Thought or the days – 13th to 17th April 2020

Monday 13th April

Most weeks, Miss McLellan brought flowers to grace the table. She knew us all by name; Sunday by Sunday she told us Bible stories and invited us, each in turn, to take the collection box round the class as we sang ‘Hear the pennies dropping; listen as they fall”.

It must have been over sixty years ago, yet I remember that Sunday School felt good!

Maya Angelou, American poet and Civil Rights activist hits the nail on the head – “People will forget what you say, forget what you do, but never forget how you made them feel”
Reflecting on their walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the evening of that First Easter Day maybe Cleopas and his companion would agree.

They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he (Jesus) talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24 verse 32) Maybe, later, they remembered what he said; maybe not. Yet I sense that their encounter with the Risen Jesus – albeit that he went unrecognized – made them ‘feel good’. And you?

Our Prayer;
Gracious God, we pray that just as in the Risen Jesus you met with two troubled travellers, so you will meet with us as we journey through these troubled times.
They remembered how that encounter felt; may we, too, having walked with you, feel less troubled and more hopeful.
And dare we hope that, in the coming days, those I meet (be that face to face, in telephone conversations or even Skype!) will feel less troubled and more hopeful too, because I have revealed something of your love.

Tuesday 14th April 2020

On Twitter I liked a small diagram which someone has produced which was a sketch with an inner circle and an outer area.
It is headed ‘Control – so in the inner circle are written things I can control like: how often I watch or listen to the news, keeping up with friends and family, pride in the efforts of the NHS and local volunteers, enjoying what I eat, watching the birds from my window, washing my hands as recommended , my kindness and grace

Outside the circle are written things I can’t control : the spread of the virus, how long this will last, the behavior of people who buy up the goods or don’t follow the rules of social distancing , predicting what will happen ….

So this of course leads me to the follow familiar prayer:
‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference ‘

Wednesday 15th April 2020

Jonah is famous for being swallowed by a whale but the story is about a clash between Jonah’s wishes and God’s. Jonah doesn’t want to go to Nineveh and he doesn’t want God to save Nineveh but that is what happens. At the end he gets angry with a plant because it died when he wanted shelter. Jonah has to learn that it is not he but God who is control. Did we think we were in control? This is not God’s disaster but it is God’s world and we should remember we are just a part of it.

Creator God, forgive us when in pride and vanity we think we have the mastery of our world. Help us to treat our planet with respect and to tread carefully as we share its resources. Give us the faith that you are in control and that we need not doubt your love and care for each and everyone. Amen

Thursday 16th April 2020

Looking out into the garden each spring morning, it’s difficult not to be uplifted by the riot of colour and scent springing up through the dull, damp soil after months of darkness; rebirth of life after the battering gales and rains of a long winter.

In these dark days of confinement, the social isolation required to defeat the virus may seem like a sentence hard to bear, but in and through it we are witnessing the vivid colours of acts of kindness and generosity shown by neighbours and strangers in community one with another. Simple acts which break down the barriers of loneliness, despair; like the hidden bulbs of life in the cold dark earth, bursting forth bringing hope and renewal to others in these sombre days.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, help us to look for and to find the beauty, colour and scent of the flowers of kindness, love and compassion in the days that lie ahead.
Help us through our Christian faith to cultivate the seeds of hope in the hearts and minds of all those who sense only loneliness, heartache and despair. Help us through phone calls, letters and social media, to break through the isolation and so enable the fragrance and life-giving power of your Holy Spirit to colour and renew those we come into contact with in the coming weeks.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Friday 17th April 2020

Have you ever been abseiling, it’s so scary the first time. One of our classroom support assistants joined us on our school outdoor pursuits week.

For the first time ever, she tried the abseiling activity. Petrified – she lost her nerve at the top of the abseiling tower and had to be helped to retrace her steps down the ladder.

Talking with her, as a fellow Christian strong in her faith, I reassured her that with the safety harness and fixed safety rope there was no way she would fall from the tower after walking backwards over the top and leaning over the edge; she would be held on a fixed rope and not allowed to go anywhere because the instructor had absolute control of her descent.

At my own first attempt I had been equally nervous, but I had realised that I had to put my complete faith in the instructor for me to have the courage to attempt the abseil. Having overcome my fear through faith in the instructor I now had a deeper understanding of what it means to place my absolute faith in God, he would always hold me safely in his hands and never let me go if I placed my trust in him.

The CSA was encouraged by my words and bravely decided to try abseiling once again. Tears of elation flowed as she conquered her fears and descended the tower, with the encouragement and applause of everyone there.

Hers was a testimony of new found understanding of what faith in others, and in God, can achieve. At the age of 60+, and close to retirement she had little to look forward to, “but now”, she said, “it’s as if I’ve been be born again with a new lease of life and a whole range of new things to accomplish” – she had a new understanding of what faith really means.

Faith in God, like abseiling, is perhaps the most challenging, yet the safest and the most exhilarating thing you can do in your life! I dare you to try it!

Prayer

Faithful God, whenever new situations arise which challenge us, whenever we feel threatened by circumstances, encourage us to hold on to you in faith.

Grant us the wisdom to let go of all our misconceptions and the courage to step out into the unknown in the certain knowledge that you will be there with us, holding us fast in your loving embrace whatever challenge we may face.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *