This week has felt like the longest of lockdown. With two small boys causing merry chaos and a house that is in need of more than a quick tidy up we have struggled. We are tired, ratty and in need of a ‘boost’. My four year old loves cardboard boxes and, like lots of toys and craft bits, they are strewn all over the place. Currently we have a ‘teddy den’, ‘robot’, a ‘bus’ and a ‘boat’. I appreciate the fact that I have house mates, people I can hug and interact with in my home and that for many people in lockdown this is not possible. However, yesterday I felt a sudden strong urge to be alone and away from the chaos. I took the biggest brown cardboard box (the boat) sat on the living room floor and placed it over my head. Wow. The atmosphere was suddenly different, it was dark and I could hear my breath against the box. I was alone. It felt strangely comforting. This ‘peace’ lasted around 2 minutes and then I felt the weight of my toddler at my back and my box was bashed with a huge Lego tower. But those two minutes were good.
Why am I telling you this? Our morning prayer reading begins at the verse that has spoken to me this week:
“Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12
In a previous blog I discussed how Jesus was both human and divine. In Luke 6 Jesus is busy, harassed, he’s exhausted from performing miracles, explaining himself to others and arguing with the Pharisees. He is about to do a really important job in choosing his 12 apostles and he realises he can’t do it alone. Here we see a true human reaction: Jesus needs God’s input on this decision. We are all craving God’s input and need to find the space in our day for it. Jesus went to extremes of place and time (all night on a mountain) but even if you take yourself away from the strain and stress for the briefest of moments and ask for Him to fill you back up before sending you out again, you will feel the difference.
Help us, O Lord
For we so easily judge others and ourselves:
Framing our views with unrealistic expectations
and a lack of grace
That we never receive from you... For you delight in us.
Help us, O Lord
For we are exhausted:
Tired from carrying the burdens
of un-forgiveness and un-forgiven- ness.
Some of us feeling busier than we have ever been
some of us bored out of our minds
Most of us worrying that we are not doing or being 'enough'...
Yet you promise your yoke is easy, and your burden light.
Help us, O Lord
For we are fearful
wrestling with doubt and worry... Yet you are sufficient.
Thank you, O Lord
That even in these strangest of times when everything can feel different, disjointed and disconnected...
you are busy - creating beauty, hope, love, possibility
still asking us to join in the dance as we are able
still loving us relentlessly.
This week I have discovered the beautiful (and sometimes challenging) website of Simon J Cross: “Liturgy in a Dangerous Time”. Compiled thoughts prayers and reflections of a variety of lay and clergy. The above prayer is included in this week’s edition. The link to this is here