Shared during May and June 2020...
A response to Sunday service 7th June and YouTube video
Hi all, what a lovely way to begin this Sunday morning. The entire content plus the messages included all good to read and soak up.
With regards to Caroline’s reading about agreeing with one another it made me stop for a moment and think on it.
From my own experience (one of my warts) when I have heard a story or bit of gossip, when I have been very unaccepting of another persons opinions, it has often festered and as a rule those negative feelings of upset, anger sometimes, disappointments have grown from an ant hill into a mountain. Therefore following our teachings today, if and when I feel there is a problem brewing between someone and myself (I Hope very few and far between), I am going to try and talk to whoever is involved, bite the bullet and clear the air.
Thank you Team St.Andrews
Please be kind 💖
As governments are trying to figure out how to ease back into a new normal, please remember:
🛑 Some people don’t agree with the suggested reopening.... that’s okay. Be kind.
🏡 Some people are still planning to stay at home.... that’s okay. Be kind.
🦠 Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening....
that’s okay. Be kind.
💰 Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may possibly save their business or their homes....that’s okay. Be kind.
👩🏾⚕️Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off....that’s okay. Be kind.
📝 Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job....that’s okay. Be kind.
😷 Some will wear masks for weeks....that’s okay. Be kind.
💅🏻 Some people will rush out to get the hair or nails done.... that’s okay. Be kind.
❤️ The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be kind.
We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home. But be kind.
If you need to go out, just respect others when in public and be kind!
Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story.
We all are in different Financial and mental states than we were months ago.
So remember, be kind.
A letter to St. Andrews from Canada.
"How are you coping?", "What are you doing ?" people ask me. First, I feel connected to St Andrews although we are across the Atlantic. With the Wednesday morning prayer service online, I see the other side of the choir stalls, discussing what hymn we are to sing. And on Sundays us all sitting in rows and the coffee percolating beforehand. I go around the room in my prayers, connected.
"How do you pray?", "What do you do?", "How do you keep going?" are questions people ask me. Well the short answer is sometimes I don’t. Like others, I end up in a heap on the floor and I tell myself its OK. When I dust myself off and get up again I revert to tried and tested patterns that work for me. First I need structure. To begin with, in lock-down, I felt I was drifting with no sense of purpose. I made a daily list which starts with prayer, meditation, breakfast and fitness. I learned the hard way that prayer life needs to be intentional. With my routine disrupted, my prayer space mentally and physically eroded, I went back to my wardrobe and prayed each morning. That’s right I pray in my closet. We have a small walk in closet with a sky light window. I put a comfortable chair in the middle space and prayed. I have my icon on the top of the chest of drawers and I sit sometimes with my computer listening to on-line services and prayers. Sometimes I do my own thing and occasionally I have prayer books, Canadian, Australian and English sitting at my side for inspiration and when completely bereft of creativity I have my day-book with prayers at the back.
"Why are you praying in a closet when you have all this space?" people asked me. I came out of my closet but it’s not the same. When people walk past they know what I am doing. They do not interrupt. It’s a small secure space away from distraction and it becomes habit. Get up. Get read. Go to wardrobe. It works for me.
Another prayer I do is the Jesuit examen prayers. Not that I have used that for some time. Each evening I reflect on what I have done that day, ask where have I found the face of God in the day, and give thanks for the day in preparation for the next day. When I do this regularly it puts me in a place of gratitude and God is in my mind throughout the day in order to reflect in the evening. It’s a heightened awareness of Gods presence. There are many versions and you may want to look them up to see if it works for you. Here is mine https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/examen-prayer-card/
Gratitude comes from giving. As a spiritual director I am seeing a few people on social media. There is a constant feeling of gratitude for me as I find myself in the presence of the spirit. The ignorance, stupidity and greed of the media are pushed to the background as I see people out there of all faiths and none, reaching out to each other, The presence of God is in there midst.
"What do you pray?" I’m asked. Lots of different things. I do not have a set pattern or time. I sit, close my eyes, imagine the world in my mind and I pray where my brain stops to pray. After about 10 minutes I think that’s enough and open my eyes. Sometimes its longer, sometimes its shorter. Prayer has no hard and fast rules. In my formal morning prayer, I often say the Lord’s Prayer. The last section “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.” reminds me it’s not about me, my ego. It’s about God.
