Today our participation in the West End Festival began with an event we were asked to host, a debate entitled What Have Festivals Ever Done For Us? The audience was small, but attentive, with people enjoying scones, cakes and biscuits as well as hearing the speakers discuss the important role of festivals and their link to spirirtuality, or at least to community/communal spirit. Alas my memory has never enabled me to retain exact forms of words, but one of the observations made by a speaker was of the relationship between artists working in the context of a city (along the lines of it being a backdrop for their work) and its people discovering/releasing their own creativity.
I found myself reminded of the Biblical text 'where there is no vision the people perish' (Proverbs 29:18) a much misappropriated text, it is true, and one I may well be misappropriating here, but the speaker's observation seemed to be almost the opposite... where there is vision the people flourish. If festivals are a vehicle for people to glimpse something brighter, more hopeful, more life-giving or life-affirming, then that sounds as if it may help them to flourish. So just maybe the festival may help Glasgow to flourish... and it's right that the places where the preaching of the word and the praising of God's name are central be an integral part of that.
Three more events that we are hosting - all we need is people to come along and bring their friends, to glimpse the vision and release their own creativity. Or something like that anyway!