Our 140 days of journeying together
Reverend Eryl Parry writes:
As this is the last of our daily reflections (tomorrow is the first of our weekly digital reflections), it seems a good idea to go back to the very beginning. Our very first reflection in March used the words of Psalm 57.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful
because I come to you for safety.
In the shadow of your wings I feel protection
until the raging storms are over.
I call to God, the Most High,
to God, who supplies my every need.
Psalm 57: 1-2
This powerful painting by Chris Duffett was inspired by those words to paint feathers falling all around, with the protection and proximity of our heavenly Father’s wings.
Until the disaster has passed by Chris Duffet (2019)
It may be hard to take ourselves back to how we were feeling 140 days ago. But what is certain, is that we didn’t know what lay ahead, and the adjustments to our lives that would be brought by the pandemic. And in looking back, can we notice how God has been at work? Despite our very different experiences through this time, as we are living in such a variety of situations, there has been a sense of travelling through this time together. How could this possibly be, when some of us are literally thousands of miles apart?
The answer, of course, is that we are gathered within the same shadow of the same God, whose wings are immeasurably large. These wings, as the psalmist says, have not only provided protection but also all we have needed to continue praying and worshipping together. We have been blessed by one another’s insights and experiences – with over fifty people’s contributions on these pages! Some have shared their faith publicly for the first time, established a new daily rhythm of prayer, and we have all learned so much – not only about the use of technology! – but also about ourselves, one another, and ultimately the God who has sustained us.
You may, like me, have been struck by the title of Chris Duffet’s painting ‘Until the disaster has passed’. For, despite the start of restrictions beginning to lift, the disaster of the pandemic is far from over. We are living in anxious times, locally and globally. Our situations may be different, but there is a common threat to our safety and we are still denied some of the things that bring us joy, not least physical proximity. So in this next chapter in our life together, how are we to be?
Here is the most recent image we have used, featured at the end of yesterday’s video:
Rainbow in the valley by Mark McNulty (2020)
… and so onwards …
We are to be people of hope. The contrast in the two images could not be greater. The poignant figure in Chris’s painting is one with which we can readily identify. Here is someone so distressed that he clutches his head, and crouches into a small space. Mark’s photograph of a rainbow, taken last week, is so much more expansive. We imagine ourselves with our heads up once again, outside, appreciating God’s wonder and the glory in His creation. For this is the same God who gave a covenant promise to not only Noah, but all who live on this Earth. This is the God who not only gives us insights of hope on the rainiest of days, but He gives us enough to be able to extend that assurance of His love and provision through every circumstance – through us – to those who feel so ‘curled up’.
St. Paul has good advice for us in his letter to the Ephesians. When there is the danger of being tossed and blown about by the waves of life, it is the time to grow in maturity of faith: ‘Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head’ Ephesians 4: 15. We recognise that we are all at different stages of our faith journey, and there are as many different ways to deepen and grow in our understanding as days of the year! The most important thing is to continue our walk with God through these continued uncertain times, and there are plenty of ways of doing that.
Whether you live local to Conwy or not, you are very welcome at our Zoom Bible chat that will begin this Tuesday morning at 10.30am (BST) 11th August.
But if you would also like to have a go at establishing a new daily routine – why not dip into some of these online resources? They vary a lot in style, so just find the one that fits you best!
- Clive Addison, in the daily reflection two days ago, suggested Bible Reading notes (just click here for previous daily reflections).
- If you would like to read the Bible in a year, and want a short reflection to go with the passages, then Alpha’s Nicky Gumbel guides you through it: https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/
- ‘Fuelcast’ is a more theme-based daily devotional video: https://www.thefuelcast.com/
Prayer and Meditation
Here are two links that can help you pray and reflect. You can do this daily, or whenever you manage to have that quiet space for time with God:
Here are two links that take you to the words of daily Services, that you can use in daily prayer:
Through these times of greater restriction on meeting, many people are saying these simple Services together on Zoom, WhatsApp or other platforms. They are being used at least once a week for Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer/Compline. Others are live-streaming Services on Facebook. So why not invite a friend to join you in ‘having a go’?
Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Our prayer is that God will show you the right weekly routine to continue walking His path of faith. For that way lies hope. There is such beauty in a rainbow, that it can stop us in our tracks, and all we can do is wonder. Getting insights through actively engaging with our faith can be just like that. We appreciate the sheer beauty of God’s truth in our lives, and we open our hearts to receive His love. We ‘uncurl’ ourselves from looking at our feet, and instead look to the sky. May God bless you.
Beth bynnag ddaw heddiw,
beth bynnag ddaw yfory,
mae’r dyfodol yn ddiogel
gan fod Crist gyda ni.
Gadewch i ni fyw bob eiliad gydag ef
mewn hyder tawel a daethliad llawen,
gan ei fod yn eiddo i ni
a ni yn eiddo iddo ef
Whatever today may hold,
whatever tomorrow might bring,
the future is secure,
for Christ is with us.
Live each moment with him
in quiet confidence and joyful celebration,
for he is ours
and we are his
for all eternity.