A healing blessing


The Shepherd (1930) by Arturo Martini  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 
 

An unusually short blessing from Jan Richardson. She calls it “a [healing] blessing small enough to carry in the hand or in the heart”.

 

And All Be Made Well

A Healing Blessing

That each ill
be released from you
and each sorrow
be shed from you
and each pain
be made comfort for you
and each wound
be made whole in you

that joy will
arise in you
and strength will
take hold of you
and hope will
take wing for you
and all be made well.

 
by Jan Richardson, from paintedprayerbook.com
 


 
TIP
Check out Jan Richardson’s online Advent retreat, Illuminated 2019, now open for registration.
 


 
From the blog
Balm to heal the world
Worthy of trust
Fearfully and wonderfully made
 

Healed from the inside out


Rome  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

I recently bought a book of poetry by Bonnie Thurston called, Practicing Silence, and have been dipping into it as a kind of spiritual practice. You have to slow down and savour the words. You can’t rush it.

Here’s the poem that inspired this month’s theme, “Healing”.


Inside out

On the face of it
all appears well,
but mostly wounds
are deep beyond reckoning.
As in surgery
the surface heals,
but in subcutaneous depths
resides an awful, jagged maw
into which one
must eventually walk,
sit down, wait for what
only waiting accomplishes:
victory over restlessness
conquering the urge to control;
acceptance of utter helplessness
inviting help’s arrival.
We are all healed
in passive voice
and from the inside out.

 
~ by Bonnie Thurston, from Practicing Silence: New and Selected Verses, p. 74
 


 
From the blog
The Spirit does wonders
Testing ground
In the school of prayer with Anselm
 

On pilgrimage


From my book shelf  …  links included below
 
 

Quotable quotes and a prayer from the To be a pilgrim workshop I led in Geneva recently.

 

People of all faiths seem to recognize pilgrimage as an essential spiritual practice. In researching WHY this should be the case, there seems to be very little complex theological reasoning involved. Pilgrimage, it seems … has to be walked, and experienced.
 
Some walk to escape, others walk towards. Some walk in companionship, others alone. Some always have an eye on a destination, others live for a far horizon. … We are all of us, sojourners. A long way from home.

 

For pilgrimage to be real it has to be a moving experience in more than simply a physical sense. … We do not merely clock up places we have been to and sights we have seen: we are also on a journey of being, an inward journey which cannot be easily catalogued or grasped but is a great adventure nonetheless.
~ David Adam, The Awesome Journey, p. 1

 

We recognise that we journey in hope; our travelling will be accompanied and celebratory; we pilgrim to Christ and to redemption in him; we will challenge each other in our discipleship and spiritual nurturing to press on with perseverance; we will learn from the wisdom of brothers and sisters down the ages and across all human divides.

 

On the journey of faith
Far I have come, far I must go.

 


A Pilgrim’s Prayer

Christ our Guide,
stay with us on our pilgrimage through life:
      when we falter, encourage us
      when we stumble, steady us
      and when we have fallen, pick us up.
Help us to become, step by step,
      more truly ourselves,
and remind us
      that you have travelled this way before us.
Amen

 
~ by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers, #167
 


 
Book list
Finding our way again  by Brian McLaren
We make the road by walking  by Brian D. McLaren
A Pilgrim Way  by Ray Simpson
Pilgrimage of a soul  by Phileena Heuertz
The Awesome Journey  by David Adam
Ancient Paths  by David Robinson

Turn, pilgrim


Shop front, Edinburgh  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

A prayer inspired by an eighth-century Abbess of Clonbroney in Ireland, Samthann, renowned for her prayer and wisdom.

 


A prayer

 
My journey will not bring me
any nearer to You,
unless at each turning
is a turning of the heart.

And the true heart turns to You.

The Kingdom of Heaven
is not far from anyone:
its secrets open
to an open heart.

When I turn,
I turn to You.

Wherever I go,
You are near.

 
from  Celtic Daily Prayer, Book Two, p. 1132
 


 
From the blog
Sabbath rest
Theme: Sharing in Jesus’ ministry
Dust and transformation
 

To be a pilgrim


In a village just outside Geneva  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

I was in Geneva recently to conduct a workshop on the theme, To be a pilgrim.

We reflected on our life journey thus far and what it means to be a follower of the Way (the name given to the early Christians). We also shared the pilgrim songs that lift our spirits, got creative in pilgrim expressions, like writing haikus and short short stories, and made time for pilgrim prayers.

 
Here is a prayer from our opening devotions:

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

When we feel alone, when we feel rejected
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
When we feel drained and dried up, and we can’t give any more,
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
When we are unsure of how to move or where to go or what to do,
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Come, Holy Spirit, revive us, move in us,
and encourage us on the journey of faith.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come! Amen!

~ written by Rev. Mindi, and posted on Rev-o-lution.
 


 
From the blog
People of the way
3 Prayers for refugees
Light on my path
 


 

If you’d like to know more about the To be a pilgrim workshop, do get in touch.

 

Slow learners and bright ideas


Display at Botanic Gardens Edinburgh  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Call to Worship

inspired by James 3:13-17 and Mark 9:33-37

We come here today not because we are clever
but because God welcomes the slow learners.

We come here not because we are wise,
but because God loves us in spite of our folly.

We come knowing that the greatest persons will be found
among those who humbly serve like Jesus did,
and that the brightest ideas and the deepest truth will come
from those who see themselves as little children in Christ’s school.

