Prayers for healing and wholeness

Today’s service of prayers for healing and wholeness is via the blog only, and includes a reflection by Rev David Ray. Thank you, David.

‘My grace is sufficient for you,
For my power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9)

In the ministry of Christ healing was a sign of the presence of God’s kingdom, bringing renewal and wholeness of life to those who turned to God in their need.  Jesus commissioned his disciples to proclaim the kingdom and heal the sick (Luke 9:2).  The Church believes that the healing power of Christ is exercised through medical and related professions, through faith and prayer, and the care of the Christian community. 

God desires wholeness for all people. We bring to God our frailty and brokenness  –  felt not only in physical illness, but in guilt, anxiety, and all the burdens which weigh us down.  We also bring our concerns for others and for the world. We come to God who knows our needs before we ask, and whose love revealed in Jesus Christ is stronger than suffering and death.

To start, take some time to bring yourself into an awareness of the presence of God. If it helps, imagine yourself sitting in your church alone, resting in the prayerful atmosphere.

We come in this service to God
In our need, and bringing with us the needs of the world.

We come to God, who comes to us in Jesus,
And who knows by experience what human life is like.

We come with our faith and with our doubts.
We come with our hopes and with our fears.

We come as we are, because it is God who invites us to come,
And God has promised never to turn us away.

Let us pray.

As if it were not enough to bring sound from silence,
light from darkness,
order from confusion;

as if it were not enough
to make the world excellent and intricate;
you gave the kiss of life to the dust of the earth,

You made male and female,
me and us.

So we thank you, creating God.

As if it were not enough
to watch the world you had created,
to admire your handiwork from eternity;

as if it were not enough
to care and be kind at a distance;
you sent your Son to be flesh of our flesh,
bone of our bone,
to live and walk beside
me and us.

So we thank you, loving God.

As if it were not enough
to do all this and return, triumphant, to glory,
you still hear our cries in the courts of high heaven,
and promise your Spirit for the healing of the nations
for me and for us.

So we thank you, God of power,
Lord of our weakness,
Spirit of our salvation.

Reflection:

Almighty God, who promises forgiveness and new life to all who truly repent, have mercy upon us,
pardon and deliver us from all our sins
and keep us in life eternal,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Reflection:

In the early 1990’s I was a Methodist minister in the Wakefield Circuit in Yorkshire. Whilst there I had the privilege of knowing and working with Stephen Cottrell. At that time he was a young priest in the Church of England. He is now the Archbishop of York.

Stephen came to lead a Quiet Day at one of the churches I was responsible for and he led a session on the Road to Emmaus. Stephen sowed seeds in my soul that day as he spoke about the companions on the road.

You can read what happened in St Luke’s gospel 24:13-35.

Two disillusioned and despairing disciples walk out of Jerusalem. They had followed Jesus for about three years. They had loved him. Now he was dead. They had hoped for so much, but their hopes had been dashed. Their Lord had been crucified. Their hearts ached. They were empty. These disciples of Jesus were in darkness.

On the road to Emmaus a stranger caught them up and listened to them. And he said, How foolish you are, how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things?” And the stranger went on to explain the scriptures. Dawn was breaking into their darkness.

Later, at Emmaus, the eyes of the disciples were opened as the stranger broke bread.

They recognised that the one who had walked with them was Jesus and they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us on the road as he talked with us and opened the scriptures?” The light of day had come.

Have you ever considered that when the two disciples were walking out of Jerusalem to Emmaus they were going the wrong way? Well, they were! Jesus had told his disciples that they should stay in Jerusalem and there they would experience something new. But these two disciples couldn’t cope. They needed to escape.

And what happened at Emmaus? Jesus turned them round and sent them back to the city.

A word for us here maybe? We need to make sure we’re on the right path. But how can we be sure?

Well, on the road to Emmaus the two disciples were not alone. Jesus walked with them. No, they didn’t recognise him at first, but he was there nevertheless. 

Like those two disciples sometimes we are too busy with our own agenda, or too preoccupied or too small minded to recognise Jesus – but he’s there. He meets us where we are, stays with us even if we are going the wrong way, listens to us and then speaks.

Some of you may be experiencing darkness, others struggling in the twilight, hopefully others, having just celebrated Easter, are singing and dancing in the glorious light of the risen Christ.

Wherever you are at this moment in time, let me reassure you that you’re not alone.

You have companions on your road, although they may not be physically present with you. And you can be a companion to others on the road.

But more than that – much more than that – you are accompanied by the God who called you, loves you and cares for you and who longs for you to live in the freedom, peace and hope that his light shines on you.

