus, then wine for God who ’causes us to rejoice’. The food courses were interspersed with more questions and affirmations.
I loved the leisurely feel, taking time between each course, and reflecting before we went on to the next. I loved the family feel that’s created when we eat together, and you realise that a Christian ‘family” has its own stories and dynamics. I love the all-age possibilities of worshipping in this way.
The bit with most impact for me? It had to be drinking a glass of water for John the Baptist and tasting the clear, sharp prophet, stripped of colour and impurity, radical, uncompromising. It reminded me of Antoine de St Exupery’s hymn to water when he was rescued from his crashed plane in the desert, mad with thirst:
“Water, thou hast no taste, no colour, no odour; cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses. … Of all the riches that exist in the world, thou art the rarest and also the most delicate – thou so pure within the bowels of the earth! A man may die of thirst lying beside a magnesian spring. He may die within reach of a salt lake. He may die though he hold in his hand a jug of dew, if it be inhabited by evil salts. For thou, water, art a proud divinity, allowing no alteration, no foreignness in thy being. And the joy that thou spreadest is an infinitely simple joy.”