My fellow Cardiffians and Gracelanders,
I come in peace. I am about to board a large shiny aluminium tube and go sailing through the air for hours on end whilst staring out the window until I arrive in that fabled Land of Sing-Song and Brain’s Dark. Whenceforth I shall be descending upon Greenbelt for a bit of a knees up and whatever else happens at one of your fabulous Christian arts and music festivals. Yes all the way from Wonderful Windang (which is a bit like Treco Bay, only 100 times better, and with the added benefit of sun… and surf) via Korea to Wales and Greenbelt – the last bit in the back of Ed’s car.
Looking forward to catching up with The Lost of Lost in Graceland and flying an Aussie flag on the green and pleasant fields of Cheltenham Racecourse.
Oh and singing the odd hymn in the beer tent!
PS (my wife Gail has decided that staying with relatives and catching up with the gossip and news and a warm soft bed at night is somehow more preferable than sharing a sleeping bag and a tent with me! and a field full of strange and wonderful people!!)
As we downunder get to the new year of 2009 10 or 11 hours ahead of you slowcoaches in the UK I thought I’d get in early and wish you all a great new year and let you know ours is starting off bright and sunny and a warm 30C!
Enjoy New Year’s wherever you are and hopefully you have a fantastic year ahead of you!
G’day from the ‘other side’, the land downunder. Tonight was our first gspl:2528 Sunday Night service – a cafe style attempt to turn church on its head (a bit!). the band were great and played a bit of Tom Waits, a bit of Nick Cave and a bit of gospel and a bit of Ross’s new song he’d written for the night. Ross spoke about how we got here and Brian spoke on the counter-cultural and revolutionary call that is the first verse of Mark’s Gospel. By putting it in its historical context the 8 (or so) words of that first verse challenged the establishment of the day, the might of the Roman Empire; and the challenge to join the revolution continues, to join the movement, to be seditious, to go against the prevailing regime, the ’empires’ the world that we live in call us to belong to. Its revolutionary call is just as relevant today as it was back in Nero’s day.
So we are off and we’re out having a go. We still have a lot to learn but its fun (so far!) to have started our own (little) revolution, our part in trying to bring the good news to postcode 2528.
Thanks to Ed for the previous post. The ongoing experiment of gspl:2528 continues to evolve. We are soon to start a Sunday Night cafe style service, but in the run up to that we have tried to consolidate our journey of the past couple of months into some sort of values statement of what we want to achieve or see our Sunday Night ‘thing’ look like. We want it to be edgy and stripped back to let people who come encounter the ‘real’ Jesus (not the 21st Century modern idea of a Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild or a Buddy Jesus). We want to be experimental and different, but trying to nail down our ethos and the values behind what we want and why has been an interesting experience.
One of things that has been inspiring us is from Stephen Chalke’s The Lost Message of Jesus where he talks about the fact that the Kingdom of God is already here. He talks about the in-breaking shalom of the Kingdom of God, right here, right now and on page 37 he explains the shalom as:
“Shalom, a word that appears over 250 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, is a kaleidoscopic vision of what life is like when lived in line with God’s agenda. It incorporates contentment, health, justice, liberation, fulfilment, freedom and hope … shalom is the equipping of a person so they can cope with life’s sufferings and sorrows while basking in the beauty and joys it brings. Shalom is about comprehensive well-being and flourishing at every level of life – socially, economically, spiritually and politically.”
So that’s what we want! That’s what we want to celebrate!
The idea and genesis of Graceland bgan and had its upbringing in Cardiff but has grown beyond Cardiff but is still a child of its place and time. As people have grown up and moved on, or like Gail and I, have come in and been touched by the magic of Graceland and moved back to where they came from, the spirit of Graceland has gone with them, extending the reach of Graceland beyond the M4 boundary of Cardiff. Graceland is more than an idea, a concept, or even a collection of people – it is a spirit, an energy, a willingness to question and do things differently and to celebrate the journey. Maybe I only saw a small window into Graceland, but it was the possibility of the idea of Graceland that inspires and moves me. And it is that which I choose to celebrate in welcoming all Gracelanders (and those who read this) to this Lost in Graceland blog. Croeso!