Thought for the day, 3

A trip to Hyde Hall this afternoon brought me face to face with this wonderful oak tree. How I longed to be a child again and to swing up onto its branches and climb as high as I could, to see the world spread out below me. Instead, Steve and I walked to the top of the hill and looked out at the countryside below, the harvested fields of grain, the lilac/mauve Lucerne, and trees.

It was probably a better view, but nowhere near as exciting as the prospect of climbing the oak. But I did thank God for all the opportunities I have had to enjoy and relish his creation from climbing trees to walking along ridges, swimming in the sea and riding across moors. What a blessing it has been to live in these times where science and social responsibility have endeavoured to protect us from the worst of our excesses and where we can turn to God for solace and comfort when the world is thrown upside down. May God support and encourage those who are seeking the means to defeat the virus and help all of us realise how closely we depend upon each other. And may his commandment – love your neighbour as yourself be our world’s watchword from now on.

123, Thought for the Day from Gordon MacLean, Friday 31st July 2020

122, Thought for the day from Jeff Burditt, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, 29 July 2020

121, Thought for the day, Monday 27 July 2020

120, Morning service for 26.07.20, Trinity 7. docx

119, Thought for the Day from Gordon MacLean for Friday 24th July 2020

118, Thought for the day from Jeff Burditt, St Mary Magdalene, Wednesday 22 July 2020

117, Thought for the day, Monday 20 July 2020

115, Thought for the Day, from Gordon MacLean, Friday 17th July 2020

Sunday 12th July, our first service after Lockdown. Tom running up the path to see his ‘church with the pointy top where Nanny works’ and the congregation settling to join in our service for all God’s family, all socially distanced. It was very different but we worshipped whole heartedly and many stayed to celebrate communion. Next week we’ve a morning prayer followed by shortened communion  (Sunday 19th) Because of track and trace we have to ask you to book a seat – just contact us through this website before 8.00pm Friday the 17th July.

113, thought for the day, Monday 13 July 2020

The church ready for worship starting with service tomorrow morning at 10.15. Limited space means that the church is already full for the service, to book for future services please contact us via the link on this website.

111, thought for the day, Saturday 11 July 2020

In the stream of memories in God’s hands

Our lives are held in place

Nothing is dropped or lost, or ever forgot

Never, unrecognised, a face,

All is held, waiting for our return

to his side which once we left

From his compassion, kindness, now we learn

we are never thus bereft

For through the tides of life

He steers us on

To grace and life eternal

Our helm, his Son

VMW

109, Thought for the day, Gordon MacLean, Thursday July 9th 2020

 

Love…

… is seeing other people as God sees them

Peace…

… is knowing that he sees us in the same way

Joy…

…is realising that he loves us

Hope…

…is understanding that with God anything can happen and frequently does.

 

Jesus said – build your house on the rock of God’s words, not the shifting sands of other people’s opinions

“Love one another as I have loved you” John 13; 34

“Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give you” John 14; 27

“Wait in Hope for the Lord, he is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33;20

“You shall go out with Joy and be led forth in Peace,” Isaiah 55; 12

 

High in the blue above

The Swifts whirl and call

While we’re down a-dabbling

Dab, dab, dabbling

We’re down a-dabbing

Up-tails all.

Wind in the willows

I often see the Swifts circling in the air above Burnham, their scimitar shaped wings so easy to identify against the blue background and their cry immediately recognisable. Seeing them reminds me of the time I watched them prepare for their annual migration back to Africa, there must have been more than fifty circling above the country park, calling, rising and falling, swerving and diving in an exotic  ballet over the browning landscape of a country tasting the coolness of autumn.

They gathered, performed and then were gone, just as they always do, coming and going, leaving behind an impression of fast and elegant beauty while our trusty locals busy themselves with their year-round day to day lives.  Unfortunately, they are very difficult to photograph whereas ducks, in contrast, seem so much part of the landscape we barely notice them – until a quacking flurry in the sky heralds the arrival of two or three, ready to strut their stuff. Or a mallard mum waddles around with a group of ducklings at her feet.

