Reflections2020-04-20T19:39:42+01:00

This week I would like to share with you material provided for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

Day 4 Praying together
“I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends”
(John 15:15)

Meditation
God thirsts for relationship with us. In Christ, God came to meet us. Jesus lived in prayer, intimately united to his Father, while creating friendships with his disciples and all those he met. He introduced them to that which was most precious to him: the relationship of love with his Father, who is our Father. Jesus and the disciples sang psalms together, rooted in the richness of their Jewish tradition. At other times, Jesus retired to pray alone.
Prayer can be solitary or shared with others. It can express wonder, complaint, intercession, thanksgiving or simple silence. Sometimes the desire to pray is there, but one has the feeling of not being able to do so. Turning to Jesus and saying to him, “teach me”, can pave the way. Our desire itself is already prayer.
Getting together in a group offers us support. Through hymns, words and silence, communion is created. If we pray with Christians of other traditions, we may be surprised to feel united by a bond of friendship that comes from the One who is beyond all division. The forms may vary, but it is the same Spirit that brings us together.

Prayer
Lord Jesus, your entire life was prayer, perfect harmony with the Father. Through your Spirit, teach us to pray according to your will of love. May the faithful of the whole world unite in intercession and praise, and may your kingdom of love come. Amen.

Previous Reflections

This week I would like to share with you material provided for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

Day 3  “Love one another as I have loved you”
(John 15:12b)

Meditation
On the eve of his death, Jesus knelt to wash the feet of his disciples. He knew the difficulty of living together and the importance of forgiveness and mutual service. “Unless I wash you,” he said to Peter, “you have no share with me.”
Peter received Jesus at his feet; he was washed and was touched by the humility and gentleness of Christ. Later he would follow Jesus’ example and serve the fellowship of the faithful in the early church.
Jesus wishes that life and love circulate through us as the sap through the vine, so that Christian communities be one body. But today as in the past, it is not easy to live together. We are often faced with our own limitations. At times we fail to love those who are close to us in a community, parish or family. There are times when our relationships break down completely.
In Christ we are invited to be clothed in compassion, through countless new beginnings. The recognition that we are loved by God moves us to welcome each other with our strengths and weaknesses. It is then that Christ is in our midst.

Prayer
God our Father, you reveal to us your love through Christ and through our brothers and sisters. Open our hearts so that we can welcome each other with our differences and live in forgiveness. Grant us to live united in one body, so that the gift that is each person comes to light. May all of us together be a reflection of the living Christ. Amen

This week I would like to share with you material provided for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

Day 2
“Abide in me as I abide in you”
(John 15:4a)

Being fully human, like us Jesus grew and matured. He lived a simple life, rooted in the practices of his Jewish faith. In this hidden life in Nazareth, where apparently nothing extraordinary happened, the presence of the Father nourished him.
We too need a long period of maturation, an entire lifetime, in order to plumb the depths of Christ’s love, to let him abide in us and for us to abide in him.
Without our knowing how, the Spirit makes Christ dwell in our hearts. And it is through prayer, by listening to the word, in sharing with others, by putting into practice what we have understood, that the inner being is strengthened.

Prayer
Holy Spirit, May we receive in our hearts the presence of Christ, and cherish it as a secret of love. Nourish our prayer, enlighten our reading of Scripture, act through us, so that the fruits of your gifts can patiently grow in us. Amen.

This week I would like to share with you material provided for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

Day 1    Called by God
“You did not choose me but I chose you”
(John 15:16a)

Meditation
The start of the journey is an encounter between a human being and God, between the created and the Creator, between time and eternity.
Along the way, we become more and more ourselves, the people God has wanted us to be from the beginning. And by following the call that is addressed to us, we become a blessing for our loved ones, our neighbours, and the world.
The love of God seeks us. God became human in Jesus, in whom we encounter the gaze of God. In our lives, as in the Gospel of John, God’s call is heard in different ways. Touched by his love, we set out. In this encounter, we walk a path of transformation – the bright beginning of a relationship of love that is always started anew.
“One day you understood that, without your being aware of it, a yes had already been inscribed in your innermost depths. And so you chose to go forward in the footsteps of Christ….
In silence in the presence of Christ, you heard him say, ‘Come, follow me; I will give you a place to rest your heart.’”[The Sources of Taizé (2000) p. 52]

Prayer
Jesus Christ, you seek us, you wish to offer us your friendship and lead us to a life that is ever more complete. Grant us the confidence to answer your call so that we may be transformed and become witnesses of your tenderness for the world. Amen

Isaiah 42:5 (NIV)
“This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:”

Gracious God, as news reaches us of Covid 19 variants across our world, we pray for all nations, each dealing with their own outbreaks and their own logistical concerns. We pray for all those nursing and caring for the people in their communities. We pray that vaccinations will be made available to all countries, especially poorer countries that do not have the resources we have in place, both financially and logistically. As we begin a week of global prayer for Christian Unity on Monday, we pray that You will unite us in our concern for one another that crosses all boundaries. In the presence of You, our creator God, we unite as One world, Your world and Your people, and ask that You pour out Your love through the power of Your Holy Spirit into every corner of Your creation. We place the concerns of our world into Your hands, through the

Isaiah 41:10 (NCV)
“ So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you”.

