I am loving the resurgence of the rainbow as a symbol of hope. Its appearance, as a sign of support for the NHS in so many windows across the country, was accompanied by this photo from Chris, in Sussex, on Thursday. The rainbow has a significant role in Christianity and Judaism, of course, from the story of Noah and the flood. God says to Noah:
I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. (Gen 9.13-15)
It has become a symbol of peace and of inclusion. it flies, during Pride month, over St John's. It's good to have the rainbow reminding us of the promise of God's love for all of the world as well as being such a powerful sign of support for all our care workers and people working in the NHS. Light in the darkness. Hope for the future.
I'm delighted that the Waterloo Festival is now online! The digital festival will be a celebration of the arts, community and heritage of Waterloo and the South Bank and will run until the 28th June.
The theme of the festival, Transforming Communities, was decided long before the public health crisis but has now acquired a new digital dimension. Amongst many projects and features, it will include a premiere performance of a multi-voice composition sourced from public contributions, an exploration of the history of homelessness in Waterloo, a Coin Street Community and Illuminated Bridges art project and a series of writings and music on the theme of freedom of the press.
Here's Festival Director, our very own Euchar Gravina: "The Waterloo Festival is a celebration of our neighbourhood as a creative place. It's about introducing people to creative possibilities all around them and it's about everyone having an opportunity to join in - including coming together live online."
In a first for the Festival, we're inviting members of the public to contribute to a digital rendition of experimental American composer La Monte Young's Composition 1960 #7 with performance artist Rita Says and the Jerico Orchestra. The piece comprises a continuous drone made from multiple short voice recordings. No previous singing experience required! Click here and make your voice heard!
We may not be able to gather in person but we'll be bringing people together on our website and social media channels so please follow us!Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, #TogetherWaterloo And please join in!
To sign up for the newsletter, if you don't already receive it, click here.
Tomorrow's worship will continue as usual online. We are trying two exciting innovations: during the prayers you'll be invited to write your prayer requests in the chat box on Zoom. And after the service, following a successful experiment at the Rule of Life evening on Wednesday, we will try breakout rooms so people will have a chance to chat with one another. Full instructions on both these things will be given tomorrow.
Finally, as you probably know, this is the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims. Here is a poem, from Shanon, which speaks beautifully of hope:
by DANUSHA LAMÉRIS
I don't know when it slipped into my speech
that soft word meaning, "if God wills it."
Insha'Allah I will see you next summer.
The baby will come in spring, insha'Allah.
Insha'Allah this year we will have enough rain.
So many plans I've laid have unraveled
easily as braids beneath my mother's quick fingers.
Every language must have a word for this. A word
our grandmothers uttered under their breath
as they pinned the whites, soaked in lemon,
hung them to dry in the sun, or peeled potatoes,
dropping the discarded skins into a bowl.
Our sons will return next month, insha'Allah.
Insha'Allah this war will end, soon. Insha'Allah t
he rice will be enough to last through winter.
How lightly we learn to hold hope,
as if it were an animal that could turn around
and bite your hand. And still we carry it
the way a mother would,
carefully, from one day to the next.
With my love and I hope to see you tomorrow,