World Day of Prayer

Sarah Small of St John’s shares this information with us.

World Day of Prayer formerly Women’s World Day of Prayer is held every year on the first Friday in March so this Friday 5th March 2021 is the date for this year’s service.

Every year the service is written by the women of a different country and this year it is the turn of Vanuatu a cluster of islands situated just over 1,100 miles to the east of Australia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and the theme they have chosen is Build a strong foundation.

Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions the service to be held in Llandudno has been postponed.

For more information about World Day of Prayer can be found on their website:  www.wwdp.org.uk

Details of how to join the day of prayer are also contained here including how to join a virtual service.

Prayers for healing and wholeness

The service of prayers for healing and wholeness is an online reflection only at the moment. I will let you know when we restart at church. Today our reflection has been provided 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 meet to offer our prayers for healing & wholeness in the certain presence of God in Jesus Christ. God is powerful and loving; anyone who dwells in love dwells in God. Our prayers for ourselves and for others are that we and they may abide in Christ.

Let us now open our whole life to God, who loves us, and seek his help for all those for whom we have come to pray.

Let us lay before God all that would prevent us really meeting him in our prayers.  Let us offer to God our cares and anxieties, pain and distress, doubts and fears, and our concern for others.  As we place ourselves in the care of God, we can trust his grace and be assured of his love, from which we cannot be separated.  We join together our prayers with those of Christians everywhere, seeking the healing of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)

O Lord God, we thank you that you are the giver of life; renew us by your Spirit as we pray.  We declare your goodness, generosity and kindness every day.

Eternal God and Father of all  –
Together we worship and adore you

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Saviour of the world  –
Together we worship and adore you

Holy Spirit, always with us and in us, Comforter of all in need  –
Together we worship and adore you

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we acknowledge your greatness and love, and seek your healing power and touch.
Amen

Let us confess our weakness and sin, and in so doing, seek God’s forgiveness and healing.

Lord God, we confess disharmony in our lives;
the times of hurt and unhappiness;
the pain we have caused others;
our failure to love and care as you do;
our harbouring of bitterness and unwillingness to forgive;
our selfishness and lack of generosity of time and possessions;
the parts of our lives which deny health and the wholeness we most desire;
our neglect of people and of you, Lord;
our busyness and failure to make time for you.
By your cross and sacrificial love, heal us of all that spoils the image of Christ within us.
Forgive us and help us to forgive others, in the name of Jesus our Saviour. Amen.

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:

My mother lived next door to her best friend, Phil. There was a pear tree in Phil’s garden that had never born fruit. Then, one year there was evidence of just one pear growing on it. My Mum and Phil were given strict instructions not to touch the pear whilst it was growing and not to pick it when it was ripe. Phil’s Mum and Dad promised to share it with them when the time came.

Well, you can imagine the excitement. Mum and Phil went into the garden most days to check the pear’s progress – but they never touched it. In the fullness of time the pear grew to be fat and juicy. Imagine Phil’s parent’s horror when they looked out one day to see that the pear seemed to have gone. Closer investigation found just the core hanging on the tree. Mum and Phil had not picked it – they had carefully eaten it whilst it hung on the tree!

When my Mum told me that story she was teaching me an important lesson about the subtle ways in which we can be led into wrongdoing.

I don’t know about you, but I rarely want to walk on grass until there is a sign saying, ‘Don’t walk on the grass’ and then I can hardly restrain myself! The lure of temptation is very strong.

We’re in Lent, a period of preparation leading up to Easter. At the start of this season we usually remember the time Jesus spent in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry being tempted by the devil.

Read: St Luke’s Gospel chapter 4 verses 1-13.

Let me point out two things which say something important about temptation – Jesus and ours.

First, if you look at what happened immediately before the temptation of Jesus you will read that he was baptised (chapter 3 verses 21-22). As he came out of the river Jordan Jesus heard confirmation of who he was. “You are my son, whom I love: with you I am well pleased”. Wow! What a moment! That will have set Jesus up for all the testing to come.