‘Footprints in the Sand’ by Mary Stevenson
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.” The LORD replied: “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Gracious God, we lift before You all those whom for today is a struggle, remembering especially our NHS workers continuing to work long, tiring shifts in order to keep our hospitals staffed. We pray for all patients and their families, and so too we remember all those unwell at home. Lord, You understand that there are days when our resolve for whatever reason is low, when we are need of strength, comfort and assurance. On these days, we know that we can turn to You, that You are there to sustain us and carry us, that we do not need to face difficult situations alone. And so Lord God, may the power of Your love lift us and all those in need, this day and in the days to come. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen

Psalm 23  (NRSV)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long”.

Gracious God remind us this day that You are our Shepherd, You are the one who cares and provides for us. You are the One who invites us to take quiet moments and spend them in Your presence. You are the One who wants to heal us and restore us with your love and your grace. You are there to guide us as we journey forward, even when the road ahead is rocky and difficult to navigate. And although we may face dark times, we are assured of Your presence with us, so help us not to be anxious or afraid. You pour out Your Holy Spirit to anoint, enable and equip us to follow You and be the people You would have us be. And You have prepared a place for us so that nothing, in all eternity, can separate us from Your love, and so we live today in the assurance that You are our Shepherd. Amen.

Matthew 19:14 (NRSV)

” but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”

Gracious God, we thank You for the gift of learning, for the ability to experience and discover new things every day. On this new day, help us to learn more about about You and Your love for us, and share that knowledge with other people. Lord God, as we reflect upon the gift of learning, we lift before You all our children and young people learning today in schools and at home. We are saddened that their education process has been so severely disrupted, but we give thanks for every teacher, support worker, parent and carer who will aid their learning today, who will sit alongside them at home or in the classroom or talk to them online. We pray for parents juggling working from home and schooling their children. We pray for all staff tasked with the logistical difficulties of ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn. Amidst the immense difficulties of the current situation, we pray for every conversation, every word written, every sum calculated, every fact learnt, every craft made, and every book read, that through these acts of learning, our young people may continue to grow and develop. We place all young people and educators into Your hands Lord, and ask that You continue to support, encourage, equip and bless them, this day and in the days to come. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Mark 1:35 (NIV)
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”.

Gracious God, we know that when Jesus walked the earth, He faced times of challenge, anxiety and uncertainty, but in those times, He found a quiet place and turned to You in prayer. As the new working week begins and lockdown continues, remind us Lord God that Your presence is assured and that you are always there to listen to us, to invite us into conversation. When challenges come, help us to pause and take a moment to turn to You, remembering that in the moments when we do not have the words to say, simply being in Your presence is enough, that you know the concerns of our hearts before we even speak. As we look at the sun’s rays upon the winter’s scene, may we be assured of Your love radiating in the darkness of these winter days. May this love surround those whom we love and those with whom we come into contact today. May we find peace in Your embrace and hear Your still, small voice of assurance. Amen.

John 1:5
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.

Gracious God, thank you for guiding us and strengthening us through the last year, a difficult year for so many different reasons. We thank you for the people who walked alongside us, who made a difference and witnessed to Your love for us. As we move into a new year, with the challenges the pandemic continues to bring, we ask that You help us to focus on You, upon the message of the Christ Child who came into our world to show that in the days ahead, You are with us, Emmanuel, God with us. We remember that this is the greatest gift of all, the gift of Your love that will sustain and support us. At the start of a new week, we lay our hopes, our dreams, and our concerns before You. May You assure us of Your presence at all times and in all places so that we may face the week with a sense of peace in our hearts, the peace that comes from being loved by You.
This morning, we remember especially all the staff, parents and children in our schools, amidst all the discussions and decisions being made around the education of our young people. We pray especially for Head Teachers, as they seek to lead and assure staff and parents within these unsettling times. We thank you for the commitment and vocation of all staff in our schools and ask that you give them courage and wisdom as they seek to offer the very best they can for the young people in their care. We place them all into the safekeeping of Your hands this day Lord, Amen.

Love

Christmas Day
Luke 2:7
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord”.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning
Jesus, to Thee be glory given
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!
John Francis Wade (c1711-1786)

Love

Isaiah 9:2
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned”.

Gracious God of wonder and mystery we wait in anticipation and expectation to celebrate the coming of Your Son, Jesus, into our world, Emmanuel, God with us. On the eve of this Holy Night, may we draw closer to the child who was born not into wealth and power, but into poverty and weakness. May we draw closer to the child who grew to be a man, who taught us to love one another, who taught us that all are valued in Your sight. Lord God, we thank you for the night in which love shone down. In the name of the child in the manger we pray, Amen.

Love

1 John 4:9      NIV
” This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him”.

Gracious God, as we have scanned the skies to catch a glimpse of the alignment of the planets, to create a Christmas Star for 2020, we think back to the star that lit up the sky over 2,000 years ago. We give thanks for the star that heralded the arrival of Your Son, Jesus Christ, into our world, bringing an explosion of light and love into the dark places of our world. Lord God, we pray for an outpouring of Your light and Your love in our communities, once more, this Christmas time. We pray for light and love in dark places. May we look up to the skies and gaze in wonder and thanks for the truth symbolised in the gift of Jesus, the light of our world, Amen.