Despite the good news of the lockdown road map being released, giving us hope for an end to all this, it did trigger in me a great sadness. I had hoped that I might see my eldest daughter on Mothering Sunday as it is also her birthday (14th March). I didn’t see her last year on her birthday, which was a big one. If we lived closer, ie in the same area, then we could meet and have a birthday coffee on a park bench. However, the Stay at Home rule is not lifted until 29th March. I wonder how many people will be as obedient as me on that one.
I will be taking some annual leave on that day as the service in church is not communion and we have already arranged for others to lead it. I have found Mothering Sunday difficult for many years, and so my absence in church for the first time on this day since what feels like for ever, but only since the 1980s (with the exception of 2018 when I was on sabbatical) is self protection from having to hold it all together in public. I am sure those leading the service will remember to acknowledge and pray for others, who, like me, find the day difficult.
My lunch time prayer and painting wasn’t very productive from a painting point of view. I also found it difficult to settle into prayer. However, I did read 3 chapters of Mark’s gospel, keeping up the challenge. When I looked at the Live Lent reading I saw it was from Luke’s gospel, so I didn’t use it. However I reproduce it here for you.
The bible reading set for the Live Lent was:
Bible reading – Luke 14.16-24 (NLT)
Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”
I decided to doddle as I prayed…. but not much if I am honest. I used a page of watercolour circles that I’d done a few days ago and started to put doodles in them using a black pen. The first one I did was in the centre – tear drops on the blue circle. I offered all my sadness at not seeing my daughters for so long to God. I filled a few of the circles, but not all.
The afternoon beckoned and so my next time of prayer was late afternoon. Someone who has been very important in my life had died, and their funeral was today. So I spent some time in prayer and as a way of praying and remembering her I continued the doodling on the circles. I re-visited the circles I’d done earlier and made connections between them and her impact on my life. I then continued to put something in each of them. Each of the patterns triggered memories and things to thank God for. I thanked God for her love, for her showing me what it is to be Christ-like, and all sorts of things. She has been with me on my journey of faith and I know that she is now at that heavenly banquet that Jesus described in his parable. On more than one occasion Jesus described heaven as being like a banquet. That is where my friend is now.
Here’s the doodle. I will write her name in the bottom right corner, in the yellow circle and keep it as a reminder of all that she meant to me.
Doodling can be a great way of connecting your imagination to God in prayer. Why not try doing some bubbles or circles of thankfulness? Whether you are happy or sad, it is good to stop and think about all the things you are glad about.
I will hopefully get back to the illustration of Mark’s gospel tomorrow. I just wasn’t in the mood for it today.