Go the distance – weaving ribbons of prayer

Northumberland-20130929-00117Tonight we are blogging from Holy Island. We are with a small group from Sally’s Church. We have been reflecting around making helpful connections. In the sharing tonight, coming to the end of our time on the Island, we were making connections between the inspiration of the island and how we can take some of this back with us. Many of the group have reflected how helpful it has been to have some time out and space to be human.
The retreat was called Celtic connections and we explored connecting to our Celtic heritage, our local faith communities, our wider Christian community and each other. Tonight we plaited ribbons to remind us of what God had done and some of the things each other had shared. We are taking back our memory ribbons and some of the resources we have used to pray together. There are many profound yet simple prayers which give us words and intentions when we do not know how to pray, knowing that others might be praying the same words with us. So tonight we prayed the Ita Compline from the Northumbria Community, this is part of it:
O God of life, this night, O darken not to me Thy light.
O God of life, this night, close not Thy gladness to my sight.
Keep Your people, Lord in the arms of your embrace.
Shelter them under Your wings.
Be their light in darkness.
Be their hope in distress.
Be their calm in anxiety.
Be strength in their weakness.
Be their comfort in pain.
Be their song in the night.

Esther de Waal says this about Celtic prayer: “I have come to see that Celtic prayer is prayer with the whole of myself, a totality of praying that embraces the fullness of my own personhood, and allows me not only to pray with words but also, more important, with the heart, the feelings, using image and symbol, touching the springs of my imagination” (The Celtic Way of Prayer. New York: Bantam Doubleday, 1997:lx).

We have had time and space to pray with all of ourselves and all of us together.

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One thought on “Go the distance – weaving ribbons of prayer

  1. I have never been to the Holy Island but I went to Taize twice – a place that helped bring me back to the simplicity of life rather than everything around us. I learnt so much, especially from the people from countries where they were not allowed to worship freely…something I think we take for granted.

    I hope you found your time away helpful and that God fed you spiritually.

    The prayer you shared had alot of meaning to me especially the words of darknes, distress, weakness and pain. I read it just after learning that someone who had become a close family friend had died at the weekend. He was only about my age but had struggled with addiction all of his ife. Such a gentle, kind hearted lad but someone who was easily led and was surounded by the wrong people. He left behind a young daughter and 2 nephews who he had been like a Dad to since their Mum abandoned them. I cannot imagine what the family are going through but know from past ministry with similar situations, that it is prayers like that, that can speak so deeply to peoples soul.

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