Reflections2020-08-14T10:01:07+01:00

Reflections

Isaiah 42:5 (NIV)
“This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:”

Gracious God, as news reaches us of Covid 19 variants across our world, we pray for all nations, each dealing with their own outbreaks and their own logistical concerns. We pray for all those nursing and caring for the people in their communities. We pray that vaccinations will be made available to all countries, especially poorer countries that do not have the resources we have in place, both financially and logistically. As we begin a week of global prayer for Christian Unity on Monday, we pray that You will unite us in our concern for one another that crosses all boundaries. In the presence of You, our creator God, we unite as One world, Your world and Your people, and ask that You pour out Your love through the power of Your Holy Spirit into every corner of Your creation. We place the concerns of our world into Your hands, through the

Previous Reflections

Isaiah 41:10 (NCV)
“ So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you”.

‘Footprints in the Sand’ by Mary Stevenson
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.” The LORD replied: “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Gracious God, we lift before You all those whom for today is a struggle, remembering especially our NHS workers continuing to work long, tiring shifts in order to keep our hospitals staffed. We pray for all patients and their families, and so too we remember all those unwell at home. Lord, You understand that there are days when our resolve for whatever reason is low, when we are need of strength, comfort and assurance. On these days, we know that we can turn to You, that You are there to sustain us and carry us, that we do not need to face difficult situations alone. And so Lord God, may the power of Your love lift us and all those in need, this day and in the days to come. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen

Psalm 23  (NRSV)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long”.

Gracious God remind us this day that You are our Shepherd, You are the one who cares and provides for us. You are the One who invites us to take quiet moments and spend them in Your presence. You are the One who wants to heal us and restore us with your love and your grace. You are there to guide us as we journey forward, even when the road ahead is rocky and difficult to navigate. And although we may face dark times, we are assured of Your presence with us, so help us not to be anxious or afraid. You pour out Your Holy Spirit to anoint, enable and equip us to follow You and be the people You would have us be. And You have prepared a place for us so that nothing, in all eternity, can separate us from Your love, and so we live today in the assurance that You are our Shepherd. Amen.

Matthew 19:14 (NRSV)

” but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”

Gracious God, we thank You for the gift of learning, for the ability to experience and discover new things every day. On this new day, help us to learn more about about You and Your love for us, and share that knowledge with other people. Lord God, as we reflect upon the gift of learning, we lift before You all our children and young people learning today in schools and at home. We are saddened that their education process has been so severely disrupted, but we give thanks for every teacher, support worker, parent and carer who will aid their learning today, who will sit alongside them at home or in the classroom or talk to them online. We pray for parents juggling working from home and schooling their children. We pray for all staff tasked with the logistical difficulties of ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn. Amidst the immense difficulties of the current situation, we pray for every conversation, every word written, every sum calculated, every fact learnt, every craft made, and every book read, that through these acts of learning, our young people may continue to grow and develop. We place all young people and educators into Your hands Lord, and ask that You continue to support, encourage, equip and bless them, this day and in the days to come. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Mark 1:35 (NIV)
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”.

Gracious God, we know that when Jesus walked the earth, He faced times of challenge, anxiety and uncertainty, but in those times, He found a quiet place and turned to You in prayer. As the new working week begins and lockdown continues, remind us Lord God that Your presence is assured and that you are always there to listen to us, to invite us into conversation. When challenges come, help us to pause and take a moment to turn to You, remembering that in the moments when we do not have the words to say, simply being in Your presence is enough, that you know the concerns of our hearts before we even speak. As we look at the sun’s rays upon the winter’s scene, may we be assured of Your love radiating in the darkness of these winter days. May this love surround those whom we love and those with whom we come into contact today. May we find peace in Your embrace and hear Your still, small voice of assurance. Amen.

John 1:5
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.

Gracious God, thank you for guiding us and strengthening us through the last year, a difficult year for so many different reasons. We thank you for the people who walked alongside us, who made a difference and witnessed to Your love for us. As we move into a new year, with the challenges the pandemic continues to bring, we ask that You help us to focus on You, upon the message of the Christ Child who came into our world to show that in the days ahead, You are with us, Emmanuel, God with us. We remember that this is the greatest gift of all, the gift of Your love that will sustain and support us. At the start of a new week, we lay our hopes, our dreams, and our concerns before You. May You assure us of Your presence at all times and in all places so that we may face the week with a sense of peace in our hearts, the peace that comes from being loved by You.
This morning, we remember especially all the staff, parents and children in our schools, amidst all the discussions and decisions being made around the education of our young people. We pray especially for Head Teachers, as they seek to lead and assure staff and parents within these unsettling times. We thank you for the commitment and vocation of all staff in our schools and ask that you give them courage and wisdom as they seek to offer the very best they can for the young people in their care. We place them all into the safekeeping of Your hands this day Lord, Amen.

