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

Reflections

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Gracious God, as we continue to journey through a very hot week, as temperatures continue to rise, we take some time out to simply spend time in Your presence and reflect upon words of scripture that encourage, and assure, and refresh our hearts and minds. For Your faithfulness to us, to You we give thanks this day, Amen.

Deuteronomy 33:12  NIV
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”

Psalm 121 1-2  NIV
” I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth”.

Psalm 62:1-2   NIV
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation;  he is my fortress, I will never be shaken”.

John 15:9   NIV
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love”.

Previous Reflections

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Psalm 118:1
‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever’.

Gracious God, as our first national ‘Thank you’ day will be celebrated tomorrow, we take a moment today to reflect upon all those who have touched our lives over the past year. For those who have supported our emotional needs, we give thanks. For those who have supported our physical well-being, we give thanks. For those who have fed us spiritually, we give thanks. Lord God, we know that when we follow the example of Your Son Jesus, when we reach out in love to others, and allow ourselves to be loved in return, we become whole and we find peace. And so, we ask for Your blessing upon our nation, and all nations across the world. May the acts of giving and thankfulness unite us and empower us to create communities rooted in love. For all Your blessings to us, loving God, we give thanks. Amen.

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Hebrews 4:16        NIV
‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need’.

Gracious God, this morning we give thanks for the gift of Your Grace. We acknowledge that Grace is a word that we use so freely, but so often underestimate the power and awesomeness of its truth. Through the power of Your Grace, we are accepted for simply being who we are, precious to You. Through the power of Your Grace, we can be forgiven of the things we may do that separate us from being the people You would have us be. Through the power of Your Grace, we can truly find a sense of peace in the most turbulent of days. Through the power of Your Grace, we are truly and immeasurably loved. And so Lord God, help us today to receive this Grace with glad and thankful hearts. Help us to use the knowledge of this Grace to deepen our relationship with You through the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ, and in the life-giving power of Your Holy Spirit. Finally God of love, help us to witness to Your Grace in our relationships with others. May our relationships with one another be rooted in kindness and generosity. Our world needs Grace. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

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Mark 12:31   ESV
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Gracious God, we lift before You this morning the conversations and deliberations of the Methodist Church Conference, as they consider reshaping our policies regarding marriage and relationships. We realise that this is an emotive subject, but we pray for mutual respect of one another’s opinions and that You, our God, will be at the centre of this process. So too, this morning we pray for relationships, those in the home, the workplace, the neighbourhood, the wider community and the World Church. May we turn to the example of Your Son Jesus Christ who witnessed to relationships built on trust, empathy, compassion and equality. We pray and reach out especially to those who are subject to abuse within a relationship, in whatever form that takes. As communities may we support those in need at this time and may their voices be heard and listened to.
As Your people, today, may God in Love, Unite us. Amen.

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1 Chronicles 16:11    ESV

‘Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!’

Gracious God, in a week when we see the number of pupils in schools being sent home soar, due to covid cases, we pray for all staff, pupils and their families. We know that we cannot begin to imagine how stressful the past months have been for all schools, dealing with the disruption of our children’s education. We recognise too the tremendous impact this has had on the well-being of staff and pupils alike, and so too the difficulties that have arisen for working parents. And so, we pray for resilience and assurance for all staff and pupils in the final weeks of the summer term. We pray that those in positions of authority will do whatever they can to support schools and their leadership teams, in dealing with the current situation and we pray for stability in the autumn term to come. May Your presence be felt in every school and every home. For the dedication and commitment of all those who work in our schools to ensure our young people are nurtured and educated, we give grateful thanks. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen

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Joshua 1:9 ESV

“Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Gracious God, at the start of a new week, and as the issue of loneliness is highlighted in our national press, we lift before You all those who begin the week feeling a sense of solitude and isolation. We know that the pandemic has increased feelings of loneliness with the restrictions that have been placed upon us. And yet we acknowledge too that loneliness is not just a lack of the physical presence of others, but that we can feel lonely in a crowded room, when our minds are troubled with something we do not feel able to share, maybe an illness, financial concern, relationship issue or any situation that makes us feel vulnerable. Lord God, help us as communities to be aware of those feeling isolation or alone at this time. Help us to create opportunities for contact and for conversation, so that all people may feel that there is someone who cares for them. Help us to spread the message of the living presence of Your son, Jesus Christ. May we know the comfort and assurance of journeying with Him, wherever we are and in any situation, through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Psalm 91:1-16

‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Gracious God, as international Seafarers Day is marked today, we lift before you all those who navigate the seas to sustain this industry. We recognise the sacrifice of being away from home for long passages of time, separated from family and friends. We pray for the safety of all crews when they are faced with the dangers of heavy seas and storms. May they feel the assurance and security of Your presence with them and may they be brought safely home to shore. So too, we pray for all families and loved ones who wait for their return. May they too experience the strength and support that comes from being loved and sustained by You. Finally, Lord God, we pray for the work of Mission to Seafarers who seek to support Seafarers and their families. We ask that you bless the work of all chaplains and all staff and volunteers. In times of economic uncertainty, we lift the future of this industry into Your hands and pray for the wellbeing of all those whose lives engage with our seas and oceans. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Psalm 91:1-16

‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Gracious God, as international Seafarers Day is marked today, we lift before you all those who navigate the seas to sustain this industry. We recognise the sacrifice of being away from home for long passages of time, separated from family and friends. We pray for the safety of all crews when they are faced with the dangers of heavy seas and storms. May they feel the assurance and security of Your presence with them and may they be brought safely home to shore. So too, we pray for all families and loved ones who wait for their return. May they too experience the strength and support that comes from being loved and sustained by You. Finally, Lord God, we pray for the work of Mission to Seafarers who seek to support Seafarers and their families. We ask that you bless the work of all chaplains and all staff and volunteers. In times of economic uncertainty, we lift the future of this industry into Your hands and pray for the wellbeing of all those whose lives engage with our seas and oceans. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

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Ephesians 3:20-21
‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen’.

Gracious God, we lift before You the Methodist Church Conference which begins today. We pray that the business of Conference is able to be conducted effectively and efficiently within Covid restrictions. Please be with all Church leaders and representatives in the week ahead. Lord God, as part of the Universal Church, we have faced tremendous challenges and been forced to rethink what it means to be Church, as buildings have closed and restrictions put into place. And yet You have continued to support and sustain and guide us. You have given us the strength and encouragement to be radical, to do things differently, and to reach out to a wider community in ways we had not envisaged before the pandemic. As we move out of lockdown, the challenges continue as we witness the pain and anxiety of many people in our communities, who’s lives have been affected in so many different ways over the past 18 months. And so Lord God, we pray that Conference will be inspired and encouraged to be bold and brave, to wrestle with the difficult decisions, to seek wisdom and integrity to be relevant as the Church of today, and to equip ourselves as fit for purpose to be the Church of the future. May we be Your Church, adhering to Your will, witnessing to Your healing reconciling power and Your love in our world. We pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Cornerstone and our Saviour. Amen.

John 14:27

‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid’.

Gracious God, the story was read in our Churches yesterday, of how the disciples of Jesus, caught in a ferocious storm whilst sailing across a lake, cried out in fear for their lives as the storm raged. And in the midst of the situation, Jesus commanded the storm to be quiet and the sea to be calm and peace was restored. As the story is retold, we are reminded of the sense of peace that comes from being in a relationship with Jesus,Your Son. At the start of a new week, we acknowledge that there may be times in the week ahead when we, or those whom we care about, feel that we are battling through a storm, that there are moments when our sense of peace is disturbed. And so we thank You that in those moments we can turn to Jesus, that we can share our concerns knowing that He is with us and walks alongside us to bring us His peace. May our hearts and minds be filled with the assurance of His presence with us, now and in the days to come. In His name we pray, Amen

Psalm 121:1-2

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Thessalonians 5:11
‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing’.

Gracious God, as our thoughts turn to the health of all people this Thursday morning, we pray for all those still in a cycle of waiting; for our nation as we wait for all restrictions to be lifted, for those waiting for medical treatment delayed by the pressures of the pandemic, for those waiting to re-open their businesses or return to work, for those waiting for their vaccinations, for those waiting to feel confident enough to return to mixing with others in society, for young people awaiting exam results, for Churches waiting to re-commence their face to face activities and so so many other situations people find themselves in. Lord God, waiting is difficult, it can make us feel vulnerable and insecure. And so, in our waiting, help us to put our trust and hope in You. Help us to walk alongside one another with compassion and understanding for each others needs, and as we wait, give us courage, give us strength, give us hope and surround us with Your Love. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Matthew 25:35

‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’

Gracious God, as World Refugee Week is marked this week, we reflect upon this years theme, ‘We cannot walk alone’. During the pandemic, we have all experienced feelings of isolation and loneliness, but for those who find themselves resident in a land that is not their homeland, exclusion and segregation are felt most acutely. And so we pray for all Refugees. We lift into Your presence all those who are escaping persecution, conflict or natural disasters and pray for their protection and comfort. Lord God, we give thanks for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us to reach out to those who find themselves on the fringes of society, and encouraged us to cross boundaries and build communities rooted in compassion, empathy and welcome. And so, may integration and inclusivity be at the heart of our relationships, as we extend open arms and hands of friendship to those in need. May their voices be heard. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

1 Chronicles 16:34

“Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love endures forever.”

Gracious God, as we celebrated the work and service of Methodist Homes for the Aged yesterday, we lift all those before You who work or are residents in Care and Nursing Homes. We appreciate that staff are still coming to terms with the devastating impact Covid 19 had upon their communities, and the loss of residents to the virus is still acutely felt. And so we give thanks for the dedication of Staff, who continue to rebuild communities and ensure the welfare of all those in their care. So too, we acknowledge the grief experienced by families, and those who are still under restrictions in relation to visiting loved ones. We give thanks for the love of families and friends and pray that You will continue to support and sustain relationships. Finally, Lord God, we lift before You all residents. May all residents feel the assurance and security of being cared for and may Your presence and Your love be felt in every home. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.