Thought for the day 28th September – 9th October

28th September 2020 – Revd Paul Bettison 

It’s been a strange morning.  In the words of my mother, when talking about the weather, “It doesn’t know what it wants to do!”  One minute the sky is dark and overcast, clouds scud over the waving branches of the trees.  Then, the sun breaks through, blue skies appear, and the pavements begin to dry out.   All in a matter of a few short minutes.
In a sense, the weather can mirror our experience of life.  One minute, life may seem pretty miserable, then something happens to lift our mood and brighten our day. I recall reading that C S Lewis likened the experience to a walk through a dark forest, the rays of the sun unable to break through the trees. Then, because there’s a gap in the dense canopy of branches, suddenly a shaft of sunlight pierces the gloom and illuminates the ground at our feet.  He called it a ‘shaft of God-light’
‘Shafts of God-light’ may come as words or acts of kindness, sights and sounds that lift our spirits, or simply a loving look or touch.  Wonder of wonders; I see that, between the showers and the sunshine, a rainbow – a sign of God’s promise – has appeared!
Our Prayer;
Around me,
Beside me,
Within me,
Is the God of unconditional love.
Gracious God,
You invite me to recognise your transforming light;
To acknowledge your transforming light;
To be your transforming light,
In my life and throughout the world.
Nicola Robinson (adapted)

30th September 2020 – Revd Paul Bettison 

September arrived and what would it be – “It’s one of the dark days before Christmas” or “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”?  Day in day out the boss, when he arrived at the office, would greet us with one or the other.  It all depended on the weather, and sometimes his mood.
‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’.  John Keats waxes lyrical in his poem ‘To Autumn’.  He pays homage to what is my favourite season of the year.
I know that many folk find Autumn somewhat depressing. “But it reminds us that winter is just around the corner”.  So it does.  Keats asks, ‘Where are the songs of Spring?’  It’s natural to see Spring as being full of promise, new life, and the herald of the warmth of summer.
Yet Autumn has her own song.  She sings of maturity, fruitfulness and the promise of restoration.  When nature sleeps, it is productive sleep.  Think of the Easter hymn, ‘Now the green blade rises’.  We sing, ‘Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain”.
So, as the leaves turn golden, the mists fall, and the days shorten, maybe you would like to join with Keats, and welcome this season of ‘mists and fruitfulness’ and anticipate a time of rest and renewal.
Our Prayer:
Gracious God,
it’s been a strange year.
There has been much to cope with,
and yet much to rejoice in too.
We’ve faced the challenges of the pandemic,
and seen countless acts of loving kindness.
And now, this season of mists and
mellow fruitfulness has arrived.
Help us to use it wisely and reflect upon
our experience of a spring and summer
that has been like no other.
We pray that during this Autumn
we may feel both the warmth of the maturing sun
and the warmth of your love.

2nd October 2020 – Revd Paul Bettison

Mid-September, and the temperature soared to 28 degrees.  The sky was blue, and the sun was shining.  A friend stood with a basketful of produce harvested from her smallholding, and declared “This is a Diamond Day”, and so it was.
‘This is the day the Lord has made’ declared the psalmist.  The day was a day on which the people of Israel celebrated the enthronement of their king.  Looking back, they recognised days of difficulty and suffering.  The days ahead were uncertain.  Yet this day was, as it were, a Diamond Day.
I hope that we all experience Diamond Days; days on which we feel that it’s good to be alive.  Days when we see something, hear something, or feel something that lifts our spirits and gladdens our hearts.
The Bond film reminds us that ‘Diamonds are forever’.  Diamond Days may not last forever, but the memory of them can endure.  The psalmist looks back to darker days yet, because of Diamond Days in the past, is able to proclaim, ‘O give thanks to the Lord, who is good, and whose love endures for ever’.
So, give thanks for Diamond Days; maybe for you, today is one of them.  If not, then remember such days in the past, and look forward, in hope, to experiencing them again.
Our Prayer;
Gracious God
I thank you for Diamond Days,
that shine and sparkle.
Days when life feels good and
I’m glad to be alive.
I thank you too that, although
every day is not a Diamond Day,
memories of such days endure
and sustain me when life seems dark or dreary.
Help me to know that like a diamond, your love shines in my life and endures for ever.

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