Second, at the end of his time in the wilderness, Luke tells us that ‘the devil left Jesus until an opportune time’. A warning that the devil had not finished with Jesus – he would return.

We’re often most vulnerable to temptation when we’re in a good place and feeling confident about ourselves and our faith. Beware Christian, beware.

We also need to be careful, when we have successfully resisted a time of testing, not to think it won’t happen again. It did for Jesus and it will for us. Beware Christian, beware.

Let me remind you of one occasion when the devil visited Jesus again. You can read about it in Mark chapter 8 verses 31-33. Jesus was telling his disciples how he would suffer and die. Peter didn’t like him speaking like that and took Jesus to one side and told him so. Immediately Jesus recognised that he was being tempted and he said, “Get behind me Satan”. Poor Peter.

It’s interesting to read what happened just before this painful exchange.

Jesus had been asking his disciples who people said he was. “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and some say one of the prophets”. “And what about you?” said Jesus, “who do you say that I am?” It was Peter who answered, “You are the Messiah”. A high moment followed by testing. Beware Christian, beware.

There is another lesson to be learnt here about temptation. We can often be led into it by others. Remember my Mum and Phil. I wonder whether on their own they would have thought of the ‘eat the pear whilst it’s on the tree’ trick. Peter was one of Jesus’s closest friends and yet he was the one leading him astray, Beware Christian, beware.

I think I can say with some confidence that we all know what it is to be tempted. I imagine that we also recognise that to give into temptation leads us to fall short of our calling as followers of Jesus.

How can we resist temptation? By learning from Jesus. In the wilderness the words that Jesus had heard at his baptism would have rung in his ears, “This is my beloved Son”. Jesus listens to the one true voice. He refuses to live according to his own wishes and wisdom. We can resist temptation by listening to the one true voice of God. Of the numerous options open to us on which we can build our lives and from which we can find meaning, Jesus shows us that God’s way is dependable and worthy of our confidence and commitment – in him we can trust.

Jesus dependence on God enabled him to reject other very exciting alternatives and so be victorious over wrong. Temptation will return, but he has kept it at bay by clinging tenaciously and faithfully to his calling as God’s son.

You want to resist temptation? Then hold fast to your confession of faith confident that what you believe about God is reliable and true. Approach his throne of grace with boldness knowing that God wants you to come to him and know that he hears your prayer and will help you overcome all temptation.

God bless you.

Prayers

Protecting God, teach me to recognise temptations. Some are easy to spot but others are not and I can give into them without realising. Give me a clear sense of what you want me to do and be. Grant me the commitment I need to stand firm whenever temptation strikes. May I stay true to you and offer you faithful service, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Forgiving God, keep me strong in the face of daily temptations; whispered gossiping, sharp words, lack of patience, false pride, old resentments, failure to forgive, self-absorption, judgement of others, self-deprecation. Help me not to be overwhelmed by weakness or failure and keep me confident in the knowledge that, whatever I face, I face it with you. Amen.

Gracious God, I come in hope, finding reassurance that Jesus encountered difficult experiences as I do. I draw strength from Jesus’ response to testing, finding in him the guidance as I seek to live your way in my life. Amen.

———-

We continue in prayer.

Lord God, hear our prayers for others whom we bring in the name of Jesus.  Bless the whole Christian Church that, by our worship, fellowship and life, we may be a healing community. For all who minister through the church in any way, we ask your blessing. Govern and direct your church; fill it with love and truth; and grant through the power of your Holy Spirit that it may be a vehicle of your healing presence in the world.

Lord, in your mercy                               Hear our prayer

We pray for the world in all its struggles and frailty, for those who suffer as a result of war or conflict, famine or poverty.

