Friday photo – the journey back

The memory of this walk will nourish and sustain me as we journey back home today.

The picture was taken at the end of walking the Pilgrims’ Way one evening this week. Many years ago as I walked this way praying about something specific I felt God saying Go the distance.

I went the distance and it resulted in a realignment of vocation. The journey back will involve taking away with me memories and insights that will shape and sustain me over the coming months. Conversations and companionship have bought wisdom as we have enjoyed temporary community with people we have known from between ten and forty years.

I go back wanting to adopt a different rhythm of prayer and punctuate the day more mindfully than I do. It is a wonderful rhythm on retreat but I have also been trying to work out how I best flourish mainly working from home. I have enjoyed offices at the church and with the Community of Aidan and Hilda connecting with new people and old friends, being blessed.

One month on will be interesting to see where I am…

Wondering Wednesdays – hello dearest

Anne Lamott writes about her Spiritual Mentor who started each conversation

Hello, Dearest, I’m so glad it’s you. She goes on to say

I’ve come to believe this is how God feels when I pray, even at my least attractive.

I love this. It puts into writing something that took me years to learn. We can grow up with faulty ideas about God and project human experiences on to that relationship.

So I start each day with some sort of conversation with someone who calls me, dearest.

Anne Lamott, 2019, Almost everything, notes on hope. Edinburgh:. Canongate books, p6.

Wondering Wednesdays – places to pray

I spotted this in the toilet of a church cafe in Polzeath (Tubestation) and loved it. I wrote a prayer and put it in the hut grateful that my anonymous prayer would be read and prayed for by others who don’t come to the prayer with the baggage I do. I love the creativity of this, the ease and the privacy – helping people to find ways to pray seems to me to be an important task of the church.

Wondering Wednesdays – a guiding star

scenic view of rocky mountain during evening

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

This prayer is for a new year, however, it feels like tomorrow and the General Election heralds a new year and I wanted to share it today.  The church new year starts on Advent Sunday so it feels apt for that too.  The prayer comes from a book titled “What does the Lord Require?” (the question comes from Micah 6.8 where the answer is “do justice, and  love kindness, and walk humbly with your God” which is good advice.  This prayer is written by Francis Brienen:

God of all time who makes all things new, we bring before you the year now ending.  For life full and good, for opportunities recognized and taken, for love known and shared, we thank you.  

Where we have fallen short, forgive us.  When we worry over what is past, free us.

As we begin again and take our first few steps into the future, where nothing is safe and certain, except you, we ask for the courage of the wise men who simply went and followed a star.  We ask for wisdom, in choosing to pursue the deepest truth, not knowing where they would be led.

In the year to come, God of all time,  be our help and company.  Hold our hand as we journey onwards and may your dreams of shalom where all will be at peace, be our guiding star.

Francis Brienen (ed) What does the Lord Require?  Norwich:  Canterbury Press, 2014, p68.

Wondering Wednesdays – prayer net

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I saw this in a church the other day and marvelled at the myriad of prayers that are reflected here.  It is a simple idea and one I participated in.  I wrote my prayer in the book too and was encouraged to read that the church would incorporate these prayers into their prayers.  Finding ways of helping and encouraging people to pray is one of those outreach activities that I value when I visit a church.

Wondering Wednesdays – mini pilgrimage

Yesterday we went to St Clether Holy Well and Chapel, a short walk from St Clether church. I gain so much from going to sacred places where people have prayed over many years and there is a deep sense of peace. It restores my soul. There were clouties on the trees by the well and inside the chapel an amazing granite altar and a little wooden door to access the lower part of the well. It is a place to return to with the requested bird seed! I am.so grateful to the people whose ministry is to keep such places open so that people like us can enjoy an interlude in a place soaked in history and worship.

Honest Christianity: Is there ever a time when praying is not enough?

HeavenThis cartoon is doing the rounds this weekend. It is a sad theological reflection upon another school shooting in the USA. Personally, I think this is an insightful comment upon what can be perceived as an offering of prayer and support when perhaps action, policy, legislation is also needed. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I do not believe in the power or necessity of prayer, but sometimes, perhaps many times in the face of injustice, oppression, local and national government are obliged to respond. When the system is broken, yes, pray it gets fixed, but peaceful protest is also required when systemic response to address the issue is slow, or reluctant.  Could it be assurance of praying for someone or a situation from a position of power, is not enough or even trite and insulting?  I am not just just referring to the US in this blog, this is is at the door of any government’s policy that can change the safety of any demographic.

Is it going too far to say, “guns don’t kill people, lack of Governmental intervention does”?  Don’t just pray, do something!

Honest Christianity – people still pray – asset based mission

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This article was in yesterday’s Times newspaper. It discusses the results of a UK survey that showed over 50% of people regularly pray and they do it doing activities such as exercise and cooking. Someone told me recently that they feel different when they pray with someone else than when they talk to them. It seems we are more experienced at practising the presence of God than we think.

I wonder how I might relate to people if I assumed half of them already pray. God is already at work in our world, country, homes and work. In junior church today we had the children repeat God’s affirmation of Jesus by name to each other, …….God loves you. This is the part we can play.

Friday photo – autumn prayers

 

Yesterday I presided at the lunchtime communion at the Children’s hospital – I am last reserve so only get to do it very occasionally!  As soon as I walked in these amazing pumpkin prayers caught my eye – what a wonderful way for the chaplaincy team of celebrating a cultural festival (I will not get into the what should Christians do about Halloween debate) in a child and young person friendly way. They looked good around the autumn coloured leaves prayer tree. Looking closer each strip had a different prayer or statement on. This was the work of our wonderful CYM student Jodie. I work with lots of creative people and am very blessed by the different ways we can make connections between our faith and everyday life.

Wondering Wednesdays – Holy Week prayer…

cuthbert prayer

This card is in my journal – it is from the Open Gate on Holy Island and the cross is from St Cuthbert’s island. Holy week is when I pray alone and together (to use a Northumbria Community phrase) every day which is unusual for me. I appreciate the coming together and the capacity to share the journey with others. It is not an easy week and I value in a new way taking it step by step so tonight it is Holy Communion with anointing as we remember the extravagant gift of the woman who anointed Jesus and the story will continue to unfold over the next few days. One of the highlights will be Saturday where we will share stories around the fire, stories that are real, that reflect all that Saturday means but which can never be without the glimpse of what is coming on Sunday.