Thought for the month

Holy Week

Saturday 16 April
Holy Saturday

I have no cause to linger
beside this place of death,
no reason to keep vigil
where life has left,
and yet I cannot go,
cannot bring myself
to cleave myself from here,
I can only pray
that this waiting
might yet be a blessing
and this grieving
yet a blessing
and this stone
yet a blessing
and this silence
yet a blessing still.

Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace

Friday 15 April
Good Friday

This day
let all stand still
in silence,
in sorrow.
Sun and moon
be still.
be still.
the waters.
the wind.

Let the ground
gape in stunned
Let it weep
as it receives
what it thinks
it will not
give up.
Let it groan
as it gathers
the One
who was thought
forever stilled.
be still.
and wait.

Jan Richardson, from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Thursday 14 April
Maundy Thursday

whose feet were caressed
with perfume and a woman’s hair;
you humbly took basin and towel
and washed the feet of your friends.
Wash us also in your tenderness
as we touch one another:
that, embracing your service freely,
we may accept no other bondage
in your name. Amen.

Janet Morley

Wednesday 13 April

“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”

Matthew 26:14–16

Today, we reflect on Judas betraying you.
You invested countless hours in that relationship. He was part of the core twelve disciples.
You brought him close, knowing the pain that he would inflict on you.
So, we take time to pause today because we come face to face with the Judas in us.

Our consumerism begs what’s in it for us.
Our pride makes us the captain of our ship.
Our sin leads us away from you.

Father, forgive us.
Create in us clean hearts.
Purify our motives and desires.
We are beggars for your grace and mercy.

Peter Englert

Tuesday 12 April

Jesus before Pilate

The very air that Pilate breathes, the voice with which he speaks in judgment, all his powers of perception and discrimination, choice, decision, all his years, his days and hours, his consciousness of self, his every sense, are given by this prisoner, freely given.

The man who stands there making no defence, is God. His hands are tied, His heart is open. And he bears Pilate’s heart in his and feels that crushing weight of wasted life. He lifts it up in silent love. He lifts and heals. He gives himself again with all his gifts into our hands. As Pilate turns away a door swings open. This is judgment day.

Malcolm Guite

Monday 11 April

The anointing at Bethany

The place smelt like the perfume department of a big store.
It was as if somebody had bumped their elbow against a bottle and sent it crashing to the floor, setting off the most expensive stink bomb on earth.
But in happened in a house not a shop.
And the woman who broke the bottle was no casual afternoon shopper.
She was the penniless poorest of the poor,
giving away the only precious thing she had.
Jealousy was in the air when a poor woman’s
generosity became an embarrassment to their tight-fistedness …

Stages on The Way, Iona

Sunday 10 April
Palm Sunday

Ride on, ride on in majesty

… over the broken glass of our world,
the rumours meant to hurt,
the prejudice meant to wound,
the weapons meant to kill,
ride on …
trampling our attempts at disaster into dust.

Ride on, ride on in majesty

… over the distance
which separates us from you,
measurable in half-truths,
in unkept promises,
in second-best obedience,
ride on …
until you touch and heal us,
who feel for no one but ourselves.

Ride on, ride on in majesty

… for in your company and at your side,
we might yet help to bandage and heal
the wounds of the world.

Ride on, ride on in majesty,
and take us with you. Amen

This sequence of daily readings or prayers for the sixth week of Lent was compiled by Rev Dr Michael Paterson using materials written by him and drawn from a variety of sources. You can download a printable version of the week’s sequence at this link.

This is the night of intimacy
when a young man in Jerusalem
gathers friends around him
to share a meal
a last supper
in an upper room.

This will be another night
of enforced intimacy
as the young and old of Ukraine
strangers thrown together by fate
meet in bunkers and trenches,
gym halls and refugee camps
to eat a meal
not knowing if it is their last.

This is the night
when the Lord of the Universe
stoops low
divests himself of power
removes his outer garment
and washes disciples feet.

This is the night like others of late
when people thrown together
by the need to survive
reach deep within themselves
shed their differences
and do whatever it takes
to help each other make it through.

This is the night
when Mary’s Son
takes bread
blesses it
breaks it and shares it:
his body given for the life of the world.

This is the night
when the sons and daughters of Ukraine
are taken
without blessing
broken and shared without consent:
their bodies offered
for the freedom of the nation.

