Tag Archives: prayer

Modelling hope amidst the chaos….

The words below are words that I spoke at our church gathering on Sunday 26th June 2016. This was the Sunday immediately following the E.U referendum. These words are as pertinent today (for me at least) as they were then.

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This week we wake up in new era…there have been some seismic shifts that have taken place politically over the past few days. Some of us here will have been elated at the news that we are going to be leaving the EU. We may feel thrilled that at last our views have been heard. Others may be pretty devastated….some have indeed spoken to me of a profound sense of loss…of feeling like exiles within their own land. Within this church community we will hold a range of views and a range of emotions. 

People on both sides of the referendum have expressed a creeping sense of fear now that the genie is well and truly out of the bottle now. David Cameron has resigned…..we await to see whether Boris Johnson or someone else will be the next (and presumably unelected Prime Minister). The labour leadership is looking distinctly shaky. It looks as if Scotland may vote to declare independence from England, Wales and Northern Ireland….the whole integrity of the EU is being called into question as other nations talk about the possibility of their referenda and there is there is the constant danger of the far right rising up. 

I think that the woeful campaigns by both Leave and Remain and the woeful behaviour since have allowed us to blame the ‘other’ without ever looking at ourselves. Race, religion, class and more have all played their part in the most unpleasant domestic political campaign most of us have ever witnessed.

Whatever our views on Thursday’s vote, these monumental changes are things that we desperately need to bring to God! 

God is still God! God is still sovereign and He is still in control! 

Echoing the words of Psalm 46 are the words of a song we sing to the Dambusters theme tune…..

God is our strength and refuge,

Our present help in trouble;

and we therefore will not fear,

though the earth should change!

Though mountains shake and tremble,

though swirling floods are raging,

God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!

 

God would say to each of us Peace…‘Be still and know that I AM God!’ 

I would ask that we be gentle with each other? Here in our church gathering, amongst our families, in our work places and our community. It would be easy to gloat in our referendum victory or rage like a spoilt child in our loss, but instead let’s seek to work together to influence the future of the UK so that it doesn’t become isolated and insular. So that we can exercise leadership in the world…so that we can build bridges and not walls, so that we can bring the values of heaven to earth……so that we can bring hope, compassion, justice, mercy and love to the places in this world where love is not!? The church has a key role to play in modelling transformative healing…..and we need to pray over the coming days, weeks and months that God helps us to do just that.

Slow Down My Beating Heart….

Last week, I had an investigatory procedure at hospital. I had been a little anxious about the day as I wasn’t quite sure what it would involve and whether I would need further ’work’ done. When the consultant walked in, it was a man that I knew. Our church organises long distance walks/adventure activities for the public. It was on one of these that I met the man who was now leaning over my hospital bed and talking me through what was about to happen. Whilst I’m sure that a stranger would have done the job just as well, I felt hugely reassured and grateful that it was someone that I knew. I felt a sense of peace and perhaps even an inner joy.

In preparation for the procedure, I had, for the previous few days, taken a daily vasodilator (to lower my pulse). The consultant said that this hadn’t had much effect, so he gave me some intravenous beta-blockers. Still my heart rate was too high for the procedure, so I was given a further shot to ‘slow down my beating heart.’ I won’t know the results for a week or two, but I was told that initial indications were positive. I was hugely thankful for this and felt a sense of joy.

The next day I had scheduled to have off work, so Andrew had booked a B & B at the last minute for me to recuperate. (Lots of Brownie points!!XXX ) The room was small, but clean and the bed was really comfy. Bliss! I was hugely grateful and had a deep sense of joy inside.

The next morning, my breakfast was yummy, but what really touched me was that the waitress said that if we wanted we could have our coffee outside on the patio. ‘Wonderful idea’ we thought and went out into the glorious September sunshine to drink our cafetière of coffee. The weather and the coffee on the patio felt like a grace gift from God. I was really grateful and felt a sense of joy.

We then went on to the RSPB reserve at Minsmere. I didn’t want or need a busy or super-active day, but at Minsmere I could slowly mosey around and just ‘be’ a part of nature. It was a beautiful peaceful wander. I was so thankful to be there and felt a sense of joy.

Finally in the evening, I had some extraordinarily delicious Thai food at a street café. In spite of the people sitting next to us being ‘a tad odd,’ it did nothing to ruin the evening. You see, I was so grateful for my food and I had this feeling inside – a sense of joy!

I noticed something wonderful in those two days….I found myself praying without even meaning to because I was so thrilled with God’s blessings…even the small ones like a comfy bed and a nice cup of coffee in the Autumn sunshine!

I’m not entirely sure why some of those things made me so much more thankful than usual and I don’t think it was entirely because of the medication! It has made me think though…..how can I cultivate a grateful, thankful heart in my every day life….even for the small things? Then, I will find myself praying without even trying and I am sure that I will have a greater sense of inner joy day by day!