Yet each of these birds fits neatly into its natural niche, using its strange and particular gifts to make the most of the world. They belong in a world that is full of idiosyncratic creatures with odd lifestyles, stranger appearance and their own very important roles to play in the wider life of the earth, each part of an intricate balancing act that makes our world the place it is.  We too are part of this balancing act – our actions can enable some creatures to flourish, while others teeter on the edge of oblivion. As we distance ourselves from the natural world and lose our understanding of how it works, we risk failing in our role as yet another creature upon earth. Changing the way we do things may help but may load the scales in the opposite direction. If we favour one species, we may damage the chances of another, through ignorance of the way the symphony of life is finely tuned.

We have wonderful series on television about the great creatures of the world, we have spring watch and autumn watch and stories about rewilding. But how many of our children now go looking for the first violets in the hedgerows, can identify the different bumblebees, appreciate the wild hedgerow fruits and what mysteries can be found in the depths of a pond.

Country childhood was once full of hodmedods* and devil’s coach horses* with crickets and grasshoppers abounding in the meadows and the stream full of tiddlers. Antlions stalked their pray and slowworms slithered around the compost heap. They still do – if we have eyes to see them – but if one or two or more disappear without our notice what will be the knock-on effect – and when will it begin to affect that other creature – us?

Look up – the swifts are far fewer this year…

*a snail and a type of beetle

 

Joy is…..smelling the roses at Hyde Hall

What a glorious, blustery, exhilarating afternoon at Hyde Hall with Alice and the children. So much to see, so many favourite places to visit, so many vegetables to admire and long to touch and taste, so many flowers to sniff, so many bees buzzing in an out of the blossom and so many geese on the lake. All the senses awake, taking in the beauty and smells and sounds. Taking in the sight of different groups – elderly, middle aged and young all revelling in the opportunity to enjoy the gardens; the scent of the flowers, the grass, greenness;  the sounds of laughter, the buzz of conversation;  and as well as all, that the chocolate mushroom [or should that be muffin – at three these words can transmogrify into new and happy meanings] and the tractors.  A taste of a paradise for two hours. What a joy and what a blessing!

104, Thought for the day from Alice Havey,’There’s a strong old wind tonight’ Saturday 4 July 2020

102, Thought for the Day, Gordon MacLean, Thursday 2 July 2020

101, Thought for the day, Things are not always as they seem, Wednesday 1 July 2020

100, Thought for the day, Tuesday 30 June 2020

Look up, will you,

Look up and see what God has done

He has taken the rainclouds and the sun

And painted a picture in the skies

Just look up, and use your eyes

 

Look up, will you

And see the patterns he has made

The contrast between the light and shade

Without the dark, how shines the light

Without light, no shape can grace our sight.

 

Look up, will you

Look at the life you have made

The bright joy times and darker shade

Paint a picture of your days

And all your wandering ways

 

Look up, will you,

And see the beauty you have shown

With light and shade you’ve painted on your own

And within, the dabs of different hue

Carefully painted by those who love you

 

Look up, will you

Look up and see what God has done

Given you the earth, the sky, the dark, the sun

See how he blesses every day

Know that he walks with you along the way

 

Look up, will you

And see the grandeur of his love

For you, painted on the clouds above

Be still, and let his peace

Enfold you – it will never cease.

 

 

Look up, will you

Look up and see what God has done

In sending Christ his only son

Uniting us in eternity

Forever, you and me

 

Look up, will you.

 

VMW

 

 

Peace is…sunset, and geese returning to coastal pastures…the stillness after the storm passes…leaf-light patterning the grass below…the rose holding up its face to heaven and the bee…the teapot and cup, gently steaming…the book, the knitting, patchwork, drawing, painting, waiting…

In all the world there is peace, waiting to be discovered, enjoyed, shared. Gifts of God in a busy stressful world, offered here and there and everywhere, needing only the mind and eye to turn to find them.