Also, my spirituality is not always confined to my closet. I have had what could be termed mystical experiences out and about in the world, in quiet desolate places and crowded noisy shopping malls (pre-covid). Sometimes it’s a short conversation with a stranger or the bus driver. Though my morning meditations help me listen to God. And in listening I ask what am I meant to do? How shall I respond in a loving Christian way? A question I asked at the beginning of this lock-down. I normally visit seafarers at the Hamilton port. I am a chaplain with the mission to seafarers. Of course, we’re in lock-down so that’s out. It occurred to me that I am in a privileged position with a large retail space closed and fifty acres of land, I could intentionally self-isolate without too much hardship and it would be one less person in contact with others. Because I was available and not turning off my phone and computer to dash off to the next committee meeting, planning event or staff crises, people began to contact me for a chat, others wanting more depth and a few asked for spiritual direction. May be this is my purpose at this time? In giving, I receive back, keeping me in gratitude. I believe that Spirituality is personal and is in constant flux unlike the ever presence consistency of God. What works for me may not work for you. Listen. And if you want to chat, vent, pray or talk about more serious stuff, contact me. I have most social media platforms except 'WhatAppp', and remember I am on eastern standard time and don’t do well in the early hours of the morning. Take care, stay safe and eat cake. (not too much though)
Shared during March and April 2020
still brooding over the world -
We hear the cry of the earth,
we see the sorrow of the land
raped and plundered by our greed
for its various resources.
We hear the cry of the waters,
we see the sorrow of stream and ocean
polluted by poisons
we release into them.
We hear the cry of the animals,
we see the sorrow of bird, fish and beast
needlessly suffering and dying
to serve our profit or sport or vanity.
Please teach us
a proper sensitivity
towards your feeling creation
a proper simplicity
in the way we live in our environment
a proper appreciation
of the connectedness of all things
a proper respect
for the shalom of the universe.
We turn from our arrogant ways
to seek you again, creator of all life.
Redeem us – and redeem your world
and heal its wounds and dry its tears.
May our response to you bear fruit
in a fresh sense of responsibility
towards everything you have created.
A lovely illustration sent by Caroline McFarlane
Liz Pollard found this on a site from Skipton, Yorkshire and thought it was really thought provoking, so sent it to her daughter who is a teacher. At the time she was balancing teaching some children in class, while others were at home learning via a Web link. She liked it too, and it inspired her to ask her 11 year old pupils to write their own poems about how they feel at the moment with what’s going on in the world. Perhaps we’ll get to read some of their work some time….
No ones told the daffodils about the pause to Spring
And no ones told the birds to or ask them not to sing
No ones asked the lazy Bee to cease his bumbling round
And no ones stopped the bright green shoots emerging from the ground
No ones told the sap to rest, deep within the wood
And stop the sleeping trees from waking wreathed about in bud
No ones told the sky douse its brightest shades of blue
And stop the scudding clouds from puffing headlong into view
No ones asked the lambs to still the springs beneath their feet
To stop their rapid rush and quell each joyful bleat
No ones told the stream to halt its gurgle or its flow
No ones asked the raindrops not to fall upon the earth
And fail to quench the soil in the season of rebirth
No ones locked the sun down, or dimmed the shimmer of the moon
And even in the darkest night the stars are still immune
Remember what you value, remember who is dear
Close the doors to danger and keep your family near
In the quiet all around us take time to sit and stare
And wonder at the glory unfurling everywhere
Look towards the future, after the ordeal
And keep faith in mother natures power and will to heal.
To all at St Andrews...what a testing time this has been and the not knowing how long we are going to be in lockdown..There are so many people out there to be thanking for their help as the virus has taken hold..God bless them for their bravery. For ourselves within the Chaplaincy,as I sit around doing nothing, I know there are people working hard to keep us United, thank you,i am sure from us all. However,I need to say to Fr Nigel and to Sue Brown,thank you so much for all you are doing , as the days & weeks go by you are giving us such pleasure out of the horror that is Coronavirus..God Bless each and everyone of us ,and keep safe.......Sheila Allison.
I would like to share this beautiful Irish prayer/song with you ( I was born and raised in Liverpool so 3/4 Irish). This prayer has helped me through many difficult periods in life. Its seems very appropriate for our chaplaincy during these worrying times.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until WE MEET AGAIN
MAY GOD HOLD YOU in the palm of his hands
With a hug from Pauline Hulme (Calahonda)
On this very dark and dismal morning I went through the Sunday Service again.
