Prayers and Meditations for Mission

The image of God - a reflection.

The idea that we fulfil God's will by waging war against the infidel, or forcing our specific practices on others, so that all humanity shares the same religion, is an idea that [...] owes much to the concept of empire and little to the heritage of Abraham which Jews, Christians and Muslims claim as their own […] The test of faith is whether I can make space for difference. Can I recognize God's image in someone who is not in my image, whose language, faith [and] ideals are different from mine? If I cannot, then I have made God in my image instead of allowing him to remake me in his.

Adapted from Jonathan Sachs: “The Dignity of Difference.”

 

Thoughts to ponder as we may be leaving the pandemic restrictions.

We do indeed see through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12), being captives to our limited capacity to behold and understand, and the fragility of the truths on which we base our lives. That's why we attach ourselves to others for company and solidarity, holding on to a vision of reality and embodiment of wisdom, which in turn holds us, encouraging us to probe and discover its depths and riches. Somehow, the shadows of the cosmos seem softer and more bearable when we journey in company - and in hope, knowing that someone has walked through that darkness before us, blazing a trail we can follow.

In “Through a Glass Darkly” Alister McGrath  

 

The liturgies [i.e. worship] of religion involve a conjuring of absent things, and an attempt to sanctify the life of the community by lifting it from the realm of nature and endowing it with a kind of reasoned necessity. They speak of ancient and unchangeable things, of things inherited from revered ancestors, of stories that transform the words and symbols of the rite into obligations. In the liturgy we are in touch with our ancestors, whom we are addressing not in the past tense, but in the eternal present, which is theirs. Hence, although rituals come into being by a kind of natural selection, and are adjusted over time, the congregation never receives them as mere inventions and certainly not as inventions of the moment.

In "The Soul of the World" Roger Scruton

[There are] only six stories in the history of the world, and they’re all in the [television] soaps and they’re in the Bible:

Concealment and revelation - the triumph of truth;

Loss and recovery - the persistence of hope;

Love and betrayal - the cost of commitment;

Separation and reconciliation – the power of love;

Enslavement and rescue - the drama of salvation; and

Evil deeds and just deserts - the vindication of good.

The Right Reverend Dr. John Saxbee, former Bishop of Lincoln

In “Church Times” 18/25 December 2020

 

THE GATE OF THE YEAR

Minnie Louise Haskins

‘God Knows'

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.