Sparks


Road worker on night shift  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Jesus said,

I tell you this:
if you had even a faint spark of faith,
even faith as tiny as a mustard seed,
you could say to this mountain,
“Move from here to there,”
and because of your faith,
the mountain would move.
If you had just a sliver of faith,
you would find nothing impossible.

Matthew 17:20, The Voice

 


A prayer

Hope of the World,
You rise like a shoot from a stump.
You are the Resurrection and the Life,
springing forth from what was dead and forgotten.
You are making all things new.
May Your new life spring inside us
when we are numb from the world’s despair.
May Your new life shine a path for us
when we cannot perceive taking the next step.
May Your hope spark in us like a match struck
that cannot be put out,
and may we shine bright,
for the world desperately needs it.
We pray in the name of Christ,
who is coming.
Amen.

 
— by Rev Mindi and posted on rev-o-lution.org.
 

Winter = long nights


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

For this season of long nights and often sombre days, a prayer by Cal Wick to open us up to God’s warmth and light, and the power of resurrection.

 


A prayer

Lord,
in the midst of Winter,
when the days are cold and wind can pierce
…. remind us of the warmth of your love.

In the midst of Winter,
when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early
…. remind us that in the darkness your light still shines.

In the midst of Winter,
when the flowers of spring still lie hidden in the earth,
when leaves are off the trees,
and the world can seem bleak
…. remind us that Easter is but a short time away.

And when in our lives
we feel as if we are experiencing a season of winter,
reach out to us with the power of your resurrection
so that we may feel the warmth of your love
and see your light
that alone can take away the darkness of our soul.
Amen

~ written by Cal Wick,
and posted on Leonard Sweet’s Preach the Story website.
 


From the blog
The Spirit does wonders
A very present help in trouble
Flowers fall, but …
 

Good night


Rotterdam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Some months ago I posted A liturgy of the morning by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Here is the companion piece, to launch our theme of the month, “Night”.


A liturgy of the night

On the first night God said: ‘Let there be darkness.’ And God separated light from dark; and in the dark, the land rested, the people slept, and the plants breathed, the world retreated. The first night.
And God said that it was Good.

On the second night God said, ‘There will be conversations that happen in the dark that can’t happen in the day.’ The second night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the third night, God said: ‘Let there be things that can only be seen by night.’ And God created stars and insects and luminescence. The third night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fourth night, God said, ‘Some things that happen in the harsh light of day will be troubled. Let there be a time of rest to escape from the raw light.’ The fourth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fifth night, God said: ‘There will be people who will work by night, whose light will be silver, whose sleep will be by day and whose labour will be late.’ And God put softness at the heart of the darkness. The fifth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the sixth night, God listened. And there were people working, and people crying, and people seeking shadow, and people telling secrets and people aching for company. There were people aching for space and people aching for solace. And God hoped that they’d survive. And God made twilight, and shafts of green to hang from the dark skies, small comforts to accompany the lonely, the joyous, the needy and the needed. The sixth night.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the last night, God rested. And the rest was good. The rest was very good.
And God said that it was very Good.

 
from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. 67-8
 


From the blog
In the school of prayer with Pádraig Ó Tuama
Do this remembering
Evening prayer #1

3 Ancient Prayers


Rome  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

3 prayers from ancients living in the 4th and 5th century to help us keep the faith in 2020.


Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Almighty God,
in whom we live and move and have our being,
you have made us for yourself,
so that our hearts are restless till they rest in you;
grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose,
that no passion may hinder us from knowing your will,
no weakness from doing it;
but in your light may we see light clearly,
and in your service find perfect freedom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 30
 


John Cassian (360-435)

O God,
be all my love,
all my hope,
all my striving;
let my thoughts and words flow from you,
my daily life be in you,
and every breath I take be for you.
Amen.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 34
 


Gregory of Nazianzus (329-89)

Lord, as I read the psalms let me hear you singing.
As I read your words, let me hear you speaking.
As I reflect on each page, let me see your image.
And as I seek to put your precepts into practice,
let my heart be filled with joy.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 42
 


 
From the blog
Check out the Index for more posts in the 3 Prayers series
 

History matters


A sawn-off tree trunk: concentric time
 

An opening litany for 2020 as our personal history with God and his people continues to unfold, year by year, generation to generation.

 


Opening Litany

based on Psalm 145: 1-8

Come, let’s praise God together!
For God is great, and worthy of our praise!

Let’s tell stories of God’s power and majesty,
His mighty acts throughout history:
for God is great, and worthy of our praise!

Let’s remember the compassion He has shown toward us;
His mercy and unfailing love, generation after generation:
for God is great, and worthy of our praise!

Let’s pass these stories along to our children and grandchildren,
so that they, too, may come to know and love our God.
For God is great, and worthy of our praise!

Let’s worship God together!

 
source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 

We bring our stories

The Destroyed City (Rotterdam) – rebuilt and flourishing   (Photo: Irene Bom)
Sculpture by Ossip Zadkine, inspired by the devastation of the 1940 bombing of Rotterdam

 
 
 

The first post in our December series, “Story”, features a prayer by Cheryl Lawrie that invites God to speak into the particulars of our lives with his story of transforming grace.

 


Prayer

God, we bring our stories
and we wait to be held by yours.

We bring our faithfulness:
shape it with grace

We bring our success:
shape it with generosity

We bring our weaknesses:
shape them with compassion

We bring our possibilities:
shape them with hope.