Lord, in your mercy                                   Hear our prayer

We pray for all concerned with health and healing; all in the medical profession and those trained to bring harmony and healing into people’s lives.  We pray for all who seek to help people with broken lives and relationships; for all who are encouraging young people to whole and creative living; for those who care for the elderly and housebound.

Lord, in your mercy                    Hear our prayer

We pray for those who seek to bring compassion, understanding and help to people.  Strengthen all who comfort and help the faint-hearted. Raise up the fallen, and grant to the lonely, the bereaved and the oppressed your gracious care.

Lord, in your mercy                    Hear our prayer

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

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
Cynthia J and family
Janis P and family
Judy F

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.

Lord God, Jesus has taken upon himself our sufferings and, through his transforming power, made a way of perfect peace.  We ask you to minister to all for whom we have prayed.  May the blessing of your Spirit be theirs.

And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and for evermore. Amen.

May the Lord go with you and grant you the joy of Jesus Christ.  Amen

Some material included in this service is copyright © WGRG, Iona Community

Sunday Worship

This Sunday’s worship (7th March) is at 10am and via livestream only (a recorded version becomes available later in the day). You can find it here.

Worship is led by me, Rev Bev Ramsden and the theme is “Jesus’ rules, OK?”

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Pastoral visitors (and others) may wish to print off the text version below and drop it round to those who cannot access the online service. Thank you for your care.

For those who want to try out a different approach, you might be interested in this new initiative by the Joint Public Issues Team of the Methodist Church (and others) – Politics in the Pulpit. You can find it here.

Tackling modern slavery

Circulated on behalf of Citizen’s Advice Conwy

You are invited to join us for the launch of the new project : ‘Tackling Modern Slavery in Ever Changing Times’, which is an initiative being run by Citizens Advice Conwy with the support of Gwynt y Mor Community Fund.

Throughout 2021, we will be hosting various training and information sessions and community hubs and outreach in Conwy County. Members of the public will be able to confidentially share any concerns that they have about activities in their communities through a letter box project, while we will also be providing advice and support for anyone who may be at risk or who has experienced exploitation.

The launch event will take place on Thursday March 4th from 2.30pm until 3.30pm and hosted online.  We are delighted that Mark Isherwood MS, DS Richard Sydney from North Wales Police Modern Slavery Unit and Stephen Chapman, the Welsh Anti-Slavery Coordinator will say a few words as we officially launch this initiative.

Please join us on the following link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8154642906

For information contact the Modern Slavery Lead at Citizens Advice Conwy (modernslaverylead@caconwy.org.uk)

Reflective pondering

Here is this week’s reflection from our Superintendent Minister, Rev Janet Park. Thank you, Janet.

When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him,
I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.’
Genesis 17:1

Clearly age is no barrier to God commissioning you to new work, listening, praying, responding and becoming the person whom God created you to be. Abram was no different: with his lineage, articulated through the previous chapters, directly from Noah- where we were last week, contemplating rainbows and promises.

As we enter the second week in Lent, connecting these passages from Genesis, we discover Noah getting drunk- inebriated in front of his sons- resulting in curses and blessings for his descendants, many of whom are listed in the subsequent chapters. Together they formed a city and built a tower to the heavens: becoming Babel as God scattered the people across the earth.

Further family history is narrated and Abram emerges as the focus of the continuing story in the next chapter (Genesis 12), where God spoke to Abram- commissioned him to a life of faith and promised a multitude of descendants. Their nomadic lifestyle ensured challenges aplenty, material riches and a further promise from God, but no children. Doubts crept in and Abram…well you know the story, or can read it again in Genesis.

Doubts bring darkness, shadow times as the light fades- the colours in the rainbow  turn pale pastel, blending into the background of daily life. Yet the promise of God remains, re-emphasised in verse 2: ‘And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’

So God remains faithful to his original promise (we would expect nothing less), but with conditions: Abraham must live blamelessly before God- being loyal and faithful towards God in every aspect of his life.

