Prayers for healing and wholeness

The service of prayers for healing and wholeness is being held at St John’s, Llandudno, at 1.45pm today, and is led by Deacon Denise Creed, who recently moved back to Llandudno after 30 years of ministry as a deacon in the Methodist Church, This September she officially retired from active work. The healing ministry has been part of her life for over 44 years, both as a recipient and as a ministry. Denise shares her reflection with us below.

‘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:

Bible reading: Acts 16:16-34 (The Message paraphrase)

You might be wondering why I chose this particular reading today, what has it got to do with healing you may ask. “Surely there are enough narratives of how Jesus heals people that can used at such a service as this? Why have you got a reading about Paul and Silas in prison?”

Well, since retiring at the end of August I have to confess that I spent a lot of time watching television, I have seen Escape to the Country, Ben Fogle’s Lives in the Wild where people try to get away from civilisation, quiz shows that offer huge cash prizes for a dream holiday away from home. But it seems to me that the reality is we take whatever our issues are with us, when we go away they don’t stay behind, even if the situation is left behind our minds can still be consumed by it.

So when I read this passage not that long ago, something spoke to me in it and I hope it speaks to you too.

Paul and Silas were in prison after being, as the Message translation of the Bible puts it, roughed up and then publically beaten – surely cause to lament, be angry, frustrated – yet we are told they were praying to God and singing robust hymns. That seems to me to imply they were singing praises to God for the miracles they had seen and their assertion of their trust in him.  And the Bible account tells us that at about midnight an earthquake happened that opened the doors wide – what are the chances of that happening? The first miracle of the night!

The jailer, waking because of the earthquake, sees the open doors and knowing that he was going to be killed for letting the prisoners escape decides to commit suicide. But Paul stops him – “we are all here,” he says, “no one has run away”! – So why we may ask ourselves didn’t the prisoners all run away? Freedom was theirs. But they hadn’t. Second miracle of the night!

The jailer in response to them not running away asks Paul what he must do to live well and being told to trust in Jesus alone – he and all his family become believers. Third miracle of the night!

So what has this to do with healing?

Well when I read the passage, it struck me we are all bound in some way or another, it could be the situation we are in, our health issues, painful memories that we can’t let go of, family problems, whatever the issue is – it curtails our freedom and we long to escape. A bit like all the television programmes I have been watching!

When Paul and Silas stayed put, along with the other prisoners of whom we know nothing, the reality was they were free to choose, and they chose to stay, and by staying they changed the life of one man and his family, and maybe that family then went on to change the lives of other people too.

God took a difficult, awful, frightening situation and out of it came something good and amazing.

Romans 8:28 says all things, and I would add even the hard and bad things, work together for good for those who love God.

That’s not to say we can’t ask for healing and help in our prayers and to rejoice when prayers are answered in the affirmative, but trusting in God through Jesus does not promise all will be well, what he does promise is that he with us in all we are going through. After all, even Paul, we are told, accepted his “thorn in the flesh”. So not all prayers for healing are answered in the way we think we want them to be.

I know God can heal, I can testify to physical healings for myself and I have seen others physically healed too – but I also know that healing is more than just physical, it is also mental and spiritual.

I believe that God desires us to be whole and holy people, but some of the most whole and holy people I have ever met have been, in the eyes of the world – disabled, but in God’s love totally were abled and an incredible influence for good and for God.

If all we do is strive for freedom from what we perceive is binding us, then what happens when we get free and then find ourselves with the next problem or issue to deal with? We are back where we started. Freedom starts from within.

From this Bible passage it seems to me that God says “when you are with me then I can do amazing things through you despite what you are going through, for in my strength you are being made strong.” And he can use all that we are going through, the good, the bad and the difficult for the Kingdom and for others to know about God’s love too.

 Of course I want to be healed of aches and pains, in reality I’d like to be 16 again and able physically to do what I did then, but that is not real life, and we bear wounds of many kinds that are sometimes still open or have left scars, and yet I know that Jesus understands and walks with us as a wounded healer, and sometimes he calls us to be that too as we walk with others on their journey.

I don’t know what you have come here today with, whether it is for yourself or another – but I do know that we are all invited to leave our burdens at the cross and encouraged not to take them back out with us again when the service or prayer time is over – and that we are to be aware that God may be able to do amazing things through us by the way others see how we live and deal with what we are going through. I have to say that my personal experience is that when I accepted what was going on then the healing began!

