Centre of attention
Reverend David Parry reflects on the way God sees and hears us, especially when we need it most.
View of Jerusalem from Church of Dominus Flevit on Mount of Olives
There are not many upsides to the claustrophobic and frightening isolation in which we are all now living, but one might be that our reduced number of conversations and encounters become more significant and precious than in the usual distracted busyness of life. We have an opportunity to really pay attention to each other, to look and listen with a singleness of focus which notices in a new way, not only our loved ones, but also the people who serve us – the shop assistants, the carers, the cleaners, the delivery drivers and the neighbours, the doctors and nurses upon whom we all now depend.
Giving selfless and loving attention to others like that does not come naturally to any human being, consumed as we so often are by our own work, needs and worries. But it does ‘come naturally’ to God. It is his very nature to love all human beings, whether or not they are even aware of his constant loving gaze. In his 1985 poem ‘The Other’, R. S. Thomas recalls a sleepless night spent listening to the waves break on the Llŷn Peninsula. “And the thought comes of that other being who is awake, too, letting our prayers break on him, not like this for a few hours, but for days, years, for eternity.”
o eithaf y ddaear yr wyf yn galw arnat, pan yw fy nghalon ar suddo.
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint.
Salm / Psalm 61: 1-2
Bendigedig wyt ti, Dduw Goruchaf, Arglwydd pob peth!
O’th dyner drugaredd
y tyr arnom y wawrddydd oddi uchod,
i chwalu gweddillion cysgodion y nos.
A ninnau’n disgwyl dy ddyfod i’n plith,
agor ein llygaid i ganfod dy bresenoldeb
a chryfha ein dwylo i wneud dy ewyllys,
fel y gall y byd dy feliannu’n llawen.
Bendigedig fyddo Duw am byth. Amen.
You are blessed, Sovereign God, Lord of all!
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high breaks upon us,
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice to give you praise.
Blessed be God for ever. Amen.
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