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Messy Fiestas

Posted by Lucy Moore on 17 Oct 2007

The publicity has gone out for the first Messy Fiesta next month - thanks to the wonderful sales and marketing department at BRF - and people have signed up to come!

All very exciting as I'm sure this is the best way forward: to talk to each other. I hope I'm going to be able to be gracious enough to be like John the Baptist for the next year or so - decreasing so that others can increase. It would be so easy and so fatal to try to hold all the reins and control everyone's developments, when the best way forward is to try out new things and learn from each other.

Good article by Michele Guinness in Christianity Today (Oct 07 edition) about ritual, fun and party within Christianity and how we don't build it into our home and church lives enough, or at all. She writes about her Jewish upbringing:

'... But we got some things right - like the candle-lit feasts and festivals round the family meal table, which I missed so much. These, I realize, introduced me not to a belief, but to a Jewish way of life. It was in this rich and vibrant context that my faith could flourish. Sadly we have no equivalent "Christian way of life".There are few church festivals so full of wonder, colour and glory that our children's happiest memories are associated with Christian celebrations.'

She writes about how the Church has wrested the traditional father's duties towards his children away from him and bestowed them on itself, turning them into cerebral, austere rituals.

The Hebrew word for party is simcha, which means joy. Michele Guinness talks about the use of the senses in celebrating, and the need for a whole life spirituality that reaches out of church and influences / transforms and informs other parts of our life.

She suggests combining the spiritual and the social:

'Eating together, telling stories by candlelight, sharing testimony and simple symbols, learning new ways of praying, exploring and designing liturgies and rituals, celebrating festivals, using the arts, creating occasions to which we can invite friends and neighbours.'

She quotes Rabbi Abraham Heschel: Wonder, not doubt, is the beginning of knowledge.

Her book is The Heavenly Party: Life-giving Celebration for Home and Community published by Monarch. I think I'll have to get it.