So to get back to the Bible reading – The door was open but Paul and Silas stayed put because God had work for them to do in that place. So my question is  this – what is God asking of you – are you trying to escape or are you willing to stay and see what God is doing in the here and now and praise him despite all that may be going on?

The words of a hymn that I use as a prayer when I cannot find any words are these……

This, this is the God we adore, Our faithful unchangeable friend
We will praise him for all that is past And trust him for all that’s to come. Amen

A Personal Prayer

Loving God, in Jesus you showed m that touch was important as he reached out and touched those in need of healing, blessed those who felt unloved, reached out and lifted up the ones who were bowed down, and today because of the pandemic I am not able to reach out as you did to touch with laying on of hands or anointing yet I know that touch is just the outward sign of your of love and power within.

So, Loving God I come before you now asking for you to reach out and hold me in the power of your Holy Spirit, enfold me in your love and healing as in the quiet I lift to you my own situation and the people I love and care for – I lay them at your cross, trusting that you answer my prayers

            Time of quiet……………………………..

Loving God you have heard my prayers and if the answers are not what I wanted – give me peace in my heart and life to know that you see the bigger picture and that you love me and are with me and you give me hope.

A prayer from Julian of Norwich who wrote “God loved us before he made us; and his love has never diminished and never shall.” and “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

She prayed:-

 “God, of your goodness, give me yourself; you are enough for me, and anything less that I could ask for – would not do you full honor. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in you alone I have everything’.”

Indeed, Lord God in you alone I do have everything, give me grace and courage to accept and know it fully in all I say and do and are. 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

Let us bring to the Lord those for whom we want to pray…

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 (5th December) worship is led by me, Rev Bev, 10am at St David’s and on livestream, and 11am at St John’s. The service can also be found later in the day as a recording (on the livestream channel) and as a text version below. The theme is “Prepare the way of the Lord”.

For those who like to watch the recorded version of the livestream, note that there is a “subtitles/close captions” option. You can find this in the set of icons at the bottom right of the view screen – it looks like this:

Wednesday meditations for Advent

Starting tomorrow, 1st December, we are holding an Advent series of meditations, based on Nick Fawcett’s Advent study book, “Lighten our path”. Each week we will be considering an aspect of the light of Christ in our lives. The sessions are:

  1. “New dawn, new light”, about the light of new beginnings offered by God in Christ
  2. “From darkness to light”, about the presence of God’s light in times of trouble
  3. “A glorious light”, about the light of God’s glory ever present, but often overlooked
  4. “A guiding light”, about how God’s light guides us on our journey through life

We hope you can join us.

Due to copyright concerns we will not be able to put any of these meditations on the blog.

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Prayers for healing and wholeness

Today’s service of prayers for healing and wholeness are led by me, Rev Bev, at St John’s, Llandudno, 1.45pm. You can join in from home using the liturgy and reflection below.

‘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.

Reflection:

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, the time of year when we look forward to Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Traditionally, it is a time when we learn how to wait. Now, in this case, it is waiting for something good to happen – the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Christmas time and all that entails. But waiting isn’t always waiting for a good thing to happen and, even if it is, waiting can still be hard, especially when we don’t know the timescale.

Waiting for hospital treatment.
Waiting for a loved on to recover from serious illness.
Watching and waiting as a loved one with a degenerative illness fades away before our eyes.
Caring for a loved one with terminal illness.
Waiting for something good to happen in a grey and dismal life.

Waiting is hard at the best of times, we all know that. Children show us by their behaviour and comments just how difficult it is but, really, we are just the same as them. Waiting is hard.

The pandemic has shown us that even when we think everything is settled and secure, we are never far away of uncertainty. If we weren’t careful we could spend our lives in a permanent state of waiting for the next bad thing bad to happen. Some people do. Anxiety is a terrible thing to deal with when it takes over our lives and clouds every moment with fear.

So how do we live in times of trouble, when the solid ground of daily life seems to be forever shifting under our feet and knocking us off balance?

Jesus gives us some good advice. “Do not worry about your life. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to it? Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and everything else will follow. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

Focus on today, says Jesus, that is enough to cope with at one time. Focus on today and what you can do today, and the rest will fall into place.

He also says that we need to focus on God, on his kingdom and on his character. By focussing away from ourselves we learn how to see things from God’s perspective, the big picture and ourselves safe in his hands.

The letter to the Hebrews also tells us, “Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Consider him who endured such opposition from people, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)

Jesus waited many times in his life knowing what lay ahead, illustrated most poignantly in the garden at Gethsemane. He waited. He was frightened. But he went forward into the dark anyway. Because he knew he was with God and safe in his hands.

