Mid Week Prayer and Reflection…
… As lockdown eases…
For your midweek prayer and reflection, Rev Derek Akker writes his sequel of thoughts as we move out of the lockdown…
As lockdown loosens 2
Last week in our time of prayer and reflection I mentioned that we should ‘look forward in hope and try to hold in balance of the recent COVID19 experience and our call, as a Church, to be a sign of hope in our community. Part of being a community of hope is, to despite all the negative impacts of COVID19, engage in the spirit and acts of thankfulness.
‘Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1.17
During April and May each Thursday evening at 8.00pm, in the UK, thousands of us went out outside and clapped for carers. It was the idea of a Dutch women Annemarie Plas, who lives in south London. It has been a great success but she thought that after ten weeks, “it’s good to have the last of the series next on 28th May, because to have the most impact I think it is good to stop it at its peak”. It was not the last but I thought Annemarie was correct. During this 10 week period we have learnt to say thank you without using words and its not been a quick affair. It’s been two minutes of being thankful, making a joyful sound of appreciation.
How will we say thank you in the future when we meet people who have been kind to us or recognise their service? Will it be a quick grunt, nod of the head and ‘thanks’ and move on. What have we learnt from Annemarie? Perhaps there are questions we have not asked but perhaps now is a good time to asked them. Michel Quoist, in Prayers for Life and the chapter headed ‘Thank You’ says ‘We must know how to say Thank You’. I can almost hear the chorus ’We know how to say thank you, we were taught as a child’. Alright, I’ll go along with that but I can remember the grudging ‘thank you’ from a child who was reminded to say ‘thank you’ or the old person, who takes kindest with a stoney face and who has forgot those important two words.
In our haste, we often miss the gifts that are right in front of us. During the day we are probably showered with gifts. ‘Everything is a gift from God, even the smallest, and it’s the sum of these gifts that makes a beautiful or sad life, depending on how we use them’.(Michel Quoist) Within Christian belief ‘Grace’ is the free and undeserved gift, favour of God and sometimes, perhaps often we receive this grace at the hands of others. We cannot know how to say ‘thank you’ unless we recognise the presence of these gifts.
How do we say ‘Thank You’? Here are a few suggestions
In the routine encounters through the day accompany ‘thank you’ with a smile, I’m sure you already do this!
In our time of reflection and prayer, give thanks slowly, starting with the words ‘Thank you Lord, thank you’.
Recall your day from getting up, all those things we perhaps take for granted in the early morning. The refreshing feeling of your wash or shower, the first drink of tea or coffee. The clothes you wear, the variety and comfort they give and so on.
‘Thank you Lord, thank you’.
As you go through the day recall as much as you can of the day. Nothing is too small, its about being alert. Savouring the changes in our surroundings, the seasons and the hours of the day. It is about seeing blessings in the ordinary and at the end of the day slowly recalling and naming them.
‘Thank you Lord, thank you’.
When Annemarie Plas first suggested the clap for carers, it started with nurses and doctors but it soon grew to include all NHS staff and then all non NHS carers. It became apparent that our lives are positively effected by so many people and the jobs they do. Many of them for low pay. Our thanks go out to so many, let us slowly remember them in way that fits into your pattern of reflection and prayer, if not daily, weekly. Perhaps Thursday is a day to give thanks for all those who care for us medically, socially and add to our safety and security.
‘Thank you Lord, thank you’.
These moments of reflection and prayer can help build up a pattern of life that benefits you and others.
Loving God, thank you for blessing me with love and companionship. Let me see you in ordinary life and reach out to you throughout the day, finding my bearings so that I can provide comfort to others. Amen.
Perhaps, ‘Thank you, Lord, Thank you’, could become a mantra to be used at anytime.
God bless, take care and be kind to yourself and others.
Below are extracts from Michel Quoist’s prayer ‘Thank you Lord, thank you’.
Thank you Lord, thank you.
Thank you for all the gifts that you have given me today,
Thank you for all I have seen, heard, received.
Thank you for the water that woke me up,
the soap that smells good,
the toothpaste that refreshes.
Thank you for the clothes that protect me, for their colour and their style.
Thank you for the street-cleaning truck and the men who run it, for their morning shouts and all the early noises.
Thank you for the welcoming street that led me there, for the shop windows, for the cars, for the passers-by, for all the life that flowed swiftly between the windowed walls of the houses.
Thank you for the food that sustained me, for the glass of beer that refreshed me.
Thank you for the car that meekly took me where I wanted to be, for the gas that made it go, for the wind that caressed my face and for the trees that nodded to me on the way.
Thank you for the roof that shelters me, for the lamp that lights me, for the radio that plays, for the news, for music and singing.
Thank you for the bunch of flowers, so pretty on my table.
Thank you for the tranquil night.
Thank you for the stars.
Thank you for the silence.
Thank you for the time you have given me.
Thank you for life.
Thank you for grace.
Thank you for being there, Lord.
Thank you for listening to me, for taking me seriously, for gathering my gifts in your hands to offer them to your Father.
Thank you, Lord.
Michel Quoist, from Prayers of Life page 47 Gill and MacMillan 1963