Night Prayer

Image

As the day draws to the night

I thank you God for the many experiences of today

the people I have met and

the conversations have had.

I thank you that yet again

You have shown me your presence,

for you bring hope into a world full of insecurities

for you bring peace where conflict and challenge prevail

Lord, Bless those who have journeyed with me this day

those who have laughed with me

those who have cried with me

those who have listened to me

those who have just been happy to be in my presence

Keep me safe in the stillness of this night

may you also keep all those who are dear to me secure

may I rest in your presence while I slumber

may your angels guard me till I wake

 Amen 

 

Advertisements

Sunshine and showers

sunshine and showers

The summer weather has been a mixture of the two S’s …sunshine and showers.  Mostly the sun has been shining, and when this happens, everyone seems to be happier and more positive, yet when the showers did come … gosh did it rain !! Dark clouds, thunderstorms and the rain pounding onto the pavement and grass….. much needed water for the plants and crops.

For most people, the weather can affect us quite significantly. We feel positive and optimistic when the weather is sunny and warm, however wind, cold and rain can bring gloomy thoughts – even despair. Like the weather- each of us as individuals, has a sunny side and a shadow side. Many of us feel we always have to put on a ‘sunny’ face, always be cheerful and positive  ….and yet yearn to have someone listen to us, to tell them of our fears, worries and doubts.

God knows us intimately, the sunny side and the shadow side, and with his unconditional love and grace he always will love and treasure us. After the heavy shower and the sun starts to peek through the clouds we sometime get a rainbow, or beautiful rays that shine through the dark clouds, a reminder of God’s promise to us and bless us with abundant love.

If life is treating you harshly, or you feel that you cannot allow people to see the real you….if you are fearful of being judged or feel excluded in some way from society and community, remember there is one loyal and true friend you have who loves and totally accepts the whole you, the real you , the you that no-one else sees or knows …and that is Jesus.

 

Prayer

 

God of the sunshine and showers .

In the days when I feel depressed , and full of despair

When the dark clouds loom ever closer

And all I feel is emptiness

Enfold me in your tender care

 

In the days I feel unworthy and excluded

When my loneliness pulls me to greater depths

And hope is replaced by fear

Enfold me in your tender care

 

In the days when I feel uplifted and full of joy

When the sunshine lifts my Spirit

And every moment brings a smile

Enfold me in your tender care

 

Enable me Lord to see beyond the rain

To bright skies and a soaring Spirit

As the eagle rises on currents of warm air to glide high above the earth

May we who are part our your body

Rise to new heights within us

To capture the essence of your Grace

so we may forever bathe in your goodness and light.

Amen

 

O God ..I’m stressed!!

sunsets

As I have been preparing my sermon … stress seems to be uppermost in my mind. The stress of a daughter preparing and surviving a wedding, the stress of a family whose family member is in prison, the stress of growing old, the stress of meeting deadlines, the stress of being a Mum, daughter, sister, friend, confidante, grandma .. and of course minister !!

However as I ponder on this subject, I realise that I am not alone … I am surrounded by ‘stressful’ people. The knack is to recognise the stress, and ask for help … asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength… and know that we are surrounded by ‘angels’ who will ‘pick up’ on our stresses and help us to relieve them. That is not to say they will take them or even make them go away, but by compassion, gentleness and tenderness they help us know we are not alone… then we can face to new dawn.

Jesus was surrounded by his friends who sometimes did not recognise that he was stressed, but Jesus did say that we must be a  ‘neighbour’ to those in need… that means being ‘nosey’ and keep alert if there are problems with those around us…..then one day …they maybe able to be there for us…..

Prayer

God who understand our stresses and strains

Be with as we go about our daily responsibilities.

Enable us to see the bigger picture.

And when situations arise-

where we are confronted

with putting the values of faith, or values of self first

remind us that Jesus also experienced this balancing act

which causes Stress for him

When division erupts,

Bring your healing light to bathe wounds

Bring your calming wisdom to speak words with integrity

Bring your inner peace to soothe troubled spirits.

