Midweek Devotion 14/7/22

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.”
(Psalm 24:1&2)

Our lesson today is written in the book of Genesis (chapter 1, verses 1-26 and 31).

Reflection

I have recently had opportunity to go on holiday, spending some time both in the Scottish Borders and also on the North East coast. Walking amongst trees, clambering up hills and strolling along beaches; listening for the silence, to burbling streams, the rhythm of waves on the shore and glorious birdsong, looking out for wildlife; enjoying spectacular sunsets, or being blown about by blustery winds, even soaking up gentle summer rains; collecting shells and stones, discovering orchids and thrift  – these are all ways in which many of us will find a sense of re-creation and calm and perspective.

At the latest since the beginning of the pandemic large numbers of people have rediscovered the healing power of nature, of immersing ourselves in the stillness, or the wildness, of our natural environment. We read about the Japanese practice of forest bathing, and doctors prescribing rambling as a way of helping our mental health. We find that even in our cities gardening has become more important for us as a way of balancing the stresses of life. The satisfaction of growing some of our own food, the joy of the rich colours and smells of blossoms, help to awaken our senses to the wonders of creation.

As in the first creation story in the book of Genesis, we are reminded that we are a part of God’s good creation, our lives interwoven with those of our fellow creatures, at best integrated in the complex ecosystems that surround us. When we tune in to the rhythms of sowing, growing, harvesting and resting, the ebb and flow of the seasons, our sense of wonder at the miracles of the world can grow. Maybe then we will understand a little better why St. Francis of Assissi spoke of all creation as being his sisters and brothers, all made by the loving hand of God. Maybe then we will learn to touch the earth lightly and to live humbly and in harmony with all of God’s creation.

Prayer

In the words of an old Celtic prayer we say:

O Christ, there is no plant in the ground, but it is full of your virtue. There is no form in the strand, but it is full of your blessing. There is no life in the sea, there is no creature in the ocean, there is nothing in the heavens, but proclaims your goodness. There is no bird on the wing, there is no star in the sky, there is nothing beneath the sun, but proclaims your goodness.

Loving God, we hold in your healing presence those who suffer pain and ill-health: may they know the deep peace of Christ.

We hold in your healing presence those who suffer in mind and spirit: may they know the deep peace of Christ.

We hold in your healing presence the suffering people of our world, and the places where people are experiencing division, injustice and violence: may they know the deep peace of Christ.

We hold in your healing presence victims of domestic violence, refugees, and those who are trafficked – all who need a new life and a new home so that they can thrive: may they know the deep peace of Christ.

We hold in your healing presence those facing bereavement, and we remember those who have died: may they know the deep peace of Christ.

God of compassion and love, we offer you all our suffering and pain. Give us strength to bear our weakness, healing even when there is no cure, peace in the midst of turmoil and love to fill the spaces in our lives.

All our prayers we gather into the words that Jesus taught us to pray together:

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.

Blessing

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
deep peace of the flowing air to you,
deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
deep peace of the shining stars to you,
deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
Amen

Organ Music

Henry Purcell Voluntary in G Z720