O Lord, open up our minds and our hearts
and enable our lives to declare your praise.

 
~ written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on Bruce Prewer’s website.
 


 
From the blog
To keep our hearts in tune
Ask the animals
Environmentally water-wise
 

Bright and beautiful


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Did you know? Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn, “All things bright and beautiful” (published in 1848), was inspired by the words, Maker of heaven and earth, from the Apostle’s Creed. I’ve included the lyrics and a video below.

But first, an intergenerational story of creation (Genesis 1-2) from the Kairos Canada website told in gestures and words. May it brighten up your day.

 

The Story of Creation

In the beginning, the world was dark, and there was no shape.
(Put hands over eyes and shake head “no.”)

God moved over the water.
(Move arms left to right in front of body.)

Then God spoke and said, “Let there be light.”
(Cup hands around mouth.)

And there was light!
(Arch hands over head like you are making a big sun.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make a “thumbs up” sign.)

God separated the day from the night.
(Push arms away from sides of body.)

God separated the heavens from the earth.
(Push one arm up and one arm down vertically away from body.)

God separated the water from the land.
(Push arms away from front of body as if pushing something away from you.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made plants to grow.
(Squat down, put hands and arms together over your head, and slowly stand upward and reach high.)

God made the stars at night.
(While hands are still high over head, open hands and fingers wide, and wiggle fingers.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made the fish in the sea, and the birds in the air.
(Put hands together, fingers closed, and move them like a fish tail swimming; then put arms out at sides and flap like a bird.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made animals on the land.
(Let children imitate different animals they know–bunnies hopping, dogs barking, etc.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

Then God made people in God’s own image.
(Smile and point to self, then look to heavens.)

God said to the people, “Take good care of my world!”
(Point finger and shake it in front, as if shaking it at someone.)

And God said, “This world is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign and have all say “This is Good!”)

 
~ posted on KAIROS Water Worship Service and on re:worship

 


 

All things bright and beautiful
by Cecil Frances Alexander

Refrain:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

 


 
From the blog

Prayer sheet: Part of creation
A new nature
Summer-friendly spiritual practices
 

In the school of prayer with Pádraig Ó Tuama


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

From 2014 to 2019, Irish poet, Pádraig Ó Tuama, led the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation.

Drawing on the spiritual practices of the community, in 2017 he published Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. Here are some excerpts on prayer from the Foreword, and a prayer celebrating the gentle gifts of morning.


Prayer is …

Prayer is a small fire lit to keep cold hands warm. Prayer is a practice that flourishes both with faith and doubt. Prayer is asking, and prayer is sitting. Prayer is the breath. Prayer is not an answer, always, because not all questions can be answered. (p. xi)

No prayer is perfect. There is no system of prayer that is the best. … Henri Nouwen said that the only way to pray is to pray; the only way to try is to try. So the only way to pray well is to pray regularly enough that it becomes a practice of encounter. (p. xii)

We turn to prayer in days of joy, and days where our world shows – again – that it is wrapped in the circle of conflict. We turn to form, we turn to old words because sometimes it is old words that hold the deepest comfort and the deepest challenge. … in a time of trauma, God is given a name by the traumatized. In a time of joy, God is named by the joy of our hearts. In a time of confession, God is named as light. In a time of rest, God is the soft dark that enfolds us. (p. xix)

Prayer, like poetry – like breath, like our own names – has a fundamental rhythm in our bodies. It changes, it adapts, … it sings, it swears, it is syncopated by the rhythm under the rhythm, the love underneath the love, the rhyme underneath the rhyme, the name underneath the name, the welcome underneath the welcome, the prayer beneath the prayer. (p. xx)

The world is big, and wide, and wild and wonderful and wicked, and our lives are murky, magnificent, malleable and full of meaning. Oremus*. Let us pray. (p. xx)

 
*Oremus: Latin for ‘Let us pray’
 

from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. ix-xx
 


A liturgy of the morning

On the first morning God said: ‘Let there be birds.’ And God separated voice from voice; and in some voices, God put a song, and the song sang to the land, and to the light, and to the light on the land, and when the people heard it, the morning had begun. The first morning.
And God said that it was Good.

On the second morning God said, ‘There will be dreams from the night that will need the light of the morning.’ And so God put wisdom in the early hours. The second morning .
And God said that it was Good.

And on the third morning, God said: ‘Let there be a certain kind of light that can only be seen in the morning.’ And God created gold, and dew, and horizons, and hills in the distance, and faces that look different in the light of the morning, and things that look different in the light of the morning. The third morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fourth morning, God said, ‘Sometimes the day will be long. Let there be warmth in the morning, let people sleep for some mornings, and let the rest of the morning be good.’ The fourth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fifth morning, God said: ‘There will be people who will rise early every morning, whose day will begin in the night, by the light of moon and stars; they will see the sun rise, these early risers.’ And God put a softness at the heart of the dawn. The fifth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the sixth morning, God listened. And there were people working, and people struggling to get out of bed, and there were people making love and people making sandwiches. There were people dreading the day, and people glad that the night was over. And God hoped that they’d survive. And God shone light, and made clouds, and rain, and rainbows, and toast, and coffee, places to love the light and places to hide from the light. Small corners to accompany the lonely, the joyous, the needy and the needed. The sixth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the last morning, God rested. And the rest was good. The rest was very good.
And God said that it was very Good.

 
from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. 65-6
 


Digging deeper …

 


 
From the blog
Prayer sheet: Called into community
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints
To Emmaus and back