All posts by pamjw

About pamjw

I am a Methodist Minister, currently unable to be in active ministry due to chronic illness. This is, I hope my opportunity to interact with the world. Of course anything I say here is my own opinion, and not endorsed or reflective of anyone else.

Reflection and Communion for The Beginning of Lent

This was what we did at our housegroup this morning.

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A moment to pause and reflect

Lent is a time for reflection, for confession, for honesty before God.  It is an opportunity also to seek God’s forgiveness – and receive it, deep into our heart and mind; to know that those things that trouble us, and those we are barely aware of but affect us deeply, can be dealt with by God; and to receive his peace.

Ashes are a way to show sorrow, a physical sign of an inner reality.

Ashes mark penitence and mourning, an acknowledgement of and sorrow at our wrongdoing.

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Daniel 9:2-7a

We go through life.  We think we’re doing ok – not a bad job all things considered.  Or we don’t even have time to stop and think about it.  We are busy just surviving, getting to the next thing, trying to hold everything together.

But sometimes we are pulled up short.  We realise we have got something badly wrong, or just a little bit wrong, and we have to stop and think.  We need to apologise, put right what we have got wrong and receive forgiveness.  Though often the hardest person to forgive is ourselves.

Lent is a specific opportunity to do that thinking.  To take the time to purposely reflect before God on the reality that is our life.

Burning,
cleansing God,
I come before you today;
I want to take this time
to remember,
to honestly recall,
to examine my life
in your presence;
to ask myself
if I live up to all you ask of me,
day by day,
heartbeat by heartbeat,
in every corner of my life.

Lord,
I come before you in shame,

In penitence,
to say that I am truly sorry.

My life is not what you would have it be,
I have not lived as the person you called me to be,
I have got some things very wrong.

As I think of the ashes,
the dirt and the dust,
I see the darkness in my life;
I rub my hands in it
and see and feel the stain…

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Forgive me,
I pray.

Thank you
that you promise forgiveness
and give it freely.

This day may I go,
marked by you,
forgiven,
restored
and free?

In and through

Your love

~~~

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Bread,
an everyday staple,
nothing flash,
just what was there
on the table
amongst us.

Then he took it,
made it something incredibly special,
turned it into something that would remind us of him,
– each time
we took it
and ate.

Something always with us,
always using,
a daily part of our diet,
now reminds us of Jesus,
his time among us
and his presence with us now.

~~~

The body of Christ
Broken for me

Broken,
torn,
bleeding,
hurting.

Broken like me.

The body of Christ
Broken for me

~~~

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Wine,
rich,
red,
flowing,
warming,
deep within,
his presence
here now.

In me,
with me,
through me,
from him.

I am invited to take,
to eat,
to remember
who,
what
and why
this has become a symbol
his love
poured out
for me,
for us,
for a world in need.

I am invited to take.

Urged to share.

And may God bless us –
those we love and care
those who we live amongst
today
and always

Amen

All for you

It’s all for you,
or is it perhaps
more about me?

Do I want everyone to see
what a good person I am,
how selfless
and generous.

Do I do it
to splash across social media,
hope it makes the news,
that I can be somebody?

Do I want everyone to think
that I am better
than I know I am?
Kinder,
more caring,
more devout?

Do I want to believe that about myself,
to feel better about how I live
and what I do?

But it should be for you alone.
To help you
improve your lot.

For you God,
to act how you want me to.

May I find my generosity,
my value,
my worth
in my relationship with you
ongoing,
gentle,
faithful
and not in grand gestures
that don’t last
or carry on

Forgive me Lord
for the times
I’ve made it about me.
how I look.
the show I can put on

and not about you,
serving you,
loving you,
living how you would.

This lent
let it just be about me and you
our relationship
what I offer to you
alone,
with no fanfares,
just my love
and worship of you

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 (GNT)

Teaching about Charity

“Make certain you do not perform your religious duties in public so that people will see what you do. If you do these things publicly, you will not have any reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. But when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it. Then it will be a private matter. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.

Teaching about Prayer

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.

Teaching about Fasting

16 “And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17 When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18 so that others cannot know that you are fasting—only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.

Riches in Heaven

19 “Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal. 20 Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. 21 For your heart will always be where your riches are.

Good News Translation (GNT)Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

 

Transfiguration and Disfiguration

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At our housegroup this week we were reflecting on the Transfiguration.

The first words of the meditation were “picture yourself with Jesus and his followers Peter, James and John as you walk up the steep path that is the spectacular Mount Tabor”.  One of those simple statements that pulls you up short. Well I know Mount Tabor is spectacular, and steep!  I went there many years ago.

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Mount of Transfiguration 001
Mount Tabor – The Mount of Transfiguration

And yes, we took the transport up it.  But now I am being asked to walk it and that is beyond me – even with Jesus.  My illness and disabilities make that beyond me.  How I would love to be able to walk up a mountain, or even a hill or a small mound.

And one thought led to another.  If I can’t make it up the mountain, am I going to miss out on the mountain top experience?  If I can’t ever make it up the mountain, to the away day, to the social event, to anything that requires more than an hour of me sitting on a chair, to sit in a room where the lights are too bright, to be in an environment where there is sensory overload, too much noise, to do anything that requires more energy than I have (not a lot), (insert your own difficulty)… am I always going to be missing out on the special encounter with God?

The beauty of the TakeTime meditations is that Jesus takes you aside and asks you to share with him what is on your mind and in your heart. And God listens and speaks.

To me – God is the God of the Mountain Tops, but he is also the God of the Valley Bottoms.  I am with you wherever you are.  You can meet with me right here, as far as you can, or can’t, get. I am here and you are special.

But yet still it feels there is so much to miss out on, so much I can’t be a part of.  Not because of anyone’s fault, but my circumstance.

Is there anything that can be done to help me?  (My church is brilliant at helping me access community and God in ways that I can that fit outside the box – our housegroup is one example of that – but that is not everyone’s experience)

How can I help others meet God?  Perhaps sitting at the bottom of the mountain is the place I need to be to meet others who also have to sit there.

I have no neat answers, just some questions.

 

Mark 9:2-13 Good News Translation (GNT)

The Transfiguration

Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, and his clothes became shining white—whiter than anyone in the world could wash them. Then the three disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus. Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “Teacher, how good it is that we are here! We will make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He and the others were so frightened that he did not know what to say.

Then a cloud appeared and covered them with its shadow, and a voice came from the cloud, “This is my own dear Son—listen to him!” They took a quick look around but did not see anyone else; only Jesus was with them.

As they came down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has risen from death.”

10 They obeyed his order, but among themselves they started discussing the matter, “What does this ‘rising from death’ mean?” 11 And they asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the Law say that Elijah has to come first?”

12 His answer was, “Elijah is indeed coming first in order to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man will suffer much and be rejected? 13 I tell you, however, that Elijah has already come and that people treated him just as they pleased, as the Scriptures say about him.”

Good News Translation (GNT)Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society 

 

***Do take a look at the Take Time meditations.  They are a brilliant resource for personal or group use.  We use them at our house group set up specifically for those with chronic illness or caring for those who have as a short and non-demanding group.  No great concentration or sitting for a long time required.  Just support, understanding of one anothers issues, meeting with each other and God.