In this our first meeting of 2021, Barbara began with a meditation from ‘We Who Still Wait’ by Chris Goan, Ian Adam’s, Steve Broadway and Su Smith. This followedashort time of us taking time to look up to teh sky and reflect….
Fiona shared this cartoon and spoke of how we might approach this coming year, with words from Philippians 4:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.
Julie shared John Henry Newman’s words as a meditation:
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”
Colin shared some thoughts too:
Psalm 27:4 One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
What if we reverse the flow of this verse – rather than requesting the one thing from God, how about asking what one thing God would ask of us? For me it might look like this:
One thing I ask of you, yes this is what I seek – that we may spend a day together, just one … walking, talking, exploring, enjoying each other’s company in this wonderful creation …. and then maybe sometime we could do it again? That you may behold my beauty, my presence in the ordinary, the small, the unlikely people & places. And that finally you would seek me in that part of my temple which is in you, your body, your very life. One thing I ask of you.
MEDITATION My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust You always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone. Thomas Merton.
Wendy reminded us of prayers we had attached to the shepherd’s crook last year and we burned those in the fire, mindful of God’s fatithfulness in all those concerns. This year, folk are sending thier prayers for the tags this year and they will remain attached to the crook in the care of the Good Shepherd for this coming year.
Steve had written a Creed to introduce our sharing of bread and wine. Insteaad of it beginning ‘We believe’ it reflected on what God believes:
God-Creed ThirdSpace 2021
God believes in stuff, in matter, in atoms –
And so much so that she created all that is created out of this dynamic and palpitating element
And God works with the stuff to shape and to bring to order
And God so loves the world that she becomes en-atomed in Jesus, the baby and the man
And God commits all of herself to the mission of matter as Mother and Bearer and Nourisher of all.
God believes in us – and in all of the us’s in her creation
She breathes us forth from the red clay and appoints us stewards of her stuff, fellow workers with her
So much does God believe in us that she appoints us prophets and artists and justice servants – co-builders of the Kingdom Jesus himself inaugurated when he was one of us.
God believes in the rescue and redemption of us and of the world and this belief comes at great cost.
God believes in time – an aspect of her created order
God believes in the what-has-been, the now and the what-will-be
God has and is and will
All that is created will work out her purposes in the fullness of time and we are invited to that end of term feast
And this we anticipate in the meantime, as companions together; we meet around these dynamic elements – the bread and wine – redolent with the story we believe.
We finished with an adapted blessing ofArchbishop Desmond Tutu:
Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow.