Prayer with left-over candles

Untitled1

Here’s an idea for the Ending of the Year: collect all your left-over candles and place them around the room.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Before the Ending of the day 14

 

The beautiful parish church of Great Bowden and a soft early spring evening where I attended Soul Space. It is a gentle end of the day gathering which invites me to sit and respond in quietness and modest faith. There are no demands that tell me how to feel or think; just a space offered for the possibility of prayer and worship.
As I arrive I am given a piece of paper and its first words are
CHRIST IS RISEN
WE ARE RISEN.
Really? Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 10

 

A request too far?

In John’s account of the death of Jesus there is a moment when the frail humanity of Christ breaks the silence. He cries out: I am thirsty. It is the thirst of the dying. But when the drugged cloth is offered him he refuses. Was there another sort of thirst he need quenching?
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 7

Jesus said to the criminal dying beside him: Truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradise.
This is another in a series for Before the ending of the day where I am considering each of the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross. I wonder what meaning they may have for our own contemplation of death and dying.
Jesus died, crucified between two criminals. They argued over Jesus and his forgiveness of his executioners. One thought Jesus could get them out of there, the other saw an innocent man who shouldn’t have been on the cross in the first place. (Luke 23:32-43)
Jesus promised this man that they would be both be in Paradise that very day.
I wonder whether Jesus was being ironic; after all we are told in John’s gospel that there was a garden nearby and the meaning of Paradise is a beautiful garden. “You see that peaceful place over there? We’ll soon be there.

Continue reading

He said: God why have you left me?

The last words of Jesus were My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

This is the first in a series for Before the ending of the day when I will consider each of the last words of Jesus on the cross and their meaning for our own contemplation of death and dying.
In Mark’s gospel 14:33-39 Jesus’s final words are full of fear and puzzled anger. He is dying terror-stricken and alone.
He might have saved others but he cannot save himself from the inevitable.What can a God-forsaken Christ say to us about dying?

Continue reading

Before the ending of the Day 5

cropped-untitled1.png

It surprises me how often I find Christians uncomfortable with the thought of dying. You’d think they did not know Jesus said: take up your cross daily and follow me.

The cross was a weapon of mass destruction in the hands of the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus. It was used to end its victims’ lives in humiliation, exposure and vulnerability. A person’s life ended in a pain-filled death.

Faith in Christ invites us to prepare to die. Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 4

IMG_4785

What tradition will help me find my way to my true self, my vocation and my community? Henri Nouwen

I was brought  up in the baptist tradition whose defining theological foundation explores what it means to build community in the light of baptism into Christ. This has meant that most of my life I have been part of Baptist churches. However, I have come to realise that it is not enough to say: this is the church for me or I go to such and such a church.

Continue reading

Before the ending of the day from the beginning 3

IMG_0031

Earlier this Sunday I was drawn into the Psalmist’s delight in the cosmos:

‘The heavens are telling the glory of God;

And the very ground beneath our feet proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours forth speech,

And night to night declares knowledge.

 

We live in a creation of revelation.

God has no desire to be silent; but he cannot do without his mediators.

Each day provides material enough for a night-time of meditation.

It is all Epiphany.

Before the ending of the day:

Have I the generosity of spirit

to see what I have seen,

to hear what I have heard

and delight in the glory offered in the gifts of the living world?

Before the ending of the day 2

Before the ending of the day

Creator of the world, we pray

That you, with steadfast love, would keep

Your watch around us while we sleep.

 

From evil dreams defend our sight,

From fears and terrors of the night;

Tread underfoot our deadly foe

That we no sinful thought may know.

 

O Father, that we ask be done

Through Jesus Christ your only Son;

And Holy Spirit, by whose breath

Our souls are raised to life from death.

Bishop Ambrose of Milan

 

On first reading this might appear to be a very dated prayer. God is compared to a careful parent putting an anxious child to bed. The ‘deadly foe’ is the serpent Satan from Genesis who disturbed the equilibrium of Eden.

Yet who has not known the ‘terrors’ of the night? Is it so naive or primitive to reach out for the protection of God?

Continue reading

Before the ending of the day 1

IMG_4785

Before the ending of the day

Creator of the world, we pray

That you, with steadfast love, would keep

Your watch around us while we sleep.

From evil dreams defend our sight,

From fears and terrors of the night;

Tread underfoot our deadly foe

That we no sinful thougt may know.

O Father, that we ask be done

Through Jesus Christ your only Son;

And Holy Spirit, by whose breath

Our souls are raised to life from death.

This is a prayer composed by Ambrose Bishop of Milan in 4th century. He was one of the leading Christians of his time. It reveals a deep trust in the protection of God the Creator not only during the darkness of night but also facing times of doubt and depression as well as our own mortality. It was translated by John Mason Neale who was an historian of the Eastern Church and renowned hymn –writer in the 1800s.

Untitled1I first heard it in plainsong sung by the monks at Crawley Down Monastery. I was in the early years of my ministry and there on sabbatical.

Each evening we would gather for Night Prayer (Compline). The day had been spent in cooking, farming, printing, building and prayer. It was the final time of prayer.

Continue reading