This poem is rather overused, and some might say trite, meditation but I’ve always found the following comforting, especially when combined with prayer:
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along
the beach with the Lord.Across the dark sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed
two sets of footprints in the sand,
one belonging to him and the other to the Lord.When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the
very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life there is
only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when I needed you most
you would leave me.”The Lord replied “My precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints in the sand,
it was then that I carried you.”
Go, and know that the Lord goes with you:
let him lead you each day into the quiet place of your heart,
where he will speak with you;
know that he loves you and watches over you –
that he listens to you in gentle understanding,
that he is with you always,
wherever you are and however you may feel. Amen.
The words and tune of ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind” bring peace and serenity in difficult times The hymn is usually sung to the tune “Repton” by Hubert Parry. This recent version from St Michael and All Angels Church Mickleham, Surrey is beautiful.
|Reflection Psalm 103 1-11|
1 The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and of great kindness.
2 He will not always accuse us, neither will he keep his anger for ever.
3 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
4 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his mercy upon those who fear him.
5 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he set our sins from us.
6 As a father has compassion on his children, so is the Lord merciful towards those who fear him.
7 For he knows of what we are made; he remembers that we are but dust.
8 Our days are but as grass; we flourish as a flower of the field;
9 For as soon as the wind goes over it, it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.
10 But the merciful goodness of the Lord is from of old and endures for ever on those who fear him, and his righteousness on children’s children;
11 On those who keep his covenant and remember his commandments to do them.
God’s promise through Ezekiel is uplifting ‘I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead’.
The short film of wild swimmer Louise Mason is inspiring We should give total respect and admiration for anyone who can swim like this. Her words show an inner spirit of strength and soul allowing her to power through the water so gracefully.
It is always lovely listening to a good story. This well-known story comes to life here…..
Accredited to Sanctuary First, Falkirk Presbytery, Church of Scotland.
Wonder at the greatness of Rembrandt’s painting and reflect on its portrayal of asking for forgiveness.
Reading – Luke 15: 20-24
“So (the younger son who had wasted all his money] returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’
The assurance that God will listen when we call him is comforting….. the hymn ‘Be thou my vision’ is peaceful and this version sung by the Tabernacle choir is uplifting:
An extract from a project on the Isle of Wight to reintroduce White-tailed Eagles to the South. They look totally free.
Project Officer Steve Egerton-Read describes how up to 60 white-tailed eagles are being returned to the southern England in the next 5 years to re-establish it as a breeding species. Please note that not all footage of the white-tailed eagles was taken from the reintroduction project. Thanks to multiple contributors for providing eagle videos and photos.
University of Sussex.
Forestry England UK white-tailed eagle project. With thanks to Pete Cairns and Scotland: The Big Picture for photos of the White-tailed eagle.
This reading about renewing our strength and allowing God’s spirit to carry us is humbling.
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
The hymn ‘Do not be afraid’ has beautiful words written by Gerard Markland about trusting God that are very moving. There are two versions to listen to here – St Andrews Cathedral choir and an upbeat Gospel Touch choir – both are equally current and uplifting, based on Isaiah 43 1-5:
‘Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; you are mine. Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you; or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched and the flames will not burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your saviour….you are precious in my eyes…you are honoured and I love you…Do not be afraid, for I am with you
Philip Stopfords’ beautiful setting of Markland’s poem, ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ is based on Isaiah 43, the music and message are very relevant at this time. In response to the #Covid19 shutdown, a reduced, socially-distanced St Andrew’s Cathedral Choir quickly performed this piece live for broadcast on the Cathedral’s first online Sunday service.
This prayer of peace known as The Prayer of Saint Francis is beautifully inspiring. Through the reading from Jeremiah we hear of God’s sadness if we do not listen. It is difficult to listen sometimes and the words of this hymn can help with travelling in the right direction and staying strong.
BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year’s:
|Reading – Jeremiah 13:17 |
‘If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the LORD’s flock will be taken captive.’
This hauntingly beautiful painting of Jesus utterly alone in his experience and agonised, depicts how many of us may be experiencing our own ‘wilderness’ at the moment….. reading Deuteronomy chapter 8 may focus meditation on ‘wilderness’.
To read more about the painting hanging in the Guildhall Art Gallery, London, taken from the book, “Famous Paintings” Volume 2 printed in 1913 visit the following page: