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This is the last ‘Midweek Reflection’ that I will be sending out as life now seems to have hit a certain pattern and routine and there doesn’t seem to be very much more to say other than ‘hang in there, keep going and keep looking to the Lord!’ I will just begin, though, with a brief reflection on our first Sunday services back in our church buildings. ‘Matins’ at Laverstoke with Charlie was very well received. The 4pm ‘Jane Austen’ Evensong at Steventon went very well and it was good to be able to meet together for this special annual service – even if in slightly different circumstances to normal. ‘Sunday @ 6’ in St. Mary’s went well too and it feels like we’ve made a safe and steady start which is encouraging. Hopefully as the weeks go by, and tweaks are made, the service will start to pick up an identity and character of its own.
Let me now leave you with a couple of prayers that I have found particularly helpful during this time and which we have used in previous Sunday services during this lockdown period.
So, first of all, a prayer for ourselves taken from ‘St.Patrick’s Breastplate’.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
And then a prayer for ourselves, as individuals and as a church, as we witness to Christ in our local communities. It is written by Barbara Glasson, president of the Methodist Conference.
We are not people of fear:
We are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
We are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
We are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
for as long as it takes
wherever you call us.
As a closing item, let me share with you this little piece entitled ‘The obstacle in our path’. Adrian Lines sent it to me. I like it because this present Covid crisis is presenting us with many obstacles and challenges yet, as we look ahead carefully and prayerfully, what opportunities might we see emerge from it that are of benefit to our world, our country, our communities, ourselves.
‘In ancient times a King left a huge boulder on the path to his castle and watched from a distance. Many of the wealthiest merchants and courtiers simple walked round it complaining about the obstacle which the King obviously could not be bothered to remove but none did anything about it.
The local peasant who delivered vegetables to the castle came upon it, put down his load and tried to move the stone. After sometime and great effort it finally rolled off the road into the ditch. On the spot where the stone had sat was a purse containing many gold coins and a note from the King thanking whoever removed the stone and saying the gold was a reward for helping remove the obstacle. The peasant that day learnt what many fail to understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition and move forward’.
Further updates will follow as and when appropriate. In the meantime, keep safe and well.God bless and keep you all