Rev. Nigel Robb May 13th
Post Easter Resources 3 for a locked down Church
1. Prayer of an Ageing Jesuit
Dearest Lord, teach me to grow gracefully.
Help me to see that my community does me no wrong
when gradually it takes from me my duties;
when it no longer seems to seek my views.
Rid me of my pride in all the “wisdom” I have learned.
Rid me of the illusion that I am indispensable.
Help me in this gradual detachment from earthly things
to grasp the meaning of your law of time.
Teach me, in this turnover of work and workers,
to discern a striking expression of life’s constant renewal
under the impulse of your providence.
And please, Lord, let me still be useful,
contributing to the world my optimism,
adding my prayers to the joyful fervour and courage
of those who now take their turn at the helm.
Let my lifestyle now become one of humble and serene
contact with the world in change,
shedding no tears for the past;
making of my human sufferings
a gift of reparation to all.
Let my leaving the field of action be simple and natural –
like a glowing, cheerful sunset.
Lord, forgive me if only now in my tranquillity
I begin to know how much you love me,
how much you’ve helped me.
And now, finally, may I have a clear, a deep understanding
of the joyful destiny you have prepared for me,
guiding my every step from the first day of my life.
Lord, teach me to grow old … just so.
In his book on the Apostles Creed by the Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung, he proposes that in order to communicate what it believes, the church must always understand the questions people are asking.‘Taking seriously the questions of contemporaries means we must always listen carefully to what the world, the people around us, the particular men, women, and children who walk past the churches every day, are asking, saying, thinking and feeling.’
What is the Church saying to those who are in touch with internet services or TV in this time, when church buildings are closed?
3. Older but not inactive
The wonderful efforts of Captain Tom raising so much money while he is 100 years of age has demonstrated that age is no barrier to efforts by our citizens who are considered retired. Age is not necessarily a barrier to the exercise of our creative capacities.
Michaelangelo worked on St Peter’s Church at age 71 and began the Rondanini when he was nearly 90.Verdi finished his opera at the age of 80.Marc Chagall finished two murals for the Metropolitan Opera House of New York at the age of 77.Jessica Tandy won an Oscar for best actress when she was 80.Thomas Edison patented his last invention when he was 81. Benjamin Franklin at the same age completed the compromise for the adoption of the Constitution of the USA. At the age of 90 Duncan McClean won the world’s Veteran Olympic Silver Medal in the 200 metre race.When George Abbot was 100 he opened a play on Broadway.
Whatever age we are, God can use our talents, gifts and energies.
4. Courage to Live
Howard Thurman shared these lines
Give me the courage to live!
Really live - not merely exist.
Daring the truth-
Particularly the truth about myself!
Ever changing, ever growing, ever adapting,
Enduring the pain of change
As though it were the travail of birth
Give me the strength to live,
Give me the strength to be free
And endure the burden of freedom
And the loneliness of those without chains;
Let me not be trapped by success,
Nor by failure, nor pleasure, nor grief,
Nor malice, nor praise, nor remorse!
Give me the courage to go on!
Facing all that waits on the trail -
Going eagerly, joyously on,
And paying my way as I go,
Without anger or fear or regret
Taking what life gives,
Spending myself to the full,
Head high, spirit winged, like a god -
On… on… till the shadows draw close.
Then even when the darkness shuts down,
And I go out alone, as I came,
Even then, gracious God, hear my prayer:
Give me the courage to live.
5. All I ever needed to know
Robert Fulgham wrote a book entitled ‘All I ever needed to know I learned at Kindergarten’.
In the book he makes the following points to back up his case.
Play fair, don’t hurt people;
Put things back where you found them: clear up your own mess;
Don’t take things that are not yours;
Say sorry when you hurt someone…
Live a balanced life;
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some;
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together;
Be aware of wonder;
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even little seeds in the plastic cup – they all die, and so do we;
And then remember the biggest word of all: LOOK.
6. Prayer for ourselves
Teach us, O Source of life and love,
Who we are, from whence we came,
And whether we are going.
Enable us to know ourselves –
Not by the clothes we wear, titles we possess,
Or the worldly goods we have amassed.
Rather let us know ourselves,
As children of the Gracious God,
Heirs of the promise,
And sinners who have heard and been restored
Through the word of Grace in Jesus Christ.
7. Mother Teresa’s Nobel Speech
When I was hungry, you gave me to eat.
When I was homeless, you opened the doors.
When I was weary, you helped me find rest.
When I was anxious, you calmed all my fears.
In a strange country, you made me a home.
Hurt in a battle, you bound up my wounds.
Searching for kindness, you held out your hand.
Mocked and insulted, you carried my cross.
When I was restless, you listened and cared.
When I was laughed at, you stood by my side.
When I was happy you shared in my joy.
You have brought us to this hour by our several ways,
Unfaithful as we have been,
You have nevertheless kept faith with us.
Pry us loose from the lost or marginal causes
To which we give ourselves so freely.
Strengthen our resolve to commit ourselves to the Gospel.
Counter our desire for wealth and reputation with an urge to serve,
In the way of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
In the Centres for Attitudinal Healing in San Francisco and Houston, children labelled by society as disabled are brought together. They are taught that there is no such thing as a victim. If you can help another human being, you are not a victim, they believe. So each child is taught ways in which to help each other. When they leave they are all given a dictionary. In it there is one word crossed out. That word is ‘impossible’. It is perhaps a lesson for us that nothing, nothing is impossible for us with God.
Forgive our blindness to Jesus in the unlikely places,
In the face of a stranger,
In the voice of an agnostic,
In the questioning of the suffering and grieving.
Lead us to bring the reality of the vision of Jesus
To human need wherever we encounter it
To the sullen and despairing,
To the outcast and the lonely.
May we who would see Jesus,
Seek Jesus, and in seeking Jesus find him, through love and grace,
In his name we pray.
11. Prayer as we face the Future
We wait before you, Gracious God,
In need of correction and encouragement, stimulation and assurance,
So that we may step bravely into the unknown future you have set before us.
Some of us are madly in love with a past that can never be again.
Many are tired of trying to sustain the image of a self which no longer exists.
Some of us are living in a dream world of relative ease and tranquillity.
Accept us, transform us,
Change us and challenge us by your grace
To become the people you have called us to be
In Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray.
12. Thought from Ann Frank
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.
Rather provocative words. Perhaps difficult for us, at present, to engage with what she describes, but in among the hubble of news reports, speculation, the blame game and the accusations, it may just be possible for us to have a few minutes to give thanks for the beauty of creation, the wonders of medical science and the care of others in whom we see and feel the action of a caring and loving God.
13. Prayer for truth
Deliver us from
- the cowardice that dares not face new truth,
- the laziness that is content with half -truth,
- the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth.
May we plead no extenuating circumstances,
No frailty of nature,
No force of temptations,
No persuasions of those who lead us astray.
Grasp us anew with zeal and fiery commitment to the purposes of grace
In Jesus Christ our Lord.
14. Reflection on Psalm 74 : 12-20
Your energy, O Lord, is infinite,
Your authority everlasting
You divide many rivers,
You thunder in the waterfall,
You surge in the flood,
And even tame the crocodile.
Yet you have many enemies –
So numerous in our land -
Many fools who mock your existence,
or mix your names with obscenities.
Save us, O Lord, from their power,
Deliver us from their wounding.
We are in their midst like peaceful doves
Surrounded by fierce hawks.
O lord, rescue all who are endangered,
Remember the homeless poor.
You alone are True God,
Love from the very beginning,
Friend of living creatures,
Saviour of all People!