Monday, 29 June 2009

Midsummer Celebration

Summer is here as England enters a heatwave but it wasn't quite so warm on the evening of the 21st June as we met to celebrate Midsummer by the seafront on Hove Lawns. We promised an evening of mellow music and meaningful words and that's exactly how it worked out.

Four different musical acts played for 20 minutes each interspersed with poetry and readings on the theme of Midsummer, Sunset or Light.

It was great to see people being drawn in from all around as the music drifted out across the grass, especially when the voice of Garry Sutcliffe, singer with the English National Opera, echoed out across the beach.

There were a couple of local groups involved - Approach are a duo from the Brighton Vineyard fellowship and Orchid are connected with The Garden, an alternative faith group who you can find on the links page on our website.

The rest of the music was provided by singer, songwriter and theologian (it's not often you get to write those three words together!) Maggi Dawn, who came down especially from Cambridge with two new band members.

Other travellers who should get a special mention are Pete who accompanied Garry, and Billy, our sound man, who both cycled from London as part of the annual bike ride before then spending the evening with us performing.

As well as poems put together by the BEYOND team we also had contributions from Poets Cornered, a group that meets in the Poets Corner area of Hove who had specially prepared material for this occasion.

We finished the event with an informal breaking of bread and sharing of wine, echoing that last meal that Jesus had with his disciples after the sun had set nearly 2000 years ago. The finale to it all was the release of some sky lanterns which we had all signed which then drifted out to sea as the darkness fell.

Here's one of the poems we didn't get to use on the night but which sums up lots of the emotions of the evening

Stuart Henderson

And He Who each day
reveals a new masterpiece in the sky
and Whose joy
can be seen in the eyelashes of a child
Who when he hears of our smug indifference
can whisper an ocean lashing fury
and talk tigers into padding roars.
This my God
Whose breath is in the wings of eagles
Whose power is etched in the crags of mountains
It is When I will meet
in Whose Presence I will find tulips and clouds
Kneeling martyrs and trees
the whole vast praising of his endless creation
and he will grant the uniqueness
that eluded me
in my earthly bartering with Satan
That day when He will erase the painful gasps of my ego
and I will sink my face into the wonder of his glory love
and I will watch planets converse with sparrows
On that day
when death is finally dead

Our next event is also out doors and is on the Hove Park Fingermaze 26th July 7pm