Easter Day 4 April

Easter Hymn 2021

Come risen Lord, dispel our clouds of gloom
as once to Mary by the garden tomb.
Disperse our fear, help us to see in you
faith resurrected, hope for life made new.
In pain and suffering, we rejoice to tell
the hurts you bore descending to our hell,
then lifted up, its power overcome,
showing the way to our eternal home.
Open our eyes to know you with us now;
raising us up, revealing to us how
in broken lives to see the good, the true,
wholeness restored; and in the I, the You.
This Easter, unlike others we have known,
finds us apart, yet still not on our own;
from deepest darkness love springs up again –   
Christ undefeated, evermore to reign.
© Michael Langrish 2021

Holy Saturday 3 April

For Grace to Spend our Time Well

O Eternal God, who from all eternity dost behold and love thy own glories
and perfections infinite, and hast created me to do the work of God after
the manner of men and to serve thee in this generation, and according to my capacities;
give me thy grace, that I may be a curious and prudent spender of my time,
so that  I may best prevent or resist all temptation and be profitable to the Christian commonwealth,
and by discharging all my duty may glorify Thy Name.

Take from me all slothfulness, and give me a diligent and active spirit, and wisdom to choose my employment,  
that I may do works proportionate to my person and to the dignity of a Christian and may fill up the spaces
of my time with actions of religion and charity; that when the Devil assaults me, he may not find me idle,
and my dearest Lord at His sudden coming may find me busy in lawful, necessary and pious actions,
improving my talent entrusted to me by thee, my Lord; that I my enter into the joy of my Lord,
to partake of His eternal felicities, even for thy mercy's sake, and for my dearest Saviour's sake. 

Dr Jeremy Taylor, 1613 – 1667
Scilla Page

Good Friday 2 April

The Crown of Thorns to Control our Thoughts

And they … platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, [Mark 15.17]

As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters. [Song of Solomon 2.2]

Merciful God, my only help, you did not refuse to wear on your wise and lovely head a crown of cruel thorns.  
I thank you and ask that whatever sins I myself have committed through misuse of my own wicked
and senseless head you will forgive, for I am pierced by the sharpness of all my wrongdoing, as if by thorns,
unless protected by your help, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

A prayer about the Crown of Thorns from the late ninth century/early tenth century Anglo-Saxon
‘Book of the Nunnaminster’ (the Benedictine Nunnery of St Mary’s Abbey Winchester)

Adoro Te Devote

Godhead here in hiding,
Whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows,
Shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service
Low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder
At the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting
Are in thee deceived;
How says trusty hearing?
That shall be believed;
What God's Son hath told me,
Take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly
Or there's nothing true.

On the cross thy Godhead
Made no sign to men;
Here thy very Manhood
Steals from human ken;
Both are my confession,
Both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer
Of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas,
Wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee
Lord and God as he;
This faith each day deeper

Be my holding of,
Daily make me harder
Hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder
Of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us
For whom He died,
Lend this life to me then;
Feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness
Man was meant to find.

Jesu, whom I look at

Shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me
What I long for so,
Some day to gaze on thee
Face to face in light
And be blest for ever
With thy glory's sight.

Attributed: St Thomas Aquinas 1227-1274; translated: Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ 1844-1889
Graham Thrussell

Maundy Thursday  1 April
A night reflection for Maundy Thursday
Jesus arrested, judged, found guilty
and condemned to die is held captive overnight.

If I were arrested and held this night, of what would I be found guilty?

That I made friends with people irrespective of their colour, creed or class….
That I shared my bread with the poor….
That my words… and actions… brought healing and forgiveness….
That I made justice and didn’t count the cost ….
That I sought the truth and then spoke of it….
That I recognised my neighbour and loved them as my very self…
That I met God along the way in the healing and forgiveness I received….
That I accepted hospitality at many different tables….
That I was changed by the lives of others….
…. and often repented my arrogance and foolishness
in encountering their wisdom …
That friends and strangers sometimes paid the price for me….
That I never sought out suffering...
….. but journeyed with it to the best of my ability...
That the love of those about me taught me to love myself before God...

