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
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
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.
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
Calling you home in glory
In a cycle of beauty
That knows no end.
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?
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…
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
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.
…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?
…there is a welcome in which open arms and eyes full of love say everything that needs to be said
…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.
To make our hearts sing.
(from Thoughts to make your heart sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones
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
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.
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.
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.
Look at Prayer for the day 17 for the words of the hymn