5th May Paul Bettison
When listening to the daily Covid 19 Press Conferences, ears prick up at the sound of two little words – ‘Green Shoots’ – they herald signs of recovery.
In gardens everywhere the sight of green shoots warms the heart and lifts the spirit.
In his Easter hymn, John Macleod Campbell Crum writes of Green Blades both of wheat and of hope. ‘Now the green blade rises from the buried grain’.
I sense that, in the selfless actions of so many folk, we see Green Shoots heralding the recovery of the ‘Original Goodness’ and the ‘Light that enlightens everyone’ so long buried in the darkness. And in the loving kindness of others we see the Green Shoots of the Kingdom of God.
When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Then your touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.
6th May Irene Richardson
A very different Easter for us all this year! One we won’t forget! On the Sunday following, as I began to read the Gospel passage, the words of the first verse really jumped out at me. In John 20 v 19 we read “…when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” I could easily identify with the disciples’ situation. We, too, found ourselves in lockdown “for fear of the virus”. We, too, needed the presence of Jesus to bring us peace.
Lord, we thank you that you are always present with us. We ask you to take away our fear and feelings of helplessness and give us your peace and restore our hope.
We ask in the name of the Risen Jesus. Amen
7th May Philip Bee
Lockdown prompted me to start using a new prayer book. It’s called The Earth Cries Glory: Daily Prayer with Creation by Steven Shakespeare. The book offers prayers for all the liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and so on. I am currently bedded down in the Easter Season which will be succeeded by Pentecost at the end of May. What intrigues me most about the book is that it lays these religious seasons alongside the cycles of the natural world too. So, prayers for Advent and Christmas are noted as occurring around the Winter Solstice; prayers for Lent are associated with the Spring Equinox; and so on. Hence the subtitle, Daily Prayer with Creation. The book harmonises our Christian stories and theology to the rhythms of God’s created order and unites them in prayer:
As the seed bursts, as the tomb cracks, may body and soul become song…
With Christ all things rise: the cross takes root…
Open us, in the darkness, to the ground of truth within us, the starry sky around us…
This is an important contribution to Christian spirituality that chimes in with traditions more closely associated with people like St Francis of Assisi. It helps us also to make spiritual sense of the moral imperative that comes with climate change. We need to make significant and lasting changes to how we live as human beings if we are successfully to address global warming. We are fortunate to live in the countryside, where metaphors like seeds, roots and stars are easily accommodated into our prayer life. If you already feel these things, then The Earth Cries Glory might just be for you too.
As the fire rises, as the sun ascends, may heart and mind become flame, burning with life’s vigour.
As the seed bursts, as the tomb cracks, may body and soul become song, a hymn of praise and glory.
With Christ all things rise: the cross takes root, the desert is watered, the dust of death blossoms into life.
May we be witnesses of this life today: the life that is not defined by fear and death; the life that is more than enough for all; the life that is the glory and song of God through all creation.
(The Earth Cries Glory, p.38)
8th May Alan Wilthew
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.”
– Matthew 6:7-13; New Revised Standard Version
If you’ve ever wondered where our hope is, it right here.The Kingdom of God on earth begins with Jesus. Soon ‘Your Kingdom come’ will appear in all its completeness. The time when all creation is finally put right. However while we wait, we endure the destructive forces of sin and evil in our everyday lives.
Our concerns lead us to pray for our needs, deliverance and protection within it all. We begin with the hopefulness of coming close to God in prayer as ‘Our Father and we end with the assurance of his kingdom, power and glory for ever.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer throughout the day today as the Spirit leads.
9th May Paul Bettison
What do Alice in Wonderland’s Queen and Charles Wesley have in common? They both laugh at impossibilities.
Remember, the Queen tells Alice that, sometimes she “Believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”
Mindst you, we are all discovering that things we thought to be impossible, are nothing of the sort.
Who would have thought that we could have coped with Social Distancing, One in – One out at Tesco, or wonder of wonders, some of us engaging via Zoom and Skype?
At the heart of our Faith are what the world may consider to be ‘impossible things’ – I leave you to reflect for a while on what some of them may be.
Now, to Charles Wesley, and words from his hymn;
‘Father of Jesus Christ – my Lord’,
My Saviour, and my head –
I trust in thee, whose powerful word
Has raised him from the dead.
In hope, against all human hope,
Self-desperate, I believe;
Thy quickening word shall raise me up,
Thou shalt thy Spirit give.
Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to that alone,
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries; ‘It shall be done’
Gracious God, I pray that, as your family, we, your Church may always see you in one another.
May we work for justice, freedom and peace;
May we be blessed with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.
Most loving God, source of all grace, light and peace,
Restore to all people the joy and health of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord
(Prayer from the Methodist Church in New Zealand (adapted)