I feel I need some sort of plan for the duration

For those of us who are used to fixed points of doing things during the week its going to feel strange and the temptation will be to drift from one activity to another. I keep wondering what day it is. Today is Wednesday. Normally I would be taking a service of communion at 9am followed by a school assembly and then an afternoon in another school. Or sometimes it would be different as parish demands push in BUT almost every day there is something for me to be at or needs to be done. I still have a long list of things to do, but the lack of appointments is sending me off balance. I think I will draw up a sort of timetable to at least aim at. I have committed (at least in my mind and with two of my church wardens, even if not publicly) to Facebook live prayer/reflection most days and an act of worship broadcast on Sunday. A daily walk is important too and yesterday I went out with my husband for a walk – which meant driving into some beautiful countryside and then home again – and it took up most of the afternoon. I felt guilty that I was skiving off work. I did some on my return. I am typing this first bit in my dressing gown at 8am having just had my first cup of tea, done a bit of Facebook, listened to an artist talk about poetry and coming to the conclusion that I need a framework for my days. This framework needs to include feeding my own Spirituality and creativity in order to be able to offer the kind of support to the church and wider community that will be needed in the coming weeks. So on that note, time for breakfast, 2nd cuppa and getting on with the day which will begin with my morning prayer time.

I shared the following prayer from Peterborough Cathedral on Facebook:

A prayer in lockdown

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 when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

“The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked.” (John 20.19)

As the day progressed I did finally draw up a sort of timetable for myself to follow each day – the times are approximate and I know I will need to be flexible. Writing up this blog is part of my routine and I will include my reflections in my evening Facebook prayer time.

Morning prayer left me feeling peaceful. Although i was going to go back to my usual practice of using my Daily Prayer book and the coming Sunday readings, I realised that it is The Annunciation – 9 months before Christmas Day and so the day that we remember Mary’s meeting with the angel. So I started again with the readings set for today.

I saw a picture by William Blake shared on Facebook. I like the idea of Mary being held in loving arms.

No photo description available.
“Then Mary burst forth into a song! she flowed like a river of Many streams in the arms of Joseph, and gave forth her tears of joy Like many waters, and emanating into gardens & palaces upon Euphrates…”

The Annunciation reminds me that Mary said “Yes” not knowing what lay ahead but trusting in God. she was held in his love by the Holy Spirit who came upon her and no doubt continued ot strengthen her for the days and months ahead. She was human, like us, and so an example of trusting obedience to God, and being supported by a loving man.

“Hail Mary, full of Grace, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” I do not continue those well known words and pray to Mary or ask for her prayers because I have Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 111 was particularly uplifting, and reminded me of my picture: “You have turned my mourning into dancing”.

The reading from Romans 5:12-21 was set on the first Sunday of Lent and so I was reminded of what I had preached then and the picture I had done in my prayer journal.

Prayer journal picture for first Sunday of Lent

I had continued with the theme of the tree of life the following week and that picture still stands by my prayer table to aid my reflections. I referred to it towards the end of the sermon on Mothering Sunday.

The Tree of Life

We are sustained by God through the Holy Spirit and the connection with Jesus who is –
the bread upon which we feed
the living water we drink
the tree of life of which we are branches, bearing fruit and which also has the leaves for the healing of the nations (as per the book of Revelation).

By the end of the morning prayer I felt uplifted and ready to face the rest of the day. I have done various bits of admin, updated the website and made a few pastoral phone calls. I have also had a lovely walk round my garden noticing the new growth on various plants. My after lunch walk by the River Dove was very pleasant in the sunshine and I reflected upon how blessed I am to live here.

I shared this reflection (minus the pictures due to technical hitch) at 5pm on one of my church’s Facebook pages. I ended with some prayers from the Northumbrian Community daily office, which for copyright reasons I had better not reproduce here. But here’s the link to their website for you to look for yourself. https://www.northumbriacommunity.org/offices/how-to-use-daily-office/

May God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you and give you His peace.

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