Waiting in troubled and frightening times is bound to have an effect on our health and wellbeing. We shouldn’t pretend otherwise. We need to be kind to ourselves, acknowledge what is happening to us and take it all to the Lord in prayer. Just as Jesus did and just as David did centuries before him.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom then shall I be afraid?

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face.” You face, O Lord, I will seek.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27)

The Hebrew word for wait used here is qavah which means to wait, look for, hope or expect. It’s the same word found in Isaiah 40:31 “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not grow faint.

In times of waiting, we must learn to live with the tensions it creates in us – acknowledge them and name them before the Lord, just as Jesus and David did – then trust in God to watch over our well-being. May we grow in faith and wisdom as we learn how to wait patiently and trustingly on the Lord.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

——-

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….

Graham & Peg T
Margaret B
Carolyn S
Ian A
Gareth J
Jill F
John B

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

Five ways to wellbeing – session 5

The fifth and final session of our discipleship group series on wellbeing is attached below. The theme is “Give”. You can find the first four sessions on the blog (29th September, 13th October, 27th October and 10th November).

The material for autumn has been provided by Rev David Lamb of St David’s and is on the theme of “Five Ways to Wellbeing, a Christian Response”. The “five ways to wellbeing” are a tried and tested approach to mental wellbeing – you can find the NHS’s web page about this here. In our studies, David compares the five ways to the Christian way of life.

Sunday worship

This Sunday worship is led by me, Rev Bev, 10am at St David’s and on livestream, and 11am at St John’s. The service can also be found later in the day as a recording (on the livestream channel) and as a text version below. The theme is “What is truth?” and “Christ the King”.

For those who like to watch the recorded version of the livestream, note that there is a “subtitles/close captions” option. You can find this in the set of icons at the bottom right of the view screen – it looks like this:

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Prayers for healing and wholeness

Today’s service of prayers for healing and wholeness is being held at St John’s, Llandudno, at 1.45pm and is led by Rev Chris Gray. The liturgy and Chris’ reflection for the service are below.

‘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

Loving God,
in whom all things are made whole,
you sent your Son our Saviour to heal a broken world.
Visit us with your salvation,
that we may be blessed in body, mind and spirit;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
‘Anyone who comes to me I will never turn away.’ (John 6:37)

In the presence of God, let us confess our sins.

Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us to God and to one another.
Lord Jesus, you heal the wounds of sin and division.
Lord Jesus, you offer us a new beginning.
Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.

God is love.  Through Jesus our sins are forgiven.
Let us live in the power of the Spirit.  Amen.

Holy God, you give life to all;
you meet us in our need
and bring hope to those who look to you.
Give peace to our hearts and minds as we pray to you with confidence;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Reflection:

Jeremiah 18: 1-6

I’ve never been much good with my hands. I’m hopeless at DIY, arts and crafts, and making things generally. So whenever I have seen a potter or an artist or a craftsperson at work, I have always looked on in unstinted admiration. In fact, I became quite addicted to the Great British Pottery Throwdown!

In this passage from the prophet Jeremiah, he is invited by God to go down to the potter’s house in the village and to watch the potter at work. However, the aim is not just to admire the skill of the potter, but to receive a message from the Lord. For a prophet does not necessarily see different things from other people, but he sees the same things differently.

The potter’s workshop was a familiar feature of life in the ancient world. The skills of the potter were always in demand. Pottery was in everyday use in the home, and was fragile. In fact today’s archaeologist has ample reason to be grateful for the innumerable pieces of broken pottery which help to build up a picture of life in ancient times. In his workshop the potter would sit, spinning with his feet a large circular stone which rotated round a vertical axis. On top was another smaller stone, on which was placed the clay which took shape under the potter’s skilled hands. Once shaped to the potter’s liking on the wheel, the clay was glazed and baked in a furnace.

Jeremiah must often have stopped to look in at the village potter busy at his wheel. And it was there in the workshop, as the potter was busy at his daily work, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet. The clay was on the wheel, but the end result was not always acceptable to the potter. Perhaps the clay had not been quite the right consistency. Perhaps the shape was not entirely to his liking. Sometimes the potter had to begin all over again, reshaping the clay, doing to the clay as it seemed good to the potter to do. The word came to Jeremiah: here was a parable of God and Israel – God was the potter, Israel the clay. Verse 6 says: “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.”

