Deer

God in the everyday

Whilst out walking early last Saturday, sunshine and birdsong filled the air. I stopped by the Care Home to pray for residents and staff. Then at the post box to pray for people I’m connected with. At the local shop I prayed for those who provide us with food. Have you ever thought of combining your daily walk with prayer? Stopping at certain points to pray for someone or a certain situation. Walking further on, I stopped again. This time surprised to see a deer near the road. When it was aware of me, it soon bolted. I prayed, this time for creation and our responsibility for the planet that God has gifted to us as our home. The sight of the deer was one of the things of gratitude that I recorded in my journal for that day. Psalm 42 begins with the striking image of a deer thirsting for water. Just as water is necessary for life and the deer’s need is urgent, so is God necessary for life and the psalmist’s need for God urgent. The yearning is for the life-giving presence of God. Verse two: ‘My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.’ ‘Soul’ is better read as ‘self’ or ‘person.’ The longing for God is quenched in and through prayer. However, like the deer, prayer can ‘bolt’ away from us. Tiredness, busyness, forgetfulness can all be factors in our not coming to God in prayer. Likewise, times of crisis, loss of faith, feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and depression can also be factors in not coming to God in prayer. The New Testament also speaks of thirst for God (Matthew 5:6) and of God’s. quenching of the thirst (John 4:14; 6:35; Revelation 21:6). Psalm 42 portrays the faithful person at prayer with the companions of both hope and despair present. Do not rely on your feelings to keep you from prayer. Take whatever feelings with you as companions. ‘May I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more clearly, day by day.’ (Prayer of Richard of Chichester) David.
Rainbow

God in the everyday

Part of my daily rhythm during this time of social distancing is taking a walk. On my walks I’ve the noticed displayed in people’s windows pictures of rainbows. The pictures usually have the words ‘stay safe’ or ‘stay home’ or ‘thank you NHS’ written on them. Pictured is the rainbow drawn by one of my grandchildren who has a severe form of asthma and is always thankful for the doctors and nurses who care for her not just at this critical time, but who have cared for her throughout her young life. In the Bible we find a rainbow in the story of Noah and the Ark. The opening of the story is full of expectation: ‘Noah was a righteous man, faultless in his generation. Noah walked with God.’ Compare this with the end of the story and we read that Noah ended up drunk, dishevelled, an embarrassment to his children. In between we find that Noah did not speak a word. He did not question God about the destruction. He even had to be told when to leave the ark. In contrast, read the story of Abraham. Abraham argued with God about the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and saved others beside himself and immediate family. Abraham took responsibility. God it seems, does not require blind obedience. He requires that we take responsibility. Noah, silent throughout, only saved himself and his family. He could not deal with the guilt of not trying to save others and ended up as he did. That is why the rainbow is such a poignant sign during this time of crisis. Staying home is not just about saving ourselves. Like Abraham, it is about taking responsibility and saving others. Peace be with you.David
moon

God in the everyday

I took this picture last Friday (27th March). It was a clear evening. What you can see is the crescent moon and the planet Venus. As I stood at the front door gazing up at these celestial objects my mind was taken to Psalm 8, verses 3 and 4: ‘When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?’ Imagine the writer of those ancient words gazing up into the night sky and seeing the vast array of stars and planets and being in awe of the Creator God who cares for us. The word ‘care’ is from a root word that means ‘to visit.’ May God the Creator, by his Spirit, visit you and bless you today. David Woodall
tree

Psalm 84 - finding rest in God

This is one of the trees in the Vicarage garden. Overgrown, it’s waiting to be trimmed. Like most things, that are on hold. For the past few weeks I have noticed that a Blackbird and Wood Pigeon are making their nests in the tree. This morning, as I stood in the sunshine, I saw the Wood Pigeon taking grass and twigs into the tree. Taking the time to look out of our windows, to stand in the garden, listening and watching we see and hear that life, is still going on. As I watched the Wood Pigeon God directed my thoughts to Psalm 84. On their approach to Jerusalem, the pilgrims catch sight of the Temple. The poetry that is Psalm 84 expresses the joy of that moment. The yearning of the pilgrims to worship God and be in his presence is powerful. They use the image of birds to articulate the care of God. Even, birds will find places to rest in the presence of God. May you who are made in the image this God, find rest in his presence today. Peace be with you. David.
News3

God in the everyday

This morning I was looking through one of my old journals and came across this entry about a butterfly. I took this picture four years ago almost to the day. Spring was breaking through and the weather then was sunny as it has been over the past few days. ‘Watching the butterfly land on the heather, I noticed how it angles itself to face and catch the heat of the sunlight. Life is about angling oneself to face and catch the light of Christ.’ As we travel through these uncertain times, I pray that you may angle yourself to face and catch the light of Christ each and every day. Keep safe, follow the Government’s advice and look out for the post about using our homes as prayer stations. Peace be with you. David.
News2

Everyday objects to make us aware of God

Everyday objects to make us aware of God If you look at this picture, you will see that, where the handle is, there is a break in the flower pattern that covers the rest of the mug. The handle is where we hold the cup. Now think about the pattern of our lives, where there is a break in that pattern, for instance, a bereavement, a relationship breakdown, redundancy, or even the current situation of self-isolation and social distancing; when the pattern of our life is broken, that is when God holds us in His mighty hand. Things may be strange for you right now, especially if you live alone, but remember, you are held in God's hand, and that is the safest place to be.