This morning eleven of us met via Zoom, folk mostly from Brighton & Hove and from Plymouth in Devon.
After introductions and a few IT hiccups we prepared to go into silence, hearing first a short reading from Margaret Silf’s ‘Landscapes of Prayer’ finding God in your world and your life.
A meeting with the Gardener“ In a story from long ago, a grieving woman makes her way at dawn to the garden where she knows her beloved lies in his grave. Tears dim her vision, but even in the dawn light she can see that his body is gone. She cries out in her distress, to the heavens, to the angels, and to a man she suddenly encounters there on the path. She plies him with her questions: Have you seen him? Where have they taken him? He answers with a single word: he calls her name, “Mary!”
At that moment she knows she has rediscovered her lost love, in a totally new way. ‘I took you for the gardener,” she falters. ‘Perhaps I am the gardener,” he smiles, as they walk away together into the future.”
(Adapted from John 20:11-17)
Many of us were going to watch a YouTube Virtual Prayer Walk at Turvey Abbey during the silence, which began with The Quiet Garden Prayer.
We returned at midday, after about 90 minutes of silence to share our thoughts and feelings.
Many of us felt we had been able to relax into the beautiful walk around the Abbey grounds, ending in the beautiful simply furnished Chapel; a peaceful conclusion to the Virtual Prayer Walk. Some people related to peaceful places they had walked in and many described, in different ways, the beauty of nature they were aware of – and how they find the times and seasons of nature so important, particularly in this time of lockdown and, for many, isolation.
We would definitely recommend going on this Virtual Walk. Many of us here plan to do it again soon, and to spread the word around. We first heard of it through the Quiet Garden Website.
Our meeting ended with a beautiful prayer of St Francis, which Revd Kate had used in a recent sermon:
A prayer of St Francis
Lord, help me to live this day, quietly, easily. To lean against Thy great strength, trustfully, restfully. To wait for the unfolding of Thy will, patiently, serenely. To meet others peacefully, joyously. To face tomorrow, confidently, courageously. Amen
Revd Judy prayed an Irish blessing – one we have come to love during these strange and sometimes lonely weeks of lockdown:
May the Blessing of Light be upon you
Light on the outside, light on the inside.With Gods sunlight shining on you,
May your heart glow with warmth,
Like a turf fire that welcomes friends and strangers alike.
May the Light of the Lord shine from your eyes,
Like a candle in the window, welcoming the weary traveller.
May the blessing of Gods soft rain be on you,
Falling gently on your head
Refreshing your soul with the sweetness of little flowers newly blooming
May the strength of the winds of heaven bless you, carrying the rain to wash your spirit clean sparkling after in the sunlight.
May the blessing of Gods earth be on you
And as you walk the roads
May you always have a kind word for those you meet.
May you understand the strength and power of God in a thunderstorm and winter
And the quiet beauty of creation
And the calm of a summer sunsetAnd may you come to realize …
that insignificant as you may seem in this great universe
You ARE an important part of Gods plan.May he watch over you
And keep you safe from harm.
A version, spoken over music by Roma Downey is beautiful to listen to.
Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Phil Coulter. An Irish Blessing lyrics © Music & Media Int’l O/b/o Four Seasons Music Ltd., Spirit Catalog Holdings, S.a.r.l., Music & Media Int’l, Inc.
Revd Kate and Revd Judy