Vicar's Column - March 2020
St John the Baptist Parish Church
There is a notice on the entrance door to the main chapel at Ascot Priory which reads, “Talk to God before the service and to one another afterwards”. It is a timely reminder of the benefits of making space to reconnect with God before Sunday worship, to prepare our hearts to encounter the true and living God, if we are to be fully open to engaging with God during our worship. We come with an air of expectancy. But this attitude is not just relevant on a Sunday, we need to remember God on a daily basis if we are to withstand the storms of life. We need moments where we can take our foot off of the throttle and tune into the ground of our being.
Lent offers us a renewed opportunity to do this; a season of deeper prayer, study and reflection. The Live LentC of E Daily Challenge is one way to connect with this or you may be signed up to a CTC Lent group, and/or have some other Lent reading you are engaged with. In addition, the diocese has published the following poetic prayer, which I think provides a helpful anchor.
Be Still and Know
God of mystery, where are you
When the world flings demands
Like a rain squall at the window,
When the pressure to perform steals us from ourselves,
When grasping for our future leaves us empty handed?
Where are you, when confusion is in heady ascendance,
When digging for surety lacerates and fragments?
Where are you in the fray,
In the tangled threads of feeling with no beginning or end?
God of our depths, be with us.
Do not rescue, but hold us;
Befriend, and reacquaint us
With our roots, our core, our true desires.
Help us to know, the simplicity of refreshment;
a single raindrop on dry lips like an offering, unsolicited,
from a cloudless sky.
Help us to know, how slowly moves the deep;
our connection to earth and stars, and the life that is you.
Help us to know, that beyond our striving and our need
All you are is love,
And all we have is you.
Whilst Mindfulness is all the rage (being present to and aware of ourselves/ our surroundings), for Christians there is of course another important dimension to it: being present to God in the midst of our circumstances. Amongst the practices supplied for everyday faith by the diocese are
a set of questions to ponder at the end of the day:
- Whose hospitality have I received today?
- What’s God saying to me in the Bible today?
- Who have I noticed and met today?
- What have I noticed God doing today and who can I tell?
- What have I said no to, so I can say yes?
- What is God up to here?
This is reminiscent of the Ignatian Examen/ Review of the day, which is very flexible and can be adapted to suit time constraints and particular foci. I hope that you can establish a daily prayer practice which nourishes and sustains you through Lent and beyond.
Revd Dr Lisa Cornwell
Church Office (firstname.lastname@example.org )
- 01344 761521
Find St John the Baptist Parish Church
Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT
There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street.