There has, as ever, been a great deal to reflect upon in terms of the daily Office and the daily pastoral. No services today and a 'day off' doesn't mean that everything stops for the challenges and joys of 'living over the shop' are always with us.
Lunch out with the family followed by games around the table conspired to make it a great day especially as a new term university beckons and journeys away from the nest will soon be ours to enjoy - which brings the first reflection: Being part of a family of flesh.
Lord, I thank your for the VDB family and the joys, trials and tribulations that family bring. The hopes and prayers we have for our family members and the joy at triumphs and shared experiences we have. For singing together, standing together and even fighting together - all part of the jigsaw that depicts life in all its fullness as the pieces are slotted in.
I pray for family in all its connotations, for those close-knit, loosely threaded together and those torn into pieces; for those blessed by being and those broken by separation. Bring your healing and clarity, mend the torn garments and from the apparently unrecoverable bring out of the scraps that remain, new creations.
I pray for those whose mental health is a challenge and for those who work within the visibly diminishing area of care and support. For the frustrations felt by many as our mental health units and support structures contract and disappear. Lord bless the staff on the units and the support workers and crisis team members and the Police (who often find themselves facing issues cause by mental health).
Lord bless the families, for dealing with mental health issues in the home is never easy and often done alone (or at least it often feels like it), and bring them real hope and true friendship and support to stand with them.
Lord bless those who suffer, help us to stand with them and to assess and support situations before us without judgement or fear and to do the right thing however hard that might be (for them and for us). Help us never to stigmatise or pigeonhole but to see each need and needy person for who and what they are.
So many challenges - so many blessings - so many fears and tears - so much hope and joy in Jesus and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.
Lord, help us never to look the other way and to be alert and responsive to the needs before us.