'Out in the fields with God' Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Prayer for the Christian community Barbara Glasson
'Amen' Malcolm Guite
'Spring' Gerard Manley Hopkins
'Gateway to God' Simone Weil
'Considerations' Hubert van Zeller
'Pandemic' Lynn Ungar
'The Imitation of Christ' Thomas a Kempis
'Lockdown' a reflection Brother Richard Hendrick
Prayer for a Pandemic
'View from the Window' R S Thomas
'The Lamb' William Blake
'The Shepherd' William Blake
Out in the fields with God
cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds that play,
Among the lowing of the herd,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.
fears of what might pass
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay,
Among the hushing of the corn,
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born —
Out in the fields with God.
For the Christian community
We are not people of fear: we are people of courage. We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours' safety. We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity. We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs. For as long as it takes wherever you call us.
Barbara Glasson President of the Methodist Conference
When will I ever learn to say Amen, Really assent at last to anything? For now my hesitations always bring Some reservation in their trail, and then Each reservation brings new hesitations; All my intended amens just collapse In an evasive mumble: well, perhaps, Let me consider all the
implications . . .
But you can read my heart, I hear you say: For once be present to me, I am here, Breathe in the perfect love that
casts out fear Open your heart and let your yea
Oh bring me to that brink, that moment when
I see your full-eyed love and say Amen.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30,31)
For all whose day starts with anxiety, as they leave the security of home worrying about the risk of infection; particularly those whose health or age classifies them as vulnerable. Loving God, be close, keep them safe, along with all whose tasks today includes the care of frail and elderly. And for all of us, grant wisdom to make sensible choices, not just for ourselves, but for everybody.
Photo by Joy
Nothing is so
beautiful as Spring –
weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and
eggs look little low heavens, and
Through the echoing
timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes
like lightnings to hear him sing;
glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they
descending blue; that blue is all in a
With richness; the
racing lambs too have fair their
What is all this
juice and all this joy?
of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. –
Have, get, before it
it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with
Innocent mind and
Mayday in girl and boy,
maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
The virtue of hope is an orientation of the soul towards a transformation after which it will be wholly and exclusively love.
Gateway to God: Simone Weil
Anything that is found to stimulate hope should be seized upon and made to serve. This applies to a book, a film, a broadcast, or a conversation with someone who can impart it.
Considerations: Hubert van Zeller
On the St Cuthbert's Way pilgrimage
What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down.
And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart. Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You could hardly deny it now.) Know that our lives are in one another’s hands. (Surely, that has come clear.) Do not reach out your hands. Reach out your heart. Reach out your words. Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love– for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live.
The patient man is already experiencing a deep and healthful purging. When he receives an injury, he is more distressed for the other's unkind thought than for the hurt he has received; he gladly prays for those who put obstacles in his path, forgives others their faults from his heart, and is not slow in seeking their forgiveness. He is more ready to feel pity for others than anger, but his own feelings he often treats roughly, and he tries to keep his natural impulses obedient to his spirit.
The Imitation of Christ: Thomas a Kempis
On the St Cuthbert's Way
Lockdown – a reflection by Brother Richard Hendrick OFM Cap
Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way All over the world people are waking up to a new reality To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To Love. So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.
Brother Richard Hendrick, 13 March 2020
On the St Cuthbert's Way
Prayer for a Pandemic
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home, remember those who have no work.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close, remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market, remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home, remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. Amen.
The View from the Window
painting it is set before one,
brittle, ageless; these colours
daily with variations
Of light and
distance that no painter
suggests. Then there is movement,
lowly the cloud bruises
by sunlight, or snow caps
mood; but gold at evening
To cheer the
heart. All through history
brush has not rested,
paint dried; yet what eye,
coolly, or, as we now,
tears’ lenses, ever saw
and it was not finished?
R S Thomas
Little Lamb who made thee Dost thou know who made thee Gave thee life & bid thee feed, By the stream & o'er the mead; Gave thee clothing of delight, Softest clothing wooly bright; Gave thee such a tender voice, Making all the vales rejoice: Little Lamb who made thee Dost thou know who made thee
Little Lamb I'll tell thee, Little Lamb I'll tell thee; He is called by thy name For he calls himself a Lamb: He is meek & he is mild, He became a little child: I a child & thou a lamb, We are called by his name. Little Lamb God bless thee Little Lamb God bless thee.
You may like to listen to The Lamb, set to music by the late John Tavener, available on YouTube, sung by The Sixteen.
The Shepherd How sweet is the Shepherd's sweet lot! From the morn to the evening he strays; He shall follow his sheep all the day, And his tongue shall be filled with praise. For he hears the lamb's innocent call, And he hears the ewe's tender reply; He is watchful while they are in peace, For they know when their Shepherd is nigh. William Blake
St Cuthbert's Cave, where it is reputed that St Cuthbert's coffin was hidden by monks to avoid a Viking raid.