Daily Reflection 1st April

Do not be afraid

Click here to watch the video of goats roaming the streets of Llandudno yesterday. It gave many of us a much needed laugh! The story seems to have brought much needed cheer around the world. But inevitably, many of us are frightened by the main news of the continued escalation of coronavirus, and its impacts on those we love. This morning we hear from Clive Addison, who has just started lambing on their little smallholding on the hills above Conwy. Enjoy this picture of a newborn lamb, greeting her first day! She’s enjoying the sunshine, closely attended by her doting Mum.

Newborn Lamb

The lamb of course for the Christian has great symbolism, not least of Christ himself as the sacrificial lamb, dying that our sins might be forgiven. But this picture also shows us a lamb, safe in its Mother’s care, looking out in confidence at all the wonders the world has to offer. It is not afraid, it is not anxious, it knows it is safe.

In the world we live in at the moment, we might not be sure that we are safe. As we are told to stay indoors, practice social distancing, or even self-isolate and shield those most vulnerable from the disease, it is easy for us to become anxious about the future, and even fearful, for ourselves and for our loved ones.

Anxiety and fear are unpleasant emotions, which we can experience when we feel under threat, but the Bible tells us again and again that as we follow God, as we trust in Jesus, then we need not be afraid. This is a constant theme, we are told not to be afraid 366 times in Scripture, that’s once for everyday of the year – including the leap year!

So as we lead our lives day by day, in the very new and challenging situations many of us find ourselves in, let us follow Government guidelines carefully, let us do our bit to help those in need, but remember most of all, as we do so, we also have the peace of God and the presence of God to help us through. We are safe in his care.


For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

Dydy Duw ddim wedi rhoi ei Ysbryd i ni fod yn llwfr, ond i’n gwneud ni’n gryf, yn llawn cariad ac yn gyfrifol.

2 Timotheus 1:7


Prayer

Father God we know that you are not the source of anxiety and fear. You do not torment us with worrisome thoughts, or burden our hearts and minds with fretfulness. You are the God of peace. Please help us to give our worries over to you, and to trust in your love and sovereign care. Help us to remember you are a good God and faithful. Your peace will guard our hearts and minds. 

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Click here for previous daily reflections from our Ministry Team.

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Daily Reflection 31st March

Memories

Following yesterday’s invitation into taking a moment of ‘peace and quiet’, Canon Berw and Ros Hughes share today their thoughts on how this period of imposed isolation is leading them to find comfort in memories. Thanks to them too for sharing the family photo frame that Ros’s late mother kept in her bedroom.
Family Photograph
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy.
St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians – chapter 1, verse 2–4
Gras a thangnefedd i chwi oddi wrth Dduw ein Tad a’r Arglwydd Iesu Grist. Byddaf yn diolch i’m Duw bob tro y byddaf yn cofio amdanoch, a phob amser ym mhob un o’m gweddïau dros bob un ohonoch, yr wyf yn gweddïo gyda llawenydd.
Llythyr Paul at y Philipiaid – pennod 1, adnod 2-4

In today’s Bible verse, we can see how St. Paul recognised and valued ‘memories’ of those in the Church of Philippi that he loved. 

We are sure, like us, you are missing seeing family and friends – missing doing some of the activities we used to do – visiting some of the places where we went. We are also missing our Church family. As we look around our homes with pictures of loved ones not seen so often and facing uncertainty about things in the future, we are tending to reflect and reminisce more about people, relationships and times past.

This reminded us about something that our son said recently at his grandad’s funeral. He told how a few years ago he had found his grandfather, who was then widowed, living alone and physically very frail, sitting in the evening, in the dark. When he questioned, ‘Are you OK Grandad?’, the reply came, ‘I am fine. I just like sitting quietly with my memories.’ On reflection our son had realised that this was a way of prayer – how very true. We all know there are so many ways to communicate with each other and with our God – but prayer sometimes is not a verbal monologue but an awareness – an awareness of God’s presence or a seeking and feeling of God’s presence. So, sitting reflecting on memories of people and times past, happy times or sad, difficult times, special places and events, and then simply bringing them to God is a type of prayer.

So, in our prayer time today, as we reflect and reminisce about times past but also remember those near and dear to us, we have chosen an ancient Celtic prayer which is one of our favourites.

Why not find a good place to rest, to offer your memories and prayers, as you receive this blessing:-

Prayer

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the gentle night to you,
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ the Light of the World to you
Deep peace of Christ to you.
 
