Daily Reflection 4th August

All knotted up

David Jones, from Gyffin, finds help in an unusual painting
Mary (Bavaria)
Atebodd yr angel hi, “Daw’r Ysbryd Glân arnat, a bydd nerth y Goruchaf yn dy gysgodi; am hynny, gelwir y plentyn a genhedlir yn sanctaidd, Mab Duw.”
Luc 1: 35
The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.”
Luke 1: 35

David Jones writes:

Like many people, I have become more and more unsure what our approach should be to COVID-19. The return to lockdown in some parts of England felt like a big backward step, just when we could see daylight and a better future.

I have no wish to delve into the politics. Has Wales, with its more conservative stance, been wiser? Or have we just been fortunate in lagging behind the spread of coronavirus, able to wait and watch what happens elsewhere before we make our changes? Whatever the rights and wrongs of relaxations and restrictions, trying to unravel what we should do for the best, many of us just feel tied up in knots by it all.

That phrase, “tied up in knots” got me thinking. First a definition: ‘to make oneself confused, anxious, as when trying to make a decision to come up with another idea. To become tangled as when conveying an idea to another.’ Yes, definitely that.  

So, what does a Christian do in such circumstances? If it’s me, go for a walk and ponder what God is saying to me – what guidance can I find? I came across the amazing anonymous prayer written below. What I find so special about it is the way you can add your own feelings, concerns, worries, hopes and fears (to the ‘knots’). I invite you all to add your own, whatever knots you would like God’s help to untangle.

Long before any thought of writing reflections, I (per chance or even under guidance) came across a topic that I had never heard of. Mary “The Undoer of Knots”. Mary, the Mother of our Lord, is depicted thus in today’s painting by Johan Georg Schmidtner (from around 1700). It hangs in the pilgrim Church of St. Peter Perlach, in Augsburg, Bavaria.

St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, who was martyred in 202, is credited with first giving Mary that title. He in turn was inspired by St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15: 22 

As Irenaeus puts it, “Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.” In other words, by carrying our Saviour and bringing Him to birth, Mary has a role in undoing the sinful rebellion which was written into everyone’s DNA by our ancestors.

So how does this picture help with my personal concerns and the struggles we are all living through? My conviction is that because of God’s grace and forgiveness, sending His Son into our sinful world, none of our knots are ever too big for God to undo. 

Dear God,
please untie the knots
that are in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the ‘have nots’,
the ‘can nots’ and the ‘do nots’
that I have embedded in my mind.
Erase the ‘will nots’, ‘may nots’,
‘might nots’ that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the ‘could nots’ and ‘should nots’
that obstruct my life.
And most of all, dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life
all of the ‘am nots’,
especially the thought that I am not good enough,
which I have allowed to hold me back
from true faith in you.
Nothing is so tangled that you will
not hear our prayers and petitions,
through Jesus Christ.

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