Rev Simon reports...
We prayed right around the clock for 25 hours (click for schedule); 5 hours in each of our parish churches. We prayed using liturgies, we prayed with our voices both said and sung. We created poems of prayer and we had graffiti prayers and got covered in paint. We ate and we said Grace. We observed Compline amongst flickering candles. There was silence and there was also laughter. At least two of our number made it to each church. Some prayed while some slept and someone saw the sun rise. We prayed for all sorts of things but most especially for our rural church; its young people and its witness; in other words the future of our churches and the message of the gospel in our parishes.
I have just read two of the parables of Jesus both about the kingdom of God. In one the Kingdom is likened to a seed that grows mysteriously without human intervention. In the other the mustard seed is tiny yet grows into a one of the largest plants. We can sow the seed of our prayers and now we must, in some senses, let go and wait for the kingdom of God to grow.
But not only wait, for we need as well a continuing intimacy and a certain vulnerability for the Kingdom to come. In intimate prayer we open ourselves up by being vulnerable and by accepting that change cannot come from us but only from God. In intimacy and vulnerability we find our capacity for oneness with God and each other. It is only in honest self disclosure that the heart opens to the other and to God and can therefore receive the tenderness of the other or God. This honesty of the soul in prayer can mean you become intimate with risk because you become open to the will of God. If you want to stay at home and stay the same and maintain the status quo don't pray. But if you want to live life on the holy-edge pray and be vulnerable and then expect the extra-ordinary:
We see this intimacy through vulnerability in the person of Christ; as a baby in a manger and as the resurrected Christ showing the crucifixion wounds to those disbelieving disciples. These actions reveal a God who has shared our mutual vulnerability and suffering. It is somewhere here in this divine humility and honesty, in this self disclosure of God, that we find we can be ourselves. Maybe it is only from this place that any true spiritual journey can begin.
The photo below shows the session on Poetry and Prayer, led by Judy Dinnen, in Tyberton Churchyard on a beautiful sunny day.
Photo by John Dinnen