This is the night
when promises are kept and broken
when disciples show their true colours,
when a kiss leads to betrayal
when intimacy is undone.

This is the night
for silence
for keeping vigil
for staying awake
for watching not to be put to the test.

This is the night
when darkness makes sin possible.

This is the night
whose dawn cannot come soon enough.

Blessèd are those
whose feet are washed
and blessed those who wash them!

Blessèd are those
whose bodies are broken
and blessed those who tend them!

Blessèd are those who stay awake
and blessed are those who sleep
in hope of Resurrection.

This reflection by Rev Dr Michael Paterson was shared at our Maundy Thursday eucharist.

This week as we enter Passiontide we meditate on the psalms. We pray them with the people of Ukraine and with all people of good will across the world.

Saturday 9 April

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul longs after You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
When shall I come and appear in God’s presence?

My tears have been my food
both day and night,
while people ask all day long,
“Where is your God?”

I say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why must I walk in sorrow
because of the enemy’s oppression?”

Like the crushing of my bones,
my enemies taunt me,
while they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why the unease within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 42

Friday 8 April

Your hand rescued me.
Your balm soothed me.
Your peace encompassed me.
You found me.

Your healing love weaves
the tattered pieces of my life
into a garment of joy.

You gave me life.
How may I repay you but to live it
– joyfully, gratefully,
sharing the love that has made me whole,
singing of your goodness
in the land of the living,
and dying in peace when my time comes
– the Shema on my lips?

You are my God, you alone!

Psalm 116, Carla A. Grosch-Miller

Thursday 7 April

In the echoing abyss I call out:
No God of compassion hears my voice.
Yet still I pray, Open your heart,
For my tears well up within me.

The litany of lament grows loud and long:
The pulse of faith grows weak.

Suspended between one world and the next,
I waited for you, my God.
Apprehension and hope struggled within me,
I waited, I longed for your word.

The litany of lament grows loud and long:
The pulse of faith grows weak.

As the night watch waits for the morning,
Through the darkest and coldest of seasons,
More even than those who peer through the gloom
I hope for the dawn, I yearn for the light.

The litany of lament grows loud and long:
The pulse of faith grows stronger once more.

Psalm 130, Jim Cotter

Wednesday 6 April

Praise be to the Lord,
for he showed me the wonders of his love
when I was in a city under siege.

In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.

Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
but the proud he pays back in full.

Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord

Psalm 31.21–24

Tuesday 5 April

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and body with grief.

My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.

I am forgotten as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.

I hear many whispering,
“Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
and plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.

Psalm 31.7–15

Monday 4 April

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.

Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.

Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.

Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

Psalm 31.1–5

Sunday 3 April
Passion Sunday

Gracious Father,
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Church of England Collect for Passion Sunday

This sequence of daily readings or prayers for the fifth week of Lent was compiled by Rev Dr Michael Paterson using materials written by him and drawn from a variety of sources. You can download a printable version of the week’s sequence at this link.

Saturday 2 April

To be a Mother is to be
the first voice listened to,
and the first disregarded;
to be a Mender of broken creations,
and Comforter of distraught children
whose hands wrought them.

To be a Mother is to be a Touchstone
and the Source,
Bestower of names,
Influencer of identities;
Life giver,
Life shaper,
Original Love.

Ever-giving and self-emptying God,
thank you for every way in which
you are a Mother to us. Amen.

Friday 1 April

To be a Mother is to be accused of sentimentality one moment,
and injustice the next.
To be the Receiver of endless demands,
Absorber of perpetual complaints,
Reckoner of bottomless needs.

To be a Mother is to be an Artist;
a Keeper of memories past,
Weaver of stories untold,
Visionary of lives looming ahead.
Mothering God,
thank you for knitting us together.

Thursday 31 March

To be a Mother is to be vulnerable—
to be misunderstood,
railed against,
for the heartaches of bewildered children
who don’t know where else to cast
the angst they feel
over their own existence
in this perplexing universe.

To be a Mother is to hoist onto your hips those on whom your image is imprinted,
bearing the burden of their weight,
rejoicing in their returned affection,
delighting in their wonder,
bleeding in the presence of their pain.

Mothering God,
thank you for bearing our suffering.

