LENT 1 - 21st February -   Changed by serving 

READING - Mark 10;   42 - 45

REFLECTION   Changed By Serving

Now imagine how different it would be
if no one would do anything to help:

no doctors, nurses or first responders;
no scientists, lab technicians, researchers:
no teachers, shop assistants or builders;
no farmers, vets, delivery drivers;
no bank clerks, council or postal workers:
no dentists, chemists, no sandwich makers;
no taxi, buses or phone repairers;
no volunteers, vaccinators,
... carers.

And imagine how different it would be
if you did not do anything to help:

no happy morning smile and cheery air;

no family (bubble) or listening ear;
no, “Happy to talk,” on a walk somewhere;
no helpful advice about new software;
no, “Yes, I’ll set to and do that repair”;
no, “I’ll remember you daily in prayer”;
no, “Can I offer  you help in your despair?”;

no gentle enquiry, concern
... or care.

 

PRAYER - Gracious God, may we learn to serve one another in the way of Jesus and may we not be afraid to care and be cared for. 

AMEN

LENT 2 - 28th  February -   Changed by waiting 

READING - James 5 ;   7 - 11

REFLECTIONChanged By Waiting

The gift of time came unexpectedly
so she sat and took to thinking
about what had been said
and what had not been said.
How? Why? What if?

It had been raining all morning
but now the sun shone
and warmed her face.
She closed her eyes
and heard birdsong
through the open window.
Peaceful, quiet, resting.

Taken by the hand
she visited country walks,
family happiness, holidays,
and work, struggle, sadness.

You’ve done alright,
she heard.
You’ll be OK.

A gentle touch on the shoulder
lifted her from meditation and prayer.
“... I am ready for you now.”


© David Buck 2021

PRAYER - God of hope, you are patient with me, may I be patient with you and risk the changes that might come through waiting

AMEN 

LENT 3 -  7th March  -   Changed by struggling

READING - Romans 12 ;   17 - 21

REFLECTION -  Changed Through Struggling

They had fought for as long as they
or anyone could remember.
No one is born like that, surely?

It began with what belonged to who
           and who could run the fastest;
who was stronger, cleverer, smarter;
           who did best at school.

And then to outdoing with jobs, home,
           marriage, children;
friends, position in society, respect;
           power and control.

The distance and difference
            became immense;
fear determined the decisions
           and actions between them.

So now we see them facing each other
           in the field
by the roads from north to south,
           east to west.

What now?
           Who will make the first move,
with so many watching?
           We waited.

“Does the butterfly struggle
           as it comes out of the chrysalis?”
“I don’t know,” the other replied,
           “but as it holds still and the blood flows
           through the veins into the wings
           it is at its most vulnerable.”

The silence was long before we saw
           the offer a hand in greeting
transformed in reciprocation
           to embrace and blessing with kisses.
 

“I never heard you say that before,
           you knew everything.”
“And you had everything,

            all that was possible.”
 

And so they fell to the pattern
           of each making the other complete;
here, take my cloak;
           let us walk slowly together.

 

The past was always there, we later observed,
           to trip them up;
habit, ‘tradition’ and ‘belief’ take
           a long time dying.

But the angels rejoice now,
the joining of brothers
birthing oneness.

PRAYER - Lord God, help us in our everyday struggles and give us strength and wisdom and a willingness to overcme evil wth good. AMEN 

LENT 4 - 14th March  -   Changed by Peacemaking 

READING - John  20  ; 19 - 23  

REFLECTIONChanged By Peacemaking 

 

Reach out to those you fear.

           The women stopped a war you know.

           Frightened, desperate, they spoke to each other,
                       friends, neighbours,
                       and those they had never spoken to before,
                       those who they were not supposed to talk to,
                       women from a different clan, village or district.
                       They spoke to women they were afraid of
                       and who were afraid.

Touch the heart of complexity.

           And they said,
                       this has been going on for a long time.
                       History, tradition and systems constrict us.
                       Our sons, young boys, carry guns.
                       Robbery, violence and terror is more profitable
                                   than ploughing.
                       We cannot buy or sell.
                       Nowhere is safe.

Imagine beyond what is seen.

           They met and dreamed and planned.

                       Let us make the market a zone of peace
                       organised and protected by us women
                       where all people of any clan and class,
                                   village and district will be safe,
                       a place where no one will be denied access.
                       In the market place there will be no hurting others
                       and if there is, we, the women, will meet
                       and talk and resolve differences.

 

                        It went well.

                       An oasis of kindness and goodness
                                   in an otherwise hopeless landscape.

 

Risk vulnerability one step at a time.

 

            So the women then decided to speak to power.

                       They spoke carefully, respectfully
                       to the influencers,
                       the men
                       and said, “See.”
                       And they dared to ask who benefitted
                                   from all this fighting.
                       And so the men made peace beyond the market
                                   which flourished
                       and the sons, boys, beat their guns
                                   into ploughs,
                                   and into books and learning
                       under the nurturing eyes of the women

           who stopped a war, you know.

 

* Based on the story of the Wajir women of Kenya as told in J P Lederach’s book The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace.
 

PRAYER - Loving God, speak peace to our hearts and minds that we might mend divisions, bring justice where prejudice prevails and be the healing that our world needs. AMEN 

LENT 5 - 21st  March  -   Changed by Loving  

READING - John  2 :  7 - 11 

REFLECTIONChanged By Loving 


Creation changed everything.

God changed.

Suddenly,
well after six days,
there was responsibility.

So carefree before,
happy chaos,
now there was order.

Now there were others,
others to think about,
not just the two of them.

(Or were there three,
sometimes it felt like more.)

And so on what had been billed as a rest day,
God got to thinking,
a lot.

They will need feeding,
protecting, entertaining,
time spent with them.

And they will need to know stuff,
education (which in an unforeseen way
was how they got to know about clothes).

And once they get into clothes
then there’s all sorts of stuff
that you never realised was necessary.

 

And then, thought God,
I suppose they might want to do their own thing,
maybe take the inheritance and scarper.

And there’s bound to be tantrums
and fallings out, impossible demands,
and lies.

And how can you tell them,
they won’t listen,
we might grow apart.

I suppose I would have to learn their lingo,
see things from their point of view,
be on their level.

Maybe I could do a deal.
No,
no deal.

Now, it could be a bit weird at times
but what if I just said,
“Follow me.”

Maybe they will.


 

PRAYER - lord God, you are perfect love, may our hearts be drawn into that love, that we become your true reflection and love as you love us 

AMEN