So, it is Lent! Last week we suggested ‘being kind to yourself’ might be an appropriate resolution this year bearing in mind the past year………….
The attached reflections are around the theme of kindness – to ourselves but also kindness to others & God’s loving-kindness to each of us. We hope you find something helpful here.
The blessing this week is Rutter’s Clare blessing – it was written in memory of Rutter’s student son, Christopher, who was killed in a road accident in Cambridge. Let us pray for all those who have been killed accidentally during the pandemic & for their family & friends.
Love to you all
The mind of our God is wiser than our minds,
searching among the depths of our life
with all of its ambiguity & fears,
all its complex wanderings & lack of understanding,
cutting through to truth
and the lost grounds of justice.
The ears of our God are tuned to all of us,
never missing fragile voices or whispers of desperation,
hearing the messages within our messages,
choosing the crying voices from within the louder sounds,
lifting up the voices of humanness,
the voices of caring,
the voices of the little & the least.
The heart of our God feels for us,
carrying the feet of Christ into the world,
to know the way of our wilderness,
a heart filled with costly love,
a heart which reaches out to touch us all,
and spreads its love with the balm of healing,
lifting us to our feet & carrying us to a safe place
before we travel the road of life again.
The hardest part is people.
So, Lord, help me face them
without rancour or disappointment.
Help me see the pain behind their actions
rather than the malice;
the suffering rather than the rage.
And in myself, as I struggle
with the vise of my own desire –
give me strength to quiet my heart,
to quicken my empathy,
to act in gratitude rather than need.
Remind me that the peace I find
in the slow track of the seasons
or an uncurling fern frond,
is married to the despair I feel
in the face of nuclear war.
Remind me that each small bird shares atoms
with anthrax, with tetanus, with acid rain,
that each time I close my heart
to another, I add to the darkness.
Help me always to follow kindness.
Let this be my prayer
– Karen Holden
And what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6. 8.
Cheerfulness – loving-kindness, as Micah puts it – is about how we relate to others, about hospitality, warmth, openness, about our responsibility towards one another, about neighbourly concern, & belonging together in the bundle of life. Cheerfulness is not about the kind of frothy joy that denies the pain or seriousness of life’s travails. On the contrary, cheerfulness confronts adversity in full recognition of its reality, but it looks through the darkness. Cheerfulness is the persistent tortoise that keeps on keeping on & gets there in the end; cheerfulness is the resilient toy that you cannot knock over; cheerfulness survives every setback & disappointment because it reflects the resurrection-hope & the faith that God’s grace is sufficient for all our needs.