The day now past saw things cancelled through illness as it seems that many of our older people are struggling with colds and other ailments at the moment. Today saw a new thing for me as I start to back away from 'doing' all the time and seek some refreshment and inspiration in reading, reflecting and praying. Well it wasn't 'new' but it was a welcome return for such an encounter - it has always been on the diary but of late it has made way for other stuff.
Today was a day of pastoral and preparation too - holocaust Memorial Day is a week off and there are a few finishing touches to be made to ensure that it does what it should.
Today I ate a sandwich in the sun and celebrated God's provision in my own life too.
So what can I reflect on with regard to today and the five days of the week now past?
There are many cruel, wicked and terrible people out there and yet, that point recognised, the joy is that the good people outnumber them.
There are so many walking under the shadow of death and yet within it that life, love and joy are still to be found and the human, irrepressible and indomitable sprint still makes itself apparent like water leaking from a broken pipe in a wall!
There are too many children who flinch and look scared in this world of ours; too many parents for whom drink is not a relaxation but rather a curse; too many lonely people (of all ages) who find their only companion to be the radio or the TV; too many people who are trapped, or help captive, by the working (or perhaps not working) of their minds.
God is love and those who live in God live in love and God in them - this has been the wall behind which I have crouched this week as the rounds have come in - He is my strength and my shield: mu provider and my protection. This week the stress levels have been perhaps the highest for some very long time as the things before me took their toll and challenges my spiritual, pastoral and intellectual skills. This week I have had cause to weep over those the Christ came to save as the enemy crept forward and engaged us. This week I found myself reflecting upon the 'years the locusts had eaten' (Joel 2) and found myself praying that, for the people before me, they truly would be restored for them.
I don't believe that anyone is born unlucky but I am convinced that some people are definitely 'bullet magnets'! Often they find themselves in a wrong place or a wrong relationship and this pushes them out of the cover of love and security into clear view where they become easy pickings for those who would wish them harm ... and when this happens, who you gonna call?
Lord I lay before you all the encounters of this day, and this week, and I pray for those with whom I have been in contact. May your light have come into their darkest places and the chains that bound them have fallen off and given them sight.
I pray for those whose troubles I know of and the situations that surround me that I might, through Prayer and action, be part of Your solution and never the problem. As you deal with them, deal also with the weaknesses in me. As you heal and inspire them, touch me also.
I give thanks for your provision in the things around me and your forgiveness, grace and mercy as made real by Your love and the ministry of Jesus and the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit. My daily bread and the fogibenesss (given and received) shine before me and reach into the deepest and darkest needs.
Lord, make me a true and faithful workman; one tried, tested and approved.