You call us out of brokenness
to mend and remake your creation.
Grant us the courage to stay
with all those who are held captive this night.
In the name of Jesus who is good news, Amen.
Pat Pierce/CAFOD

Wednesday in Holy Week, 31 March

This prayer has been with me since my very early school days as it was said every day at assembly

Lord of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things;
Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name,
increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness,
and of thy great mercy keep us in the same;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen
Pauline Senior 

Tuesday in Holy Week, 30 March

Jeremiah 29: 11-14 A Message of Encouragement
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.  12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.  
May God, our Heavenly Father be with us always.
Jeannie Dunning 

Monday in Holy Week 29 March

St Richard’s Prayer

When I was a very small boy my mother taught me St Richard’s Prayer,
and it has always had a special place in my daily prayers, leading me
to remember the wonderful things the Lord has given me.

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me
My lovely and loving wife, my family, my home, my friends, my church and so many other blessings  
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me
The sneering Pharisees, the cowardice of Pilate,
 the scourging, the crown of thorns and the unimaginable agony of the cross
Oh most merciful redeemer, friend and brother
Dear Lord, I need you so badly as each and all of these
May I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly and follow Thee more nearly
Oh Lord, in my simple words I pray that Thou will strengthen my faith
Day by day
Christopher Doman 

Palm Sunday 28 March, Lent 6

The epistle for today (Philippians 2.5-11) speaks of God the Father giving Jesus
‘the name that is above every other name’, words that prompted this reflection:

The name of Jesus is a name of gladness, a name of hope and a name of love.

A name of gladness, because if the remembrance of past transgressions afflicts us,
this name comforts us, reminding us that the Son of God became man for this purpose,
to make himself our Saviour.

A name of hope, because he that prays to the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus
may hope for every grace he asks for: If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you.  

A name of love. For the name of Jesus brings to our remembrance all the sufferings
which Jesus has endured for us in his life and at his death.
from St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Incarnation Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ

Saturday 27 March

This poem has been a precious reminder to me to be aware of the unexpected moments of grace and light  
which God gives us, and to turn aside to enjoy and ponder them as a foretaste of eternity .

The Bright Field.   R.S.Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone on my way
and forgotten it.  But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that
had treasure in it.  I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. 
Life is not hurrying on to a receding future,
Nor hankering after
an imagined past.  It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
Esther Langrish

Friday 26 March

Attributed to an unknown soldier in the American Civil War:

I asked for strength that I might achieve;  He made me weak that I might obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;  I was given grace that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;  I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.  
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;  I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing that I asked for, all that I hoped for.
My prayer was answered, I was most blessed.
Helen Pilling

Thursday 25 March

From The Wisdom of Solomon.
Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.  
I preferred her to sceptres and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.
Neither did I liken her to any priceless gem,  because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,
and silver will be accounted as clay before her.  I loved her more than health and beauty,
and I chose her to have her rather than light, because her radiance never ceases.

May God grant me to speak with judgement, and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received,
for He is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise.
For both we and our words are in His hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts.
Wisdom 7, 7-10, 15-16.

Esther Langrish

Wednesday 24 March

A second extract from J.C. Ryle’s ‘Practical Religion’, in the chapter on Happiness,
which seems to resonate in a shadowy way with much of our present crisis.

Give a man a sensible interest in Christ, and he will be happy in spite of abounding public calamities.  
The Government of his country may be thrown into confusion,
rebellion and disorder may turn everything upside down, laws may be trampled under foot;
justice and equity may be outraged; liberty may be cast down to the ground;
might may prevail over right; but still his heart will not fail.
He will remember that the kingdom of Christ will one day be set up.
He will say like the old Scotch minister who lived unmoved throughout the
turmoil of the first French revolution: “It is all right:  it shall be well with the righteous”.
John Pilling

Tuesday 23 March

It is an utter mistake to suppose that riches alone can give happiness.
They can enable a man to command and possess everything but inward peace.
They cannot buy a cheerful spirit and a light heart.
There is care in the getting of them and care in the keeping of them, care in the using of them,  
and care in the disposing of them, care in the gathering, and care in the scattering of them.
He was a wise man who said that ”money” was only another name for “trouble”.
J.C. Ryle (Bishop of Liverpool 1880 - 1900)
John Pilling

 Monday 22 March

This prayer was found written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta.  
It seemed appropriate for this season of Lent:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centred.
  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
  It was never between you and them anyway.

