25th May 2020 Revd Paul Bettison
‘This is the Day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ So exhorts the psalmist. All well and good, but what day is it?
Pre-pandemic, I knew that if it was choir practice, then the day was Monday; if collecting grandchildren from school and bringing them home for tea, then it was Wednesday; if worshipping with a Church Family, then it was Sunday; thank goodness that the bins are still collected on Tuesday, at least some things don’t change. If the loss of routine and structure has proved to be somewhat of a challenge, then join the club.
And yet, whatever day it happens to be – and whether we can remember what day it is – it is a God-made day. There will be something in it that will speak of God’s love revealed in Creation. Something that lifts the spirit and feeds the soul. That something may be a sight or sound, a feeling or discovery. Whatever it is, rejoice and be glad in the day that the Lord has made.
And if for you the day, whatever day it is, seems dark and joy is hard to find, remember that Creation is never abandoned by the Creator. Then perhaps you will find that reassurance to be cause enough to be glad.
One day may seem like another and the structure and shape of my life may seem to have been dismantled but help me to remember that each day is your gift to me.
And if the day seems to offer little in the way of joy or celebration, may I discover that you are with me nonetheless, and find reason to hope that days of gladness and rejoicing will come.
26th May 2020 Sue Ellis
I have been recently seeking out the company of many new and interesting people, through the joy of reading, in my case usually fiction but sometimes biography.
This has always been a great source of pleasure to me but currently I can indulge in this escapism without feeling guilty!
The word ’escapism’ tends to carry a negative connotation with it, assuming that people who seek a break from their standard reality are being irresponsible and avoiding “real life.”
I looked up what the Bible has to say – firstly the words of the prophets:
In Proverbs 12 verse 11-‘A hardworking framer has plenty to eat, but it is stupid to waste time on useless projects’. That’s quite harsh!
But it says in Jeremiah 31 verse 25 ‘I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food, everyone who is weak from hunger.’
And in Matthew 11 28-29
‘Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke and put it upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest.’
I believe that imagination is another of God’s gifts. And of course there are many new and interesting people to encounter in the Bible.
It is undoubtedly healthy to have a balance in the rhythm of work and rest. – it just needs to be kept in proportion.
Thank you for the gift of books and my continuing sight to read and enjoy them.
Thank you for the gift of imagination that enables me to build from the written word
Help us to keep balance in all that we do, taking on your gentle and humble sprit
27th May 2020 Revd Paul Bettison
The Blame Game
“It wasn’t my fault”, said Adam,” Eve made me do it”
Eve then passed the buck, “It was the serpent – he made me eat the forbidden fruit” – Its always someone’s fault!
The story in Genesis emerged from a community feeling alienated from God and asking the question “How did we get here?”
And here we are, alienated from life as we knew it, asking the same question. Surely, it must be someone’s fault. ‘They’ should have acted sooner, or later, or differently.” We’ve begun to hear those criticisms articulated by some journalists and commentators.
But this is where we are, and surely a better question is “How do we move forward from here?” There will be much to learn from the experience of the pandemic, but for the time being that will have to wait.
There will be much that each of us have already learned from all this; how important are our relationships, how wonderful is Creation, how we can adapt to new ways of living, what really matters in life, and so it goes on.
Playing the ‘blame game’ didn’t help the two in the garden. It won’t help us either.
Gracious God, I want to say thank-you for all the people using their skills, knowledge, and wisdom to address the challenges of this pandemic.
In the stillness, and for a few moments, I think of them now……
Help us all, without pointing the finger of blame, to move forward into a world in which, though there will be difficulties and demands, hope is to be found.