#16: Ask: #40ways40days

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (Luke 11:9-13)

Suddenly our Zaporozhets wildly swung off to the side of the road. Father Raphael, now rigid from the cold, could do nothing to stop the skidding of the car along the ice into a rutted snowdrift, and so we flew into a ditch, raising a cloud of snow. Continue reading “#16: Ask: #40ways40days”

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#15: Pray: #40ways40days

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ (Luke 11:1)

My father taught me how to practice prayer. Every night before I went to sleep my father would have my sisters and I kneel with him to pray a prayer. Every night, same time, together, we would pray this prayer. Continue reading “#15: Pray: #40ways40days”

#14: Travel light: #40ways40days

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” (Luke 10:1-9)

Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expect-ing to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning. Continue reading “#14: Travel light: #40ways40days”

Mothering Jesus

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you.
You are gentle with us as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride;
you tenderly draw us from hatred and judgement;
you comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds;
you nurse us in sickness and feed us with pure milk. Continue reading “Mothering Jesus”

#13: Join in: #40ways40days

Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for him out of their resources. (Luke 8:1-3)

Lord,

I am not one to despise Your gifts.

May You be blessed

Who spread the riches of Your sweetness

for my zeal …

Let my small span of ardent life

melt into our great communal task;

to lift up to Your glory

this temple of sweetness,

a citadel of incense,

a holy candle, myriad-celled,

moulded of Your graces

and of my hidden work. Amen.

© Carmen Bernos de Gasztold, ‘The Prayer of the Bee’ from Prayers from the Ark, transl. Rumer Goden. Viking, 1962. #40ways40days. Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash.

 

#12: Judge not: #40ways40days

Jesus said, ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’ (Luke 6:36-38)

 I was sitting in Mansfield Court one day, in support of a friend who, rightly, thought he may not be able to drive home after his day in court.  And day in court it was.  There seemed to be no schedule of when the various cases were to be heard.  It was a matter of turning up at the beginning of the day and being ready when called upon.  This meant that we got to hear all the cases that were heard before our particular case was dealt with.  It was a sad procession of minor driving and drug offences. Continue reading “#12: Judge not: #40ways40days”

#11: Do unto others: #40ways40days

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:31)

If you cannot do unto others what you would that they should do to you, at least do not do unto them what you would not that they should do unto you. If you would not be made to work ten hours at a stretch in factories or in mines, if you would not have your children hungry, cold and ignorant, if you would not be robbed of the land that feeds you, if you would not be shut up in prisons and sent to the gallows or hanged for committing an unlawful deed through passion or ignorance, if you would not suffer wounds nor be killed in war— do not do this unto others. Continue reading “#11: Do unto others: #40ways40days”

Predatory foxes and powerless hens

Listen here.

Please be aware that this reflection includes a description of family violence.

“Where was God?” a friend once wrote to me. “Where was God when my father was on the rampage, trying to break down my bedroom door? Where was God when I was hiding under the dining room table, shaking and terrified? Why didn’t God keep me safe?” There’s an old children’s song that goes like this: “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do …” And when I think of my dear friend, who sang songs like this in religious education classes at school, and who begged God to keep her safe from her father at home, my heart breaks. Continue reading “Predatory foxes and powerless hens”

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