Daily Reflections – DAY TWENTY SIX

Each weekday, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19?   LANGUAGE SETTING: Prayer: You speak to us in so many ways, Lord, telling your love and calling our names in rainfall and birdsong, in laughter and tears, in good and bad times, in sickness and in health you let us know you are with us. It can be hard to recognise your voice amidst the rushing and the noise. But now, I hear you in this gift of quiet with routine broken and separation bringing us closer than before. Yes, your voice is here telling your love and calling our names. Help us to listen, and to learn.   Language is usually associated with spoken words. Voice and sound are vital ingredients. But language is also present in sight and touch and smell and taste. All our human senses relate to language. Each is a channel of communication, tying us to one another, even unconsciously, linking us to and helping us celebrate life. It’s body language.

Daily Reflections – DAY TWENTY FIVE

Each weekday, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19?   ENCOUNTERS SETTING: a lit candle and flowers and/or coloured cloths/ribbons Prayer: To encounter your Word, O God, the Word made flesh in Jesus, is to encounter a living voice a loving voice calling, inviting, challenging, revealing, offering faith, instilling hope, expecting only love. In this quiet time, tune me to your Word that I may encounter Jesus, risen and glorious to hear his voice and to gift myself for your glory, for the good of those dear to me and for all the world.   Today’s prayer time is itself an invitation to come alongside the people who “encounter” Jesus as recorded in John’s gospel narrative. Each of John’s 21 chapters is an episode in which a particular encounter involving Jesus becomes a life-changing experience – one way or another. Here is a sketch of each chapter. Spend time with one or two of them and prepare for your own encounter.

Daily Reflections – DAY TWENTY FOUR

Each weekday, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19?   GRATEFULNESS SETTING: a symbol of thanksgiving Prayer: Thank you! Two little words, often left unspoken but important and necessary even in difficult times like right now. O God, so rich in compassion and mercy, and greatly in love with your creation, to thank you should be easy and spontaneous. But with the world turned upside down, populations in lockdown and businesses in shutdown, what’s to be thankful for? Open my eyes to see your hand at work even while uncertainty fills us with worry. Reveal a little more the mystery of your love. Lead me to the gifts at present wrapped in darkness. Help me to say what I so much want to say: Thank you! SCRIPTURE – JOHN 21 – Post Resurrection The disciples are dispirited following the death of Jesus. They know they have let him down; they are grieving his loss, and they themselves feel very lost. Peter decides to go back to what he knows best – fishing. Some of the others join him.

Daily Reflections – DAY TWENTY THREE

Each weekday, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19?   BE KIND SETTING: photos of parents, grandparents and/or others who have shown you the meaning of kindness. Opening Reflection: Jesus, you encouraged your friends to call God “Abba”, an affectionate name for a kind and loving parent. This is the God who makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. Help me imitate this kindness towards all, not only in this time of anxiety and concern for our health, but in all the days ahead, in all my thinking in all I speak in all I do.   Chapters five and six of Matthew’s gospel narrative provide much of Jesus’ teaching relating to kindness. The Beatitudes highlight the desire of God for respect for the various conditions and situations of humanity, bless the poor in spirit, the gentle, those who mourn, who yearn for justice, etc; to be salt and light – giving flavour and brightness to life, to make peace, to forgive – to love your enemy, to pray, not to worry or overstress… All these are ingredients for or products of kindness. Use these chapters as background to prayer today.

Daily Reflections – DAY TWENTY TWO

Each weekday, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19?   CHANGE OF PACE SETTING: if you have kept newspaper items following the course of Covid-19, spread them over your prayer space. They will teach you many things. Prayer: Slow me down, Lord. Stop me in my tracks. Shield me from the rush that Sweeps me off my feet and Sends me, blind to what really matters, Spinning through time far too fast. Slow me down.   It might seem that this prayer has been answered. Covid-19 has brought the world to a standstill. Staying at home, going outdoors as little as possible, perhaps working offsite, has forced a change of habit, a change of pace. The rush hour traffic has ceased. The parent taxi service getting children to and from their many sports is not required. With many businesses shut, even the fast-paced tv commercials have taken a break. Much has changed.

Daily Reflections – DAY TWENTY ONE

Each weekday, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19?   CONTAGION SETTING: photos or names of people, places, situations that have influenced you for good. Prayer: It’s getting hard, Lord, living in a bubble. I want to burst through it, to touch and to hold and to live in the closeness I’m used to instead of this closed-in existence. But I know the danger, the ease with which I can contract Coronavirus and pass it on. Strengthen me to do what is right: to stay at home, to keep my distance, to respect this most contagious invader and to pray and work for its defeat. Amen.   CONTAGION – it’s from the Latin, contagion, meaning contact or touching. While the world awaits an antidote to Coronavirus, Covid-19, we’re advised the best approach is frequent washing of hands, keeping two metres apart from others when speaking, walking or shopping, and avoiding physical contact with people, objects, animals or anything outside of our personal “bubble”.

Daily Reflections – DAY TWENTY

Each weekday, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19?   TENDERNESS SETTING: drape the Cross with a white cloth; flowers/greenery with candle Prayer: God, tender and merciful, my life is often ragged and disorganised and my temper frays so easily. This time of isolation, of living so unnaturally, confined to home most of the time, is not helping, and puts more strain on nerves and relationships. I need your tenderness to flood my life and your mercy to guide me, that I might be better able to see the good in myself and be calm and loving towards all others.   In April 2017, Pope Francis spoke on the TED Talk programme on “The Revolution of Tenderness”. It is easy to find on Google and very worthwhile listening to as part of your prayer.