 

Pictures by Jess Davis, Artist

There is something magical about gateways and doors – an invitation into another world; a place where new and different things happen; an entrance into a secret. A gateway can be an invitation into an adventure; the arch of a doorway an invitation into the past or an unknown future.

The slowly opening door is the ‘genre defining’ start to a mystery.   So, over the years I have collected several pictures of doors and gateways by my favourite local artist Jessica Davies. I just like to look at them and imagine what it would be like wandering through into that other world. I blame it all on C S Lewis author of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. If you don’t know the story it really is worth reading. The heroes and heroines are four children who walk through a wardrobe door into a spell-bound world, forever winter and never Christmas. Their task is to help Aslan, the Lion, free the land of Narnia from the power of the white witch. It is an allegory of Christ salvation of our world, beautifully written with heroism, fear, betrayal and failure part of the story which ends…well, why not read it and find out.

But ever since I read it, I have always seen doorways as opportunities, and it surprised me when I discovered that some people see them as barriers – especially   Church doorways. How sad that the one place where everyone is welcome and is loved is guarded by a great big door seen as a barrier.

How can we change that? How can we make our door seem a wonderful invitation to a new and exciting world where love is? Maybe that is the challenge God is throwing down to us after this Covid closure – finding ways of opening the door into the peace and love of God for our neighbours.

Egret’s feet usually are hidden from view as they stalk their fishy prey on the borders of lakes and streams – how surprising to see that they are bright yellow.  Somehow I always thought they would be a muddy colour, to blend in with the river bed.  But then I suppose it might be a good idea to be able to see your own feet when you’re about to grab a fish for tea – what an embarrassment to pick up your own wriggly toe instead. But it made me wonder how many times I don’t see the full picture. How often do we look something and think that’s all there is to it? But do we really know the story behind it? So often we are presented with the facts by someone and assume that this all there is to it – then later we realise that there is much more to know and learn. How easy it is to jump on a bandwagon of support or condemnation before knowing all the facts.  We all tend to have our very own default settings which can make us very quick to judge. Jesus dealt with this in a very pithy remark – before you try and take that little speck out of your brother’s eye, how about getting rid of the enormous plank in your own.  Ouch!

 

 

94, Thought for St John the Baptist’s day, from Gordon MacLean, Wednesday 24th June 2020 

 

The snapdragons are out and ready to play.

Ever since Steve planted out the border, we’ve been looking forward to showing Tom that rite of passage – making the snapdragon talk. This morning little fingers squeezed the sides of the flower to make it move its mouth up and down and a new generation learnt the fun of putting words into the mouths of flowers.

I can remember my mother teaching Rachel and Alice the same trick, along with lots and lots of family traditions – just as they had been passed down to her and she’d passed them on to me.

Sometimes I wonder if we’re losing the touch of communicating old and simple ideas to our little ones, especially about God. Having experienced the exhilarating joy of knowing God, the strength of his support in the worst times, and the steady love which I know pours out of his heart to all of us – it makes me want to shout from the roof-tops – give our children the chance to know him too. Give them the stability, joy, strength and love that will make their lives so much fuller and more rounded, and, through their peace of heart  help them begin to bring peace to our world.

What a wonderful world

Our God-given world is full of the most amazing and beautiful wildflowers. Every time I go out on a walk, I see more and more fascinating plants and want to know more about them.  I’ve learnt that many of our wildflowers were, for thousands of years, used in medicine and in industry, which is why they are so abundant.

The prickly teasel with its pinky-blush at this time of the year is not only a wonderful food source for birds – especially goldfinches,  but it was also used extensively in the cloth industry for raising (teasing) the nap of newly made cloth so that it could be sheared to ensure that it was even across the whole bolt.

Mallow – that bushy shrub with delicate pink flowers, often seen on roadsides and on country walks was formerly considered a medicinal plant. In medieval times it was thought to be a ‘cure-all’ and extracts were used for everything from stomach-ache to cuts and coughs. Many of the medicines we use today have been derived from plants – aspirin, (salicin) comes from Willow bark and the Yew tree produces a potent anti-cancer drug.

With that thought in mind – isn’t it even more important to take care of our wonderful world and to save species from extinction – you just never know what that wretched weed might be capable of doing! But God does.

 

 

When the sun rises and sets it tells the waiting world that all is well. Dawn brings the sound of birdsong, dusk the flight of bats. Between, the rhythm of life goes on its restless way. Today, the summer solstice, gives us more time, more space to be, it holds us in an ancient sway when time was calculated in moons and stars, when the sun’s passage through the heavens told the seasons of the year. Tonight, as the sun sets, wonder at the miracle of planets and stars, the crimson setting, the dove grey rising, the clouds soft polished, and thank God for giving us beauty and discovery to tease our minds.

 

 

Our prayers light a candle in our souls which can be seen and understood by God. He hears our prayers and sees our longings wherever we are and however we feel, and he will answer, if we listen for his voice.

88, Thought for the day from Gordon MacLean, Thursday 18 June 2020

87, Thought for the day from Jeff Burditt, Wednesday 17 June 2020

Sometime soon we shall be back here again, praising God, praying, laughing, crying. But until that day we are still together in spirit – because we are all held in his love, as his beloved children. So, praise, pray, laugh and cry in his Name to his Glory, and hold fast to the knowledge that whatever happens God is with us in all things.

 

Give thanks in all circumstances — Thessalonians 5;18

Even a day of rain has its compensations, producing these wonderful pictures of wet flowers and ensuring that the garden will be blooming for days to come. At a time when every silver lining seems to have its cloud, sometimes it’s good to see the world through rose coloured specs.

 

No medicine is more valuable, none more efficacious, none better suited to the cure of all our temporal ills than a friend to whom we may turn for consolation in time of trouble, and with whom we may share our happiness in time of joy.

From On Spiritual Friendship by Ailred, Abbot of Rievaulx Abbey

There is nothing quite like an old-fashioned helter-skelter. The trudge up to the top, via a narrow staircase with a view of legs and shoes, the wait at the top as people are handed their mats. Then receiving yours, being reminded how to stay safe and not burn an arm or knee on the wooden side, and that glorious moment when, sitting and gripping the mat tightly, you finally launch into that dizzying ride to the bottom which is always over much too quickly. I can never resist them. I’d like to say something clever – like they are a metaphor for life – a long and arduous climb and then downhill all the way. Or labour bringing its own rewards. But I don’t really think that. I just thank God that there are helter-skelters to enjoy, and relish the fun. And I’m sure that sometimes that’s all He wants us to do – just enjoy what he has given us – like children.

 

81, Thought for the Day from Gordon MacLean, 11th June 2020

Helen Oliver has sent these lovely pictures of Calla Lilies and Peonies from her garden. She writes;

The Calla Lily has only ever previously produced one or two stems at best so to have so many this year during lockdown, when I have time to really enjoy them, is wonderful.  In fact, there are still new shoots coming through, quite incredible!

Then my peonies bloomed, and it got me thinking.  I have always before been quite disappointed that they come into bloom and then vanish very quickly.  However, this year I have had time to reflect and consider that the Lord has made them so for a purpose which has become evident to me during lockdown.  I have been studying my peonies every day and marvelling at their beauty, their perfume, their pom-pom like quality!  I go outside and look at them and water them, I look at them from my bedroom window. If they were in bloom for longer would I really appreciate them, definitely not!

Helen sums up what a lot of us are thinking – that there is so much variety and beauty to enjoy all around us, but we have often been too busy to appreciate it. Also, that in this time of lockdown, it seems as if God has put on an extra special show in nature for us to enjoy and marvel at. The wildflowers on the country park have been amazing and the gardens are full of the most beautiful roses and peonies at the moment.

79, Thought for the day, God’s busy helpers, Tuesday 9 June 2020

Photos from the garden of our organist Adrienne Smith who asks us to notice the beauty in the simple things. Day after day we walk past roses in the gardens along the road, hardly noticing the drifting colour in their petals or the bees visiting with their quiet conversation; we hardly notice that the tree’s blossom has turned to berries, plums or tiny spikey conkers; the bright blueness of the sky barely warrants a quick look.

Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote in Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things,

for skies of coupled colour as a brindled cow;

for rose mole all in stipple upon trout that swim;

fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches’ wings;

He saw God’s beauty in everything around him, noticing the tiniest of detail, drawing it out into view, that we may open our eyes and wonder at the beauty in the simple things.

76, Thought for the day from Alice Harvey, Saturday 6th June 2020

75, Thought for the day, The church on the hill, Friday 4 June 2020

74, Thought for the day from Gordon MacLean,Thursday, 4 June 2020

Not one for arachnapobes

73, Thought for the day, God in nature, Wednesday 3 June 2020

 

What a blessing friends are, how would we cope without them – Lord help us to be good friends in return, redoubling joy and cutting grief in half whenever and wherever we can.

 

 

The beauty in the everyday

Richard and I sometimes enjoy a walk around a field near to the railway line and are always delighted by what we see and hear.  In fact, on the 26th April, I took photos celebrating the humble glories of nature, all quite surpassing a lot of the “named” (but often similar) plants to be found in nurseries. Added to the beauty captured on my phone, were the other sights and sounds including the glorious song of the skylark (and subsequent searching for a sight of this inconspicuous little songster), and the tell-tale “mewing” of the buzzards as they were seen gliding effortlessly across the sky, sometimes circling each other, and covering a vast area of ground in almost the blink of an eye.  Truly wonderful!

 

Alice writes

A time to sit … and remember
As I walked Tom out for his nap the other afternoon I was struck by a beautiful sight! One lone poppy waving its glorious red petals gently in the early summer breeze … dancing with the grasses … inviting one to sit down … and remember .
I found myself thinking, ‘what is it that I want to remember today?’ And I suddenly thought – ‘this! This time, this peace, this space.’
I found myself not wanting to forget this time of lock down. For all the hardship it has bought to people and how much our community has rallied to meet it! How glad we all are to see each other when we meet in the street now and how it has (even with a new baby) given me the time to connect with God.
I’ve not had to rush about on school runs or trips to Morrison’s between housework and cooking that has to be done before pick up … I’ve had time to sit sometimes (usually with a sleeping child or two on my lap – often at 2 in the morning) and just give thanks for the strength that the lord gives me every day to be the person that I am! It has been a calming time and a reflecting time that my soul has needed.
I hope that, once this is all over, I still remember to make time to sit and think and praise God for all the strength he gives me and the peace he gives my soul … and remember to give him time each day to let him strengthen me xxx

68, Thought for the day by Gordon MacLean, 28th May 2020 

Some years ago, there was a competition to find pictures of a cross in everyday life. There were pictures of windows and trees and angles of scaffolding and a myriad other ‘crosses’ in the focus of the camera’s lens. On recent walks I found these two images and it not only reminded of that competition but also how sudden and how frail these images are. The cross in the sky, made by aeroplanes miles apart, faded before my eyes and this poppy was surrounded by the remains of earlier blooms and was destined by the evening to join them. Yet in an instant they brought me the comfort of faith. This is the symbol of our self-giving, ever-loving, passionate and dependable God who bridges the gap between heaven and earth with the Cross of Christ. And all around us he strews little reminders of his loving concern, as if to say, I am with you now as I always have been as I always will be until the end of time.

Elderflowers in a hedgerow near you.

