Day 9: a shared path – i

It is good to be reminded that we are not the only travellers on the road. Some may be moving faster than us, others slower. Either way it is always a good idea to keep an eye out for the wellbeing of others – and especially for wildlife as humankind’s behaviour is decimating the world’s biodiversity.

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luke 10:33-34 

If you want to learn, then go and ask the wild animals and the birds, the flowers and the fish. Any of them can tell you what the Lord has done. Every living creature is in the hands of God. Job 12:7-10

Day 8: Pause for thought

Works of art often prompt thought and question, and thus become signs. Here what seems to be a sign (?), has become a work of art. I wonder what it may be saying to you? 

Good people think before they answer, but the wicked speak evil without ever thinking. 

Proverbs 15:28 

Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. 2 Timothy 2:7

Day 7: Be prepared to wait

Floods can rise up as if out of nowhere. What seemed like a pleasant country lane can be transformed by raging torrent which it would be foolish to cross. One must either wait patiently for things to calm down or find an alternative route. Noah had to wait more than 200 days whilst the floodwater drained away! Genesis 8:3-12

Be patient and trust the LORD. Don’t let it bother you when all goes well for those who do sinful things. Psalm 37:7

Don’t be angry or furious. Anger can lead to sin. Psalm 37:7-8

Be patient, then, beloved, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer awaits the precious fruit of the soil—how patient he is for the fall and spring rains. James 5:7

Counting On … day 23

In the last people were often reliant for their survival on the generosity of others. The young man, who became St Nicholas, lost both his parents due to a plague. Maybe he realised that money itself was not a guaranteed source of security. Instead he turned to the advice of Jesus and sold his inheritance and gave the proceeds to those in need. One such recipient was a poor widower with three unmarried daughters. With no money, he could not afford dowries nor could he afford to look after them. The remaining option was slavery. Nicholas came under cover of dark and threw three bags of money through the window of their house, and saved the family from destitution. 

Some 1700 years later and people still find themselves trapped in poverty and needing to count on the generosity of others. This time of year many charities that provide relief look to us for funds.  

A gift secretly given, needing no receipt.

A gift freely bestowed -no strings attached

A gift that meets your needs, no questions asked, 

nor application forms to fill

A gift to free your children from poverty

A gift to restore – not diminish – your pride

A gift you do not have to earn.

St Nicholas’s gift.

Day 6: Some signs assert ownership 

This picture was taken in Canton Graubunden in Switzerland. In the local language of Romansch the word ‘god’ means wood or forest. This sign points to a parking place in the wood.

But sometimes it is when we are not looking for God, that God finds us – and God may be found in unexpected places.

“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away? Jeremiah 23:23

If I were to climb up to the highest heavens, you would be there. If I were to dig down to the world of the dead you would also be there. Psalm 139:8

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1

Day 5: Watch out! Bend ahead!

Not all paths are straight, and life is nor always straight forward. Sometimes a change in direction is what we need. 

Then the LORD said to me, You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward. Deuteronomy 2:2-3 

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:12

Day 4: I was here

I don’t know how long B Simpson spent here, but long enough – or often enough – to carve their name on a rock. In the stories of Genesis wherever the Israelites encountered God, they would set up a rock to mark the place: I was here; God was here. When we are following an unknown route, it can be reassuring to know that someone else has been that way before . 

… hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place. Jesus has gone there ahead of us… Hebrew 6:19-20a

Midday Prayer for Creation 

3rd December 2021

The Lord God took and placed the human in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded Adam, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden;  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’ Genesis 2: 15-17


O my soul, bless God!

God, my God, how great you are!

beautifully, gloriously robed,

Dressed up in sunshine,

and all heaven stretched out for your tent.

You built your palace on the ocean deeps,

made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings.

You commandeered winds as messengers,

appointed fire and flame as ambassadors.

You set earth on a firm foundation

so that nothing can shake it, ever.

You blanketed earth with ocean,

covered the mountains with deep waters;

Then you roared and the water ran away—

your thunder crash put it to flight.

Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out

in the places you assigned them.

You set boundaries between earth and sea;

never again will earth be flooded.

You started the springs and rivers,

sent them flowing among the hills.

All the wild animals now drink their fill,

wild donkeys quench their thirst.

Along the riverbanks the birds build nests,

ravens make their voices heard.

You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns;

earth is supplied with plenty of water.

You make grass grow for the livestock,

hay for the animals that plow the ground.

Oh yes, God brings grain from the land,

wine to make people happy,

Their faces glowing with health,

a people well-fed and hearty.

God’s trees are well-watered—

the Lebanon cedars he planted.

Birds build their nests in those trees;

look—the stork at home in the treetop.

Mountain goats climb about the cliffs;

badgers burrow among the rocks.

The moon keeps track of the seasons,

the sun is in charge of each day.

When it’s dark and night takes over,

all the forest creatures come out.

The young lions roar for their prey,

clamouring to God for their supper.

When the sun comes up, they vanish,

lazily stretched out in their dens.

Meanwhile, men and women go out to work,

busy at their jobs until evening.

What a wildly wonderful world, God!

You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,

made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.

Psalm 104:1-24 from The Message 


Lord God, where did we go astray?

How have we managed to destroy so many habitats, kill off so many species, 

poison the air we breathe and the waters we drink?

How is it that we even endanger the lives of our fellow human beings?

Why have we ignored the warning signs that our greed was costing the earth?


Lord God, have mercy on us.

Grant us time to repent and repair.

Open our eyes and ears to receive your wisdom.

Speed our hearts and minds to do your will, to restore justice and harmony.

Empower our hands and feet to revitalise our care for the earth.

Renew our commitment to care for all you give us.

Amen


Pause for reflection 


May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

And the love of God 

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore.

Amen. 

Day 3: Spot the jam sandwich

If you have been walking in the mountains in Switzerland, you will know to look out for jam sandwiches. These stripes painted on to rocks mark the mountain paths in between the sign posts. They are your confirmation that you are indeed still on the right path.

And whether you turn to the right or turn to the left, your ears will hear a message behind you: “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 

Isaiah 52:7

Day 2: a positive sign

Circular blue traffic signs in the UK give positive directions. This blue cycle signs instructs users that this route is for cyclists. If you are a cyclist it confirms your right to cycle along the path. 

Positive signs are always an encouragement. God knows we need affirmation and encouragement as we journey through life.

 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight” Isaiah 42: 1a 

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11