Church of England Diocese of Exeter Topsham

Revd Louise's Thought

Tuesday 2nd June

Hi

I have had some lovely emails enquiring if I was okay after the service yesterday, given I got emotional reading the translation of the prophet Joel during my homily.

It happened spontaneously in that moment - of course I knew the text well, and had gone over the homily numerous times, but saying it out loud in that context was so moving; most particularly the lines:

'and young men will see visions, and old men will dream dreams'.

Of course, we all want our young people to be able to have vision for their future. It's always challenging to be on the threshold of adulthood and wonder about how life will unfold, what the coming decades will have in store, the hard work required to overcome the odds, as well as the joys in store.

I can only begin to imagine what it feels like for young people on that threshold right now.

I have more than an inkling because my own daughter turns 19 this weekend, and she was already facing a tough time ahead because of autism and anxiety. The landscape has now shifted to become an even more challenging terrain.

Pray for the young people of our communities.

Commit to building back better so that they have a fair chance of having a fulfilling life.

And listen to their vision of their own future hopes and aspirations.

I include a link from an organisation called Restless Development, who asked young people worldwide: How can the world respond, recover and build back better from COVID-19?

For clip click here

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Friday 29th May

This Ascentiontide week, with its particular focus on prayer, could feel like another 'ought', at a time when many of us are juggling lots, being stretched in new ways, all whilst navigating new landscapes of feelings; making decisions that we never thought we would have to contemplate; and maybe bearing the loving burden of caring for others in a heightened way.

Even if those aspects of experience don't resonate with you - all of us, regardless of how busy or bored we may be, or anything in between - we all of us live in a time of intensity that has a degree of anxiety and uncertainty as a backbeat.

Prayer should not be an added burden.

Of all the types and ways of praying there are, those mentioned in this week's mailings, and others you know about and practice, perhaps overall make this prayer from St Augustine your own:

You have made us for yourself, 0 Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

Today, let us all find a quiet spot, a peaceful couple of minutes. Breath deeply, still the mind and then pray this from our depths.

Rest.

Knowing that we made in the image of God, and are made for God.

You have made us for yourself, 0 Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

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Wednesday 27th May

The psalms are a wonderful resource for prayer; all of human experience is expressed in them, from unbridled praise through to anger and lament.

It's these latter ones that could give us expression for the dreadfulness that we have witnessed in this pandemic, continue to witness.

The psalms of lament give voice to a people who have suffered in all sorts of ways, through exile, through war, through injustice, through illness.

They provide the words to be completely honest with God; no dressing things up; it is permission to lay all before God.

If our intercessions are a touching the edge of God's garment, or as one parishioner Jo sent to me yesterday - "a whisper in God's ear" - then the prayer of lament is holding onto God's feet, letting our tears flow over them.

The psalms of lament also give voice to angry distress, sometimes tipping over into feelings of vengence or revenge. This is not the Bible endorsing such actions, rather it is showing that everything can be laid bare before God, and acknowledging that trauma and suffering can give rise to a diverse collection of feelings of lament, some of which we find acceptable, some not. God receives it all though.

The following are psalms are a selection from those which are traditionally attributed as ones of communal lament; you may find that some of them have verses which begin to express your deep sadness for what we behold in this pandemic:

• Psalm 44

• Psalm 60

• Psalm 74

• Psalm 80

• Psalm 85

• Psalm 90

Psalm 85.v7: Show us thy mercy O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

Louise

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