Monday April 27th, a thought from Nic Healer
‘Blessèd are those who mourn, for they will be comforted’ Matt 5:4
We have been blessed with a whole array of emotions, and I think not without reason. It’s easy to think that some of our emotions are bad, sadness and anger are to be moved on, rather than felt, but right now I am reminded of Jesus in the garden, mourning his own situation, giving us permission, in the name of being Christlike, to mourn our own. I am reminded that it’s okay to not be okay.
Embrace your sadness and your anger at your situation, because they are there to be felt. It does not mean that tomorrow we will be happy or content here, but it does mean that we are Christlike. And there is hope, because, like Jesus in the Garden, that God is still with us even when we are mourning.
Tuesday April 28th, a thought from Andrew Graystone
I can remember a sugar shortage in 1974 when I was a teenager, and a brief period of petrol rationing in 1973. I now need to add the great toilet roll crisis of 2020. All were minor inconveniences, almost completely caused by panic buying. In contrast, our current house-guest is from Ethiopia. He knows what it is to have nothing, and when we sit down to eat together, his prayers of thanks are heartfelt.
Shortages do several things for us: they make us conscious of the privilege of plenty; they challenge us to be generous; they remind us that we are dependent on God for everything we need.
In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to “give us this day our daily bread.” It is an echo of the children of Israel, wandering in the wilderness. They were given just enough food for each day, in the form of manna that fell from heaven. God didn’t let them down then, and he won’t now. But perhaps God also wants to remind us again to depend on God.
Wednesday April 29th, a thought from Sandra Brower
I spent part of the weekend in the garden, pruning our weeping willows (a task I look forward to each Spring) and doing some general tidying up. As I pottered, I took notice of the perennials that were coming to life again, the new green shoots pushing through to displace last year’s dead foliage. Since lock-down could last several more weeks, I decided to plant some ‘cut and come again’ lettuce.
To rejuvenate the soil in the pot I was using, I opened up the bottom of our composter. A few spadefuls revealed hundreds of tiny worms, busily at work, deep down in the dark, and also those bits that hadn’t yet broken down fully – avocado peels and eggshells. It seemed an apt metaphor for the slow, steady hand of God, working patiently away in the deep, sometimes darker corners of my life. Some of those corners have been miraculously re-made, ready to aid fertile growth. And some still have a ways to go…
Thursday April 30th, a thought from Francine Brower
I recently heard a quote from a German poet, Bertolt Brecht:
‘In the dark times, will there also be singing?’
April 2020 is a dark time. We are separated from friends and family, we have anxiety over the daily statistics ever before us. Fear, grief and loss seem to surround us. But in the midst of this we hear singing, clapping and stories of recovery. We hear of sacrifices, selfless giving and communities coming together. We see musicians on balconies, fundraising by the very young and the very old and Christ being lifted up by Zoom.
Our church family gatherings are different, yes, but our hearts are touched as we sing and praise in the dark times.
Friday May 1st, a thought from David McCulloch
These days I’m working in 30 degree heat. Sometimes it hits 35. Have I fled the country, gone to the Med? No, though that’s sounds tempting.
Instead, I’m making a small investment in the future. It’s seed planting time! The greenhouse, the scene of many gardening failures and a few successes, is my sauna. The seeds of Cosmos (Lemonade), Zinnia (Candy Mix) and others, are teased from their envelopes and scattered over the finely sieved compost.
Some are so tiny, like the clippings of a fingernail. Others, almost impossible to pick up. I pause to look at them. How can these develop into what is shown on the packet? I don’t know. However, in the meantime, I plant, water and feed them and, when the risk of frost has passed, I put them in the garden.
The lockdown may be a good time to ‘plant seeds’. Nurturing relationships with God and people. Investing in the future in small but significant ways through renewing contacts, completing projects, planting seeds.
I planted the seed … but God has been making it grow.
I Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)
Saturday May 2nd, a thought from Steve Birkinshaw
Be patient … hmm!
At home we’ve been doing a jigsaw, actually it’s our third in these weeks. What I like about jigsaws – and what also frustrates me – is there are no short-cuts. No matter how much I want to jump forward a few hundred pieces, there’s nothing for it but putting in the work. It certainly teaches patience, which can be an uncomfortable lesson to learn. In Ephesians 4 we’re advised to be patient – actually we’re told to ‘be patient with one another’ (it’s all about unity, really). Home-schooling certainly presents challenges with patience! Sometimes … often … we need to be reminded to be patient – with each other, with the pace of coming out of social distancing, and in life. God, may your Holy Spirit enable us to be people of patience. Amen.