Two things happened this week which dictated what we did this morning. Firstly after preparing something on Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Banquet our printer stopped working. While we were discussing what to do we heard a weather forecast saying Sunday morning would either be VERY cold or VERY wet. So we decided to change plans and go with the seasons, something you need to be very aware of when you meet outside as we do.
So winter; it’s like a holding place, nature seems to hold it’s breath and wait to burst forth with all it’s beauty in spring.
There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.
The winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.
An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a winter in our lives
a time of rest, a time to stand still
a time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted
take time to grow and rise through the darkness
into the warm glow of your springtime
to blossom and flourish
bring colour and vitality into this world
Thank you Father
for the seasons of our lives
adapted from http://www.faithandworship.com/Prayers_Winter.htm#ixzz4WyDL4LfA Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
Sometimes we feel like it is winter and spring will never come.
So this morning in our prayers we hold those who feel they are in permanent winter with no hope of spring.
We closed our prayer time with the Third Space Lord’s prayer
God, who cares for us,
The wonder of your presence fills us with awe.
Your name, your very nature, is holy.
All creation resonates with it!
Let all people come to proclaim it!
May we move into your presence and unimpeded love.
Let not our will, but your will and purposes be fulfilled in our lives here on Earth.
Give us the material things you know we need to survive.
Release us – as indeed we release others – from the debt of wrong doing.
Strengthen us for difficult times.
Liberate us from all that is evil.
For You reign in majesty, in love,
Power and glory from the beginning of time and forever more.
Some thoughts to ponder
Extract from Philip Yancey’s book ‘Vanishing Grace’;
‘There are three kinds of Christians that outsiders to the faith still respect: pilgrims, activists and artists. The uncommitted will listen to them far sooner than to an evangelist or apologist. Although nonbelievers do not oppose a spiritual search, they will only listen to those Christians who present themselves as fellow pilgrims on the way rather than as part of a superior class who has already arrived. Activists express their faith in the most persuasive way of all, by their deeds. And art succeeds when it speaks most authentically to the human condition; when believers do so with skill, again the world takes note.’
Breaking of bread/Sharing of wine
We remember the time when Jesus faced
difficult decisions and destructive forces:
Facing his winter – the days and nights of his searching,
– in facing failure – in facing death
And we remember
Jesus has shown us that life is stronger than death.
And as we share the bread and wine together
we remember the words and the actions of that ancient meal…
Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it,
and gave it to his friends.
He poured a cup of wine, offered thanks for it,
and shared it also with his friends.
God of amazing grace, in the cold of the winter months we are grateful for your presence warming us.
We pray that this presence will strengthen us to follow the way of Jesus.