So many things to so many people.
Sitting here in a sort of gentle decompression chamber, while the rain beats down outside, I’ve been looking at the photos posted to the GB website and I’ve been reminded again of the incredible variety of experiences that make up the Festival…
For me, it’s the place where I’m not simply allowed to think outside the box, but (as Stewart observed last night) the place where I can discard the box altogether.
The place where I can dip into music far outside my usual listening.
The place where new forms of worship delight and inspire me to try something different at home.
The place where each of my family is totally engaged and at home, though we are rarely together.
The place where I encounter an extended family with whom I can laugh, cry, share secrets and deam dreams
The place that challenges me to live for Christ in his world,- singing songs of freedom for all his people
I arrive on site filled with the sort of fizzing excitement that characterised the best sort of childhood Christmasses…Uunlike some childhood Christmasses, I’m confident there will be no disappointments as I begin to unwrap the Festival.
So…not a lot for it to live up to then!
But as always, it manages triumphantly.
Weather not too kind this year, but nothing like bad enough to dampen our joy. It was actually more like April than August, with torrential showers followed by brilliant sunshine (these two piccies were both taken in the space of one 45 minute seminar on Monday - please note the determined souls who weren't going to miss a second of Timothy Radcliffe, come what may).
That afternoon, youngest offspring (who is reconsidering his blog persona...suggestions invited) and I were playing around in the City of Clay tent. With c20,000 on site the invitation to all Greenbelters to contribute to the urban sprawl resulted in an incredible architectural extravaganza, complete with model railway... Neither of us has much talent as a potter, but we were happily engaged, while outside an intriguing array of vaguely oriental percussion was attacked by a diverse group of adults and children. Suddenly their sound was drowned out by the noise of rain hammering on the tent, and we were instantly engulfed in a crush of dripping people, seeking shelter as bathloads of water were hurled from the sky.
Minutes later, the rain stopped, the percussion resumed, the covers came off the stalls, and everything was restored to colourful optimism, despite the developing quagmires beneath our feet.
The unquenchable spirit of the Festival! I love it so much.