Poems, Prayers and Photos


  • Prayers from USPG
  • 'The Bright Field' R S Thomas
  • 'Out in the fields with God' Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • Prayer for the Christian community Barbara Glasson
  • 'Amen' Malcolm Guite
  • Mark 12
  • Prayer
  • '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

Prayers from USPG booklet Pray with the World Church


*****

God of yesterday, today and for ever, thank you that in you we may affirm our heritage and forge new paths.  Pour your blessing upon your church as we commemorate the past, seek your will in the present and lay our plans for the future before you.  Amen

*****

Christ the hope of glory, our praise is in the Gospel.  Help us to proclaim in word and deed the wholesome medicine of the Gospel with love and power to heal, in the name of Christ. Amen

*****

Loving God, we pray that through your grace and mercy, you may bring strength, consolation and peace to the thousands who have suffered and are yet suffering because of Covid-19 in the world,
Amen

*****

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; 
where there is hatred, let me sow love; 
where there is injury, pardon; 
where there is doubt, faith; 
where there is despair, hope; 
where there is darkness, light; 
and where there is sadness, joy. 
Amen

(after St Francis of Assisi)

*****

O God, make us faithful witnesses in the mission of your church.  Help us to seek justice, to work for healing and salvation of all. Renew and empower us with your Holy Spirit to build your kingdom on earth as in heaven. Amen

*****

Oh, God of peace and safety,

pour your peace on us.
Oh, God of peace,
grant peace in our hearts.

(from an Arabic hymn)

*****

God of Trinity, whose love extends to all your people, thank you that you bind us together in faith, hope and love.  Help us always to build one another up in faith, as we recognise your spirit in each person, individually made in your own image.
Amen

*****

Lord Jesus, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love.
Amen

*****

Creator God of Love, thanks you for the gift of life which we share with all creation.  Call us again to safeguard everything you have made for the earth and all its fullness is yours.
Amen

*****

Father of everlasting compassion, you see your children growing up in a world of inequality, greed and oppression; help them to learn from the mistakes of history, and to build a better world, where your values are shared by all. 
Amen

*****

Lord God of wilderness, wave and wind, you travel with the wanderers of the world.  Stay close, we pray, to all who live with loss, in terror, and adrift, and spur us on to build a world where there is truly room for all.
Amen
*****

Lord Jesus, you came among us homeless, and as a refugee. Shake our complacency, rekindle our compassion, and help us challenge our leaders to forge a common strategy that is both truly just and fair for all. 

Amen



The Bright Field


I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

R S Thomas

 


Out in the fields with God

The little 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.

The foolish 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.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


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


Amen


      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 be yea.

Oh bring me to that brink, that moment when
I see your full-eyed love and say Amen.

Malcolm Guite


"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.



Joy's photo

Photo by Joy


Spring


Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –         

   When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;         

   Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush         

Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring         

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;

   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush         

   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush         

With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.         

 

What is all this juice and all this joy?         

   A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning

In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,         

   Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,         

Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,         

   Most, O 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


Nr  Lindisfarne

On the St Cuthbert's Way pilgrimage



Pandemic

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.
 
Lynn Ungar 

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


Stream
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


Forest edge

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

Like a painting it is set before one,

But less brittle, ageless; these colours

Are renewed daily with variations

Of light and distance that no painter

Achieves or suggests.  Then there is movement,

Change, as lowly the cloud bruises

Are healed by sunlight, or snow caps

A black mood; but gold at evening

To cheer the heart.  All through history

The great brush has not rested,

Nor the paint dried; yet what eye,

Looking coolly, or, as we now,

Through the tears’ lenses, ever saw

This work and it was not finished?


R S Thomas

Trees



The Lamb

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.

William Blake

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 Cuthberts Cave

St Cuthbert's Cave, where it is reputed that St Cuthbert's coffin was hidden by monks to avoid a Viking raid.