We have had snow, or at least hail, recently. And several years ago we did have snow at the end of March. Today we made paper snowflakes by cutting holes from folded paper, imagining the holes to be things we had lost and missed out on during the past 12 months.
Many of these things were sad – friends not seen, events not celebrated, family not hugged, and people we have lost. Other things were ones that we have let go of and don’t feel the need to pick up again – busyness or constant travelling, for example.
Here are the instructions to follow yourself, as an act of prayer:
Fold a square of paper in half, and half again, forming a smaller square. Fold that into a triangle, and cut small holes out of the edges. When you unfold it you should have something that resembles a snowflake, however vaguely. Remember that all snowflakes are unique!
As you look at the holes reflect on what you have lost or missed out on this past year.
There will be some holes that you wish you can fill in again – like seeing loved ones or giving them a hug, or maybe travelling.
There may be some holes that can’t be filled in – either because of death or because the opportunity has gone.
There may be some holes you don’t want to fill in again! Things you used to do but now realise you have been released from. Things you don’t miss and don’t really want to go back to again, even when you can.
Spend some time asking God for his healing and consolation for the things that you grieve from the past year and also give thanks for the things that have been a blessing to you. Remember, too, all people who have died from Covid this past year, in this country and around the world.
The materials focus on our response to climate change, particularly leading up to the global COP26 discussions in Glasgow later this year. We are working together with other local churches, and the aim of Tenants of the King is “to reflect on the challenges of a changing climate, and how Christians can respond with hope to one of today’s greatest challenges”. One of the thoughts that struck me from the introductory meetings was that, “life is a gift, so living is thanksgiving”.
Operation Noah has a very helpful strap-line, that expresses the way they work: “Faith-motivated. Science-informed. Hope-inspired”.
In between lockdowns, when it was possible to meet outside in groups of up to six, our Sunday Explorers sessions were held outdoors We enjoyed the open air and thinking about the wonders of the world that we live in. Some of the sessions were based on material from Forest Church, which is a movement of people who take their worship outside – finding a deep connection with God through time spent in nature.
This week I attended a Zoom meeting exploring Forest Church, hosted by volunteers from the charity Green Christian. People shared their experience of being part of Forest Church groups, and the activities and practices that meant so much to them.
Neil Clark, who led a lot of the session, read this very powerful poem which he had written for a recent Forest Church meeting.
I hope you have seen it. The glow of the light slowly returning, lingering two or three minutes longer every day.
I hope you have heard it. The delight of the pre-dawn territory calls of the blackbirds.
I hope you have sensed it. The deep and powerful stirring of nature below the ground, slowly, so slowly getting ready to appear.
I hope you have touched it. The transient clouds of frosts evaporating from the trees in the warmth of the morning sun.
I hope you have smelt it. The memories from your childhood of what scents spring will bring.
I hope you know it. The knowledge that although winter is still with us, spring is waiting patiently, and slowly, almost imperceptibly, is getting ready to take to the stage.
I hope you have hope. That no matter how dark it might seem, the light will return, indeed the light is returning even as you read this, and the light will warm and feed you just as it feeds nature.
(By Neil Clark – used with permission)
This spoke so much of the hope that we need at the moment.
Tim has shared the following prayers with us, which are from the Christian Charity Green Christian. Two prayers for Valentine’s Day to show our love for our Planet – God’s creation.
Show the Love Prayer, 2021
O God who is love Let love empower our compassion Let love embrace each and everyone Let love unite humans and non-human In restorative co-existence.
O Jesus, love come down to earth May we honour the earth May we honour all that dwells in the earth May we be reconciled with the earth Become what we are, of the earth.
O Spirit of love Grant us a spirit of humility Grant us a spirit of carefulness Grant us a spirit of friendship For the earth and all that dwells with us here.
Show the Love Blessing 2021
May our loving God, who created the world and all that is in it, Inspire us to delight in our beautiful home, And to live in wonder, peace and joy. May our living God keep our hearts turned to loving our neighbour and to respecting the creation we share. May our merciful God help us to live this week in goodness and hope, And fill us with God’s peace. Amen
At Sunday Explorers we thought about the 12 days of Christmas. The gifts in the traditional song are quite unusual and I’m not sure that many of us would appreciate receiving them all.
Most of us receive a lot of gifts at Christmas, and we thought instead about some of the things we could give to other people during the 12 days of Christmas, from Friday 25 December 2020 to Tuesday 5 January 2021. Here is our list:
As we have moved back into lockdown, our Sunday Explorers have resumed meeting by Zoom. This week one of the activities was to make poppies to remember those who have died in wars across the world. Here are some of the creations.