Greetings, thoughts and prayers
Reverend Susan Blagden, a member of our ministry team, names today an anxiety that is dominating the news and many of our thoughts and prayers: safety. Whether that is prayers for ourselves and others in many different circumstances, for all that is necessary to provide protective equipment for front-line workers, or the global dimension of the pandemic with all its economic and health ramifications. Susan’s reflection below could not be more timely, nor the need for us to encourage one another when so many are anxious.
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Easter season greetings
from Bob and Maggie Royle, Timperley –
so enjoying receiving these reflections!
Easter Greetings from my kitchen in Anglesey.
What a joy it has been to see so many familiar faces and places of time spent in the Conwy Valley.
Thank you so much.
Every blessing to you all, Chris White.
Greetings from Stan and Margaret Wicklen in Llanbedr-y-Cennin
missing Church and all our friends.
Praying for safety
“Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.”
Psalm 4: 1-8
“O Dduw, ateb fi pan dw i’n galw arnat!
Ti ydy’r un sy’n achub fy ngham!
Dw i mewn argyfwng, ond gelli di ddod â fi allan.
Dangos drugaredd ata i, a gwrando ar fy ngweddi.
Bydda i’n gallu gorwedd i lawr a chysgu’n dawel,
am dy fod ti, O Arglwydd, yn fy nghadw i’n saff.”
Salm 4: 1-8
Reverend Susan Blagden writes:-
Last week I was on annual leave which enabled me, amongst other things, to have some thinking space. As the week progressed, I became aware of a recurring theme – that of safety. Then as I sorted through some old papers, I came across this image painted by a talented artist friend of mine, Peronel Barnes (www.peronel.com). I found myself having two very different reactions to it. Take a moment to really engage with it yourself.
• What is it that catches your attention?
• What question(s) does it leave you with?
• How do you want to respond to the feelings it evokes in you?
Later in the week I was then in conversations with different sets of dear friends in the USA. I was struck by the difference of their language to ours here in the UK. We are talking about ‘lockdown’. My friends were talking about ‘Sheltering in place’. I couldn’t help but notice my own reaction to these two different expressions. ‘Lockdown’ seems a harsh word. It has overtones of someone else having the key. My freedom has been taken away, even though it may well be for my own good. The harshness makes me think of a prison cell which is not only a place of constraint, but also of confinement. The word also has a direction of travel – that of going down – which rarely feels good!
By contrast, the phrase ‘sheltering in place’ – made me literally breathe! The whole idea of shelter is, that whatever storm we are currently in, we know it will pass. Shelter is temporary. ‘In place’ I noticed, gave me a sense of strength, of connection with the ground. However stormy life is, it is possible to remain connected, rooted, and grounded as a person. Somehow ‘sheltering in place’ gave me a sense of hope.
Like many of you, probably, I am in touch with friends and mission agencies for whom life is very seriously unsafe. In trying to offer some support to friends, I have been more aware of the importance of Psalm 4 as part of the set psalms for the night office of Compline. It is a fantastic psalm to end a day, particularly when it has been one of distress. We can tell God how awful things have been and know He will hear us. The final verse confirms that we can really and truly know safety because we trust in a God who listens to us and loves us, who makes us lie down, and who gives us peace that is not dependent on our external circumstances.
If you return to the painting for just a moment, I wonder if the following information changes your engagement, and if so, how?
This was painted for a Christmas card, but there was ambivalence in the ‘test group’ as to whether it would sell. So the red, could simply be the colour of Christmas. Or the red could be a warning of danger. Or the red could indicate the warmth and stability of Mary’s relationship with the infant Jesus. Of course, we might remember that Jesus’ early life was anything but safe. Whilst still young the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt. The events of Holy Week were anything but safe for Jesus either. However, He could still pray this prayer and so can we, as we shelter in His arms, under the Almighty’s wings.
Gweddi dros y gymuned Gristnogol:-
Nid pobl braw ydym ni: ond pobl dewrder.
Nid pobl i’n diogelu ein hunain ydym ni:
ond pobl sydd yn gwarchod diogelwch eraill.
Nid pobl trachwant ydym ni: ond pobl haelioni.
Dy bobl di ydym ni, Dduw,
yn rhoi a charu ble bynnag yr ydym,
beth bynnag fo’r gost, am ba hyd bynnag fo’r angen,
ble bynnag y gelwi arnom. Amen.
Cyfieithiad Meira Shakespear
Prayer for the Christian community:-
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. Amen.
Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference
Click here for previous daily reflections from our Ministry Team.