Prayer
Loving God, as we journey from the cross, help us to walk with you on the right road.
On the way to Emmaus you came to your disciples as a stranger and their hearts burned within them.
Help us to expect you as a companion as we travel, and to welcome you as a friend, so that our hearts will be warmed too.
You are risen, alive with us – we don’t walk alone.
We claim your promise to be with us as we journey through good and not so good.
Stir us up in faith and hope and inspire us to walk faithfully with you.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

————————————

We continue in prayer.

O Christ our Lord, as in times past
not all the sick and suffering found their way to your side,
but had to have their hands taken, or their bodies carried,
or their names mentioned,
so we, confident of your goodness, bring others to you.

As in times past, you looked at the faith of friends
and let peace and healing be known through them,
look on our faith, even our little faith
And let your kingdom come.

We name before you
those for whom pain is the greatest problem;
who are remembered more for their distress than their potential;
who at night cry, ‘I wish to God it were morning’
and in the morning cry, ‘I wish to God it were night’.
Lord Jesus Christ, Lover of all,
Bring healing, bring peace.

We name before you
those whose problem is psychological;
those haunted by the nightmares of their past
or the spectres of their future,
those whose minds are shackled
to neuroses, depression or fears,
those who do not know what is wrong
or what to pray.
Bring healing, bring peace.

We name before you those in whose experience
light has turned to darkness,
as the end of a life or the breaking of a relationship
leaves them stunned in their souls
and silent in their conversation,
not knowing where to turn or who to turn to,
or whether life has a purpose any more.
Bring healing, bring peace.

And others whose troubles we do not know
or whose names we could not say aloud,
and all the troubles of the world,
we bring to you now in silence
a silence which you understand.
Bring healing, bring peace.

Lord God,
you alone are skilled to know the cure
for every sickness and every soul.
If, by our lives, your grace may be known,
then in us, through us, and, if need be, despite us,
Let your kingdom come.

We ask your blessing on all who tend the sick,
counsel the distressed, sit with the dying,
or advance medical research,
that in caring for your people
they may meet and serve you.
Let your kingdom come.

For those who, in this land,
administer the agencies of health and welfare,
we ask your guidance that, in all they do,
human worth may be valued,
and the service of human need be fully resourced.
Let your kingdom come.

For those in positions of authority who seek justice and peace
And work for the healing of the nations.
Let your kingdom come.

These prayers we ask in the name of him whose flesh and blood
have made all God’s children special.  Amen

Together, let us bring to the Lord those for whom we have been asked to pray….

Peg T
Margaret B
David & Carolyn S
David B

Take some time now to bring your concerns to God. If it helps, try saying them out loud. Feel yourself held in God’s safe hands.

We say the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples:

Our Father in Heaven
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the
power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.  Amen

Now may the God of hope fill us
With joy and peace in believing,
That we may abound in hope
In the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Food Bank Update

Gwen Davies sends us this update:

Conwy Food Bank issued 151 parcels in March (52 families involving 103 children, 85 singles, 14 couples). Their shelves have been emptying fast and they have had to buy in stock to meet the demand. Any donations are greatly appreciated but they are particularly short of tinned meat, meat meals, cold meat, tinned potatoes, tinned fruit, rice puddings, tins of custard. They say “Many thanks again for your kindness, it really does make a difference!”

Now that our churches are open again you can leave items in the tubs at the back of each church. Alternatuively you can still leave them at 29 Roumania Drive, Craig y Don.

Wednesday meditation

Today meditation is offered by Jack Waddington of St David’s. Thank you, Jack.

We plan to restart meditations in St David’s church as of 28th April 11.30am. The first will be led by me. Please join us if you are able. Meditations will continue to appear on the blog as well.

RESURRECTION!!

We have just been celebrating once again this last weekend the resurrection of Jesus, though, for the second time, more restrictedly than has been the norm.  Now the Easter weekend is over the important questions are: what does the resurrection of Jesus mean to me and to you and how does it affect our lives as we live them day by day in the precise circumstances in which, both individually and collectively, we find ourselves just now?  No-one but ourselves can answer that!

When I was a young Christian, in my teens in the late 1950s, I think the resurrection of Jesus meant simply that I believed that death was not the end. Of course, I rejoiced in that but didn’t really think much more about it.  Now, over 60 years later, I think I could have a go at writing a book (a shortish one anyway) about what it means to me – but don’t worry, I’m not!  I just want to share with you a few random thoughts from my recent ponderings.

1 Corinthians 15 v 13,14 says “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  Wow – that’s telling us! Is my faith useless, is yours?  That’s not my experience – and I doubt if it is yours either.  I believe Jesus rose and I think our faith experiences are both evidence to us and witness to others that he did.

That same chapter tells us that Jesus was the “first fruits” with us to follow later.  It is something we rarely discuss openly (a bit strange?) but, in my experience, from talking to others, the two questions most in people’s minds about our resurrection are will we recognise each other and what will our resurrected body be like. 

