Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
I believe I shall see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living. Psalm 26
Since during this week our Course members have been praying with the Psalms we were all asked to write a Psalm of our own. The results were well worth all the effort. Unfortunately, I am not able to share them with you as I do not have the author's permission, but take my worth for it King David would have been happy with all of them. Since none of us had ever done anything like this before it was quite an achievement. One member used Psalm 23 as a basis for her own thoughts and feelings. One spent several days staring at a blank sheet of paper before a brilliant Psalm came to her very early one morning. A third set his Psalm to music. Hopefully we can put them all together in a booklet at some stage.
Anyway here is my small contribution:
Where are you O Lord? Have you forsaken us?
This coronavirus pandemic has devastated the world.
How can we rejoice amidst so much grief and suffering?
Our churches are locked so that we are unable to worship and praise you
Or share the Eucharist there as usual with our church family.
Our Priest appears on our computer screens as if in a film on Netflix.
When will we be able to come together again?
Will this plague never end?
Yet, we remember that your dwelling place is not in those church buildings
But in the hearts of your faithful people.
We look around us and we see the glory of your Creation
In the flowers, vegetables and shrubs in the garden
We see the young birds newly fledged taking their first tentative flight
And the young foxes learning to feed themselves in the night
You have not abandoned us, you are here Lord!
Here in our hearts and in our garden!
Here we give you praise and honour!
Here we worship you.
We thank you, Lord for being with us forever as you have promised
Thanks be to you O God for the glory of your world.
As I sat down to write this a friend invited me to his website where his subject this time is A Week of Psalms! Take a look, as I am sure you will find them inspirational. The link is: givenscreative.com.
Lord, we pray for the whole church, and for St Mary Magdalene Church. We thank you that though in many ways we are very different, in Christ you have made us one body, so that although we are isolated we are never separated from you. We thank you for our fellowship and ask that the Holy Spirit may continually lead us into deeper ways of sharing with each other. May you guide us in all we do as we seek to offer the good news of Jesus in our love for others and our life together. Strengthen Peter our Acting Diocesan Bishop and John our bishop together with Michael, Graham and Peter our priests, and all your church in the service of Christ.
Lord in your mercy
Lord, we pray that in all meetings and conferences where important decisions are taken, hearts may be turned to honour what is true and just, compassionate and constructive. We pray that in all areas where there is corruption, deceit or distrust, consciences may be sensitised afresh to know what is right and strive towards it. Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority; and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honour one another and seek the common good. Lord in your mercy
Lord, as the restrictions imposed as a result of this coronavirus pandemic are relaxed slightly, we pray for the streets and for those who are able to return to their places of work. May they be places where the truth of your being is proclaimed daily by the way we live and handle everyday situations, through your leading. We thank you that we are now able to exercise more freely and meet others, even if at a distance. May our words and actions speak of your faithful love, your graciousness and your purity. Let us serve Christ in one another and love as He loves us. Lord in your mercy
Lord, make us channels of hope and healing to those who are broken and defeated by life. We pray for any we know personally to be in need of God’s healing touch. We think of those who are ill, those who are lonely or afraid, those who do not know which way to turn, and for those for whom the bottom seems to have dropped out of their lives. Fill us with your Spirit we pray, that the light of your mercy may reach into the darkest corners of life. Lord in your mercy
Lord, we pray for those who have died and now see you as you really are. We ask for mercy and forgiveness, and commend them to your keeping for ever.
This week we studied different forms of prayer on our Course in Christian Studies, Lectio Divina, the Jesus prayer, the Daily Office and Ignatian prayer were suggested. Taking the last example, St Ignatius said that we should place ourselves in a Gospel story, either as a spectator or a participant, to absorb the sounds and smells of the scene. Then we should ask ourselves, what would I say to Jesus and what might He say to me? I have always had difficulty with this type of prayer. After all, the message is in the Gospel. What more could I say to Jesus? Again, what more could He say to me that is not written in the Bible already? Chris said that she had taken Zacchaeus encounter with Jesus as the basis for her prayer.(Luke 19:1-10) After the session had finished I thought about Ignatian prayer again. Was there something that I had missed?
Strangely, at this point,in my mind's eye, the scene changed to a Scottish seaside resort in the 1950's where a friend and I had stopped for the night on our tour of the Western Isles. That evening after a good dinner we took a walk along the seafront. There was a preacher, in fine voice, proclaiming the Gospel message to a small crowd huddled before him on the beach. There being nothing else to do that evening; the pubs and just about everything else was closed in Scotland on Sundays in those days, we stopped to listen. I don't remember now what he preached but at the end of his service he invited people to come forward to take one of his tracts. For whatever reason, and at the time I couldn't tell you why, I came forward to take one. I couldn't explain the reason to my friend when he asked why; I just felt impelled to do so. Fast forward sixty years and I can now see that just as Jesus invited Zacchaeus down from the tree in which he had been hiding, so Jesus using the preacher, but more importantly the Gospel was inviting me to come down from the sea wall. "I need to spend some time with you" Jesus said to Zacchaeus. In the same way He was telling me that He wanted to spend some time with me. How wonderful is that?
Did that encounter change my life as his encounter with Jesus changed Zacchaeus? I think so although I did not recognize it at the time. You see, for all these years that incident has lain hidden deep in my memory to surface now; to remind me how powerful Ignatian prayer can be. Why not give it a try sometime? I certainly will.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years