When asked what the Festival sets out to DO, one has to answer that on one level it has been going a long time – a quarter of a century – and simply IS. One of the most striking characteristics of the events in this place, at this time in August, is the relationship – the bond, the fellowship – between the many people who make it tick. Every single participant has his or her own idea and ideal of what the Festival is for and what it does. Nobody is ever completely satisfied, but fortunately most people are fairly content most of the time. What everyone will vouch for is that ours is to a certain extent a communal venture. People who do not meet and have nothing in common the rest of the year, can find and share much in common for one week.
Thus although the structure is important (but will never be perfected or entirely satisfactory) it is a vehicle for something more, something deeper than words, music, movement, ritual, silence. We use these elements as best we can with the resources available; as an offering, as a sharing, as an opening and as a way of praying. But I am beginning to think that to insist on a tightly controlled, unified and single-minded Festival would be to divide people and destroy that very sense of community and oneness which unites us each year. It seems important to luxuriate in our wide field of activities; to leave unrestricted our variety; to enjoy diversity. There can be no single aim or function.
However, several general things do seem important: that we express the spirit of festival; that we seek a sense of sharing and community in what we do; and that we enjoy offering of our best, in our different ways.
So let us meditate a little each day on the Trinity; and on oneness in diversity. For the Church, the Trinity is now as potent, beautiful and relevant a symbol of the multi-faceted nature of God as it was at the Council of Jerusalem.
Richard Harries (Vicar of All Saints, Fulham) has written:
“O God, Father,
moment by moment you hold me in being,
on you I depend.
O God, Eternal Son,
friend and brother beside me,
in you I trust.
O God, Holy Spirit,
life and love within me,
from you I live.