To me, the resurrected body of Jesus gives us the first clues here – there was certainly something different about it!  When Mary Magdalene saw him in the garden and when the two disciples walking to Emmaus met him on the way they didn’t recognise him at first and when the disciples were meeting together inside behind locked doors he appeared (a flesh and blood body couldn’t have done this) and yet his resurrected body bore the scars of his physical body.  This assures me on the first question:  that we shall recognise each other, that it will be obvious that the resurrected body is being inhabited by a recognisable person even if it is not flesh and blood (1 Corinthians 15 v 50 : “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”)

What about the second question?  1 Corinthians 15 gives us further clues.  From verse 35 it effectively expresses, in what I think are simple and everyday terms, surprise that we might think there is only one kind of body.  On reading this recently, my mind went back to an experience I had nearly 25 years ago.  To cut a long story short, I found myself in a situation where I felt impelled to volunteer to identify the body of a close friend who had died following a heart attack suffered while helping disabled children to swim at the local baths.  At the hospital, in the room where the body lay,  I was asked if I would like a few minutes alone with him.  As I looked at his body I had an overwhelming feeling that I was looking at an empty shell – I just knew my friend wasn’t there and declined the offer.  While I can’t envisage what it will be like I have no difficulty in believing that sometime after death I will have a “new” body to live in.  So, what will it be like?

Verses 42 – 44 tell us it will be “raised imperishable…… raised in glory……raised in power……raised a spiritual body”  and in verse 49 : “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man”, i.e. JESUS.  Isn’t that wonderful?  Doesn’t it give you confidence about the future?

Of course, as verse 12 of chapter 13 tells us “for now we see only a reflection as in a mirror”  and “now I know in part” only.  Yes, now we still live in the flesh and blood world with all its problems, both personal and otherwise and, yes, they do have a real effect on us, on our moods and our feelings (just as they did with Jesus), and on our behaviour too (not so, I think, with Jesus).  But let us remember: spiritually, as Christians, we have already been “born again” into a life directly connected to God, i.e. an imperishable (eternal) life and because of that can already “know in part” at least something of that glory and power which one day we shall know fully.  And let us remember also that the fruits of the Spirit (God’s personal gifts of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5 v 22-23) are ours now for the taking to help us on our way.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah!

Prayer

Eternal and Ever-Loving God,
It was your love for us that sent Jesus to the Cross and it was your power that raised him from the dead. 
Help us to so open ourselves up to you that we may experience that love and that power in our lives, whatever our current circumstances, so that we may be a witness to others that Christ has risen and is present amongst us.     Amen 

God of every new beginning

Our Easter theme has been “new beginnings.” Rev Janet Park, our Superintendent minister, has passed this new hymn on to me. It is on exactly this theme. Perhaps you would like to refect on it or even sing it (after all, it is a tune we know well).


Tune: Calan Lan

God of every new beginning
fashioned out of pain and loss:
show us how our Easter vision
springs from Friday’s bitter cross.
If our lives are moving forward
to new tasks as yet unknown,
or are stayed: as you have called us.
we are yours. and not our own.

God of every change and ending,
with us till our journey’s through.
help us find the transformation
that will build our lives anew.
In the sharing of compassion,
in our own and others’ pain,
be the Comforter beside us
making torn lives whole again.

God of Easter’s celebration,
God of life from death restored,
God who gives us resurrection
through your Christ, our living Lord:
as we find again his presence,
now unbound from time and space,
God of Life, inspire our living,
yours the time, and yours the place.

Copyright@ Tony Law 2020, 2021. May be freely used in worship

Easter 2021 in photos

Lots of people have shared their special moments from this Easter with me. We hope you had a meaningful Easter too.

One of our young people and his friend set up a cross (which they found lying on the ground) on the Orme on Good Friday.
It is finished!
Sunrise at Happy Valley, Easter Day. The COVID regulations meant that we were not allowed to gather for our traditional sonrise service, but some people went along to experience the moment by themselves.
Crazy person and dog in the sea at dawn on Easter Sunday!
Outside St David’s after Easter Sunday worship. Everyone was invited to place a flower in the empty cross to signify new life and new beginnings. The same happened in town at St John’s. “Thine be the glory” (played on a trumpet) accompanied the symbolic action.
Spring flowers bringing colour and a symbol of new life to the entrance to St John’s.
Resurrection garden painting inside St John’s.

Daffodils

Daff and Dilly

If we had been able to meet outside my plan was to hold another pop-up church in the park on Easter Sunday afternoon. Chris and Helen Cooper were going to help me. Sadly, regulations do not let allow gatherings outdoors. However, Chris and Helen have done this video for us of a sketch they would have done. It introduces the theme of new beginnings bringing joy.

It is VERY silly and and VERY funny. Make sure you watch it! Thank you, Chris and Helen, for making us smile.