Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY SIX

Each weekday for the next 14 days, 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? THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY Setting: crucifix and candles with some violet or purple cloth, palms or other greenery. Prayer in praise of this day: A new day signals freshness and the chance to make a new start. I want so much to leave behind the fear, the anger, the upsets and unloving thoughts I have allowed to enter this time of isolation. Cleanse me, merciful God. Flood me with your calming Spirit. Free me from any sense of isolation that I may feel and know your presence and the embrace of your mercy.   In a conversation that became a book in 2016, The Name of God is Mercy, Pope Francis told journalist, Andrea Tornielli, that he thought of the Church as a field hospital, where treatment is given to those most wounded. He pointed out that Jesus declared himself as having come, not for the healthy who do not need the doctor, but for the sick. [Mark 2:17] Mercy is a key ingredient for the Christian faith. It is not about letting people off the wrong they have done or the harm they have caused; it is about understanding the guilt they feel, the trap they have got themselves into, the choices they shouldn’t have made, and about providing the opportunity to heal. It is also about knowing my own mistakes, deliberate or otherwise, and the overwhelming feeling that there’s no way out. A word that has sprung into life with the coronavirus crisis is KINDNESS. Be kind is the first piece of advice health officials give. Look out for one another. Kindness is closely related to mercy, as it is to love. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. [1Cor.13:4-8] Using this well know quote from St Paul, make a personal examination of conscience. The following quotes, psalm and prayers may help bring you peace. The more conscious we…

Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY FIVE

Each weekday for the next 14 days, 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? SHOCK, LOSS, CONFUSION Setting: The crucifix, in the centre of your prayer space, should be the only object displayed during this session. Prayer in praise of another day: Glory and praise to you, O God. You gift me with a new day to discover more about myself and to ponder the mystery of your love. As this time of isolation continues, I am feeling the loss of my independence and am confused by my inability to live a normal life. Yet, my desire to praise you rises strongly in my heart. For I trust your goodness and believe that, as the Good Shepherd, you will guide us to fresh and green pastures. Glory and praise to you, O God.   Shock, loss, confusion are words used by Daniel O’Leary in the introduction to his final book, Dancing to My Death (2019). He used them to describe “a routine that is suddenly up-ended and knocked entirely off track.” This Irish born priest, teacher and bestselling author was referring to his 2018 cancer diagnosis and his book invites the reader into an emotional and extremely “raw” conversation as the tumour progressed to take his life in January 2019. With COVID-19, taking hold a year after his death, the “routine” of the whole world has been “suddenly up-ended and knocked entirely off track”. Individuals know this especially in their time of isolation, unable to live life normally, visit friends, shop, or even work. Today’s prayer draws from the experiences described by Daniel O’Leary. His journey through shock, loss and confusion, while echoing the feelings, frustrations and fears of those in isolation and communities in lock-down, also offers life-lines for anyone willing to listen, to reflect and be open to discover goodness and peace even in the worst of times. What I am trying to do…is to make my wound into a sacred wound; to make the stones of darkness into welcome stepping stones of light across the turbulent river. [p.22] Jesus, you are God’s gift of light for all the nations. In you we live and move and have our being. Help me to make this connection; to fill it with meaning; to enter more deeply…

Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY FOUR

Each weekday for the next 14 days, 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? NO FEAR Setting: Light several candles near the crucifix and scatter bright coloured cloths, paintings or drawings around your prayer space. Prayer in praise of this new day: Daylight takes care of the darkness of night and the fear darkness often brings. I thank and praise you, loving God, for your gift of Jesus, the light of the world, the One in whom there is no darkness, who comes to light our way home. Watch over us in the time of uncertainty. Strengthen our faith, our hope and our love. Grant us peace of mind and heart as our isolation continues.   News of the spreading Coronavirus sparked panic buying and rumours sending great alarm through the population. Such behaviour sparks fear, fear only made worse when people are isolated from one another. Fear is a natural response to danger, whether real or perceived. It takes a leap of faith to prevent the paralysing effect of uncontrolled fear. No doubt that is why the Hebrew/Christian scriptures are filled with assurances not to be afraid. The first female Anglican bishop in the UK, Libby Lane, met considerable opposition to her appointment and found her situation potentially isolating and fearful. But, in a later interview she said her faith had given her a deep sense of belonging and reassurance, and concluded by sharing her most valuable piece of advice: “It is a constant refrain in Scripture: ‘Do not be afraid’ – don’t live out of fear. Of course, it is natural that we all sometimes feel afraid. We’re afraid of being alone, of failing, of not coping. But if we live our lives from a place of fear, it is damaging to us, to our relationships, to our communities. One needs to find something that gives a sense of safety, of security, of home. And that comes with accepting we are all known by God and loved by God. If you allow that truth in, it enables you to find freedom from fear. So you can live out not of fear but of hope and gratitude.” [If I could tell you just one thing…, Richard Reed, Canongate Books, 2018, p290-1] Scripture Reflection The first two…

Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY THREE

Each weekday for the next 14 days, 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? IN ISOLATION Setting: Alongside your crucifix and lighted candle (or lamp), place a world atlas. If you do not have an atlas, write the name of as many countries you can recall and lay the list in the centre of your sacred space. Giving thanks for this new day: God of the universe. All life comes from you and all nations are held in your loving embrace. The pandemic that now holds us hostage threatens the wellbeing and stability of the whole world. With the dawning of this new day we place our trust in you. Gather us under your protecting wings that we might encourage one another and work together to bring health, safety and peace.   Self-isolation signals a cut-off from many usual and normal contacts. Social distancing affects every community – family, school, church, town, city, the entire nation, and internationally as well. This is a terrible global phenomenon. But perhaps it will bring blessings, as we all come to realise what makes life so precious and the aspects of living we have taken for granted or never really appreciated. To begin, use some of this prayer time, and some of this day, to reflect on the tragedy of isolation – not simply your own, but the many ways in which people experience isolation: the imprisoned, refugees, social outcasts, the elderly abandoned by family, solo parents, the sick kept in isolation, a person or persons nobody wants anything to do with… Here are some characters Jesus encountered who knew the pain of isolation: a Leper (Lk 5:12-16), the Gerasene Demoniac (Lk 8:26-39), Lazarus – at the gate of the rich man, (Lk 16:19-31), Zacchaeus (Lk 19:1-10). There are many more, including Jesus himself; Peter and the other disciples, as a consequence of their abandoning Jesus (Matthew 26:56; Lk 22:54-62; Matthew 27:46).  Pray these episodes – each of them at different times during the day. Note the ways in which these people were isolated. You may like to look for other examples in the gospel narratives. Note, too, the concern of Jesus to restore people to the community or to help the community to be more accepting of the isolated one.…

Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY TWO

Each weekday for the next 14 days, 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? NO TOUCHING Setting: With the crucifix, place photos of family, friends, places you’ve visited. Some flowers perhaps, or images of nature/creation. Give thanks for this new day: Creator, Life-giver. You love the world so much that, in Jesus, you promise to be with us till the end of time. I am grateful that your presence continues for we are in a time of trouble, as an out-of-control virus threatens your world and its people. Thank you for being with us during another day of social distancing and uncertainty. Guide our minds and hearts as a remedy is sought. May the successful outcome bring us Closer to one another and to you.   One of the warnings given in efforts to stop the spreading of coronavirus is to avoid unnecessary touching. The virus survives in the afterglow of our touch, making the washing hands and the wiping of doorknob, bannister, laptop, lift button, important weapons in the fight. How terrible to be told not to touch, to hug, to kiss, and to “socially distance” yourself by standing at least a metre from another person. As water is essential for life, touching is essential for life to thrive. Touching connects not only bodies but also hearts. I was very touched by your words, we say. And, please keep in touch. So many of Jesus’ miracles came through his touch, and the woman who merely touched the hem of his garment found herself cured. Today’s prayer time invites reflection on the gift of touch. At a time when we are cautioned against touching, giving ourselves space to take a deeper look at how and why we need contact with one another, can bring fresh insights and new purpose to the way we communicate. The Gospel according to John records six significant gifts coming from the public ministry of Jesus: the gift of Wine at Cana (ch.2), the gift of Living Water to the woman he met at the well (ch.4), the gift of Healing to the disabled man who had no one else to help him (ch.5), the gift of Food to the crowd (ch.6), the gift of Sight to the man born blind (ch.8), the…

Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY ONE

Each weekday for the next 14 days, 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? THE WATER OF LIFE Setting: Make a prayer space in your room. Whatever else you place there, put a crucifix, a bowl of water and a lit candle. Begin your prayer with the Sign of the Cross, then – Give thanks for this new day: God of life and light, I thank you for another new beginning. For the light shining through my window For the trees and their colours The birds and their songs Though I am, for some days, alone The beauty I see speaks your presence And gives me confidence to live this new day.   Frequent hand washing plays a significant role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus can survive on hands for up to ten minutes and in that short time can be transferred to anything touched. Cleanliness is vital in the fight against this new virus.

#2 – COVID-19 Bible reflection – March 27, 2020

While our nation, and much of the world are in lockdown to halt the spread of Covid-19, God’s Word tells us that he is in complete control. Each weekday during lockdown, we will bring you a new reflection highlighting God’s love and care for us, and his desire for us to know the peace of his son Jesus. OK GOD, WHAT? Read – Psalm 57:1 (NRSV) Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. Reflect My elderly mother’s favourite Bible story is the story of Joseph. And what’s not to like! It’s the classic story of good overcomes evil, even with its own superhero. But the story also raises thorny theological issues.