Elder trees are part of a great and intriguing folklore in the British Isles. Their wood, having a natural soft pith, was used for making musical pipes. Their blossom has been used as a beauty aid, as well as a medicine to aid sleep and is still used as the basis of a refreshing drink. Their berries have been used for centuries as a dye, especially used in clothmaking and particularly in the manufacture of Harris Tweed. And Elder Rob is an old recipe for a cough linctus. Jane and Rob Avery include the recipe in their book, Making your own Preserves.

So when you look along the hedgerow and see the Elder in blossom or thick with berries just take a moment to wonder about how much is provided for us all in nature and how much knowledge we have lost over the years.

Elder Rob, a cough mixture

Elderberries

Demerara Sugar

Cloves and Cinnamon

Strip the elderberries from the stalks and wash them. Place them into an oven proof dish and cook the in a moderate oven until the juice runs. Strain through muslin. To each pint of juice add 12ozs Sugar, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and 10 cloves. Simmer for about 30 minutes until thick, strain and bottle when cold.

I have no idea what this tastes like or whether it works but I really love Elderflower Presse

It’s only when we look beyond ourselves, we find the answers we are seeking. And it is only when we seek answers for others that we find God for ourselves.

Such fragility

Delicate dancing flower

Fluttering across the blossoms

Purple pale against your

Robust oranges and tan

Such a short span

Of life sipping nectar

And wondering when

He will come

Who will bring the end.

 

And yet the one

Who painted colours

On your rough-cut wing

Breathed the scent

Of lavender

Cares intimately

Calling you home in glory

In a cycle of beauty

That knows no end.

62, Thought for the day from Jane Burgess, Friday 22 May 2020

61, Thought for the day, Ascension Day, 21 May 2020

You can’t socially distance from a flower, you just have to get your nose in there and smell the aroma of Turkish Delight

Thank God for the sunshine. What a boost to morale.  It has made all the difference to our ability to cope with our strange way of life. Everywhere we look there is beauty, in the blue skies; the white clouds, cleverly making pictures in the sky, transforming from bushy tailed squirrel to scurrying mouse, to a crawling snail; the trees, in full leaf, in blossom, making shadows on the grass to create havens of shade; the birds, flitting around the garden, the hedgerows, finding food for their young, warning of cats and dogs and people with their sharp alarm calls, singing at the tops of their voices from the tops of the trees, just to let us know that this is their garden really. And on top of all that, this glorious sunshine fills us with languor, a sense of perfect relaxation. Yes, thank God for the sunshine and the scent of roses.

 

 

I just can’t get over how beautiful flowers are – and yet they are a bud one day, open into a flower of tightly furled petals the next and within days the petals of the now wide open flower are beginning to fall – it always reminds me of Jesus saying,  why do you worry about everything, just look at the flowers of the field, Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as finely as these, yet they are here today and gone tomorrow. If God does that for the flowers  how much more will he care for you his children?

58, Thought for the day, Stop, look and listen, Monday 18 May 2020 

56, Thought for the day, Stangers and friends, Saturday 16 May 2020

Thank You!

55, Thought for the day, a thank you card, Friday 15 May 2020

Light at the end of the tunnel…

God meets us in the most unusual places, when we least expect it. Gordon’s thought for the day explores the surprose of the burning bush in the Old Testament story of Moses…read on…

54, Thought for the day, Gordon MacLean, Sign of the times, Thursday 14 May 2020

53, Thought for the day, only God can make a tree, Jeff Burditt, Wednesday 13 May 2020

52, Thought for the day, light a lamp of hope tonight, Tuesday 12 May 2020

Sometimes God surprises us…with a cartoon in the sky……and a murmuration of starlings over a Norfolk beach becomes a shark. He also surprises us with astonishing sunrises and sunsets, amazing pictures in the clouds and heart stopping moments of love – we just need to look

It is part of being truly human that we should create for ourselves oases of stillness in which we can be refreshed. For as darkness gives the eyes a rest from the glaring of the light, stillness gives the ears and mind rest from the glaring of noise.   From Tom Wright’s Quiet Moments

49, thought for the day, Saturday 9 May 2020

Thought for the day from Gordon MacLean, The road of Life, Thursday 7th May 2020

Julian of Norwich, the subject of our prayer for today,  is also renowned for this insight into the smallness of creation and how it is held in being by God’s love.