May we always be aware of Stress, division and conflict that surrounds us

And through your grace

May we always be peacemakers…

Through the Christ

Who felt the stress of life as he walked this earth

Through the Spirit who strengthened and supported him

Amen

Julian of Norwich and the ‘three windows’

julian of nowich

A little known fact about Julian of Norwich is that she was the first woman to write a book in English. Again I am astounded how a woman, an anchoress could influence the community and the world she lived in, especially in a male dominated society….. when she was incarcerated in a ‘cell’.

In her ‘cell’, or stone room,  she had three windows where she encountered God.

The first window was where she received the sacraments, as the window looked directly into the church. The priest would visit her with the ‘daily office’, and she could observe the church in worship.

The second window was where she received Food and Water to maintain her existence and also where the carers removed her waste. She kept in fairly good health throughout her time in the cell .

The third window was where people from the local community came to seek her advice on matters which concerned them. She chatted to them and formed deep relationships with individuals. Her fame spread and was visited by many wealthy and poor people.

Remembering that this was the Middle ages , where the plague had ravaged families and death and disease were rife , Julian maintained that God was with them  in there suffering . It was in this world of chaos, that she utters the words .. All shall be well, and all shall be … and all manner of things shall be well. This is in direct opposition to what the male priests were telling the parishioners; she stood her ground, as she had gained respect being an anchoress. The thought of God being close to people was a new concept, and Julian encouraged this as she shared her Theology , as God as Father, God as Mother , God as Creator and God  Suffering  just has she witnessed God’s people suffering.

This is even more remarkable, as although little is known about Julian (this is not her true name, but the name she took from the Church she attended ) she could have been a nun or a laywoman , maybe a widow who lost her child and husband to the Plague. She was extremely ill when she was 30yrs old, and it was when she recovered she wrote her book ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ , but her faith in God never wavered . She instilled Hope to people where suffering and pain was their constant companion.

Learning about Julian’s life again, has helped me reflect on ‘the windows’ I use to encounter God . The church to which I belong, the people care for me and support me, the friends and strangers I meet along life’s diverse path, the joys and sorrows that Life brings.

I hope I am bold enough to speak with authority about my faith as Julian did … to articulate my faith to encourage ,to challenge , to boldly go where many fear to tread .. and with God’s spirit as my companion.. all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

Prayer

Let our God of Goodness be enough for you.

Ask for nothing less,

for if you ask for less than God

you will always be left wanting.

In God:

All shall be well

and all shall be well

and all manner of things shall be well.

(Julian: Revelations         of Love)

Closeness of God … Come down O Love divine by Fernando Ortega

I have just returned for a short break … hence the lack of posts!!. No holiday for me, however my eldest daughter got married, and it was a wonderful occasion. As a single parent, I remember wondering how my daughters would ‘turn out’ as they are both very different in looks and character. As a young Mum, I can recall standing in the front room of dingy flat and shouting and being frustrated with God, wanting to God to sort everything out!! Yet, looking back I was never without a job, and always had food on the table. Now watching my eldest daughter walk down the aisle, and being asked to preach at her wedding …was a great privilege…. So Thank you Katharine.

She had wanted to walk down the aisle herself, and we had discussed it at length, and she … being a fiercely independent woman…. wanted it to be done her way. I felt as a Mum, a little put out with her decision, , but seeing her simple white dress, and string of pearls, coming through the chapel door, I had done my job , as a parent , confidante and friend . As she slowly walked, I sense she was struggling , being overcome with emotion, so when she had walked half way …..her fiancé put his book down and walked to her, steadying her, as they walked up the aisle together.

There is something profoundly theological about this, for she had been searching for God, wanting to be close to God… and I recalled many deep theological conversations we had till 3am over a bottle of wine … Yet in this man she had found the heart of God, a companion, a friend, a lover …someone who has shown her what Love and being Loved  is all about.

It was right that he walked her up the aisle … not me. I had done my part, as a mother  I had nurtured her , and asked God to help me in caring for her , now God was bringing another dimension of Love for her to experience.

I still pray for her to experience the closeness of God, and for the Holy Spirit to reveal herself in new and creative ways to the both, as they journey together in this life.

This Fernando Ortego song is for them, words by Bianco of Sienna in the 15th century and music by Ralph Vaughan Williams.