Wednesday Prayers, 13 January 2021

LSA chancelEternal God,
In the first weeks of this new year, so much has happened
and every day seems to bring new information, new regulations, new scandals.
In the midst of it all, it’s hard to get perspective
or to understand what’s really happening.
May we find confidence in You
whose wisdom does not depend on current ideas or headlines or power struggles.
Your wisdom stretches beyond time and experience
and spans all of history, even well beyond our small human history.
May we listen better to Your word for us
and have faith in Your presence with us.

Be with all, once again, in the struggle against COVID-19.
We know politicians have difficult decisions to make,
but may they listen to the experts
and make decisions that will make sense in the medium and long term
and will save lives.
We remember all who work in the front line in hospitals, laboratories, public transport, education and child services, voluntary support agencies:
give them renewed courage and energy.
And we remember those who are ill,
those who are caring for people who aren’t well,
those who are mourning the loss of someone they have loved.
Give comfort and the peace of Your constant presence.

In a time where divisions are rife in the world
and sometimes encouraged by people with power,
we pray for all who are unifying forces;
peacemakers, listeners, diplomats, counsellors,
leaders who work with compassion for all.
Bring us together as communities and nations
And may nations cooperate as far as possible
to secure a deeper peace, good health and security for everyone.

We come to pray for people we know who are in need,
those going through turmoil or anxiety,
those feeling the pressures of lockdown,
those finding it hard to be alone,
those finding it hard to be with their families so much.

And we also pray today for
Peter, Bill B, Evelyn, Jean, Janet,
Zoe, Gordon and John, Emily, Allan, Malcolm,
Eleanor, Andrew, Ela, Jennifer,
Jill, John N, David and his family, Mary,
Yvonne, Bill M, John C, Karen, Mary D, Ceala and Ian.
Be with them, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen

Sunday Evening Thought

A Gathering Storm

Alfred Pettitt

I switched on the radio this evening and found myself listening to the shipping forecast with its list of familiar area names such as Viking, Forties and Fisher.   There are gale warnings for the area of Forth tonight.  This very old photograph of a gathering storm reminds me that we can watch for storms, warn each other that they are coming and even record their beauty but we can do nothing to stop them.  We must live in them. 

The psalm for today is Psalm 29.  Verse 3 says:- “The voice of the Lord, is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.” The psalmist hears God’s voice in the thunderstorm. We are mere humans and God is God. That brings comfort as the psalmist, trusting in God’s power, ends in prayer at verse 11:- “May the Lord give strength to his people. May the Lord bless his people with peace.”

 Our true security and peace are in Him.

Lord God, Thank You that You create light in any darkness.  Bless us this week to remember this and to trust You more.

We ask in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Katherine Taylor

The photograph is from the collection of the Scottish National Galleries.

Sunday Evening Thought

Water Falls Down 2001

Click the link above to see the video

Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion © Dalziel + Scullion

I think that this video could have been made for Psalm 147, the psalm for today.  We have had snow this week and in this psalm of praise,   God commands the seasons by sending snow, frost and hail.  The picture we see is the first of three scenes.  A single birch sapling grows silently, surrounded by falling snow, reminding us that

v. 16  “He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. ….. who can stand before his cold?”

The second scene changes to the abrupt noise and force of rushing water breaking over a dark boulder.  God simply has to speak and the snow and ice melt and the waters flow telling us that

v.18 “He makes his wind blow, and the waters flow”.

The third scene is of people on a beach watching an adult being baptised in the waves of a grey and cold North Sea. After the immersion, there are smiles of happiness.  The baptiser then turns away to look out to sea, joining the gaze of everyone else, perhaps inviting those of us who watch to

v. 20  “Praise the Lord!” as well.

Lord God, Thank You for the beauty of snow and for the changing seasons. Thank You for Your gift of new beginnings this January. Bless us this week to know You a little better and to welcome those we meet with smiles and warmth.

We ask in Jesus’ name.

Amen

Katherine Taylor

Scottish National Galleries Link

Sunday Evening Thought

Heavenly Window

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

This Psalm for the first Sunday after Christmas continues the praise and joy of Christmas Day.  The praise here begins in heaven.  This heavenly window says something to me of the nature of that praise with the vitality and depth of its colours.   It lifts my spirits.   It also feels a little like a gift. It would be good to thank its creator.   The psalm invites us to simply join in the praise with gratitude and at the same time assures us that if we are unable to praise God for a time,   we can trust that the heavens will continue to praise Him for us.

Lord God, Thank You for the wonder of the universe around us.  This week, bless us to see Your world with childlike eyes of discovery and gratitude.  Bless us to praise You.

We ask in Jesus’ name,

Amen

Katherine Taylor

Picture from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

A Candle in the Window at Christmas

THOUGHTS AT CHRISTMAS IN TURBULENT TIMES:   shared by Peter Millar Walking together in our global family as we celebrate God’s goodness. The poem entitled ‘The Affirming Flame’ by W. H. Auden: (written, in 1939, at the start of the Second World War.) Defenceless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic […]

A Candle in the Window at Christmas

Sunday Evening Thought

Christmas Star

 NASA/ Bill Ingalls

This photograph was taken a week ago in a national park in Virginia. The two tiny points of light in the sky are the planets Jupiter and Saturn. They are moving closer together. On 21 December, from a viewpoint on earth,  they will appear to be so close as to form one bright, single light.  In reality, they will still be hundreds of millions of  miles apart from each other in space. This year, for the first time in 800 years, nearly everyone in the world will have the opportunity to look up into the dark and see the light of this special “Christmas Star”.  The psalmist says in Psalm 89, the psalm for today, “I declare that your steadfast love is established forever; your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens”.

This serene evening photograph gives me a sense of God ordering the movement of the planets in space. They each have a path and this special star will appear to us as a sign of certainty and hope in the disorder of our times.

Lord God, Thank You for Your love and care for us. Thank You for the beauty and the wonder of the winter sky. This week, as we look forward to the coming of Your Son, bless us to live each day the prayer He gives us, Thy will be done on  earth as it is in heaven.

We ask in Jesus’ name.

Amen

Katherine Taylor

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