Of course, we must be careful how we apply this parable to us today. This was a parable about a nation – Israel. And later verses in this chapter indicate God’s judgement on Israel and on any nation that does evil and refuses to turn from it. Nevertheless, this parable can, I think, be applied to our lives and is essentially a message of hope. The clay, spoiled on the wheel, is reshaped by the potter till it comes up to his expectations. So we, flawed and misshapen, will continue to be reshaped by God until we truly reflect God’s purposes.

The key issue is the relationship between the potter and the clay. The clay is wholly under the control of the potter. He can do with it exactly what he likes. So is it with any of us who place ourselves by faith in Christ into the hands of God. Like clay in God’s hands, we are totally under his control, at his disposal. God is free to do what he likes with his people. We can no more use God for our own purposes than the clay can dictate to the potter.

This process of being reshaped by God may take us through experiences that feel tough, difficult and at times painful. However, as we place our lives, and the lives of those we know and love, into the potter’s hands, we can surely know that the God who is taking us, shaping us, re-shaping us and moulding us, is working out his good, indeed his best, purposes.

Darlene Zschech has written a beautiful song on this theme. Its words form our prayer now.

Beautiful Lord, wonderful Saviour,
I know for sure all of my days are held in Your hands,
Crafted into Your perfect plan.

You gently call me into Your presence,
Guiding me by Your Holy Spirit,
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes.

I’m captured by Your Holy calling,
Set me apart,
I know You’re drawing me to Yourself,
Lead me Lord I pray.

Take me, mould me,
Use me, fill me,
I give my life to the Potter’s hand.
Call me, guide me,
Lead me, walk beside me,
I give my life to the Potter’s hand.

Copyright © 1997 Darlene Zschech/Hillsong Publishing/Kingsway Music

Photo by Earl Wilcox on Unsplash

………………..

We continue in prayer:

Christ our Saviour, born for us,
bring healing and peace to all people….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Christ, baptized in the Jordan,
give hope to all who come to you….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Christ, tested in the desert,
give courage to those who are tempted….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Christ, who comforted and healed,
bring wholeness to all who are broken….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Christ, who hung in agony on the cross,
bring strength to those who suffer….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Christ, who died to save us,
give peace to all who face death….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Christ, raised from the tomb,
bring light and life to all the world….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

Christ, present among your disciples,
unite all your people in love….

Lord have mercy.          Christ, have mercy.

We thank you, gracious God.
You have loved us from the beginning of time
and remembered us when we were in trouble.
Your mercy endures for ever.

We thank you, redeeming God.
You have come to us in Jesus Christ
to save us from our sins.
Your mercy endures for ever.

We thank you, holy God.
You have sent us your Spirit
to comfort us and lead us into all truth.
Your mercy endures for ever.

Gracious, redeeming and Holy God,
glory and praise be yours, now and for ever.  Amen

Together, let us bring to the Lord those for whom we have been asked to pray. You may well have others you wish to pray for too…

Graham & Peg T
Margaret B
Carolyn S
Ian A
Gareth J
Jill 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.

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

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.
Teach us to offer ourselves to your service,
that here we may have your peace,
and in the world to come we may see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord look on you with kindness
and give you peace.  Amen.

Go in peace to rejoice in God’s love
and to reflect his glory.
May the Lord go with us and grant us the joy of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Some material included in this service is copyright © 1989 National Council of Churches USA

Some material included in this service is copyright ©1999 Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes

Wednesday meditation

This week’s meditation at St David’s, 11am today, is led by Arline Griffiths,. She shares her reflection below.

Be Still and Know that I am God

I don’t know about you, but I really feel that I have never experienced such a welter of emotions as I have the last few months, when the whole world has seemed in utter turmoil as I lay awake in the wee small hours.  It would be impossible to list, never mind comment on, the problems and horrors of which we hear every day, so I will just choose three examples.  My first is the pandemic, at which I have felt shock and disbelief that a disease could spread so widely and rapidly, with such disastrous effect, together with exasperation or calm acceptance at the decisions of the politicians, and sadness that we should be deprived of the company of friends and family?  Will it ever end? Will I ever regain the confidence to do all the things I used to do?

Then there was the situation in Afghanistan, bringing with it horror, disbelief and pure nausea at the behaviour of the Taliban with their swift, remorseless sweep through the country and into Kabul, followed by the evacuation and withdrawal of the British and American troops.  What on earth was happening here?  Surely more could be done?  Absolute fear, tinged with guilt, set in at the thought of what might happen to those who were left behind: are not we, as a nation, partly responsible for this situation?  Is it not our bounden duty to rescue any family left behind in great danger because one member has given us an official level of help?  We can’t just abandon them, can we?  But worse was yet to come.  Soon we heard that huge swathes of the population were literally starving.  Bank accounts had been frozen so no-one had money to buy food, even if there was any to buy, because the Taliban had no money to import any as the West had imposed bans on financial trade, or so the Taliban claimed.  Was this true?  Was there really nothing we can do?   Rarely have I felt so utterly helpless.

