Saturday, 5 September 2009
One of the other things we organised for Greenbelt was a Prayer Wall. The idea with this was to give people a place to pray which was a cross between the Jewish 'wailing wall' style and the catholic 'light a candle' form of prayer. In addition to making individual prayers we also wanted people to feel that they were part of a community of prayer that involved others without having to do something together.
We erected a 6m x 1.2m 'wall' made of wire mesh which had a subtle design spray painted onto it.
People were encouraged to take a piece of coloured ribbon and write a short prayer on it. Then they should take the ribbon and tie it into the wall on a piece of wire of the same colour. So red ribbons went onto red wire, orange ribbons onto orange wire etc. For those who couldn't think of a prayer or whose prayer was too difficult for words there were black ribbons which couldn't be written on and which speak volumes even though we can't. The aim was that eventually the accumulation of ribbons would result in a design, or ribbon picture by the end of the weekend.
Not everyone got the idea that the coloured ribbons should work like a giant 'painting by numbers' and we ended up with quite a lot of orange in the red, some white in the orange etc. and loads that weren't even tied into the design at all!! There's a little lesson to be learnt there about human understanding and perhaps the need to not conform!
The end result wasn't quite the clear picture we had hoped for but something like 700 people tied a ribbon into the design and that's a significant number of prayers in the middle of a busy festival when everyone's rushing to get from one thing to another.
We'd like to thank Siku, the Manga Bible artist, who adapted one of his pictures for us to (massively) simpify as the basis of our design and welcome any ideas for the wall and all it's prayers now the festival has finished.