Kintsugi – The Japanese method of creating art from broken ceramic objects.
So today we met in the park, under the weeping beech, setting up two groups of chairs to meet the ‘Rule of six’ restrictions (even though we could potentially be a whole group, socially distanced, as a church. We had about 30 minutes to reflect on the sheet outlined below before joining our two groups to share bread and wine.
Psalm 105 begins with these words: (I have alternated between male and female pronouns)
Thank God! Pray to him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
translate his wonders into music!
Honour his holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for her works;
be alert for signs of her presence.
Remember the world of wonders she has made,
her miracles, and the verdicts she’s rendered—
O seed of Abraham, his servant,
O child of Jacob, his chosen.
7-15 She’s God, our God,
in charge of the whole earth.
And she remembers, remembers her Covenant—
for a thousand generations she’s been as good as her word.
The Psalm then goes on to recount story after story of how God kept faithful to his people at different points in history’. Insert your stories here of how God has kept faithful to you in the past – the good and the bad.
When… God was there for me…
When… God did not let me go… etc.
42 All because he remembered his Covenant,
his promise to Abraham, his servant.
43-45 Remember this! He led his people out singing for joy;
his chosen people marched, singing their hearts out!
He made them a gift of the country they entered,
helped them seize the wealth of the nations
So they could do everything he told them—
could follow his instructions to the letter.
What do you want to say to me God?
Return to the Psalm – read it again, let it nudge you into conversation…
So they could do everything he told them – could follow his instructions to the letter…
Over the past couple of Wednesdays and last Sunday, we have been exploring, again, what it might mean for us to be working for the kingdom of God. Just lately, I have been thinking about what a significant time this is for us all for multiple reasons. Some are newly retired, about to retire, drifting into retirement, well into retirement, longing for retirement (!) … Some need work, some are working with new challenges. Some are yearning for reunions and lamenting a loss of past levels of relationship… What does God’s calling look like right now? What can we do in this new life, at the very least characterised by less freedom and direct relationships, to build God’s kingdom in on-going Covid times?
It would be easy to default to seeing our mission as being pared back / less than that which we could do before. Funnily enough, the Gospel reading in the Lectionary today is the story of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20) – the one where the folk hired late in the day get the same wages as those hired early on. I found myself seeing yet another message there about God valuing our service in the later stages of our lives – not just when we were young, bounding with energy and zeal and full of idealism (or is that just how I remember my younger self?!)
Into all these thoughts, I came across the following words after revisiting Sacredspace.ie (heartily recommended for daily reflection / prayer)
‘Your path to God is the one you are on right now and there is no other. You cannot start or move on from anywhere but here. Now is the time to ask God to help you get closer to him.’ Sacredspace.ie
John Henry Newman wrote:
‘God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another’
That definite service was not merely what we were doing in the past, the service is for today – for now – how could it be anything else? We only have now!
What can I do that only I can do? Who has been given into my care?
Take some time to ask God to help you commit to building the kingdom of God wherever your specific calling leads you. Keep your eyes open for God, watch for her works; be alert for signs of her presence. Remember the world of wonders God has made…
Prayer for others: One of the things we have thought about recently is remembering to look outwards. One way of building the kingdom is to offer our prayers to God and to trust that they can make a tangible impact on others however far away… Take some time to pray for those known to you who need Jesus now and for people in poverty, exile and fear who need God’s love, provision, encouragement and closeness right now…
Meeting together, yet apart, we used words written by Steve as we reflected on beauty in brokenness:
WABI-SABI BREAD AND WINE
In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12 v 9
And when we were far off – in our impermanence, our alienations, our incompleteness – you met us and brought us home. In our brokenness, your love and forgiveness are made complete. Your mercy is there for the messy and the conflicted and the sinful. We are broken in two but you draw all things together in yourself.
And how are we to celebrate this redemption? With gold and diamonds? Crowns and coronets?
With bread, made with grain and yeast by human hands, to signify your body broken.
With wine, made with grape and yeast by human hands, to signify your blood shed.
So it is with rejoicing that we anticipate the Great Feast.
Blessings on those who are broken and bruised. May all know Christ’s love. Amen.
Takeaway coffees from Cool River kept us warm and allowed us to share our stories and prayer requests. It is still SO good to be able to meet in person. We are blessed.