Love

Christmas Day
Luke 2:7
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord”.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning
Jesus, to Thee be glory given
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!
John Francis Wade (c1711-1786)

Love

Isaiah 9:2
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned”.

Gracious God of wonder and mystery we wait in anticipation and expectation to celebrate the coming of Your Son, Jesus, into our world, Emmanuel, God with us. On the eve of this Holy Night, may we draw closer to the child who was born not into wealth and power, but into poverty and weakness. May we draw closer to the child who grew to be a man, who taught us to love one another, who taught us that all are valued in Your sight. Lord God, we thank you for the night in which love shone down. In the name of the child in the manger we pray, Amen.

Love

1 John 4:9      NIV
” This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him”.

Gracious God, as we have scanned the skies to catch a glimpse of the alignment of the planets, to create a Christmas Star for 2020, we think back to the star that lit up the sky over 2,000 years ago. We give thanks for the star that heralded the arrival of Your Son, Jesus Christ, into our world, bringing an explosion of light and love into the dark places of our world. Lord God, we pray for an outpouring of Your light and Your love in our communities, once more, this Christmas time. We pray for light and love in dark places. May we look up to the skies and gaze in wonder and thanks for the truth symbolised in the gift of Jesus, the light of our world, Amen.

Love

1 John 4:9      NIV
” This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him”.

Gracious God, as we continue to journey with Mary and Joseph, we think of all those for whom journeying is stressful today. We pray that haulage drivers, currently stranded on the road, will make it home safely for Christmas. So too, we pray for all those who were looking forward to journeying to family for Christmas, but who must now cancel their plans. As Christmas Day approaches Lord God, many people are experiencing disappointment and a sense of loss and so we pray for calm and peace and reassurance in our communities. Lord, we need hope at this time, the hope that gives us an assurance of Your presence with us. May the presence of Your love be felt in our homes and workplaces today, and this Christmas time, may our homes be filled with the message of the birth of the Christ Child who came into our world to bring us hope, peace and love. Amen.

Love

Psalm 108:4
” For great is Your love, higher than the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”

Gracious God, for many of us, Christmas will be a difficult time this year as we deal with the unexpected fall-out of recent events; separation from loved ones, financial concerns over the loss of income. As we journey towards Christmas Day, we journey with Mary and Joseph who embarked on an unexpected journey, leaving behind loved ones, uncertain of what they would find or where they would find shelter once they reached their destination, and yet, it was a journey that was made within the power of Your Love. As we lit our 4th Advent Candle  yesterday, we were reminded of Your great love for us, and of how You witnessed Your love to us in the sending of Your Son, Jesus Christ, to show us just how much we are loved. And so, in the coming days, as we make our final preparations to celebrate the birth of Your Son, may we continue to be assured of Your presence and Your love, Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.

Joy

John 15:10-12
” If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”.

Gracious God, we come before you today exactly one week before we will celebrate the birth of Your Son Jesus Christ, who came into our world over 2,000 years ago. This baby came to bring us a message of hope, of peace and love but, so too, a message of joy, the joy that comes from being in a living relationship with You through the gift of Your Son, and the joy of knowing that we have a creator God who loves and cares for us. We are never truly alone, Emmanuel, God is with us, You are with us. Lord God, we know that our Christmas festivities will not be the same this year and we are disappointed, frustrated and sad. But as we prepare for a very different Christmas in the week ahead, help us to keep a sense of hope, peace and joy in our hearts knowing that ultimately, Christmas is about love, love that was poured into our world that first Christmas Day so that we may experience what it really means to love and to be loved. In the name of Your Son, the baby in the manger, joy to the world, we give You thanks, Amen.

Joy

John 15:10-12
” If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”.

Gracious God, as Thursday dawns, we give thanks, with joy, once more for the amazing work of our NHS and all healthcare providers. Today especially, we give thanks that the vaccine has begun to be administered to the most vulnerable members in our community and so too we lift before You the ongoing work of the scientists, the pharmaceutical firms and all the NHS workers tasked with this huge logistical process. We pray that the vaccine will be delivered across our world and that the voices of poorer nations will be heard amidst all this.
So too today, we think of all those who are unwell for whatever reason and all those who will care for them. We pray for our ambulance service and our A & E departments, struggling to cope with the demands made upon them. We give thanks for their dedication and compassion shown, when dealing with the needs of others, in a crisis situation. Lord God, we pray for the healing power of Your Holy Spirit to sweep across our nation. May the power of your love and grace be experienced throughout our communities. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.