Gweddi
Boed i ni hedd dwfn y don sy’n llifo.
Boed i ni hedd dwfn yr awel sy’n crwydro.
Boed i ni hedd dwfn y ddaear ddigyffro.
Boed i ni hedd dwfn y sêr sy’n goleuo.
Boed i ni hedd dwfn Mab Tangnefedd i’n cysuro.

Bendith Geltaidd. Cyfieithiad T. J. Davies
                                           Welsh version: thanks to Cynthia Saunders Davies

Please click here, or press the play button, to hear a beautiful version performed by Aled Jones (setting by John Rutter).

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Daily Reflection 30th March

Peace and quiet

‘Peace and quiet’ is not a phrase we usually associate with a Monday morning! Setting ourselves up for the week ahead may well, in more normal times, mean writing ‘to do’ lists.  Many front-line workers have never been busier, of course, and we do pray for them and their enormous workload. But for many others, a second week of living through these extraordinary times, seems strangely empty. The temptation is to fill that emptiness with just as much busy-ness of another kind. Reverend Tom Saunders reflects below how Jesus withdrew to pray. Maybe this is our invitation to use our time of imposed confinement to gain some peace and quiet with our heavenly father – even on a Monday morning.

Reed DesertReed Desert
photograph by Angela Saunders

But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

Luke 5: 15-16

Ond yr oedd y sôn amdano yn ymledu fwyfwy, ac yr oedd tyrfaoedd lawer yn ymgynnull i wrando ac i gael eu hiacháu oddi wrth eu clefydau. Ond byddai ef yn encilio i’r mannau unig ac yn gweddïo.

Luc 5:15-16


The church’s year, like the changing days of Spring, marches on even when we cannot get together to worship and pray. Lent begins by remembering Jesus’s 40 days of self-isolation in the wilderness… a time of intense challenge, but also a necessary time of preparation for what was to come. Jesus emerged from the desert fired-up and ready to proclaim the Good News. Then, from time to time again “he would withdraw to deserted places and pray”, renewing his prayerful communion with the Father, before returning to attend to the crowds.
But now, in the final two weeks of Lent, we see Jesus not in the desert or with the crowds in Galilee, but in and around the city of Jerusalem. In what the church calls ‘Passiontide’ Jesus treads the streets of the Holy City, and we join the crowd that surrounds him there. This crowd is fickle, just as we are fickle. We acclaim him “Hosanna, Son of David!” on Palm Sunday, and we condemn him with shouts of “Crucify him!” on Good Friday. Thankfully, we know the end of the story: we will be forgiven, and Love will triumph on Easter Sunday.
It was Jesus’s time one-to-one with the Father, the spiritual strength that came from the wilderness days and the many nights spent in prayer alone, that prepared him for all that he had to face, for our sakes, in Jerusalem.
For us, time spent alone over the next few days, will prepare us too for all that we have to face. Take time, at the start of this week, to accept your invitation to spend time prayerfully, in peace and quiet, with God.

Prayer (Isaiah 49:14-15)

But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me,
my Lord has forgotten me.’
Can a woman forget her nursing-child,
or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.

Amen.

Gweddi (Esaia 49:14-15)

Dywedodd Seion, ‘Gwrthododd yr Arglwydd fi,
ac anghofiodd fy Arglwydd fi.’
A anghofia gwraig ei phlentyn sugno,
neu fam blentyn ei chroth?
Fe allant hwy anghofio,
ond nid anghofiaf fi di

Amen.

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Daily Reflection 29th March

A reflection for Passion Sunday

Click here, or press the play button, to watch the video.

Click here to read the transcript.

Jesus sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, ‘The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’

Luke 9: 21-22

Ond dyma Iesu’n pwyso’n drwm arnyn nhw i beidio dweud wrth neb. Dwedodd wrthyn nhw, “Mae’n rhaid i mi, Mab y Dyn, ddioddef yn ofnadwy. Bydd yr arweinwyr, y prif offeiriaid a’r arbenigwyr yn y Gyfraith yn fy ngwrthod i. Bydda i’n cael fy lladd, ond yna’n dod yn ôl yn fyw ddeuddydd wedyn.

Luc 9: 21-22


Prayer
We pray for all who suffer. Heal the sick in body or mind and those who are weary with long illness. Comfort those who are sorrowful. When we do not know how to help others, accept our silent care for them and our trust in your mercy.
We pray in the name of Christ for patience and hope in all our troubles.
Amen.

Gweddi
Gweddïwn dros bawb sy’n dioddef. Iachâ’r claf o gorff neu feddwl a’r rhai sydd yn lluddedig ar ôl salwch hir. Cysura’r rhai sy’n galaru. Pan nad ydym yn gwybod sut i helpu eraill, derbyn ein gofal tawel amdanynt a’n hymddiriedaeth yn dy drugaredd di.
Yn enw Crist gofynnwn am amynedd a gobaith yn ein holl adfyd.
Amen.

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Daily Reflection 28th March

Blessing the space between us

We are getting used to ‘social distancing’. We are denied the ability to visit one another and gather together. We are to stay at home. If we are able to venture out, we are to obey the markings on the floor of the supermarket. We stand two metres apart.

This creates space between us. Today, Reverend Susan Blagden gives us a wholly different way of viewing space, and the way it can bless us and those we love – even at a physical distance!

Christ in the WildernessChrist in the Wilderness: Stanley Spencer

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…’ 

(Ephesians 1: 3)

‘Clod in Dduw a Thad ein Harglwydd Iesu Grist!  Mae wedi tywallt pob bendith ysbrydol sy’n y byd nefol arnon ni sy’n perthyn i’r Meseia …’

(Effesiaid 1: 3)


‘Bless the space between us’ is a phrase that was coined by the contemporary priest and poet, John O’Donohue. In the painting by Stanley Spencer of ‘Christ in the Wilderness’ we get a sense of just how de-stabilising the wilderness, with all its seemingly wild space, can be.  

So what might it mean to bless the space, particularly as we find ourselves forced into keeping a distance from friends, family and places that are dear to us?

To bless someone, is to hold that person in God’s unending love. 
To bless is to offer grace. 
It is this grace that is transformative.

Of course Lent has traditionally been a time when Christians have attempted to ‘clear some space’ in their lives. It is no coincidence that a ‘spring clean’ of the home would often be undertaken at this time too. It can be hugely helpful to notice what has crept into our lives and our thoughts over time, and now threatens to choke the life out of some part of us or our relationships. We may have previously been simply too busy to notice this subtle encroachment on our space, be that physical, mental, emotional, or even spiritual space.

So as we come to prayer: take some time to honestly reflect on where there needs to be more space in your life. Take a moment to confess to God whatever you sense you need to receive his forgiveness for. Then take some time to become aware of the spaces that have been forced upon you.

That leaves us space to live in a way that can express God’s love, more fully and deeply.  Find your own words to pray a blessing – for yourself and those God places on your heart.

To bless that person is, indeed, to hold them in the space that is God’s unending love. 


Prayer
Christ of the Wilderness,
teach me how to live for a while in this spacious, yet sometimes frightening and de-stabilising wilderness landscape. 
Help me to clear space in my life to leave the worrying details behind and trust the new space that You will bring me into. 
Give me courage to step into this space and to experience a new depth of encounter with those whom I love. 
May your love and grace bless each of those in-between spaces. 
In Christ’s name. Amen.

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Daily Reflection 27th March

Treasuring ordinary things in extraordinary times

So we have reached the Friday of the first week of lockdown. Monday’s announcement by the Prime Minister has seen everyone, everywhere affected. In these few short days we have tried to adjust to living in a much more confined way. For today’s reflection, Reverend Eryl Parry considers how faith can help us live with restriction.
Christ in the House of His parentsChrist in the House of His Parents
John Everett Millais

Toilet rolls, pasta, rice …  I never thought I’d start a reflection with those words. Not so long ago we took our ready supply of them for granted. Now we’re ecstatic if we’re able to go out and see a shelf full of them! We begin to value what we had thought of as ‘ordinary’. We miss so many things currently denied and get anxious about getting hold of the basics.

It has put me in mind of this painting which shocked many people when it was first exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1850. Christ was being portrayed as too ordinary. He and his family are in their carpenter’s shop, their feet and the floor are dirty. A closer look, of course, reveals great symbolism of Mary’s devotion, Christ’s bleeding, the table as altar and the tools hung there – just as we are unfinished work to be crafted in God’s workshop.

Maybe it is the day to treasure what we have taken for granted and pray for those who continue to supply our daily needs, that they may be protected from infection and given renewed energy. You might find it helpful to click here for the list of key workers, many in jobs that are low paid and that society has undervalued. Imagine them in their places of work, their ‘workshops’ and ask God to bless them.

“Show me someone who does a good job, and I will show you someone who is better than most and worthy of the company of kings.”

Proverbs 22: 29

“Pan weli di rywun sy’n fedrus yn ei waith – bydd hwnnw’n gwasanaethu brenhinoedd, nid pobl does neb wedi clywed amdanyn nhw.”