Wednesday 30 March

To be a Mother is to weep over the fighting and exclusions and wounds your children inflict on one another;

To long for reconciliation and—when all is said and done—to gather all parties, the offender and the offended, into the folds of your embrace and to whisper in their ears that they are Beloved.

Mothering God,
thank you for your reconciling love.

Tuesday 29 March

To be a Mother is to suffer;
to travail in the dark,
stretched and torn,
exposed in half-naked humiliation,
subjected to indignities
for the sake of new life.

To be a Mother is to say,
This is my body, broken for you,
and, in the next instant,
in response to primal hunger,
This is my body, take and eat.

Mothering God,
thank you for your selfless love.

Monday 28 March

Mothering God, you gave me birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath,
you are my rain, my wind, my sun.

Mothering Christ, you took my form,
offering me your food of light,
grain of life, and grape of love,
your very body for my peace.

Mothering Spirit, nurturing one,
in arms of patience hold me close,
so that in faith I root and grow
until I flower, until I know.

Sunday 27 March
Mothering Sunday

God of all, born into a family,
knowing the joys and tensions
that family life can bring,
grant to us your grace.
May hope be stronger than struggle,
may celebrations be more frequent than trials,
may kindness prevail over judgment,
may equality dissolve oppression,
may love break walls of hate.

Mothers’ Union Prayer for Mothering Sunday 2022

This sequence of daily readings or prayers for the fourth week of Lent was compiled by Rev Dr Michael Paterson using materials written by him and drawn from a variety of sources. You can download a printable version of the week’s sequence at this link.

Prayer in strange times

Saturday 26 March

This I know:
The steadfast love of the Lord
endures for ever
For those laughing
and for those weeping
The steadfast love of the Lord
endures for ever
For those who are paralysed by fear
And for those whose creativity is stirred
The steadfast love of the Lord
endures for ever
For those who have been this way before
And for those who are charting new territory
The steadfast love of the Lord
endures for ever

For those who crouch by the empty tomb
And for those who have already found
the folded grave clothes
The steadfast love of the Lord
endures for ever
May we hold one another
in that steadfast love

Liz Crumlish

Friday 25 March

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty
and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading.

Take down the dulcimer.
let the beauty we love
be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.

Rumi, 13th Century

Thursday 24 March

Loving God
As I enter the gift of a new day
On the edge
Out of my comfort zone

You are before me
Help me to be
To you
With you
For you.
Help me to be
To others
With others
For others.
Help me to be
To me
With me
For me.
In my desire to do so
I may glimpse you today.

Ewan Kelly

Wednesday 23 March

Ever present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when
all is unfamiliar,
that I may speak of your goodness
to a troubled world.

Lincoln Cathedral

Tuesday 22 March

‘Ideas hang on me like outsize clothes into which I still have to grow. My mind lags behind my intuition … [which] means that my mind … must sometimes work overtime in order to seize the various premonitions by their coat-tails. A host of concrete ideas keep clamouring for concrete formulation. I must stop and listen to myself, sound my own depths, eat well and sleep properly if I am to keep my balance … but alas, the emphasis these days is on speed, not on rest.’ Lord teach me to be still.

Etty Hillesum

Monday 21 March

You know that the only way
we’ll turn to you
is when we have exhausted
all of our resources
And even then,
we’ll have a go at you
railing at injustice
questioning your omnipotence

And still you wait
to gather us up
and soothe us
You sit with us
as we grieve our loss of control
You support us
as we seek to centre ourselves
You strengthen us
as we discover new ways
to be disciples
who listen
to your beloved Son
God may we be fast learners
so that we can lead others
into your light and love this day.

Liz Crumlish

Sunday 20 March
The Third Sunday of Lent

Jesus our brother,
who followed the necessary path
and was broken on our behalf.
May we neither cling to our pain
where it is futile,
nor refuse to embrace the cost
when it is required of us:
that in losing ourselves for your sake
we may be brought to new life. Amen.

Janet Morley, All Desires Known

This sequence of daily readings or prayers for the third week of Lent was compiled by Rev Dr Michael Paterson using materials written by him and drawn from a variety of sources. You can download a printable version of the week’s sequence at this link.

Coming up …
  • 10 July 2022 9:30 am Sung Eucharist
  • 10 July 2022 11:00 am Morning Worship
  • 17 July 2022 9:30 am Sung Eucharist
  • 17 July 2022 11:00 am Morning Worship

More details at this link


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