“Our Lord showed my soul the unpretentious manner of his loving. I saw that for us he is everything that is good, comforting, and helpful. He is our clothing who wraps us up and holds us close for love…”
“And with this insight he also showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand. It seemed to me as round as a ball. I gazed at it and thought, ‘What can this be?’ The answer came thus, ‘It is everything that is made.’ I marvelled how this could be, for it was so small it seemed it might fall suddenly into nothingness. Then I heard the answer, ‘It lasts, and ever shall last, because God loves it. All things have their being in this way by the grace of God.’”
(Revelations of Divine Love, Chapter V)

 

Faith is …

…knowing that with God at the helm we’ll get home safely, whatever the size of the seas or the weather.

Peace is…

…looking across the river on a Sunday morning after the services

Monday 4 May

Peace is…switching off and realising the silence of the countryside is filled with the music of God.

 

Sunday 3 May

Join us tonight in lighting our candles as a prayer of thanksgiving to God to for all the NHS ataff and all carers and key workers and for our own health and safety.
We’ve been doing this each Sunday evening from the start of Lockdown. When we began we lit them at 19.00, now as daylight lengthens we light them later – tonight at 20.30.
The candle in the picture is sitting on a piece of bog oak from Haddenham Fen. The tree was at least 200 years old when it died and it lived at some time between 2149 and 1951 BC. The bog oak was turned into a candel holder by Kit Cole.

Saturday 2 May

Blossom on the way to Creeksea taken on our walk this morning. It’s such a blessing to hear the birdsong and see the countryside so full of life. It quite reminded me of a poem I first met in Miss Read’s Fairacre series of books. It’s called Spring Goeth all in White

Spring goeth all in white,
Crowned with milk-white may:
In fleecy flocks of light
O’er heaven the white clouds stray:

White butterflies in the air:
White daisies prank the ground:
The cherry and the hoary pear
Scatter their snow a-round.

The hedgerows have been smothered in white blossom that bodes well for the birds this autumn. There should be plenty of hips and haws and stone fruit about for them to gorge on.

In the marina a beautiful tern was weaving back and forth over the water, plunging swiftly down to catch its breakfast fish. What a privilege to see such a beautiful creature.

May Day 2020

You need hands – remember the song sung by Max Bygraves?

You need hands to hold someone you care for
You need hands to show that you’re sincere                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     When you fear nobody wants to know you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You need hands to brush away the tears

When you hold the brand-new baby
You need tender hands to guide them on their way
You need hands to thank the Lord for living                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And for giving us this day

Here are some new lockdown verses

You need hands to phone someone to tell them                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               That you’re thinking of them each and every day                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               You need hands to send an email message
With all the loving things you want to say

You need hands to message that I love you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And to send your friends a quick emoji hug                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You need hands to clap on Thursday evenings                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         To tell the NHS how much they’re loved

You need hands to wave to friends on Facetime                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               And to Moonpig off that special birthday card                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You need hands to pray for one another
At the ending of each day

 

March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers, signs by which we may sense God’s presence.

O Lord, You fashioned the universe and all that is within it, You created the eternal circle of life for all things which we dimly see in the changing seasons, in ourselves and in everything around us.  Help us to recognise these ever-present signs of Your love for us and for all things and to understand that they are signs of Your Covenant, to sustain our hope in times of darkness, that with faith in You, Your son, Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will move towards a better tomorrow.

 

When you look in the mirror who do you see? Wife? Husband? Mum? Dad? Daughter? Son? Fido’s mum or dad? Or the person who does your job week in,  week out?

