Weekly Meditations Online
13 May 2020
A few days ago, the nation celebrated VE Day and all week we have had the opportunity to listen to great stories from people who lived through the Second World War. These stories are inspiring and reveal the ability of humankind to live through intense periods of stress and trauma.
Today we live in a similar time, perhaps not as dramatic but nevertheless a time when many of us are feeling fearful and anxious. Like our grandparents we too face an enemy, but not the one of bombs and threat of invasion but a silent virus threatens our wellbeing and ability to flourish.
Learning to be resilient can take a lifetime and each layer of resilience we build enables us to live a full and nourished life. We can certainly learn from our grandparents and the elderly around us who have endured so much.
Over the last few weeks, we have looked at ways our body, mind and spirit have built in ways to help us in times of crisis or difficulty. When God created humankind, he knew how much we would have to encounter, and he has built coping mechanisms within us. Sometimes we will have to dig deep to find them, in prayer, discussing with a close friend, perhaps in a time of worship. But we know that deep within each one of us we have a resource for living, lovingly placed there by our creator. Just because he knows.
I hope you have been able to take something from the last few weeks that can help you to build resilience as God calls your name and His word says,
‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:20-21'
He has placed treasure for us to discover deep within us. As we live through Lockdown, I pray that you will come through stronger and more resilient. Our grandparent and parents did and with God's help so can we!
I am hosting a series of free online conversations to help people cope with stress of Lockdown. If you feel this would be useful contact me on 07879698920.
27 April 2020
Being At Home!
During this period we are learning so much about ourselves. I can hear some of you say, there are some things I didn't want to know about myself! We experience mixed emotions and for some this lockdown period has been a blessing of space and time, others have felt lonely and isolated and some will feel anxious or sometimes angry. I'm sure if we are honest with ourselves we have all had mixed emotions.
Being kind to ourselves and accepting how we are feeling right now is helpful, and taking a moment to explore those feelings and discovering new ways to cope is important. Many find it helpful to talk to someone she trusts, someone who will listen and give much treasured ‘space'. Giving ‘space' to hear someone is such a valuable gift. (Sometimes though we may want to seek specialist help. See footnote*)
We also have treasures around our home that ‘speak' to us. Speak of the past, of loved ones and some which bring us closer to our sense of spirituality. It may be a favourite painting that transports us to a time and place we wish to remember. Maybe it's a recipe that brings poignant memoirs of a family gathering. It might be a pair walking boots that take us back to a special place. It may be a journal where treasured thoughts and prayers are captured, journaling is especially healing for now, perhaps more of that in another meditation/ reflection. Each one of these things is a gift.
GIVING THANKS FOR HOME
Perhaps as we spend another week at home with limited contact we can look around us and give prayerful thanks for the special gifts that we have been given in our home space. Many of us are reaching out right now to others to talk and check in with how we are feeling and what we are doing. Some of us need to talk and that's ok but perhaps if we feel able, this week we can be a ‘gift to someone' as we take extra care to ‘listen'.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly and sisterly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8
Footnote* please speak to your GP if you are feeling very low.
22 April 2020
I hope the last few weeks have offered some tools for a short, easily accessible meditation. By doing a body scan and asking yourself how you are feeling you have been able to draw on the calming influence of the Holy Spirit to bring you peace.
This week I thought we might try a slightly different focus.
Before us is a future all unknown, a path untrod;
Beside us a friend well loved and known- that friend is God. (author unknown)
Most of us are separated from families and loved ones and some of us are living alone. This is very unusual for us as even if we do live alone we are used to being out and about during the day.
Do you feel lonely?
What can you do to feel less alone?
Do you have a faithful friend you can reach out to?
‘Remain in me and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine. In the same way you must remain with me.' John 15:4
We are used to being with people, for our own mental health we need to feel connected. Hopefully you will feel connected to friends and family but now that connection is different, it's on the telephone or via social media, or perhaps seeing someone but having to maintain a distance. Life has temporarily changed.
