Beatitudes in the park

This morning we had prayer stations around the park – one for each of the Beatitudes from Matthew 5, using the paraphrase from The Message. I hadn’t read them in this version before and found them so accessible. This is what we had at each place: the verses tied to a tree / bridge / hut etc. and a sheet with things to consider at each.

At the bridge:

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

Pray for those known to you and those not known who are at the end of their rope. Watch the river flowing by and pray for this time to pass and for God’s rule / kingdom / intense presence to keep them safe.

At the abandoned hut:

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

Name those you know who have lost something (health, work, money, meaning, faith…) or someone dear to them. Pray that they would come to know God as never before through this loss. Pray through your own losses and what this verse might have to say to you

At the beech tree:

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

How does discontent that leads to self-realisation and repentance, fit with self-acceptance and love of self? How are these two things balanced in your life at the moment? Give thanks for who you are and for the unique life you have been given.

At the clock:

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

Has your spiritual stomach shrunk? How’s your diet been lately? Need a change? How / where / when could you facilitate that and what might be good to try / reinstate to spice up your relationship with God?

At the formal gardens:

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full’, you find yourselves cared for.

What can you do to show care to others in this coming week? Is there someone you have neglected or missed who needs a bit more care lately?

Is there any sense in which you have become careless in recent times? Have you wearied in expressing care to someone or something? What might you be called to do?

At the bandstand:

You’re blessed when you get your inside world (your mind and heart) put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

Consider: How healthy has your ‘inside life’ been lately? Take a few moments to reflect on how you have been handling pressure, relationships, work/life balance…¦ What might these words be saying to you today? Do you know someone struggling with self-content / self-image currently? Pray for them / for yourself

At the World War 1 commemoration:

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

Pray about those people / situations that are tense or where there is discord and pray for wisdom to bring co-operation / forgiveness / understanding / reconciliation…

On the railway track:

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that, count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.

You can be glad when that happens – give a cheer, even – for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always got into this kind of trouble.

Give thanks for the freedom Christians enjoy in this country at this time and pray for Christians across the world who today are imprisoned, tortured or discriminated against because of their faith. Pray for those who today are afraid for their lives or for loved ones. Pray for Church leaders who are misrepresented by others

 

We met again at the bandstand to share bread and wine and a final blessing (both written by Steve):

And so we return to BREAD

We always return to BREAD

May it be the BREAD of blessing

Beatitude BREAD

Let this BREAD nourish us

 

And so we return to WINE

We always return to WINE

May it be the WINE of blessing

Beatitude WINE

Let this WINE nourish us

 

BLESSING (This involved us pointing to each other and joining with the words ‘Blessing to you and you and you’)

Blessing to you and you and you

Blessing for what has been. That Jesus has been the pioneer and perfector of our faith. That he:

Born as a baby, taught, nurtured, rescued, challenged, bled, and rose to new life.

Blessing to you and you and you

Blessing for what is right now, right here in this present moment.

May we be inspired to lead

Beatitude lives, indwelt and outpouring.

Blessing to you and you and you

Blessing for our future hope, that one day and for all days, we will live with LION and LAMB,

With an oversupply of pruning hooks and beside a river flowing with justice and mercy.

Blessing to you and you and you.

AMEN.

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