Ash Wednesday and Lent

Some stuff here – help yourselves 🙂

Lent sonnet

These forty days of prayer and discipline
are given for us to slowly grow in grace
and learn to be your people once again,
to find our truest home in your embrace.
In pilgrimage, through hours and days and weeks
of changing who we are and what we do,
the human heart may find that which it seeks:
ourselves, once restless, find their rest in you,
our mother hen, whose chicks at last come home
to find the safest place where they may cling;
we need not face the wilderness alone,
but nestle in shadow of your wing.
Oh, forty days of learning how to be
what you have promised us eternally.

Ash Wednesday hymn (tune: Picardy) – slightly revised

Dust to dust, we mark our repentance,
entering a guilty plea,
Ash to ash, we face our sentence,
Sin writ large for all to see:
Now these signs of all our falls from grace,
mark us for divine embrace.

Dust of earth once shaped and moulded
into this, our human frame,
Body, mind and soul enfolded,
given life and called by name.
Now O Lord remake our damaged form,
Hold us till our hearts grow warm.

Dust that fuels the lights of heaven,
Stars and planets passing by,
Atoms of creation’s splendour,
Earth to earth and sky to sky,
Now our dust, redeemed, sings loud and long
in that universal song.

Lent hymn / song (tune: slane)
the ten commandments verse can be omitted if that’s not your focus

Lord of our life, our beginning and end,
Our Father, our shepherd, our Saviour and friend,
We look to your teaching in each fresh new day
To lead us and guide us and show us your way.

Ten laws to teach us to live in your love,
Ten ways to make earth more like heaven above,
Ten rules to inspire all we think, say and do,
To help us be faithful in following you.

You are our safety, our great mother hen,
Whenever we wander you call us again,
We’ll always be drawn to your loving embrace
To nestle beneath the soft wings of your grace.

This is our story, and this is our song:
For we are your people, to you we belong,
Wherever life takes us, in all that we do,
Our hearts will find peace when we’re resting in you.

Advent doodle 3: Jesus and the little children

The new testament reading set for morning prayer today, when we remember St Nicholas of Myra, is Mark 10.13-16:


People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Harvest resources

It must be time to post something about harvest – here’s a collection of stuff that might be useful.

Some all age ideas

  1. The four corners of God’s love (not my idea – I learnt it from a Sally Army officer ages ago!)
    Start with a large square or rectangular piece of paper, and announce that this is the four corners of God’s love. Say, ‘It’s my piece of paper, so it’s the four corners of God’s love for me.’  Count them out to make sure.
    Ask, ‘What would happen if I cut off one of my corners and gave it away?  I have four, but if I gave one away, how many would I have?’  You may get the answer, ‘three’.
    Cut off one corner, give it to someone in the congregation, and count your corners again. You have five! You had four, you gave one away, and you have five. And the other person has three. That’s eight whole corners of God’s love!
    Try it again with another corner. And get one of the recipients to try it with one of their corners etc. Keep counting up the new total of corners until everyone loses count.
    Reflect on generosity, abundance, giving, God’s providence, blessings given and received….
    Encourage everyone to take their ‘corner’ home as a reminder.
  2. Ready steady cook
    Ask members of the congregation to come forward and pick out five items from the donated produce and say what they’d cook with them – get everyone to vote on the best idea.
    Reflect on how bringing the gifts together means we can do amazing things with them – maybe we each brought only one gift, but God multiplies what we give.
  3. World map
    Draw a rough outline of a world map on a double bedsheet and lay it down on the floor  – as people bring their gifts of produce, invite them to place their gift somewhere near its (possible) country of origin. Have some information displayed about some of the key producing nations and what life is like as a farmer/producer there. During your talk, look at some of the foods, and trace their journey from field/forest/ocean to plate.  You could
    (a) Say a prayer for each stage of the food’s journey
    (b) Talk about fairtrade and related issues
  4. Place mat grace
    Give everyone an A4 piece of paper with a simple place setting drawn on it, and some pens. You can also provide glue, scissors and old food magazines for those who like to cut and stick.
    Invite people to decorate their plate with words or pictures that remind them to say thank you for their food.
    Teach everyone a simple grace that they can use at lunchtime when they get home. Invite them to write it on their placemat. This might be something quite traditional, or something sillier – or have a variety to choose from. Popular options might be:
    (a) For these and all God’s blessings may his holy name be praised.
    (b) Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub!
    (c) (sung) One, two, three, four, five, thank you God that I’m alive, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, thank you God for food, Amen.
    (d) (sung) Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below, praise him above ye heavenly host, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
    Alternatively, you could write a variety of graces on the reverse of the paper so that they’re all provided.
    If you have the facilities, you could offer to laminate the placemats while people are having coffee after church, so that they’ll last longer.

Poem

Here is the original (longer) version:

We bring our gifts:
The first-fruits of our labour,
or perhaps the spare we do not need,
(an offering to mitigate against our greed).

To the church we bring them,
and into the hands of Christ we place them,
and we say, ‘Take this,
and do with it some miracle:
Turn water into wine again,
or multiply my loaves and fish
to feed a crowd again.’

And Jesus takes them from our hand,
this fruit of the ocean, this product of the land,
and blesses them, accepting back
what always was the Lord’s.
Our gifts will fill the lack
of hungry people,
putting flesh on words
of charity, and making folk
in our small corner of the world
more equal.

We know there is enough for everyone.
But once the leftovers are gone –
taken to the homeless, hungry poor –
what of those twelve empty baskets standing idly by?
Can there yet be more
that we can ask our Lord to multiply?

Into those baskets therefore let us place ourselves,
those parts of us that need transforming,
grace and strength and healing,
the gifts in us that need to be increased and shared
with a greater generosity than we may be prepared
to offer on our own account.

For we are God’s rich and splendid bounty,
seeds, sown and scattered by the Lord in every place.
the human race:
the crowning glory
of the ever-evolving creation story.
We thank the Lord
that he does not just separate wheat from tare,
but takes our very best
then turns us into far more than we are.

And here is the shorter version:

We bring the spare we do not really need
(for surely God will honour all we bring
although it cannot make up for our greed).
And place into Christs’s hands our offering:
“Turn water into wine again,” we say,
“and multiply my token loaves and fish
to feed another hungry crowd today.”
Our gifts, we know, will put some flesh
on words of charity. Then into those
twelve empty baskets, let us place the gifts in us
that need to be increased and shared
with greater generosity than we may be prepared
to offer on our own account.
For we are God’s most rich and splendid bounty,
sown as seeds and scattered by the Lord
in every place.
the human race:
the crowning glory
of the ever-evolving creation story.
We thank God that he does not only separate the wheat from tare,
but takes our very best then turns us into far more than we are.

oOoOo

Clipart and assorted autumnal pictures

  wheat sheaf clipart       The whole world in his handfeeding of teh 5000

harvest     foodharvest festival clipart

 

hands held out     19th sept 2014 005broken bread