After an amazing night with the drummers on Friday evening, I was excited to return to them on Saturday.
Worship on Saturday morning was great. I was honored to be a part of the Seminary Choir (even if it did mean I had to be up after only 3 hours of sleep!), and although we were only able to practice once, it went GREAT! Worship was fantastic, complete with a GREAT skit and an energizing sermon by a Bishop.
I skipped the Plenary to join the drummers for the last couple hours of their witness. Great conversations with folks walking by with questions ensued, and by 10:30 I had shifted to one of the big drums for the first time. After only about 30 minutes, my hands began to hurt and I was amazed at others' ability to do it for so long! But then I realized the level of adrenaline this experience gave was well worth it, and I was far from ready to stop...
Different from the day before, today, the press were everywhere. At first, this made me a bit uneasy. We didn't know where they from or where the pictures would end up. I have no idea how my conference (and my Board Of Ordained Ministry) will feel about it... do I really want to allow myself to be the center of this controversy? Then I realized those were all the wrong questions, as I do believe with all that I am, that this stance is the ONLY one I can take in good consciece. If they ask how I feel about this issues, I would be honest anyway. So rather than have it be a reason to turn away or not take part, I would rather show that I am passionate and willing to take a stance for things I believe in. So I drummed on... and did not stop for nearly 4 hours...
As leadership of the event shifted in and out, working on their AMAZING behind-the scenes stuff and preparing to pack up, I found myself trying my best to do what they had done so well for the 22 hours previous to that... keep cheers, songs, drum beats and energy going. I also discovered that I'm incapable of keeping a rhythm going and talk/sing/chant at the same time. We sorted it out, though, and I had a great time doing it. I invited folks to join us (and about 15 did) as we marched with the drums and song to the church, where lunch was had and a rally began. Speakers were great. People came to listen. Then we gathered outside...
With a drum (this time a bucket with some drum sticks), we headed out the door and back down to where the witness had been held. We marched in 2 directions, wrapping around and giving witness to different people as we met in the park. We sang the whole time... "we are marching in the light of God..."
As we met, more speakers spoke and tons of people - press and TONS of supporters (and a few from the Good News/IRD, of course!) joined us. In total, I would estimate there were about 250 people present. It was beautiful. It was holy chaos.
As we parted, groups of about 20 broke off and went to each of the rooms where legislation was happening. They sat in silence for quite some time outside each room to pray. To pray for "holy conferencing" and for the movement of the Spirit within the rooms. We KNOW the Spirit has been present among us, and the witness of 350 people at the rally on Saturday is a testament to that. Not to mention the fact that I spoke to countless others later in the day that said they didn't even know the rally was going on (how is that possible? I forget I am surrounded by RMN folks so much that I assume everyone knows what's going on!)... I wonder how many would come out if all had known?
It was another holy day. A beautiful witness which I am thankful to be a part of. I'm excited to see what more feed back we'll receive from it. To hear what others are saying, to hear stories of others' experiences of it. The Drum Circle has been one of the most powerful witnesses I have ever been a part of, and it made me excited and proud to be a United Methodist. I cannot help but to wonder what others' experiences are, and so I am on the search for where they too may be sharing their experiences of it. As I find them, and hopefully find pictures of it too, I will try to post some. The pictures might not come until after my return to Chicago next week, but they'll come all the same.
... there was LOTS of excitement today as I sat in on committee meetings. I hope to update on that tomorrow. For now, I must get some precious sleep before another long, emotional, exhausting day tomorrow. Keep praying, friends! We're being heard!