We confess, God, that the way is hard
and we are tired.
Speak into our tiredness with your story of grace

We confess that the way is unclear
and we do not know the path
Speak into our wandering with your story of vision

We confess that we are tired of waiting
and we just want to make it happen
Speak into our impatience with your story of wisdom

Let your story be our story
and we pray this in Jesus’ name
Amen.
 

— written by Cheryl Lawrie, and posted on her [hold this space] blog.
 


 
Digging deeper
More details about Zadkine’s statue, The Destroyed City
 

mud mud mud


Baked mud: tiled floor in “Auditoire de Calvin”, Geneva  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Faith and Love in the First World War by Anne Richards and the Church of England’s Mission Theology Advisory Group is a compilation of reflections and prayers, “looking at little things which affected the lives of all who were involved [in the First World War], friend and enemy alike.”
 
Themes included: mud, rats, lice, poppies, cigarettes, daughters, ghosts, guns, wire, gas, shrapnel
 
 
Excerpts and a prayer from the entry on MUD:

 

When we repeat the lines from Laurence Binyon’s famous poem … ‘at the going down of the sun and in the morning/we will remember them’ … we should remember the pain, cold, wet and mud and what those conditions do to the human spirit. Mud forms part of the spiritual landscape of the First World War, representing destruction, dirt, pain and soul-sapping work. When carefully tilled fields and entire landscapes turn to featureless mud it is like the undoing of creation and a foretelling of death.

It was possible to drown in the mud of no-man’s land. If wounded soldiers fell into the mud, they might well asphyxiate before they could be reached. Mud was therefore also the enemy, lying in wait to claim you. Yet mud was also what kept you safe in the trenches …

So if we ‘will remember them’ we should remember what it is like to live on the edge of life and death in the mud, the soil of God’s good creation, sheltering you, but also ready at a moment’s notice to become your tomb, to turn you, wet and dirty, back into the mud itself.
 


Prayer

God of the earth, God of dirt and mud,
at the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember all those who endured
the cold, clinging wet and fluid soils.

We will remember the tilled fields once white for harvest,
the stands of trees, smashed to pieces,
the landscapes of human toil and habitation,
reduced to ruin, the spoil heaps of waste.

We will remember the mud-sounds of war,
the buzzing of bees that are bullets, zinging into soil,
the wet explosions, fountain splatters of earth,
the strange sucking and gurgle of submerged deaths.

God of the earth, God of the lost and buried,
help us to value your good soil, to tend it, plant it,
restore what is broken and ruined to its beauty,
and when we wash the dirt from our hands, remember them.

 
Source: www.churchofengland.org
 


 
From the blog
In the school of prayer with St Francis of Assisi
Desert wisdom
The wells of salvation
 

Too beautiful for war

 

 

Two prayers by Simon Bailey – written from a teenage perspective – expressing distress at the ongoing threat of nuclear war and violence and recognising the comfort that comes when we bring our fears to God who is “warm enough to take all [our] shivers away”.

 

#1

They say we can destroy the world
twenty times over with nuclear bombs –
it’s probably more by now.
I see those pictures of the mushroom cloud
and I shiver –
the world is too beautiful for that,
people are too beautiful.
Father, it’s so wrong – and so frightening.

Jesus told us to love our enemies –
I don’t think you can love your enemies with a bomb.
It’s such a mess but somehow, somewhere
we have to turn round and really say:
‘We want to live in peace together.’

So send your Spirit to remind our leaders
how beautiful things are,
how beautiful their ‘enemies’ are,
to remind them to keep telling themselves:
‘We want to live in peace together.’

 
by Simon Bailey
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #1001
 


#2

There were wars and riots on the news tonight,
Father, and now I’m very frightened –
bombs and killings and rows don’t seem too bad
in the daylight, but it’s dark now …
I don’t let other people know I’m frightened
of the dark but I am.
I’m scared of lots of things –
evil spirits and heights, being beaten up,
of pain and dying,
and even looking silly in front of my friends.
Now I’m scared of going to sleep in case I dream.

Be near me,
Be a warm presence round me
and a light inside me.

You know what it’s like to be very scared,
so you can help me now.
I’m nearly shivering with fright,
so help me to know you are in charge,
you know what darkness is,
you are brighter than the darkness
and warm enough to take all my shivers away.

 
by Simon Bailey from Still with God, p. 36
referenced in How to Pray: Alone, with Others, at Any Time, in Any Place by Steven Cottrell
 


Church of Scotland at prayer

Together we pray
Each week, from late September until late November, new prayers written by people from across the Church of Scotland and our partners will be shared on the Church of Scotland website.

This week’s prayer for radical change, written by Doug Gay
 


From the blog
Consolation joy
Wild hope #1
Theme: Do not lose heart [prayer sheet]
 

imagine … no war …

 

(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

A prayer

We dare to imagine a world
      where hunger has no chance to show its face.

We dare to dream of a world
      where war and terror are afraid to leave their mark.

We long to believe in a world of hope unchained
      and lives unfettered.

We dare to share in the creation of a world
      where your people break free.

Dare we open our minds to difference?
Dare we open our lives to change?

Your kingdom come, O God.
Your will be done.
Amen.

 
from the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, U.K.
Posted on re:worship
 


 
From the blog
Guest post: War and peace
Worthy of trust
Theme: Spurred on by prayer [prayer sheet]