Pause for Thought

A Psalm of lament and praise in a time of coronavirus

How shall we praise you, Lord, our God?
When we are locked down,
how shall we praise you?
When the doors to your house are barred,
and your people cannot assemble?
When those desperately in need of money and work
cannot even wait in the market-place?
When we have to circle round people in the street,
and to queue for shops maintaining safe distance?
When we can only communicate
by hearing on the phone,
or seeing on the screen;
or digitally messaging,
or even just waving through a window?
When we cannot meet our parents and children,
grandparents and grandchildren,
or other family members and friends?
When we cannot touch them in their flesh and blood,
to know they are really alive?
How shall we praise you?
How, like Thomas, shall we not see yet believe
that your son is raised among us?
How shall we praise you?

How can I praise you, Lord?
Are you plaguing us with this virus
to punish us because we have all done wrong,
or thought wrongly,
or felt wrongly,
or just been wrong?
If so, why do only some die,
and those, apparently, the ones who are the least worst or most caring amongst us?
Or are you trying to teach us a lesson?
If so, why is it so hard to learn?
And how are we to find the answer
when we do not even know the question?
Or are you still the same loving God,
coming to us in our sufferings
and opening up the way to new life in Jesus?

Lord, I will try to praise you.
Through gritted teeth,
I will try to praise you.
I will try to remember that you have created all things,
and this virus is part of your creation.
I will try not to hate it
but seek to mitigate its harm.
I will try to keep myself and others safe.
I will work to pray for them
and seek to help in whatever way I can.

Lord, when I cannot pray or worship
help me be aware of all your people
and your saints and angels
hovering around me,
lifting me up.
When I feel alone,
let me feel you near me,
even if only for a moment that enables me to go on.
Let me hear you say
“Peace be with you”.

Lord, I will praise you.
Let all the peoples praise you.

 

The Revd Kenneth Howcroft 

 

Thy Kingdom Come 21 - 31 May 2020

The global movement of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost is all set to go.

How are you taking part?  

Thy Kingdom Come - Jasmine Yeboah, Youth President of Methodist Conference 2018-19 (with subtitles) from Thy Kingdom Come on Vimeo.

 

A prayer for uncertain times

coronavirus story laptop reform amj

The Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), the Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill, have offered the following prayer as the UK and the rest of the world come to terms with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

‘God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.’
Psalm 46:1, NRSV

As so much is re-shaped by Coronavirus Covid 19, let us pray with

people left unwell, beckoned by death or bereaved;
people providing professional health care and advice, looking after loved ones at home or working to create treatments and cures;
people shaping the response of nations and neighbourhoods, of commerce and industry, of service and voluntary organisations and of communities of faith;
people who are anxious or afraid, alone or isolated.

Living, loving God,
we praise you,
and through times of peril we lean into you,
for in Jesus Christ
you have trodden paths as difficult as ours,
revealing there a love that nothing defeats,
a love that bears us through.

Even as we strive to behave responsibly,
and to care reliably,
so we feel after you
that in these uncertain times we might trust you are with us,
our refuge and strength,
and our faith, hope and love might be renewed,
through Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Image: Andy Jackson/URC
Published: 14 March 

 

A poem for a new year


Years turn their page
Patiently the author
Writes fresh dreams long- hand
On the scrumpled sheets of lives
Quill or fountain pen or comic sans
The story comes to light
Word writes words
Erasing life’s blots and scribbles

The future pulls in her skirts
Rounds the corner
To dance or teeter
With reckless hope
Who knows, only a Holy Spirit sketches
Such lines, such movements, such faith!

The Revd Barbara Glasson