June 1st-6th, 2020

Monday June 1st: A thought from Nicole McConkey

Many of us will have discovered things about themselves that they didn’t know during this pandemic. I’m hopeful that we’ve also learnt to be more present and aware of little things that are special to us. One such a thing for me has been scents and smells – it turns out they are really important to me! (Is it ironic that the loss of scent and taste is also a Covid symptom?) Fresh Basil, Elderflower blossoms, Lavender oil and the smell of fresh bread are some of my favourites these weeks. But there are also some scents and smells that give me headaches!
The Bible speaks about fragrant offerings, pleasing to God. As we enter a new week, I pray that what we say and do would indeed be a pleasing fragrant offering.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalm 19:14)

Tuesday June 2nd: A thought from Sandra Brower

Over the bank holiday weekend I sat on a ‘quick-fire questions’ panel fielding questions from seminar viewers at an online Christian festival. One of the main speakers spoke about embracing hopelessness. His overall argument was that hope is a middle class privilege. It is often used as an excuse to do nothing and it allows us to ignore the connection between privilege and poverty. The move towards liberation, he argued, comes from a place of desperation, from those with nothing to lose. To be hopeless is to reject easy fixes or answers. In these last few days, when issues of integrity have hit the headlines, the underlying message of these seminars keeps ringing in my ears: it’s so much harder to act rightly when you have skin in the game.

Wednesday June 3rd: A thought from Nicole McConkey

We have a little flower bed in the back garden that was completely overgrown. During lockdown I have endeavoured to transform it by planting flowers. But something else is popping up too: Horsetail -the most awful weed I have ever encountered. The roots connect underneath the ground, start growing shoots and daily (!) stick their heads out of the soil. So, I fight them, one shoot, one root at a time. It is hard, it makes me angry at times.

Prejudice & racisms can be like that too: Our lives might look fine at first sight. Maybe once in a while a thought, a judgement, a prejudice can show up in our thoughts or actions. I know it happens to me. It can be subtle. But I will continue to fight every shoot, every root coming up, repenting over it, seeking to humbly recognise the image of God in all human beings.

Thursday June 4th: A thought from Elizabeth McCulloch

After my retirement I decided to enrol on a pottery course, something I had always wanted to do.
Clay is not particularly attractive. It is grey, dull and uninteresting but I enjoyed working with it. Shaping, moulding, glazing and firing.

The excitement and anticipation as I waited for my first piece to be removed from the kiln! It was totally transformed from that dull piece of clay into something colourful and, to my inexpert eyes, quite beautiful.
It reminds me of the contemporary song ‘The Potter’s Hand’:
Take me, mould me, use me, fill me
I give my life to the Potter’s hand.

Friday June 5th: A thought from Nicole McConkey

Maybe today, these two verses from a song written by the Gaither Vocal Band (to the melody of ‘Be still my soul’) are some of the words that I struggle to find. Our world is so broken, but we follow the living Christ.  Lord, have mercy.

I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion.
I’ve been so loved, that I’ll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I’ll dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I’ll be there to care and follow through.

Your Kingdom come around and through and in me;
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name, O may I bear with honour,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honour,
And may You feed a hungry world through me

Saturday June 6th: A thought from Francine Brower

Many of you will remember that Andrew had us bring a rock to the Sunday service recently. MY rock came from a beach on Anglesey. During times when I really need to clear my mind, when anxiety weighs me down, nothing brings me more peace and calm than walking on a beach, collecting shells and dipping my toe in the water.  The sound of the waves gives a great background to the prayers of the heart.

I still have this rock on display in the lounge. It is a reminder of the cornerstone Andrew spoke of but it also takes my mind back to the beach, the sand, the water. I can’t go there right now but when life returns to the new normal I hope to dip my toe again and offer prayers of thanksgiving!

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