Jeremy led us this morning, using images and a prayer to be found in this 1000-year old church, which has outlasted its village and now sits alone in a field in Hampshire. The prayer gave the structure of our time together as we sheltered in the bandstand from drizzle and cascading autumn leaves…
The prayer begins:
Dear God, The day is before me to do with as I will but, because without Thy help I am as frail as a cotton flower in a summer storm, support and strengthen me so that I find it less difficult to walk in Thy ways.
We then read Psalm 103 that mirrors some of these ideas – and so much of that resonated with needs of one another known to us…
Let not the evening pass into night, nor dawn into day, without my giving thanks to Thee for all Thy blessings: for my eyes that feed my spirit, my ears that guard my conscience, and my mouth which I must not abuse. Make me grateful for these gifts so that, when my eyes survey the great mystery of Creation, my ears accept the wisdom of Thy teachings and my mouth speaks of Thy divine love.
After this we took time to wander the park and to give thanks for our many blessings, using another stimulus image and thankful again for the beauty of the changing seasons as the backdrop to our worship.
In quietness let me praise Thee for the changing seasons, for the great love I feel for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, for the gift of friends, for the comfort of loving and being loved. Make me always aware of Thy favours so that when I am at peace with myself my thoughts turn outwards towards the hungry, the sick and the unwanted.
O God, I entreat you to foster an awareness in people’s hearts so that cruelty an avarice are no more. Protect and comfort the aged, guide and help the young, save our humbler creation from those that torture and destroy them so that they may live without fear. Help those that are dear to me, give them courage to meet adversity and faith to sustain them in their hours of darkness.
At this point we took it in turns to light candles as we prayed silently for just those people – the needy, the sick, the oppressed…
Teach me to be more acceptable in Thy sight, so that I may know the peace that falls on the spirit that aspires to keep company with Thee. Let me learn the philosophy of acceptance, so that I may be more patient, more thoughtful for others and less concerned with myself. When the days come that are hard to live through, and temporarily I forget to count my blessings, be Thou beside me to chide and point the way.
Here we took bread and wine for sustenance… And the final paragraph became our blessing:
Dear Father, bestow on each one of us that inspired faith which enriches the spirit and gives purpose to this our earthly life, so that we may know the Peace that passeth all understanding. Amen.
Thanks Jeremy – a very special morning.