Then we have the constant bombardment of doomsday talk of the effects of Global Warming, for which we again are responsible: “It’s one minute to midnight”, “This is literally the Last Ditch Saloon”, etc.  The worst thing is that we can actually see what we have done: the sea filled with plastic, extreme weather of all kinds and its consequences in all parts of the world, the decreased numbers, or even complete disappearance, of the birds and butterflies we have been used to seeing as we go about our daily business.  And which of us can honestly, hand on heart, say we have never given up on retrieving that piece of plastic picnic-wrapping whisked away be a strong sea-side breeze, for example.  And do we honestly take steps to ensure that the wild birds have access to food in the most inclement of weather?  I know I don’t.  Guilt and helplessness prevail again.

I find myself sinking into a pit of despair and helplessness, but then amid the whirling maelstrom of thoughts and feelings comes that still, small voice of calm: “Be still and know that I am God,” which breaks through and soothes me, allowing me to think sensibly.  Is God really inviting me to sit back and do nothing?  No, of course not; the invitation is to “know that I am God.” So who, or what, is God?  – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; creator of all, carer for all, lover of all: teacher, guide and mentor of all: it is impossible to list all that God is and does – and what he expects of us.  But we do have the Bible to help us. In Genesis ch. 1, v. 26 we read, Then God said, ”Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  So he clearly expected us to be busy and loving and caring as he was.  Obviously, I must change my mindset, conquer the negative and find the positive.

So, to return to the three areas concerning me most: last week Sue Harwood reminded us that, in Matthew 22, vv.37-39, Jesus said:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. That is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself.” Surely from this, we must love ourselves, and if we love ourselves then obviously we cannot think of ourselves as helpless and useless.  So is there something that I can do in the Covid situation?  And of course there is.   If I can do nothing else, I can, in fact, show love for my neighbours – known and unknown – by showing respect and care for them. HANDS – FACE – SPACE: is that not how I can show love for my neighbour, and therefore surely please God?

And then Afghanistan: looking again at Matthew’s gospel, we read, in ch. 25, vv. 36-40:

“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”.

Then the righteous will say, “When did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Again the mandate is clear: God wants us to look after those in need, but how are we to do that in this case?   The Bible does not fail us in this either.  In Ephesians ch 4, vv. 11 and 12, we are told that ” He gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service”, which can be extended to mean that everyone has been given gifts and talents to use in the service of others.  In this case, most of us are not in a position to give hands on help – but we can give.  However little we have by western standards, many people in Afghanistan – and indeed throughout the world – have literally nothing.  Whatever we can give will be valuable: remember the widow’s mite.  And there are organisations that can get our donations, in cash and kind, to where they are needed.

Which brings us to Global Warming: it is true that throughout COP26 there have been, and probably will continue to be, the doubters, but what we need to concentrate on are the positives; the in-depth discussions and fact-sharing sessions that are taking place, the agreements that have been signed, and the stories that are emerging from various parts of the world, of the huge progress being made in Schwarzenegger’s California and the small steps being taken every day by people in Wales, for example.   The truth is, of course, that every one of us can, and must, play our part in helping to reverse the trend, as I am sure each one of us is doing already.  But perhaps we could each do that little bit more: the newspapers and magazines are full of ideas.  In fact, perhaps we could have a regular “ideas” article in the church magazine!   For example, are you aware that soft plastic – which means bread and confectionary wrappers, food pouches and ready food and meals’ covers – can now be recycled in special bins in larger Co-ops, Tesco, and M&S?

So how do I deal with my residual worries and fears?  At last I can take the advice given to us by Janet Creed at the end of her meditation two weeks ago, and leave them in the garden with Jesus. If I am doing my best, I am doing enough to satisfy our gracious and forgiving God.

Five ways to wellbeing – session 4

The fourth session of our discipleship group series on wellbeing is attached below. The theme is “Keep Learning”. You can find the first three sessions on the blog (29th September, 13th October and 27th October).

The material for autumn has been provided by Rev David Lamb of St David’s and is on the theme of “Five Ways to Wellbeing, a Christian Response”. The “five ways to wellbeing” are a tried and tested approach to mental wellbeing – you can find the NHS’s web page about this here. In our studies, David compares the five ways to the Christian way of life.