I've been very much anticipating the prospect of celebrating all the services as a community, and it's affected how Lent felt - knowing that we were going to complete the journey to Easter Day together. There were also some logistical questions to address - most significantly, the question of where we would do this, since we still only have the use of a building on Saturday evenings.
The place that was 'given' to us was the island at the shore of Lake Ginninderra - off John Knight Park. I say 'given' because it seemed suddenly to show itself as the place where we could gather, and offered three settings which were extraordinarily apt for Maundy Thursday's liturgy in the garden, Good Friday's liturgy at the foot of the cross, and Sunday's holy communion by the lake shore.
On my Wednesday Retreat during Holy Week, I went to the island. It was like a Day of Preparation, a chance to be and pray where we would be gathering over the next four days.
You get onto the island over a small footbridge, which has a large rock in front of it. The bridge with its guardian rock effects the transition from the shore to the island, and speaks of the transition we need to make to enter the 'space' of the Easter liturgies.
On Wednesday, I spent time in the 'garden' - the grove of paperbark trees near the small fort, among which we would stand as evening fell on Maundy Thursday.
I sat among the casuarinas against which the cross rested on Good Friday.
And I looked towards the East across the water, where we'd face to celebrate the resurrection.
Having the services outside, in this setting, felt very powerful. The landscape held and helped create our liturgies. It was a space that enabled the 'work' that each day asked of us, as if the different parts of the island led us into the next part of our paschal journey. In me, there was a deep fullness by Easter Day. I am so grateful for the gift of this space, and the gift of a community to share it with.
It appears that most of my 'flock' are behind me, but there were some people there too!
St Francis, eat your heart out!
And then time to celebrate - a festal procession, and breakfast by the shore.