Walking the Way.
Holy Week meditations.
During Holy Week follow meditations by Bob Whorton, Methodist Minister and former Hospice Chaplain, who now runs a retreat in France with his wife, Sue. Because of his experience his reflections will be especially poignant.
Follow them every day from Monday 6th April here.
Solitude, Silence, Stillness.
This is from John O’Donohue’s blessing ‘For a Birthday’
“May you open the gift of solitude
In order to receive your soul;
Enter the generosity of silence
To hear your hidden heart;
Know the serenity of stillness
To be enfolded anew
By the miracle of your being
Read Brian Draper’s thoughts on Solitude, Silence and Stillness: “here”.
Let your soul whisper to your fears.
Listen to “Let Yourself” sung by Martyn Joseph, who sang in the United Church some years back for Christian Aid
Read the lyrics: “here”.
Wisdom and love.
Listen to NT Wright talking on Coronavirus, self-isolating and praying through crisis courtesy of Premier Christian Radio.
In a podcast special recorded from his home in Oxford where he is self-isolating with his wife Maggie, Tom talks to Justin Brierley about the Coronavirus pandemic. They cover: How Christians can maintain spiritual health during isolation, the pastoral implications for churches now and in the future, and why God created a world where disease and sickness exist.
A beautiful song and video for those who are sorrowful, but comforted by caring friends.
And the people stayed home.
And the people stayed home.
And they read books, and listened, and rested,
and exercised, and made art, and played games,
and learned new ways of being,
and were still.
And they listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed,
and the people joined together again, they
grieved their losses,
and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and
created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.
By: Catherine (Kitty) O’Meara
A poem by John O’Donahue
“This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”
Hear it read by Fergal Keane here.
Coping with solitude.
Needing to spend some time being still?
Listen to this relaxing 20-minute piece of piano music by Liszt: “The Blessing of God in Solitude.”
For those who would like to follow the score, listen here.
Terry Waite on coping with isolation.
Terry gives tips on how to structure your day.
Free Reform magazines!
Coronavirus Prayer in British Sign Language.
Join us in prayer during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic. A prayer led in British Sign Language, to support you in your praying, and to share with friends, family, and neighbours. During this time of anxiety, confusion, sadness, and challenge we have hope in Jesus Christ.
Prayers and reflections.
A prayer by Nadia Bolz-Weber
For the layers of comfort and convenience that surrounded our lives and that we never considered a blessing but always just took for granted, forgive us.
For we who must grieve in isolation and not in community, comfort us.
For we who care for the sick, protect us.
For the ability to turn off the fear-mongering and unhelpful commentary and worst-case scenario click bait, strengthen us.
For the times when we are all out of creative ideas for how to get through this with cooped up kids, inspire us.
For we who are now cutting our own hair at home, guide us.
For the grace to allow ourselves and others to just be less productive, shower us.
For the generosity needed from those of us who have more resources, empower us.
From our own selfish inclinations, deliver us.
For just being your children, none of whom have done a global pandemic before, love us.
For the days ahead, accompany us.
God unbound by time, help us to know that you are already present in the future we are fearing.
This was read as part of morning prayers from Sunbury on Thames which are recommended by Dorothy Lusmore. You can find them everyday here.
Two quotations from Henri Nouwen.
A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly… A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture not force. Let’s dress ourselves with gentleness. Our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.
God says ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’ This is a fundamental truth of your identity. This is who you are whether you feel it or not. You belong to God from eternity to eternity. Life is just a little opportunity for you during a few years to say, “I love you”.
Jerusalem and the Passion
A wonderful 16 minute film for you to watch courtesy of Mike and Hilary Holt.
Dave the dog worries about the coronavirus – A Nurse Dotty book.
A great book that helps to calm any worries young children may have about the coronavirus. It explains what is happening in a clear and simple fashion and makes it easy to chat about why we are staying at home and why we need to wash hands etc.
Read it here.
“I have no idea where I am going.”
The following was written by Thomas Merton in 1958 but could have been written today.
You can listen to this being read here.
“My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following Your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please You.
And I hope that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road
although I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust You always,
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death,
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and will never leave me
to face my perils alone.”
Words of encouragement from Pat Fry.
I wonder how many of you, like me, engage with puzzles: crosswords, sudoku, codes, to keep your minds active and engaged, when we find ourselves with time on our hands.
I’d like to share a puzzle from the catacombs of ancient Rome, from the early days of the Christian faith.
I found it while researching ideas for all age worship on Passion Sunday and for our hoped for Lent display .
Carry on reading here.
Fellow Christian from Winchester Brian Draper is streaming a “Mid-day moment” live. His first one was on Wednesday. I am sharing this link with his blessing. He will be streaming every weekday at noon during Lent.
For House Group Leaders
Why not try Zoom to meet as a group online? Everyone can see and hear each other for 40 minute sessions for free.
Free worship and learning resources are available this week for adults and children from Roots on the web. (Recommended by the URC).
Tom Belshaw came across a prayer in the URC prayer manual recently, which you might like to include in your own prayers. He has changed it just a little….it is loosely based on Psalm 119:105-112
Like a shining light are your words O God,
Lighting the dark, scattering fears,
Showing the path, pointing the way.
As I travel on shadowy ground,
You are my lamp and light
There are traps and snares in the world, O God
Drawing us in, bringing us down,
Hurting, harming, hindering.
As I walk across uneven land
You are my guide and my guard.
As laughter and gladness is your truth, O God,
Lifting our hearts, enfolding us with love,
Turning us towards goodness,
Teaching us to trust.
With a heart that rejoices in you,
You are our pulse and power for our journey
Sue Keegan Von Allmen, Methodist Circuit Superintendent, offers you a prayer / poem that she used at the Quiet Afternoon at the beginning of Lent. It seems appropriate for now. It is by Ruth Burgess and called “An invitation to Lent”
The desert waits,
ready for those who come,
who come obedient to the Spirit’s leading;
or who are driven,
because they will not come any other way.
The desert always waits,
ready to let us know who we are—
the place of self-discovery.
And whilst we fear, and rightly,
the loneliness and emptiness and harshness,
we forget the angels,
whom we cannot see for our blindness,
but who come when God decides
that we need their help;
when we are ready
for what they can give us.
May you sense God’s angels with you.
This is from the Methodist Church website.