Sunday 21 March - Lent 5, Passion Sunday

Living God, enable us this day to be pilgrims and companions:  
committed to the way of Christ,
faithful to the call of Christ,
discerning the mind of Christ,
offering the welcome of Christ,
growing in the likeness of Christ,
engaging in the mission of Christ,
in the world that belongs to Christ. 

Saturday 20 March
We cry out to you

God of all,
we cry out to you for help.
In your mercy, hear our prayer.

Protect us, Lord, and be with us
especially those of us most vulnerable  
during this coronavirus crisis.

Move us to reach out in love
to our neighbours near and far.
So that the humble may be exalted,
the hungry filled with good things.

Grant us the courage
not to rush back to our old ways,
but to rebuild our world together,
creating foundations of justice,
with equality and peace for all. Amen.
Di Levantine

Friday 19 March
St Theresa of Avila: (The Interior Castle)

Give God time in whatever way you can.  In praying, proceed with confidence  and at a regular pace,
rather than trying to do things in fits and starts.  Above all, practise mutual love, then you cannot go astray.  
And don't go looking for small faults in other people.
Keep your eyes on your own - you'll find plenty that need attention!
Bishop Michael 

Thursday 18 March

A prayer for the start of a busy day, for the evening as we seek rest
and for the continuation of God's help as we move into our latter years.
O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublesome life,
until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done.
Then in thy mercy grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest and peace at the last.  
Roger Page

Wednesday 17 March - St. Patrick’s Day
As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.

May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,  
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Tuesday 16 March
A Prayer by St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556)    

O Christ Jesus,
When all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness,
Give us the sense of Your presence,
You love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In Your protecting love
And strengthening power,
So that nothing may frighten or worry us,
For, living close to You,
We shall see You hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
Gaye Reynolds

Monday 15 March
St Theresa of Avila: (The Interior Castle)

In prayer the only place we have to keep coming back to is the place of self- knowledge.
We must never neglect to grow in the knowledge of self, and that will keep us grounded in humility.  
We must be like a bee making honey in the hive always returning to self knowledge and humility.
Yet, like the bee, we must also be ready to fly high, and to go from flower to flower.
That means taking time to know God, and enjoy the good and beautiful things of life,
otherwise we may get mired in self -preoccupation and sink into depression
and that helps no one, least of all ourselves.
Bishop Michael 

Sunday 14 March Lent 4 

God our Father,
your Son Jesus Christ lived in a family in Nazareth:
Grant that in our families on earth
we may so learn to love and to live together
that we may rejoice as one family in your heavenly home;  
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen
Collect for Mothering Sunday 

Saturday 13 March
Only One Life  by C.T. Studd

C T Studd was a famous missionary, one of the seven
Cambridge scholars who went to serve God in Africa and China.
He also played cricket for England in the inaugural Ashes test in 1882.  

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, ”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Kevin Durban-Jackson  

Friday 12 March
During a difficult time, many years ago, these verses were
part of my daily bible reading. They gave me great comfort and reminded
me that all I needed to do was to keep on trusting our loving God.
And blessing would follow.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit. “
Jeremiah 17.7- 8.
Sally Amesbury 

Thursday 11 March
Lord, I belt Your truth around my waist.
I embrace the gift of righteousness, a breastplate protecting my heart.
I stand ready in the shoes of the gospel of peace.
I pick up the shield of faith.
I cover my mind with the helmet of salvation and I take a firm grip of,
’the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
A paraphrase of Ephesians 6:13 - 17, which I found particularly meaningful. 
Helen Pilling

Wednesday 10 March
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

I learnt recently that this is a shortened version of a prayer
composed by Reinhold Niebuhr, German/American theologian (1892-1971) .
It was printed on cards to give to soldiers in World War II and became
the official prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous.   The full version is:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
Susan Martineau 

Tuesday 9 March
Footprints in the sand

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,  
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome

times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most,

You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child,
I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

Bernard Lane

Monday 8 March
Prayer for uncertain times
Lord Jesus Christ, light of this world, thank you for the hope you have given us.
Help us to give our worries to you and, above all, to trust in your unfailing love.
For you have promised us "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."
Almighty God, our protector, let us trust in you to carry us through this time of uncertainty. 
Jesus, hear our cries as we mourn those who've left us.
Whatever tomorrow may bring, we will praise your Holy name
Di Levantine 

