Here are some thoughts to help you stay positive during these uncertain times. This page will contain passages from scripture, poems and songs to help you through your day or night. The first is a "dialogue" between God and 'someone'. We hope that the writing will remind you that you are not alone.
The following piece of writing has been a source of comfort to many through difficult times. We’d like to share it with you.
Me: Hey God.
Me: I'm falling apart. Can you put me back together?
God: I would rather not.
God: Because you aren't a puzzle.
Me: What about all of the pieces of my life that are falling down onto the ground?
God: Let them stay there for a while. They fell off for a reason. Take some time and decide if you need any of those pieces back.
Me: You don't understand! I'm breaking down!
God: No - you don't understand. You are breaking through. What you are feeling are just growing pains. You are shedding the things and the people in your life that are holding you back. You aren't falling apart. You are falling into place. Relax. Take some deep breaths and allow those things you don't need anymore to fall off of you. Quit holding onto the pieces that don't fit you anymore. Let them fall off. Let them go.
Me: Once I start doing that, what will be left of me?
God: Only the very best pieces of you.
Me: I'm scared of changing.
God: I keep telling you - you aren’t changing, you are becoming.
Me: Becoming who?
God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light and love and charity and hope and courage and joy and mercy and grace and compassion. I made you for more than the shallow pieces you have decided to adorn yourself with that you cling to with such greed and fear. Let those things fall off of you. I love you! Don't change! Become! Become! Become who you were born to be. I'm going to keep telling you this until you remember it.
Me: There goes another piece.
God: Yep. Let it be.
Me: So ... I'm not broken?
God: Of course not - but you are breaking like the dawn. It's a new day. Become!
Broken Vessels by Hillsong is a wonderful song based around the traditional hymn Amazing Grace.
Click the link to watch it.
No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
Sometimes, we find it hard to be a Christian. In the song Flawless by Mercy Me, they sing about grace.
Click on the photo to play the video. Here the lead singer explains:
I think it (Flawless) kind of sums up the message of the album probably better than any other song. If anybody is like me there had to be a point in your life where you were saying “there has to be more than me playing by the rules, there has to be more than what religion tells me there is. There’s gotta be more than me being good and then following these three steps to being a better church goer-there’s gotta be more than that.” And I think the one thing we miss is that grace says “no matter how beat up you are, no matter what you go through in life, no matter how difficult life is, the cross made you flawless.” The day you came to Christ you were made brand new. It’s all in place for the rest of your life. – Bart Millard (MercyMe) from an article by Abbey Young, Christian News, 27th May, 2014
Graham Kendrick is a prolific writer of songs of worship. Teach me to Dance is an upbeat song. He explains in the 'Stories behind the songs' on his website, 'So the words, “Teach me to dance to the beat of your heart” sets in motion what is effectively a sung prayer to live in a way that is consistent with God’s heart of compassion, love and justice'.
So how are you staying connected to your friends? Do you phone them via WhatsApp; have an old-fashioned phone call with them; a Zoom party or meet them at a distance in the park?
Here at the Bread Church, our friends come from all over the world and our country too. Risma is from Indonesia, Stephanie and Simon are from Hong Kong, Peter and Laura from the Wirral. So during lockdown, we have been chatting on messenger, phoning each other or holding WhatsApp video calls. We are connected by our love of God, love of breadmaking and our friendship begun here at SWE. Most importantly we stay connected when we prayer for each other and with each other on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm, through our facebook page, where a prayer is posted. We may not be together, but we are there for each other. That's part of being church.
They might not need me; but they might.
I'll let my head be just in sight;
A smile as small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity.
by Emily Dickinson
from The Poems of Dickinson edited by Ralph W Franklin (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press) 1998.
Heather, one of our members, has sent in this link for the video Happiness starts with a Smile.
Do take time to watch it. Something wonderful will happen!
Here is a prayer of Blessing to use at the close of your prayer time.
It is from Stephen Shakespeare's The Earth Cries Glory - Daily Prayer with Creation (Canterbury Press 978-1-78622-288-2)
May the highest light shine within us,
dispelling the fear from our path.
May the deepest warmth flow from us, connecting heart to heart.
And may your blessing be to us a circle of flame,
to inspire and protect us through this day.
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context. (from https://www.bibleref.com)
His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
A Psalm for giving thanks.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Listen to a reading of this psalm from Manna Media. May it remind you praise God, this day and everyday, for blessings large & small.
Listen to the contemplative singing of Jessi Coltor as she sings Psalm 75 - Unto thee O Lord do we give thanks.
This Psalm reinforces that even though the world is in turmoil, then God is always in control, so we must continue to give thanks.
As we continue to live with the Covid 19 virus in our world, may we always remember this.
The prayer for the 6th of July was based on Psalm 70
Make haste, o God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord
I posted a version by Daniel James.
Here is a jazz version by the American Gospel singer Maria Williford.
The message is the same, but the style is different, just like we are all different when we cry to the Lord for help.
Listen to Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel sing this song of praise. Look out for the ancient "trumpet" played in this song. Learn more about the Hebrew Roots of the Christian Faith by visiting www.ToPraise.net
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Priase Hime with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 93 – Lord you are clothed in majesty… A prayer for confidence in troubled times.
Experience the power of the sea as you watch the Eendracht, a Tall Ship, on the North Sea from 05 to 09 September 2011. During that time they experienced a storm (10 beaufort) for about 36 hours. as the storm raged, Kees Waagmeister often thought of the song: The Seas have lifted up ...
Sung by the Australian band Sons of Korah Sing Psalm 93