Yesterday morning I was praying as the first light came into the sky. For some reason I was especially aware of the lack of colour in the darkness of the night. Looking for a distraction I went to the kitchen to make a coffee, but I felt drawn back to the chair as the sky was becoming a bit brighter and I sat a bit longer daydreaming, praying and meditating for a while.
A few minutes after my return I noticed a flutter outside the window and the bird pictured above landed on the telephone line just outside the window. I’m new to Auckland. not familiar with the local birdlife, and had no idea that New Zealand had brightly coloured birds in the wild. I thought this one had escaped from an aviary and (I’m not being pious or superficial here) I had the sense that this bird had been sent as a messenger from God to remind me that Christ transforms our darkness not only with light but also with colour.
I picked up my phone and without moving from my chair took this picture.
Today as we move to Level 2 many people are feeling darkness deeply, suffering extreme financial struggles, job losses, relationship tensions, all of these causing anxiety and depression.
These darknesses are real and present and at times threaten to overwhelm us. The FFF prayer intentions sent in by readers also reveal the depth of struggle and pain experienced by those we know and love.
We also know and are grateful to and pray in thanksgiving for people who while losing a lot themselves and with all the worries listed above, are putting their own anxieties and needs aside in order to care for those who are struggling, especially those for whom they feel a responsibility as employers.
How can we live with and live through this shared suffering?
Join me in looking to today’s gospel for a way forward:
“Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love”.
It was yesterday morning in the darkness that I was praying with this passage. (I usually spend a day with the following day’s scripture so that in the evening I have something to share in these FFF posts.) As I reflected I noticed a word that appears three times in these two verses. “Remain”. “Remain”. “Remain in my love”. I couldn’t get the word out of my head.
I’m often tempted to not remain but to get up and be useful and active. It’s easy to use activity as an escape from the reality and opportunity of the moment. Yesterday morning I heard “remain” and so I stayed for longer than usual, And even when I did try to escape for an unnecessary coffee-break I heard the call to remain again and so returned to prayer.
If I hadn’t returned and remained then I wouldn’t have been present when the Eastern Rosella stopped by. The experience stayed with me through the day, and I have no doubt that Jesus used this bird which is generally understood to be a pest to speak to me.
And now as I write I see more clearly that even the people that I consider to be pesky can be divine messengers for me.
Which bring us to the word that appears not just three but five times in those two scripture verses: Love.
- Take time a few times throughout the day to remain, for a minute or two, in awareness of the love of Jesus for you. Ask Jesus to enable you to notice his voice, especially in the unlikely events and pesky people.
- Pray to Sleep (a ten minute bedtime audio reflection) at this link.
- Today’s readings at this link.
- Send your prayer requests to email@example.com. Each day I will add the initials of those we pray for to this list. Take a moment, perhaps 15 seconds, to pray in whatever way you choose for those whose initials appear below, and don’t hesitate to send repeat requests for prayer.
- One FFF reader sent me this note yesterday “Kia ora John. Each day as I run my fingers over your growing litany of initials, I recite this prayer”.
Let us pray today (Thursday) especially for: SLJ, JJJ, RM, SJ, SF, SLJ, JS, FS, MD, GPD, JMC, AM & I, MS, MC, MR, JCP, MON, SS, MS, OD, ND, CD, JD, JD & KJ, EJH, ARO,
Upcoming back surgery. Surgery for repair of sports injury. Work stress with responsibility for employees, FFF invited prayers on Tuesday of one undergoing surgery – now word that surgery successful so thanksgiving prayers. In gratitude and thanksgiving for five wonderful children. For son who celebrates birthday today. For nephew struggling to rebuild business. Son preparing for marriage in complex religious situation & his fiancée, Mother died in pregnancy with twins. A daughter needing healing, the mother of young boys. Cousin’s daughter who is in a very depressed state living with her elderly mother awaiting help. Sister distant from her faith for many years. Family member needing to take care of health controlling eating habits. For God’s healing. For twins.
Wednesday: JS, FS, SF, GJG (RIP), JDG, MD, CGW, SD, TK, JK, RF, GN, OP, GC, TN, MC, KJ, SL, AN,
Tuesday: JMT, KJ, MD, PM, MC, DP, KD, AD, BA, RF, MC, PR, JH, GPB,
Monday: AD, NF, PR, GPB, BA, MA (RIP), LM, SB, MO’D, S&SW, DMcA, SS, VM, PM, NM,
Sunday: BB, BR, RM, IW, BL, AM, JM, SM, JH, CSL, BS, AW, MR, SR, JC, LR, JF, AB, AB, MB, CB, LJ, AF, JB, CB, SB, MB (RIP), MR, MH, SR, RS, MTM, OH, MM (RIP), SGS. MC, EH, MAC, NDM, JG, SL, JD,
Friday: AJ, MLJ, SkJ, MS (RIP), LMP, GRJP, JF, IC, RF, JC, LHG, LKG, FMG, GMG, GC, AW, DM, MM, PM, ML (RIP), JMC, PN, KM, JJ, MJ, AWS, HGTJ, JHWW, HJPM, MB (RIP), MD, DN, QRPTT, LTP, NVVO, PEGMW, MC, LM & JM, BM, BP, CP, PP, CH, NF, RJH, GOJ, JMC, LH, JS, RMc, MLJ, EL (RIP)
Last week: AJ, MLJ, SkJ, MS (RIP), LMP, GRJP, JF, IC, RF, JC, LHG, LKG, FMG, GMG, GC, AW, DM, MM, PM, ML (RIP), JMC, PN, KM, JJ, MJ, AWS, HGTJ, JHWW, HJPM, MB (RIP), MD, DN, QRPTT, LTP, NVVO, PEGMW, MC, LM & JM, BM, BP, CP, PP, CH, NF, RJH, GOJ, JMC, LH, JS, RMc, MLJ, EL (RIP)SS, BK, JKBP, CP, PP, BW, HT (RIP), SL, AW, DM, MM, PM, LH, TN, SF, SC, FM, T&TT, AR, HF, RF, JM, R&B, MC, MD,BH, SGS, JJHB, SJB, BB, MD, MB, JT, RF, SS, SS, PB, SD, JR, SQ, JL, MCSM, PR, MJ, MD, SM, PR, MJ, MD,
LECTIO DIVINA FOR THURSDAY OF EASTER WEEK V (14 May 2020)
Pictures received of any churches that have been significant in your faith journey will be included as the images on the daily Lectio Divina links. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s church: The 900+ year old Cathedral church of San Donnino in the city of Fidenza, Italy.
Thursday Easter Week V (15 minutes)
Thursday Easter Week V (25 minutes)