David Reisman wrote in The Lonely Cloud that in ordinary life (non-pandemic) we connect with more people in a week than people in the Middle Ages knew in a lifetime! How times have changed! Our minds are wired so differently to our ancestors who accepted solitude and fewer people around them because it was an accepted way of life. We have been forced to isolate and for many of us it's a very difficult feeling.
Now is a time we need to reach out and hear God's voice more than ever. His son Jesus is constantly communicating with us, but how will we hear? Perhaps now more than at any other time we can stop and listen. In everyday tasks we may have the benefit of taking more time, for example;
While we get dressed, brushing our teeth, cooking or cleaning. Perhaps we can extend these activities by building in extra time to slow down and stop for a moment and wait and listen before we rush on to the next thing.
We may hear the beauty of God in the birdsong, we may smell the beauty of God in a favourite food, or out on a daily exercise walk. We may taste God's goodness in something we enjoy eating, we may feel God's soft caress in something we love to wear (take it out and put it on!). Perhaps as we look around the place we live we can take notice of the things that give us ‘a sense of being at home'.
(I led a house group a few years ago and asked people to bring something with them from home that was special and invited them to say why. It was a joyful time of giving thanks for our homes!)
So today using each of our senses we can explore all the ways we are cared for and looked after. We can remind ourselves that Jesus is near, his goodness is with us, we just need to stop for a while and now we can, this time can be a gift for us.
Perhaps you will re visit the meditations of the last few weeks and as you relax listen out for the voice of your Heavenly Father; what words of love has he offered you in caring for you and those who love?
We are connected with a wonderful friend in Jesus. He told his disciples he will always be beside them and we know that promise is for us too, we see it all around us. John 15:4.
You and I are very much a part of the vine, nothing can separate us from the love of God.
My prayer is that this pandemic will be over and people will be healed in body, mind and spirit and we will feel closer to our God.
Meanwhile I pray you stay safe and know that God is constantly communicating with us, every moment of the day and night.
15 April 2020
Let's check in with ourselves, how are we feeling? These are challenging times right now and we each feel it in different ways.
We can use our body to determine our mood. When we feel happy, excited, worried stressed or peaceful, where do we feel it most and how?
We feel mostly in our torso, however for some it focuses on the forehead or the neck and shoulder area. Have you ever felt your legs wobble if you are nervous, or tension in your neck when you worry?
As we learn to recognise how we are feeling and where we feel it most we can ‘open' this part of ourselves to the Holy Spirit and prayerfully ask her to breathe over us and bring healing and calm.
Take a seat somewhere comfortable and allow your body to settle. And then ask yourself ‘How am I feeling right now?' Take a few moments to think about what you have read above.
Then prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to come and breathe over you, imagine yourself in a gentle breeze, perhaps you are sitting outside or near an open window. Can you see the curtains flutter or feel a breeze on your face. Call again, ‘Come Holy Spirit ,breathe over me, and breathe away my tension.' Perhaps you might feel able to ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you and you can talk to her about your concerns.
We are not looking for physical signs we are just opening ourselves to receive what God has for us, so be expectant. Our prayer thoughts are very powerful. If this works for you then use it as a tool when you feel you need it most.
When you are ready let's give thanks to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for their love and care for us!
Resurrection by Dianne Minaar
2 April 2020
The world has changed, for now anyway, our freedom has been taken away temporarily and for good reason. It's easy to feel stressed or panicky so I hope you will find this time we have together now useful.
We have wonderful gifts in our body placed within us by a loving creator. Our body, mind and spirit are so carefully and thoughtfully made to work in synergy. Occasionally they fall out of step. Discovering how to tune into our bodies is the gift within!
Last week we focused on our hands and the wonder of so many small parts working together. This week we are going to turn our attention to our feet. No doubt your feet haven't walked the steps/ distance they usually take, these are unusual times.