Sunday 7 March Lent 3
From The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:    Love III 

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             If I lacked any thing.
A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
                             Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
                             Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
                             Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
                             My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
                             So I did sit and eat.
Tim Ward

Saturday 6 March
[St Dimitri of Rostov 1651-1709] 

‘Open O doors and bolts of my heart that Christ the King of Glory may enter! 
Enter O my Light and enlighten my darkness
Enter O my Life and resurrect my deadness
Enter O my Physician and heal my wounds
Enter O Divine Fire and burn up the thorns of my sins
Ignite my inward parts and my heart with the flame of Thy love
Enter O my King and destroy in me the kingdom of sin
Sit on the throne of my heart and alone reign in me
O Thou my King and Lord.’

Graham Thrussell

Friday 5 March
‘Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness’
He was led there to be exposed to temptation.

Through his experience he grew to new understandings.
We also have times of being in the wilderness but how often
do we think that it might be the Spirit of God who has led us there?
Those wilderness experiences are the difficult times in life.
The sudden change in circumstance or a time of loss or grief.
When we look back either we can see God’s hand in it or we can resent it. 
If we see God’s hand in it then we grow; we are better for having trodden
the path; we are able to cope with the next time. This is the path of faith.
Spirit of God when I am faced with the wilderness draw close to me
I pray that I may not falter but might grow closer to Jesus. 
Increase my faith I pray.
John Pilling 

Thursday 4 March
A Personal prayer that you may wish to adapt to make your own: 

Dear Lord
Please help me to remember all the blessings that you have given me 
and help me to thank you every day for all the joy I receive daily from
my darling husband Chris, all my family, and so many good friends.
May this time of Lent bring me closer to you. - I will try my best to
do this with your help.
Madeline Doman

Wednesday 3 March 
From Jeremiah 9v 23-24a
Knowing God is what Life is all about.
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, 
let not the mighty man boast in his might,
let not the rich man boast in his riches,
but let him who boasts boast in this,
that he understands and knows me.

In other words, Jeremiah says that what matters in life are not
our brains (wisdom) nor our bodies (Strength),
neither our bank accounts (Riches). None of these provide
the purpose of our lives.
The purpose of our lives is to understand and know God.
If we know God and his kindness, justice and righteousness,
then we will imitate him and bring him delight.
Kevin Durban Jackson


Tuesday 2 March  St Chad
Be with us, Lord, as we seek to follow in the footsteps of your servant Chad, 
whose humility and prayerfulness attracted so many to your kingdom. 
Let our lives, like his, reflect the light of Christ and the hope of faith. 
In the name of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.
Martin Hobbs

Monday 1 March  St David
By Robin Mark
Faithful one, so unchanging,
Ageless One, you’re my rock of peace.
Lord of all, I depend on you,
I call out to you again and again,
I call out to you again and again.

You are my rock in times of trouble,
You lift me up when I fall down.
All through the storm your love is the anchor, my hope is in you alone.    
Andy Blumer

Sunday 28 February Lent 2

Lent is all about setting priorities and working out just how seriously
our commitment to God really is. It is not a time for us to work out where
we are going in life, or what decisions we need to take for our future.
If we are serious about our faith, then we have to allow our own priorities to
be seen in the light of God's guidance.
This is very difficult; how do we know what God wants? If only it was so easy
to understand the divine plan ! Yet from our Gospel reading today we do get
a pointer in the right direction. Jesus tells the disciples.
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross
and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever
loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
The message is clear. When we seek to make decisions and choices, Christians
are not their own boss. If we seek to be faithful we will need to 'let go and let God.'
This might seem to be a loss of freedom and personal sacrifice. It is.
However it is only as we learn to put our personal ambitions under God's spotlight
that we can ever really be free.
Give us light and strength, O God, to know your will. Guide us by your wisdom and
support us by your power. Unite us to yourself in the bond of love and keep us faithful 
to all that is true; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Isidore of Seville, c.560-636


Saturday 27 February 
Commemoration of George Herbert, Priest and Poet
From The Temple (1633), by George Herbert: Praise. (II)

King of glory, King of peace,
I will love Thee;
and that love may never cease,
I will move Thee.
Thou hast granted my request,
Thou hast heard me;
Thou didst note my working breast,
Thou hast spared me.

