An incredibly special evening! Surely it couldn’t have just been me to feel the most extraordinary sense of love in our sitting room as most of our number squeezed in to pray for Barbara pending her operation on Tuesday. Nothing could have been more wonderful, or supportive as seeing Tony walk in to be with us. Having been, to all intents and purposes, house-bound for the last 8 weeks or so, it was fantastic to see him vertical and so much better than a few days ago. All the better to be able to include him in the anointing of oil and prayer with Barbara.
We started with silence, reflecting on these words:
Be still, aware;
In your own heart
Is at prayer;
Listen and learn,
Open and find,
A bidding prayer from Malling Abbey
We named others close to us who need Jesus’ healing and closeness now and added them to Tony’s name and Barbara’s – Kate, Jennifer, Jack, Alison, June…
Michele led us in a body prayer – for more faith, nore hope, more love – for each of them
Then we shared the Northumbrian Celtic liturgy that is so central to our Wednesday group before each choosing a word (from the liturgy or otherwise) to write on a stone, with our own name on the reverse, to give to Tony and to Barbara to pledge our prayer for them. Barbara was anointed with oil using the words from the Iona Community:
In the name of Jesus, we open ourselves to the power that created the universe and the power that brought about the resurrection of Christ. Together, we ask that by the Holy Spirit, that same power would flood through you, Barbara, and bring healing, wholeness and peace.
Barbara, we anoint you in the name of the Father
And of the Son
And of the Holy Spirit.
God to enfold you.
Christ to touch you.
The Spirit to surround you.
This was repeated for Tony.
We shared bread and wine in our inimitable style at ThirdSpace to include Catholic and Protestant alike:
Before we share bread and wine, we reflect again on what this might mean…
For each of us, the sharing of bread and wine signifies something different. So what are we doing when we share bread and wine this evening?
We recognise that bread is a symbol of nourishment
Of the harvest – God’s provision
Of bread from heaven – in Manna sent to sustain God’s people in wilderness hardship
And as Jesus sent to live among us, as one of us…
Of brokenness and suffering
And, significantly for us in ThirdSpace, of companionship.
We eat this bread to acknowledge all these things here and now.
Companionship. Suffering. Sustenance. Nourishment.
We recognise that wine is a symbol of joy – when our cup overflows
Of the great feast to come – when God prepares a table for us
Of suffering – that Jesus embraced in Gethsemane, a trail-blazer for us, a brother who has gone into death itself for and before us
And of upsurging, torrential resurrection, cleansing and liberation.
We drink this wine to acknowledge all these things here and now.
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
We concluded the Celtic liturgy and gave our stones. All our prayers continue for you both – dearest of friends x