So here we go:
You may be happy to do this meditation with bare feet, make sure you are warm enough to relax. You may like to stand up or prefer to be sitting down, wherever you are become aware of the soles of your feet.
Feel the floor under you.
Become aware of how your feet feel, which parts of your feet are touching the floor, are they warm or cool. Spend a few moments thinking about your feet and as you do become aware of your breathing.
Take a deep breath in, feel the breath filling your lungs. Breathe in and out gently imagining the air flowing in through your feet and up though into your lungs and though your body and out again.
If your attention wavers don't worry, just gently come back to feeling the floor below you as your feet continue to feel the ground under them.With your feet firmly on the floor, feel the places your toes are touching the floor. Feel the spaces between your toes as you wriggle and stretch your feet and breathe in and out gently allowing your body to feel the ‘easy flowing air' washing and refreshing you. Place you hand across your navel and feel your stomach move in and out as you breathe.
Feel your shoulders relax and the gentle rhythm of the air moving through your body. Take your time.
Whenever you feel your attention wander just gently bring focus back to your feet, to your breath.
Do this anytime if you feel fearful in the coming weeks. The beauty is it can be done anywhere, in your home or in the garden and if you have to stand a metre apart in a queue, this will calm you. Only you need know that you are doing this.
I pray it brings you calm and peace.
In morning prayer for passion-tide are a few verses from Isaiah 63. As we think about Holy Week and we make focus on our feet I offer you this:
Why are your robes all red Lord and your garments like theirs who tread the winepress?
‘I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the people's no one was with me'
25 March 2020
For our Meditations we are going to focus on ‘Gathering Light'. Early Spring is a beautiful time of the year here in South West England and everything is beginning to grow after the dark long months of winter and the Light is certainly here with us despite the restrictions! But now, just when we want to be out enjoying the spring, we find the world is a very different place. Life has changed dramatically overnight, and we have been forced to re order our lives, for now anyway. How can we use this time to draw closer to God and his son Jesus.
Perhaps we might want to start with our hands, our hands are usually busy doing all the things we usually do, but these are unusual times ...
Let's take a moment and sit somewhere comfortable with our feet firmly on the floor and take three big belly breaths in and out, feel your body taking in the air it needs and feel your shoulders relax, feel the tension fall away from your shoulders, take a moment to give thanks to God for clean air to breath and breathe in His beautiful Spirit.
Now look down at your hands, pay close attention to your hands. Are they laying in your lap? What have your hands done for you today?
Look at your hands, just one at a time. Become aware of the palm ... the back of the hand ... the fingers ... each different finger and its special function. Think about the way your hands have been made by a creator God who crafted this world with His hands.
Become aware of the length of each finger ... notice the spaces in between, notice the joints, the lines and notice your breath. Pause once again to feel your feet firmly on the floor.
We stop now to give thanks for our hands, for the way each finger works alongside its brothers and sisters.
Slowly move one of your fingers, stretching, bending the finger ... bring your finger and thumb together ... how does that feel? Become aware of the way your hand feels right now. Feel your shoulders relax and lower as you breathe naturally.
Stretch out your hands, rotate at the wrist...look at the way the fingers move in the direction of the rotation......just following the lead.
How will God speak to you through your hands.........as you rest your upturned hands in your lap, just think about what you are holding in your mind right now....does it feel heavy in your hands? Can you open your hands and can you give God what you hold?
What have your hands done ... what gift have your hands been to you? And to others? What work will your hands do for you today? What will they do for you in the weeks to come? What will they do for others? But for now they need to rest in your lap as you feel the Spirit of God filling your body as you breathe from your belly and you feel your shoulders drop and rest and let the tension disappear.
As we fold our hands gently, resting so softly together, we also remember that they are also strong and capable ... let's give God thanks for our two hands, that work together in synergy, what a gift. Thank you!
These Wednesday meditations will be published o this website or if would like to receive next week's direct, please send me an email.
Rev'd Deborah Perreau