Diarhebion 22: 29


And how are we to be, if we’re not one of those workers? God is absolutely in the ordinariness of what we continue to do and be for one another, living through these extraordinary times. May God bless us as we continue to grow in love for our community, and for the one who sustains us today and evermore.


Blessing
May you draw others to Christ simply by who you are.
May you trust in God more than your own strength.
May you know and express the presence of God in the ordinary and everyday.
Amen.

Gweddi
Boed i chi dynnu eraill at Grist yn rhinwedd yr hyn ydych wrth natur a thrwy ras.
Boed i chi ymddiried yng ngallu Duw.
Boed i chi ymwybod â phresenoldeb Duw ym mhethau a phrofiadau cyffredin bywyd.

Amen.

Prayer by David Cole
Addasiad gan Owain Llyr Evans
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Daily Reflection 26th March

Applaud our NHS. Clap for our carers.

Today’s daily reflection comes from Canon Berw Hughes, one of our retired clergy in the ministry team. He shares his thoughts and prayers as one who worked as a hospital chaplain for many years. It will resonate with so many in our community either working in frontline services or simply deeply grateful for the tireless work done on all our behalf. 

Living Between

At this moment in my life, I am classed as a ‘vulnerable’ person, which gives me so much more time to think and reflect. Yet, as all who know me, I am not an academic theologian. Still, I have come to recognise over the years that when we are faced, as we are today, with difficult times, our faith is stripped back to basics.

Jesus said: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ When challenged ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Jesus told the ‘Parable of the Good Samaritan.’ This is such a well-known story for most of us.

Luke 10: 25-37

‘Câr yr Arglwydd dy Dduw â’th holl galon ac â’th holl enaid ac â’th holl nerth ac â’th holl feddwl, a châr dy gymydod fel ti dy hun.’ Pan gawn ein  wynebu â’r cwestiwn ‘Pwy yw fy nghymydog?’ Dywedodd yr Iesu y ‘Ddameg ynglun a’r Samariad Trugarog’ sydd yn adnabyddus i ni oll.

Luc 10: 25-37

Having worked in the NHS for 15 years as a Hospital Chaplain in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd Hospital, I was privileged to witness many, many such acts of compassion, kindness, support and love by staff in the many various departments. More than ever today, as we face this cruel pandemic, we are seeing true evidence of acts of ‘love of our neighbour’ – those helping support those who are vulnerable and in need.

Many in our community and hospitals are taking real risks themselves to help and care for others, just as the Good Samaritan did. So, we remember today those who work in our NHS Hospitals. We so value them for their compassion, dedication and love. And not only those on the frontline but also those working behind the scenes.

While working as a hospital chaplain, I witnessed ‘love of our neighbour’ but I also was so aware of a love of God, such deep, supportive faiths and spirituality of so many people throughout the hospital. And so, in the knowledge that God is a loving and compassionate God, we remember today in our prayers all those who are ill in our community and in hospitals and especially we applaud and pray for all those who are caring and working in the NHS and all their friends and families who are supporting them.


Prayer for The Health Service
O God, we thank you for our healthcare systems and for those who work in them.
We pray for healthcare workers known to us that through their love and compassion, those who are vulnerable and needy might come to know healing and peace in their lives.
We pray for those who have to make difficult decisions about resources or treatments that they will do so with care and integrity.
Lord, continue your ministry of healing in the lives of those who are broken, vulnerable and in need.
We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen

From The Churches and Industry Group Birmingham.

Gweddi dros y Gwasanaeth Iechyd
O Dduw, diolchwn i ti am ein system gofal iechyd a’r rhai sydd yn gweithio ynddi.
Gweddiwn dros yr holl weithwyr hyny yr ydym ni yn gwybod amdanynt, fel y gall y rhai sydd mewn angen ac yn fregus ddod i wybod iechyd a thangnefedd yn eu bywydau drwy gariad a thosuri y rhai sydd yn gofalu amdanynt.
Gweddiwn dros y rhai sy’n gorfod gwneud penderfyniadau anodd ynghylch adnoddau neu driniaeth, fel y gallent wneud hynny gyda gofal a gonestrwydd.

O Dduw, parha y Weinidogaeth Iechyd ym mywydau y rhai sydd yn teimlo’u bod wedi eu torri allan, y rhai sydd yn fregus a’r rhai mewn angen.
Gweddiwn yn enw ein Harglwydd Iesu Grist. Amen

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