Day 8 – Felty Moments of Consolation

I’m obsessing a bit about my needle felting. I brought a creative task to do, because one of my goals on the pilgrimage was to reclaim some lost creativity. So as we’ve gone from one community to the next, I’ve added a portion to the scarf.

I found, to my great delight, that the administrator at Northumbria is an avid felter. She showed me today how to felt words, so I’ve added some words to my little sheep I made before I came. Psalm 84:5 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” Hannah and Nicola collected wool from the barbed wire on their walk, for me to use on my sheep.

I’ve decided to pick a symbol to represent each stop on the pilgrimage. Ignatius speaks of moments of consolation and desolation. Consolation is when the presence of the Spirit leaps within us, when we feel fully alive, fully ourselves, or something in us resonates to the revealed (or hidden) glory of God. So I have decided to needle felt symbols that represent moments of consolation on my journey.

So for Guildford? I chose the garden labyrinth that lay beside the 24-7 office. It was beautiful to begin with, but it also spoke to me about the beginning of our journey, which could potentially hold many unexpected twists and turns, and exhortation to be mindful to the presence of Christ on the path.

Stanford? It was the grapes. The community gathering together to bring in the harvest (and smoosh it with our feet). For me it spoke of community, inclusion, shared labour and the promise of new wine.

Northumbria? When I saw wooly bull that Hannah and I encountered on our first days walk, said right away, “I have to felt that!”. And that night I did. I loved the rolly hilled farms that surround Northumbria. It feels earthy, grounded, as do the members of the Northumbria community I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Tomorrow we are going on a day trip to the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, and I’m looking forward to see the presence of Christ revealed in that place.

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