Wherefore with my utmost art
I will sing Thee,
and the cream of all my heart
I will bring Thee.
Though my sins against me cried,
Thou didst clear me;
and alone, when they replied,
Thou didst hear me.

Sev'n whole days, not one in sev'n,
I will praise Thee;
in my heart, though not in heav'n,
I can raise Thee.
Small it is, in this poor sort
to enroll Thee:
e'en eternity's too short
to extol Thee.

Friday 26 February
I have always found these three verses from Numbers
to be a constant source of strength and comfort:
   The LORD bless you and keep you;
    the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;  
    the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
    Ian Senior

Thursday 25 February
Christ’s invitation is:-
To connect in a time of isolation,
To go deep in a time of distraction,
To have courage in a time of containment,  
To hope in a time of hype,
To receive breath in a time of death,
And to love in a time of fear.
Gaye Reynolds 

Wednesday 24 February
You raise me up - By Westlife
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary   
When troubles come and my heart burdened be,  
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me. 
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be 
You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be 
You raise me up to more than I can be
Bernard Lane

Tuesday 23 February
Lord, I will turn,
Turn my face towards you.
I will lay before you the desert areas I hide
And turn to soak in your refreshing words of life.
I will cast aside the barren, selfish pursuits
And turn to rest in the tranquil warmth of your love.
I will draw back from the harsh pull of media
And turn to bathe in the gentle power of your Spirit.  
Lord, today I turn my face towards you. I will turn
To soak in your words of life,
To rest in the warmth of your love,
And to bathe in the power of your Spirit.
Julie Palmer 

Monday 22 February 
Watch, dear lord,
With those who cannot sleep
And those who weep this night. Tend the sick,  
Give rest to the weary 
And bless the dying. 
Relieve those who are suffering, 
Have pity on those in great distress,
And shield those who are happy. 
Ann Wells

Sunday 21 February Lent 1
Thought for the Day:
There are many paradoxes that as Christians we have to contemplate aspart of the mystery of our faith. So when I think of God, the integrated, involved, present, ‘here and now’ God; the suffering, Almighty, Crucified God; Christ our ‘foolishness’ and Christ our wisdom, Christ the slaughtered Lamb on the Throne; the suffering servant, the humble and humiliated God; only then am I beginning to grasp the full reality of God, Father and Son close to me.

John Pilling

Saturday 20  February
I know I am not the only member of St Mary’s who values the books written by Stephen Cottrell, now Archbishop of York.  Those for Lent include 'The Things He Carried: A Journey to the Cross', 'The Things He Did: The Story of Holy Week' and 'The Things he Said: The Story of the First Easter Day'.  This prayer comes from 'The Things He Carried'

Loving God,
your Son Jesus Christ carried us to the cross and shed his blood for us and brought us into new community with you:
help us to follow in his way,
deny ourselves and take up the cross he gives us, that the world may learn his way of peace;
may his life and his purposes be alive in us this day, and may we be alive in him;
and when our hearts are broken,
and when the burdens of this life feel too great to bear, take us to the cross, and enable us to see there the great weight that Jesus carried; for here we receive the affirmation of your love, the assurance of your promise, and the strength to persevere.
for we ask it in his name.
Julie Allday 

Friday 19 February
O Lord Jesus Christ, 
take as your right,
receive as my gift,
all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my will;  
all that I have,
all that I am,
all that I can be.
All is yours,
dispose of it according to your will.
Give me your love,
Give me your grace.
It is enough for me.
St Ignatius Loyola
Peter and Liz Brown

Thursday 18 February
I'm asking GOD for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I'll contemplate his beauty;
I'll study at his feet.
That's the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.
verses from Psalm 27 v4-5 from the Message translation.  
Kevin Durban-Jackson

Ash Wednesday 17 February
Almighty and ever living God,
you invite us deeper into your world, your people, your Lent.
May this time be one of outward focus;
seeking you in those we often ignore.
Help us live a Lent focused on freedom, generosity, and encounter. 
Give us hearts hungry to serve you
and those who need what we have to give.

Bishop Michael