The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections for the renewing church, from Rev. Peter Neilson

Sunday 25 October 2020

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends at Crail and St Ayle

 

Today, I offer you a different form of reflection.  I have been reminded of a series of prayers I was asked to write a few years back, with particular Scripture passages as my starting point.  The theme was “The Beauty of Autumn Colours – the experience of ageing as an inspiration.”  I think they speak to the season, and the autumn season of life.

                                                                                                           

Jesus talked of the scribe drawing from treasures old and new, so here is something old from me that may be new –and renewing - for you.

 

Take them slowly, savour and enjoy.

 

Peter

 

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The Beauty of Autumn Colours

– experience of ageing as an inspiration

 

 

Isaiah 60:1

Arise, shine for your light has come

And the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

 

Creator God,

We see yellow tips on green branches

Signs of a changing season,

Sap moving from leaves to roots.

 

In the autumn of our lives

You call us to go deeper

To let Your Spirit

Do hidden work,

Changing us for glory into glory,

Preparing us

For a greater glory

Of Your eternal springtime

Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

our Lord. AMEN

 

God of the seasons,

We celebrate autumn’s glory

A blaze of fiery colours in the

Clear fresh light.

 

In the autumn of our lives

You call us to burn

With the light of Your presence

Like Moses’ bush

Not consumed,

Still burning

For You,

With You

By the fire of the Holy Spirit. AMEN

 

Isaiah 61: 3

To comfort all who mourn

And provide for those who grieve in Zion –

To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes....

 

Falling leaves,

Blown in the wind

Under our shuffling feet,

Reminders of lives lost and gone.

 

God of strong comfort,

we remember

loved ones and friends

companions of life

gone from sight

leaving our lives

bare and empty

like the trees

stripped by autumn gales.

 

God of redemptive hope,

May each loss become a lesson in love:

In thanking You for blessings

Woven into our souls;

In cherishing the living

We meet in this day;

In savouring life itself

Too soon to be a leaf

Falling into the hands of God. AMEN

 

Isaiah 61:3

They will be called oaks of righteousness

A planting of the Lord

For the display of his splendour.

 

Lord, today I think of the older people I know

Those who have nurtured me from birth

Those who have been part of the life’s landscape

 

Those who have worked with me,

Mentored me

Encouraged me

Inspired me.

 

I stop and name them...

I see their faces....

I hear their voices....

 

Before You, I honour them

For simply being there

Solid, Strong

Reliable, Wise

Kind, Patient,

“Oaks of righteousness”

And they do not know it!

 

I think of the men and women of faith

Who have been silent examples

Of Christ-like living

Of Godly faithfulness

Of Spirit-inspired adventurousness.

 

Lord, they stand strong

Planted in the Lord

Displaying your splendour

And they do not know it!

 

Thank You, Lord, for each one. AMEN

 

Zechariah 14:20

On that day, HOLY TO THE LORD

Will be inscribed on the bells of the horses,

And the cooking pots in the Lord’s house

Will be like sacred bowls in front of the altar.

 

I wonder what you want to cook

In this old cooking pot today, Lord.

 

It’s the ordinary days

That you use, Lord.

It’s the ordinary patterns

Of rising and eating

Of walking and sleeping

That you hold as special.

Another day of grace

Another day for gratitude.

 

It’s the simple ingredients,

That you use, Lord.

A smile and a kind word

A chance to help

A humility to be helped

A moment of laughter

A tear shared

Each turned into a silent prayer.

And, as the incense rises,

May this old cooking pot

Become a sacred bowl before your altar

HOLY TO THE LORD.  AMEN

 

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,

 declares the Lord,

Plans to prosper you and not to harm you

Plans to give you a hope and future.

 

I love these words, Lord.

Words to people who were displaced

Cut adrift from home and temple

Feeling abandoned by You.

 

And then, this shot in the arm

About hope and plans and a future....

That feels so good!

 

I confess there are days

When I feel lost to my old self.

I wonder what life is about now.

I seem to have lost my drive.

I even find it hard to pray.

I wonder where You are.

If you have any role for me.

 

And then these words....

You have plans beyond my imagining.

You have a future beyond my seeing.

You have more,

And I begin to hope again.

 

I love these words, Lord.

You are so good! AMEN

 

Ecclesiastes 12:6, 7

Remember him –

before the silver cord is severed

Or the golden bowl is broken;

Before the pitcher is shattered at the spring

Or the wheel is broken at the well,

And the dust returns to the ground

it came from

And the spirit returns to the God who gave it.

 

Time to remember God’s future,

In the presence of the Lord

Who was and who is and who is to come.

 

Time to remember God’s faithfulness

As bones grow stiff

As organs fail

As senses lose their edge

As memory becomes porous.

“I’m winding down and I’m revving up”

A wise old woman whispered.

 

Time to gather in the harvest

Of the years.

To count the blessings

And smile.

To offer up the pain

And learn compassion.

To let go the hurts

And forgive,

Lest, as hurt people, we hurt people.

“A season of mellow fruitfulness”

A gifted poet wrote.

 

Time to get ready to go home:

For being known

For being like Christ

For being with God.

“Teach us to number our days

That we may gain a heart of wisdom”

A timeless Psalmist said. AMEN

 

Luke 2: 25, 27

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon,

 who was righteous and devout.

He was waiting for the consolation of Jerusalem....

Moved by the Spirit, he went into the Temple courts.

 

Lord, I want to be like old Simeon,

Living on the boundary of the old

And the new,

praying

For Your Kingdom to come

For your Church to be renewed

For our nation to return to Christ.

 

We wait.... we watch.... for your salvation.

 

In the routine of his duty

Simeon’s eyes were opened.

To see well-trodden prayers answered

In a child,

The Christ-child.

 

In the routine of this day of worship

Open our eyes to see You

In unexpected ways

In unexpected places

In unexpected people.

 

On the boundary of the old

And the new

We will continue to wait...

We will continue watch.... for Your salvation.

 

May we be boundary people

Opening doors of hope

for the next generation.  AMEN

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