Creative Writing : The aim of this workshop is to meditate on scripture (Psalm 23:1-2) and then allow some time to listen and express in writing what people are feeling. It could be in the form of a prayer or poem or anything that the Holy Spirit may reveal.

Saturday 18 July, 2015 : Sessions 1-4

the Lord's my ShepherdThis group focused on the first two verses of Psalm 23 for the purposes of this creative retreat. Individuals were given time to share something of their own experience/personal walk when it comes to creative writing…with each one sharing something of their own journey. Some of the activities provided opportunities for individuals to work independently wScreen Shot 2015-07-25 at 13.29.53hilst others allowed for group work. In terms of outcomes, these included short stories, poems and prose. Another interesting dimension saw some partcipants creating a sculptural / three dimensional response which was interactive (see above).

It was interesting to watch the different levels of interaction that took place between participants…some having ideas but not knowing how to bring these to fruition…and others able to help bring this about. There was a real sense of community where ‘interdependence’ was only too evident.

“I am a sheep; a feeble, vulnerable lamb. Bandy-legged, weak and unable to move in my own strength. I look around me at the other sheep. Many different sheep, some lambs, some old, strong, wise, some white, some black, some weak, wizened, weathered, scarred and battle-worn. This field is my home, the place where I remain. I eat here, I sleep here, I play and frolic here as my strength grows an I begin to find my place. These sheep are my faSheep 960pxmily. My mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, all different, unique, but all very much like me; all longing for the same things; all with the same needs and desires. As I watch, some of the flock move around, from field to field. Perhaps the grass seems greener there. Perhaps their needs are more adequately met in another pasture. I am older now, and have the ability to move, to live, to breathe, to meet my own needs, and to choose. My family tell of the Shepherd. They say he provides all that they need, just when they need it. They say it is because of the shepherd that I am here; that he causes me to be part of this flock, because it’s the safest place for me. I don’t always feel this to be true, but I have always been in this flock, and have always lived in this field. I have visited other flocks, been in other fields, but always come back here. I once met the Shepherd for myself. He came near and invited me to come to him. HE showed me love and security and made me feel whole and know that right here, in this lush, green pasture, riven with verdant beauty, though I have not always seen it, or felt it, I have always had all that I need. I know the Shepherd to be very, very good and I wonder at the way the flock has ofttimes portrayed him to me. I wonder at how I have portrayed him to others; to my own lambs. I long to be with the Shepherd, to run to him and leap into his wide-open boundless arms and lie with him, my head pillowed against his breast, in wild intimacy, in the living pastures of this field; this landscape where he has placed me and grown me, never far away, gently coaxing and cajoling me towards his infinite love. Infinite. I wait. I listen to the flowing stream. I drink in the wonder and beauty of the Shepherd’s presence. I might wander and stray, but his love will draw me back; his intimate, infinite love. Infinity does not run dry.The peaceful stream is the source of a mighty, flowing, infinite river. The river is the Shepherd’s love for me. He invites me to climb in, to play, to drink, to wash and submerge myself in him, in his love, in his favour, in his grace. I am trepid. Water is not always safe. I wait, is it right? I question the Shepherd’s judgement. Me, a tiny, helpless sheep somehow dare to doubt the Shepherd? I am learning to trust. I know the Shepherd cares for me infinitely. His love is patient and kind. His patience, like his love, is infinite and he waits for me. I dip my feet into the stream. The cool, crystal waters feel wonderful against my skin. I lap up the spring, tasting the cold, life-giving, restoring water of life. The Shepherd is here and he is pleased. Stronger and stronger I feel and slowly, moment by moment, I forget about the other sheep and what else is going on in the flock and in the pasture.I am absorbed in the stream, soaked and dripping. I laughed. The shepherd is laughing too. Suddenly my mind is awakened and I remember that I have been fearful and doubtful,straying, wandering and turning my back on the Shepherd. I remember that I was, still am,weak and fragile. But here, in his presence, I feel strong, my troubles are forgotten, my selfishness forgiven.

And I am whole.

I am free.

I have all I need.

He restores my soul.”

Ashley Vaughan : July 2015