‘The Art of Lent’ offers a picture painted by Jan Vermeer (‘Young Woman with a Water Jug’ c1662) on the second Sunday in Lent, which appears to be doing just what it says on the tin- depicting a young woman standing at a half-open window, wrapped peacefully in her own thoughts. I wonder if she’s called Sarai?

But explore the image longer, and the viewer realises that ‘Sarai’ and her surroundings are merely the pretext. Vermeer is really painting light- the light that all light comes from.

Light that is only visible to the viewer as it falls on the material world: shimmering on the white headdress, glimmering on the copper jug and holding indescribable softness as it lands on the walls of the room. In fact, everything included in the picture celebrates the presence of light- becoming a holy light from the brush of Vermeer.

And last weekend, I couldn’t help but notice the Saturday supplement front page, & then a double page spread inside, featuring another Vermeer, or so Goering thought. A fraudster had been at work during WWII, becoming rich from the greed of others to own great masterpieces. So now a biopic film has been made of the life & times of Han van Meegeren’s activities. A depiction of ‘The Supper at Emmaus’ filled the front page and inside scenes from the film showed Guy Pearce acting as Meegeren, actively at his easel producing another picture: what does this really show? Where is truth?

In all the pictures light is present, otherwise it would just be blackness: sometimes the images are rather crude, square and apparently lacking the touch of the master, at other times the original light, love, skill and care can’t help but shine through.

Numerous names are listed in these chapters of Genesis, but it is Abram who is specifically commissioned to ‘live your life’ before God: to walk, to continue walking with God both watching him, and watching over him- an encouragement and a challenge. Protection and oversight, as God wants Abraham to be wholly committed to God’s ways- watching for a certain direction, a fundamental moral wholeness.

This is what discipleship is all about, keeping the colours of God’s promise fresh & bright: spending time with God, with Christ, walking, living our lives in His company- aware of the continual oversight and protection of the Holy Spirit. This is what we as people of faith in this place- each and every day, but particularly during Lent.

The disciples learned who Jesus was and who they were, as they spent time with Christ: this is what we do during Lent- spend time with Christ. Following, as we journey, is what enabled them and us to learn; learning is what makes us disciples, whatever age we may have reached.

God, the creator of the rich tapestry of humankind, we give you thanks for our heritage:
for our ancestors, known and unknown, for our ever-evolving culture,
shaped deep in the past, yet flowering today.
We thank you for the tales of the patriarchs,
for the opportunities to rejoice in your gifts and for your love,
so deep that you sent your Son to die for us.
Make us faithful, Lord,
responsive to our calling and eager to hear your voice.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayers for healing and wholeness

Elizabeth Pass provides our reflection for today’s prayers of healing and wholeness. Thank you, Elizabeth.

‘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.

Jesus said:  ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ Matt 11:28-30

Jesus said:  ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’ John 10:10

In Jesus Christ, we hear the Good News
that God is like a mother hen
who shelters her chicks
under her wings.
We believe that God is love.

In Jesus, we see a God
who wept for the people of the world,
and weeps for our mourning.

In Jesus, we see a God
who reaches out with healing hands,
who sees our pain and makes us whole.

O God, you died for us and conquered death for us,
but sometimes we find it hard to believe in your love.

We see your creativity in all the earth,
but fear to ask for our own healing.
Forgive us and bring us to faith.

Hear Christ’s word for us:
If we have faith as small as a mustard seed,
God’s power is released in us.
Our healing is a gracious gift. Amen.

Bible reading: Luke 17:11-19 (The Message)

My mother’s homemade rhubarb pie and custard looked delicious.  My father waded in – but a grimace and shout of “Mary, where’s the sugar?” held our spoons mid-air.  Yes, mum had forgotten to add sugar to the garden-grown but tart rhubarb!

The pudding wasn’t complete, it wasn’t whole until some hastily stirred in sugar made it digestible.

There have been several references to wholeness so far in our service.  It’s called ‘A Service of Prayers for Healing and Wholeness’.

Our introduction included these words:

  • (Christ’s) ‘healing … bringing renewal and wholeness of life to those who turned to God in their need’;
  • God desires wholeness for all people’.

The gospel account of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus illustrates well how wholeness means more than just being made better from a disease, an infirmity, mental illness or other distressing un-wellness. 

In fact, wholeness may even be a gift of God whilst ill-health or other kind of pain remains.  I remember talking with someone about this who had not been healed of physical disability but experienced wholeness in Christ, because they accepted that managing their disability was part of their Christian calling and witness.  I am also reminded of Joni Eareckson Tada’s ministry following the accident that paralysed her for life.

Imagine dropping a treasured china cup that breaks into 4 or 5 pieces.  Carefully glueing the pieces together restores the cup.  But you couldn’t use it to enjoy a hot cup of tea – it’s mended (‘healed’) but it’s not whole.  The cracks remain, hardly visible in a skilled repair.

A shock life event can be for us like a smashed cup – losing your job out of the blue, the sudden death of your child, the rejection in a note from your spouse /partner to say they’ve just left you for someone else (the first you knew about it).  Is this how a leprosy diagnosis must have been for the lepers? 

Such things can truly knock us off course.  They can leave their mark in our lives forever, like the cracks in the china cup.  But unlike the cracked cup we can be made whole, whether instantly or over a period of time. And God can use those smash-experiences to understand, to empathise, to support others whose cracks are raw.  Could we accompany someone on a journey to wholeness as the painful cracks start to fade?  Whether or not they will disappear completely is in God’s hands for our earthly life – and may have to wait for the perfection of heaven.   

Thank God that we can experience the wholeness that the Samaritan leper received through faith in Christ the healer. 

As we prepare to 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’, don’t be afraid of the cracks in your life story.  Offer them to God for however he chooses to use them.

Let’s pause now to do that, and to receive the wholeness that Christ offers.

… a few moments of stillness …

May Christ bring you wholeness of body, mind and spirit,
deliver you from every evil,
and give you his peace.
Amen.                  

We continue in prayer…

O God, we cry to you in our anger
that people hurt each other.
Be with us and heal us, O God.

We feel the fear and pain experienced by
an innocent and trusting child.
Be with us and heal us, O God.

We carry with us the things
that have been done to us which hurt and destroy.
They stand before us and weigh us down.
They stop us living with joy and hope.
Be with us and heal us, O God.

We watch on, as around the world
War and conflict abound.
And we feel helpless to prevent or resolve.
Be with us and heal us, O God.

Lift us up on the wings of your Spirit.
For you are stronger
than all the forces that stand against us.
Set us free with your peace and your power.

Set us free,
heal our wounds,
O God who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Amen.

We say together the prayer that Jesus gave us:                                                

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 

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
Cynthia J and family
Janis P and family
Judy F

Spend some time in prayer for those God places on your heart. Include yourself.

May the Lord of love,
who is more powerful
than all those who would harm us,
give us healing for all that is past and peace for all that is to come.
May he surround us with comfort and warmth
and fill us with life that is stronger than death.
Amen.

Lift your face to the light.
You are beautiful in the sight of God.
The seal of the Spirit is upon you.

Walk freely
and open your heart to life,
for Christ walks with you
into a new day.

Go in peace.
And may God keep you safe:
God the Father hold you firmly,
God in Christ take you by the hand,
and God the Spirit guide and protect you.

May the Lord go with us and grant us the joy of Jesus Christ.  Amen

Some material included in this service is copyright © 2000 Dorothy McRae-McMahon

Sunday Worship

This Sunday’s worship (28th February) is at 10am and via livestream only (a recorded version becomes available later in the day). You can find it here.

Worship is led by me, Rev Bev Ramsden and the theme is “Grow up!”

You may wish to watch this video clip from “Finding Nemo” before the start of the service:

Pastoral visitors (and others) may wish to print off the text version below and drop it round to those who cannot access the online service. Thank you for your care.

For those who want to try out a different approach, you might be interested in this new initiative by the Joint Public Issues Team of the Methodist Church (and others) – Politics in the Pulpit. You can find it here.

Reflective pondering

Here is this week’s reflection from Rev Janet Park. Thank you, Janet.

‘I have set my bow in the clouds
And it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’
Genesis 9:13

Photo by Karson on Unsplash

A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky: or so says Mr Wikipedia when I last checked. But back in Genesis, a mere eight chapters after God created the world as we know it, the rainbow was a sign confirming God’s promise to each of us; a covenant between God and earth.

Apparently no one person sees exactly the same rainbow as anybody else looking at it. The particular angle of sight is specific to each individual, and as this changes from person to person, so the rainbow alters too. Walking though the local streets, during these past 12 months, numerous rainbows have appeared- created, coloured and cared for by residents,  becoming a symbol of hope that the pandemic will end. At the same time, it’s seen as a symbol of public gratitude to those in the NHS who work to care for us and our community when we become sick.

I’ve yet to discover a pot of gold at the end of any rainbow, but then I’ve never managed to reach the end of a rainbow since it’s always moving- transient and transparent. Throughout history, rainbows have held meaning to many groups of people:
            of faith & hope during the German Peasants War,
            of an ongoing desire for peace in demonstrations against nuclear weapons,
            of identity & pride as the LGBT community adopted it as their logo,
            of reconciliation and unity in South Africa, during the 1990s.

Yet all these understandings have their origins in the foundations of our Christian faith: the story of Noah’s Ark, remaining & retained amongst the narratives familiar to many in this country, whether or not considering themselves part of a local Christian community. For this we should be thankful.

We can recognise all these facets of meaning, found in a rainbow, as part of the original covenant promise God made with Noah, when his sea-legs steadied and God spoke again. It is a new creation- the story of which begins our journey through Lent this week.

The Gospel passage tells of the baptism of Jesus, his time in the wilderness, the arrest of John the Baptist and the start of Christ’s ministry- all in seven verses! There’s no standing still in Mark’s Gospel- always moving forward, travelling, learning, inspiring & narrating God at work in this world. The baptism of Jesus is confirmed with a sign that makes the whole thing a reality, reaffirming the promise, commitment of God to His people. A rainbow in practice, in action.

Mr Wikipedia tells me that:
Rainbows can be full circles. However, the observer normally sees only an arc formed by illuminated droplets above the ground, and centred on a line from the sun to the observer’s eye. In a primary rainbow, the arc shows red on the outer part and violet on the inner side. This rainbow is caused by light being refracted when entering a droplet of water, then reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it. In a double rainbow, a second arc is seen outside the primary arc, and has the order of its colours reversed, with red on the inner side of the arc. This is caused by the light being reflected twice on the inside of the droplet before leaving it.

I seem to recall a certain Prince recently hypothesising that if individuals could conceive of themselves as separate drops of rain, then together we could help the parched earth recover from climate change. Well, I couldn’t possibly comment on this theory, but I would suggest that if we are able to act as droplets of water, with the light of Christ flowing through us- reflected and refracted to others- then the colour, care, creation and covenant from God will remain. Our rainbow of faith will become clear to everyone- not faded in a window display from last Spring, but vibrant and valid as we travel towards Holy Week.

‘When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant
Between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.
Genesis 9:16

A Personal Prayer
Rainbow God, creator of the diversity
which enables the world to flourish,
help me to marvel at all you have made, and to treasure it.
Step by step, and day by day,
make your ways shine as a path of hope before us,
lighting up our lives and those of the people around us.
Help us to walk confidently in the warmth of your love.
Amen.