Joined in the singing with the Hymns on Youtube. Took the time (which we all have) to read all the poems on the web site.
What a wonderful Chaplaincy family we have. I do believe God will keep us safe until we emerge at the end as better more thoughtful people.
Take care of each other.
Love Joan GS
People do sometimes doubt their faith because their prayers have not been answered.
It can take a day, a week, a month, years or even a life time.!!
Because I am one of the older communicates, I am able to speak from many years of personal experience.
Just believe and never doubt!
Sent by Jen Sutton....
The other morning I was eating my regular breakfast of porridge with a yogurt, banana, fresh raspberries and blueberries. I’m told it’s healthy as blueberries are very high in antioxidants to help keep us clear from heart disease and cancer, so we go through a fair few kilos in the year!
However, one morning, much to my surprise, I found one of my blueberries had a number on it. No doubt, this number is a batch number or a grower number, but I can’t imagine the engineering behind such a machine that can pick out one berry and write the number on the side in tiny numbers.
But it made me think of Jesus encouraging his disciples as he was sending them out to a potentially worrying situation. They were sent out to heal the sick and to cast out demons so they were likely to meet some lively opposition but Jesus was was encouraging them not to be afraid of those they would come up against. Matthew tells us what Jesus said in chapter 10 and verse 30 of his gospel, he told them “Even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid...” (You can read more about this in Matthew Chapter 10 )
In this time of crisis, we would be foolish to not be careful and cautious when we go outside our home and we would not be alone to admit we are anxious about the future, but these words should surely comfort us to not be afraid.
Elsewhere in Psalm 121 we are told God knows “ our going out and our coming in”. In other words, He knows us and He loves us and looks over us.
Just as that little blueberry is numbered, so are the hairs on our head. We are not an anonymous number, like Patrick MacGoohan in The Prisoner when he railed against his captors, (“I am not a number”), rather we are known to God as a parent knows their children.
So let us also be encouraged. Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 10 v29 :
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. .......... (v31) So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many
It was Harold Wilson who allegedly said that ‘a week is a long time in politics’. In these recent momentous days, it looks as if that should be reduced to five minutes.
In the space of a very short time, life has been turned upside-down. Work, school, family life, daily routines, leisure activities, as well as that number one pastime – shopping – have changed for all of us, almost overnight.
It’s easy to see why our nation – nay, our world – is uneasy.
You may feel it yourself, identify it in friends and colleagues, or see it reflected in your social media feeds.
We’re experiencing what theologian David Ford has called ‘multiple overwhelmings’.
Whether personally, professionally, or politically, it’s one thing to have a single event that knocks us off our feet.
But what if the knocks continue to come thick and fast?
Is it any wonder we’re confused, anxious, distrustful, and fearful?
In all this, though, shafts of light manage to break through – the neighbours forming WhatsApp groups to support people in their street, the already-exhausted NHS workers coming in for the next shift, the rainbows in windows of houses saying more than the occupants of those homes perhaps know about the commitment of God to his creation.
They’re all traces of grace, showing something of a refusal to be shaped by the prevailing culture, which Christians of all people should understand.
Because while some ‘overwhelmings’ wound and crush us, others are life-giving and transformative.
As David Ford says, the wisest way to cope is ‘not to expect to be in control of everything’, but ‘to live amidst the overwhelmings’ in a way that lets one of them shape the others.
During this period of Lent, Christians remember that Christ himself embodied ‘multiple overwhelmings’ – baptised in the Jordan, driven into the wilderness, tempted by the devil.
Then, at the climax of his life, betrayed, deserted, tortured, crucified.
But, as Ford writes, ‘then came the resurrection, the most disorienting and transformative overwhelming of all’.
Given that death-and-resurrection pattern, what would it look like at this time to be overwhelmed with an assurance of God’s love?
Overwhelmed with gratitude?
Overwhelmed by generosity?
Overwhelmed by a commitment to pray?
Overwhelmed by a desire to see others thrive, even if it comes at our expense?
Given the resources available to us in the gospel, what might we be overwhelmed by today?
Sent in from Lesley Berridge who runs Age Care in Calahonda
This beautiful prayer was written by an Italian priest who is self-isolating at the moment and very sadly lost his own brother a few days ago to Covid-19...