Jesu said that not even the sparrow goes unnoticed by God – so how much more does he notice you. When you look in the mirror a child of God is looking straight back at you.            A child beloved, beautiful and blessed

When you see a snow-capped mountain for the first time, all words seem feeble.

What about when you sense the love of God? … Beyond Words?

Beyond words…

…there is a welcome in which open arms and eyes full of love say everything that needs to be said

Beyond words…

…there is a truth that cannot be stated, proved or explained

but only known and loved

 

Everything in nature says that this deer should be disappearing in a flash of a white scut. Her anxiety levels should be at maximum but here she is wondering about the person behind the camera lens. There is such a sense of privilege in being so close to a creature that lives in fear of its life from any predator and yet finding oneself  the animal under observation.

Lord, when I just want to run away from the bad news and terrors of life, give me the sense of calm to look and see the anxiety in others and offer them peace.

Joy is – the sun breaking through on a stormy day. There is not a single thing in this universe, no star, no mountain, no puppy no duckling, no flower, that wasn’t planned, designed and given to us by God and meant by God to do one thing.

What?

To make our hearts sing.

(from Thoughts to make your heart sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones

36, thought for the day 25.04.2020

 

Thank you, Sue Ketteley, for the beautiful picture of Sunset at Creeksea.

Just looking at this reminded me of those wonderful Summer Series Evensongs with the sun shining through the west window and bathing the Cross on the altar with its golden glow. Then, after the service, standing in the new hall with the sun pouring through the stained-glass window sipping a glass of wine and chatting with the speaker.  From the other side of the Crouch our windows must have been aflame.  They must have looked just like the golden windows of the poem Gwynneth Hart choose  as the prayer of the day. The windows of gold and the Kingdom of God by Helen Steiner Rice. How wonderful to know that God is with us wherever we are – within us and about us. You can find the poem on today’s Prayer for the day.

 

Happy St George’s Day

Cameron Bowyer has written the following prayer for us all remebering that it is not only St George’s Day but also the day when we applaud the NHS workers

A thank you to the NHS

The heroic soldiers in the hospital battlefield,

Determned to fix and mend our community

Your enthusiasm inspires us to repay you in kindness,

A strong influencer on society like Bobby Moore once was,

No one will forget your genius

Succeeding in superhero style stopping sadness

Creating a safer place for our future.

Gordon MacLean writes, with the example of St George before us to day, who was steadfast in his faith despite persecution, trials, even unto his death, we pray; Gracious God, In all that comes our way, we will open our hearts to You and believe that all things will work out for our good.  Because we love you we will not be dragged down by life’s challenges. We will pray and know that we are heard. Amen

 

33, Chris Swaffin-Smith’s poem, Nature really swinging, 22 April 2020

O God, who has folded back the mantle of night to clothe us in the golden glory of the day, chase from our hearts all gloomy thoughts and make us glad with the brightness of hope.

Peace is…glimpsing the beauty of God and stopping to gaze in  wonder.

From Quiet moments by Tom Wright

Seek and you will find, in the gift of sunshine, the freshness of apple blossom, the dew on the grass and rabbits grazing, the beauty of God. Rest in his presence and feel the strength of his love uphold you and protect you.

30, thought for the day, Sunday 19 April, why did Jesus fold the napkin

29, thought for the day

 

Our Road to our Emmaus.

There is a season

 

 

Daisies

 

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia

A past Easter Garden, a reminder of what will be in the future. “Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go”.  He is with us here and now, wherever we are and however we feel. He holds us together now and for ever. Happy Easter.

 

22, Rosemary for Remembrance

The Mount of Olives

 

 

It is too hard to imagine, the grief of his friends as they saw Jesus taken, tried and crucified. But what were the thoughts of those he had helped, the bereaved, the broken, the blind? Hear them in our Good Friday Meditation in the Prayer for today.

20, thought for the day, here is bread, here is wine

 

Look at Prayer for the day 17 for the words of the hymn