Irene Richardson 20th April 2020
It’s so reassuring to see such lovely spring flowers blossoming and trees budding. Butterflies, bees and ladybirds are out and the birds are very active. All this in spite of our present situation. How reliable is the natural world, the changing of the seasons, longer days. We can praise our Creator God for all of this.
Creator God, we thank you for your wonderful world and the pleasure it gives us. May we tread lightly on this earth and carefully use its resources.
Tom Richardson April 21st
The Hebrew King David, who wrote most of the Psalms, was regarded as a prophet and his principal prophecy is found in Psalm 22.
The first words of the Psalm are quoted by Jesus while nailed to the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
This Psalm, if read carefully, describes quite accurately what happened to Jesus during the 24 hours before he was put to death; and yet it was written about 1000 years before Jesus was even born!
Many people today, when they are in difficulties or in pain will cry out the same words, perhaps imagining that God – whether or not they believe in God – has indeed forsaken them. God never does forsake people. It is unlikely that Jesus was abandoned on the Cross. By pointing at Psalm 22, Jesus was showing the Hebrews who watched him die, exactly what the outcome of pain and suffering can be. God will listen to our cry and will indeed help.
Lord Jesus, during this time of national emergency keep us faithful to you, considerate of others and concerned that we will not put lives at risk by the way we live. During this period of Lent and Passion-tide, help us to see afresh the true meaning of the Gospel; to be awakened again to the power of your Holy Spirit and to follow more closely and faithfully in your footsteps. Amen.
Paul Bettison April 22nd
‘Get-up-get-up-get-up; come-along-run-along’. It’s the sound of the Song Thrush in full voice, or so I’m told. I’m hopeless at recognizing the voices of our feathered friends. And, at this time of the year when the avian chorus is in full swing, that’s a real shame.
But it doesn’t end there. I’m sure that, very often, I fail to recognise the voice of The Divine. God ‘speaks’ in ways many and various but goes unrecognized. Creation and circumstance, scripture and social encounters, God ‘speaks’ through them all, and more, yet do we hear the voice?
But let’s not be too hard upon ourselves. Remember Samuel in the Temple (look up the story – 1 Samuel Chapter Three) – The Judge, and Prophet-to-be, failed to recognise the voice as being that of God. And on that first Easter morning even Mary, devoted follower of Jesus, failed to recognise the voice of the one she adored. It was still dark, so she could be forgiven for mistaking the Risen Christ for the gardener. But not to recognise his voice?! We’re in good company.
Gracious God, please help me to listen carefully so that, when you speak, I hear.
Help me to hear when someone laughs or cries,
when creation sings or weeps,
when words in the bible or hymn speak to me,
and when, in the stillness, something stirs within me.
Open my ‘inward ear’ so that I will hear your voice.
Philip Bee April 23rd
“Hope” is especially important at Easter. In days gone by, people would be excited to see trees coming into leaf and the earth bursting with new life. Such signs would ignite their hope that autumn’s harvest later that year would be plentiful. The fruitfulness of the earth was sometimes a matter of life and death to the future of their family. So, hope can be a deeply meaningful thing.
COVID-19 is bringing us somewhat closer to matters of life and death than we have been used to. Being locked down, makes us acutely aware of freedoms we have come to take for granted. Understanding the risks that doctors and nurses take on our behalf, makes us more appreciative of others. Queuing at supermarkets for food that is in short supply, reminds us just how tightly connected we are as human beings right across the world.
It seems quite likely that the world will be significantly different when we eventually emerge from this crisis. While many of us have the time, therefore, it might be good to reflect on what our deep hopes might be for the future. What sort of world do we want to be a part of after COVID-19? Who counts as family to us? And how do we best value one another’s contributions, especially in the world of work? What do we really hope for?
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12: 12)
Generous God, fill my life with hope for a bright future. Amen.
What deep hopes do you have for the future?