I'm staying at home, Lord!
I'm staying at home, Lord! And today, I realise, you taught me this, remaining obedient to the Father, for thirty years in the house of Nazareth, waiting for the great mission.
I stay at home, Lord, and in Joseph's studio, your keeper and mine, I learn to work, to obey, to round the corners of my life and prepare you a work of art.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And I know that I am not alone because Mary, like any mother, is in the next room, doing chores and preparing lunch for all of us, God's family.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And I do it responsibly for my own good, for the health of my city, for my loved ones, and for the good of my brother, whom you have put beside me, asking me to take care of him in the garden of life.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And in the silence of Nazareth, I pledge to pray, to read, study, meditate, be useful for small jobs, in order to make our home more beautiful and more welcoming.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And in the morning, I thank you for the new day you give me, trying not to spoil it and welcome it with wonder, as a gift and an Easter surprise.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And at noon I will receive the greeting of the angel, I will make myself useful for love, in communion with you who have made you flesh to live among us; and, tired of the journey, thirsty, I will meet you at Jacob's well, and thirsty for love on the Cross.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And if the evening takes me melancholy, I will invoke you like the disciples of Emmaus: stay with us, the evening has arrived and the sun sets.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And in the night, in communion of prayer with the many sick, the lonely and all the caregivers, I will wait for the dawn to sing your mercy again and tell everyone that, in the storms, you have been my refuge.
I'm staying at home, Lord! And I don't feel alone and abandoned, because you told me: I'm with you every day. yes, and especially in these days of confusion, O Lord, in which, if my presence is not necessary, I will reach everyone,
only with the wings of prayer. Amen.
(with thanks to Redemptorist Publications)
My Forever Friend ( one of my favorites to sing )
Here is one verse and chorus of three
By Charlie Landsborough
A Christian, Country singer
Everybody needs a little help sometimes
No one stands alone
Makes no difference if you’re just a child like me
Or a king upon a throne
For there are no exceptions we all stand in the line
Everybody needs a friend
Let me tell you of MINE
He’s my forever friend
My leave me never friend
From darkest nights to rainbows end
He’s my forever friend
Sent from Pauline Hulme (Calahonda)
Following the sudden and unexpected death of our dear friend Betty Frost, a Service of Thanksgiving will be held at Los Boliches after the lockdown period has ended and we are able to gather for worship once more. The date and time will be arranged when it is possible for members of Betty’s family to travel and is convenient for them to attend.
An Easter Blessing for you:
May the risen Lord Jesus
Bless you with
His compassionate Love
His perfect Peace
His abiding Presence
His faithful Friendship
His gentle Grace
And His saving Strength
And by the power of
His eternal Spirit
All these in your life
This Easter time
Lovely poem sent by Thea Jenkins
In a time of distance
The unexpected always happens in the way
The unexpected has always occurred:
While we are doing something else,
While we are thinking of altogether
Different things – matters that events
Then show to be every bit as unimportant
As our human concerns so often are;
And then, with the unexpected upon us,
We look at one another with a sort of surprise;
How could things possibly turn out this way
When we are so competent, so pleased
With the elaborate systems we’ve created –
Networks and satellites, intelligent machines,
Pills for every eventuality – except this one?
And so we turn again to face one another
And discover those things
We had almost forgotten,
But that, mercifully, are still there:
Love and friendship, not just for those
To whom we are closest, but also for those
Whom we do not know and of whom
Perhaps we have in the past been frightened;
The words brother and sister, powerful still,
Are brought out, dusted down,
Found to be still capable of expressing
What we feel for others, that precise concern;
Joined together in adversity
We discover things we had put aside:
Old board games with obscure rules,
Books we had been meaning to read,
Letters we had intended to write,
Things we had thought we might say
But for which we never found the time;
And from these discoveries of self, of time,
There comes a new realisation
That we have been in too much of hurry,
That we have misused our fragile world,
That we have forgotten the claims of others
Who have been left behind;
We find that out in our seclusion,
In our silence; we commit ourselves afresh,
We look for a few bars of song
That we used to sing together,
A long time ago; we give what we can,
We wait, knowing that when this is over
A lot of us – not all perhaps – but most,
Will be slightly different people,
And our world, though diminished,
Will be much bigger, its beauty revealed afresh
Alexander McCall Smith published 19th March