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Forest Church 21 March 2020

Bicester Forest Church 21 March 2020 - Spring Equinox

Though we cannot meet physically, join with us in spirit wherever you are. Find a space
outside - or even just by an open window. Read and enact these suggestions - all, some, or
your own prayers and meditation inspired by them.
(unless otherwise indicated all quotes are from St Hildegard of Bingen, Liber vitae meritorum and Liber divinorum operum , various translations)

“There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments—and it is we alone who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence. It is one sacred universe, and we are all a part of it.”
Richard Rohr, Eager to Love

Take off your shoes and socks if you are able. Be still for a few moments. This is holy ground.

It is natural in times of scarcity and risk to try to hold on: to our own resources; to our comforts; to our plans and desires.

Clench your fists for a while. How does it feel? What are you holding onto or grasping for?

“I am the breeze that nurtures all things green. I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits, I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life”

Open your hands. Go and find (or look for) something new, fresh and green. Examine it as closely as you can. What do you notice about it?

“I am the fiery life of divine substance, I blaze above the beauty of the fields, I shine in the waters, I burn in sun, moon, and stars. And I awaken all to life with every wind of the air, as with invisible life that sustains everything. For the air lives in greenness and fecundity. The waters flow as though they are alive. The sun also lives in its own light, and when the moon has waned it is rekindled by the light of the sun and thus lives again; and the stars shine out in their own light as though they are alive.”

Stand in a relaxed posture. Begin to breathe slowly. On each breath in, raise your hands to shoulder height with palms uppermost. On each breath out, let your arms sink back down to your waist with palms downwards.

As you breathe in, consider that that the Oxygen you inhale was made by the plants and trees around you. As you breathe out, the Carbon Dioxide you exhale will be taken in by those same plants.
As you breathe in, breathe in the love and life of God that is continually, freely given to you.
As you breathe out, breathe out thanks and love to God and to all the life of which you are a part.
As you breathe in, accept the love and blessing of God.
Make each breath out a blessing to the world. “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matt 10:8)

“Thus I am concealed in things as fiery energy. They are ablaze through me, like the breath that ceaselessly enlivens the human being, or like the wind-tossed flame in a fire. All these things live in their essence, and there is no death in them, for I am life. I also am wisdom, who holds the breath of the resonant word by which the whole of creation was created; and I have breathed life into everything, so that nothing by its nature may be mortal, for I am life.

And I am life: not the life struck from stone, or blossoming from branches, or rooted in a man’s strength, but life in its fullness, for all living things have their roots in me.”

“Gather”
Some springs, apples bloom too soon.
The trees have grown here for a hundred years, and are still quick
to trust that the frost has finished. Some springs,
pink petals turn black. Those summers, the orchards are empty
and quiet. No reason for the bees to come.

Other summers, red apples beat hearty in the trees, golden apples
glow in sheer skin. Their weight breaks branches,
the ground rolls with apples, and you fall in fruit.

You could say, I have been foolish . You could say, I have been fooled .
You could say, Some years, there are apples .
Rose McLarney

In life, man is soft and tender,
In death, he is rigid and hard.
In life, plants and trees are soft and pliant,
In death, they are withered and tough.
Thus rigidity and hardness are companions of death.
Softness and tenderness are companions of life.
That is why the soldier who trusts only in strength does not conquer,
The tree that relies on its strength invites the axe.
Great strength dwells below,
Softness and tenderness dwell above.
Tao Te Ching 76, trans. Isabella Mears

Holy Spirit, quickening life,
moving all things, the root in all creation,
who washes all things of impurity,
removing sins and soothing wounds
who is shining light and laudable life,
wakening and rewakening all things,
Live through me.
Amen.