A nickel for your harp

Ever heard of a Nyckelharpa? If you have perhaps you are Swedish, or you were at our super fundraising evening with the Swedish congregation last night. The Swedes share our premises as in they meet once a month in our Church, and have been doing for many years. They were more than happy to agree to host an evening for us in our Church hall.

swedishFor Fr35 per head, less for children, the happy guests got a three course meal of typical Swedish food, as well as live musical entertainment from members of their group. Even their vicar played the guitar and sang along – he is a cool vicar. Another guy was playing the Nyckelharpa, which apparently he had even made himself. The songs were all sung in Swedish, but a good number of the 60 to 70 guests could understand them. Some people had come along specifically because they were learning the Swedish language and wanted to hear more.

For the rest of us, we stuck to english, or maybe swiss german, with the odd Skål and tack thrown in for effect.

Our enormous thanks go to the people of the Swedish congregation who put on a great evening, and worked very hard, before and after, plus donated all the food. Tack så mycket , vi har haft det mycket. Plus in total we raised Chf 2688 for our appeal fun.

If you would like to hear the sound of a Nyckelharpa then check out this video from Griselda Sanderson on youtube, where she demonstrates first the principles of playing one and then plays it. It sounds great.

The conversion of Paul

The final reading in our series of 9 prayers.

Come Holy Spirit meet us at our crossroads

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Acts 9. 10-19

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias” he answered, “here i am Lord”. The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered; “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name”.  So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said; “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

Blazing God, your light is dangerous to us! You close our eyes so that we may open them afresh on a new world where grace and truth replace stones and hatred and we are dazzled by the bright love of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Philip and the Ethiopian

number 8 in our series of prayers.

Come Holy Spirit meet us at our crossroads.

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Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Now there was an Ethiopian come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home, seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The the Spirit said to Philip “Go over to this chariot and join it” So Philip ran up to it and asked; ” Do you understand what zou are reading?” He answered; “How can I, unless someone guides me?”  Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him.’

The Eunuch asked Philip; “About whom, may i ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”  Starting with this scripture Philip proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

Acts 8, 26-38 abridged.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

respond with prayer and action

Traveller God, you are also on the dusty road. Sometimes we find ourselves alongside those with questions, the excluded and sad, those seeking new life. Sometimes we ourselves are those people. Teach us not to delay a moment longer but to offer and receive the water of life and with it, new perspectives on the journey in the company of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Jesus and the child’s offering

Look and be curious – number 7 of our prayer series

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Come Holy Spirit meet us at our crossroads.

Read the text with an open mind

Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him. Jesus said to Philip. “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “make the people sit down”. Now there was a great deal of grass in the place, so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.

John 6.3, 5-13

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

Providing God, help us ot recognise what children and young people are bringing to your Church so that the hungry may be fed. May we lose nothing of their openness and engagement and may we too discover a childlike joy sharing your gifts with all who are in need and blessing them in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Jesus in the temple

number 6 in our 9 prayer series

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from Luke 2. 41-52

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a days journey. They they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”

He said to them “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Fathers house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years and in divine and human favour.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

God who dwells in temple and heart, when we are rushing around anxiously without you, when we forget to seek you in the obvious place, still us; sit us down in your presence, amaze us with your wisdom and show us where our true focus should really be – on Jesus Christ your son, our Lord. Amen

 

 

 

The visitation of Mary

Tuesday, day 5 of our 9 day prayer series

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from Luke 1. 28-31,34-35,37-38

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The Angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now you will concieve in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you; threfore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. For nothing will be impossible with God.”  Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

As Gabriel visited Mary, you visit us with news that we carry the life of your son within us.As you have sent him through the Holy Spirit, may we, like Mary, birth and welcome him into  the many homes from which we come. May it be as you have said, so that he can be known to our world as Jesus Christ, child of Mary, child of God. Amen

 

The Valley of Dry Bones

Monday 9th May, day 4 of our 9 days of prayer series

Wait with prayerful expectation – Come Holy Spirit, meet us at our crossroads

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From Ezekiel 37:1-6,10

The hand of the Lord came down upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them, there were many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “Oh Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them: Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath into you, and you shall live: and you shall know that I am the LORD.

I prophesised as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Listen for a word with a willing heart.

Respond with prayer and action

O breath of God, life giving spirit, when all seems lost, when all the bones are dry, grant us the vision and the courage to speak your words so that those who have lost life might find it once more; and if we ourselves have come apart, reconfigure us and stand us on our feet in the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord, your broken and resurrected son. Amen

The Exiles – seeking refuge

8th May, Day 3 of our 9 days of prayer series.

Come Holy Spirit,  meet us at our crossroads

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These are the words of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the remaining elders among the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and live in them; plant Gardens and eat what they produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf. For surely I know the plans that I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Jeramiah 29 1, 4-7,11

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

God of the displaced, we give thanks that when we are insecure, you offer us security,

when we are abandoned, you come to find us. You invite us to embed ourselves in community, to discover that you, already among us, enable the flourishing of all that is good. We pray in the name of Jeshua of Bethlehem, of Egypt, of Nazareth, of ……..

enter names of other places like Syria, Calais, etc

Amen

Ruth and Boaz

7th May, Day 2 of our 9 days of prayer series.

Holy Spirit,  meet us at our crossroads

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And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favour.” So she went. Ruth came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz. Just then Boaz came from Bethlehem. He said to the reapers. “The Lord be with you.” They answered, “The Lord bless you.” Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “to whom does this young woman belong?”  The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab.”

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

Then she fell prostate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favour in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?”

Ruth 2, 2-10, abridged.

Listen for a word with a willing heart

Respond with prayer and action

God of all the worlds open space, you know how hard it is for us, to make room for one another, to offer a place of safety to the stranger in our midst.

As Boaz blessed the life of Ruth and Naomi, bringing them respect and hope and home, bless us, and keep us under your wings of refuge for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ, who had no place to lay his head. Amen.

Jacob wrestling

Friday 6 May, day 1 of our 9 days of prayer

Look at the image, meditate a while before scrolling down.

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Come Holy Spirit, meet us at our crossroads.

Read the text with an open mind:

The same night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he stuck him on the hip socket, and Jacobs hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “let me go, for the day is breaking”. But Jacob said, ” I will not let you go, unless you bless me”. So he said to him, “what is your name?” And he said “Jacob”. Then the man said ” you shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name”. But he said, ” Why is it that you ask my name?” and then he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying,”For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved”

The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of the hip.

(genesis 32.22-31)

Listen for a word with a willing heart.

Our closing Prayer:

God of many names, you offer us the pain and struggle of a re-naming too.

As you show us our true identities, teach us to persevere with the darkness

and so to prevail as the sun rises.

Bless us, even as we limp onwards,

changed by our encounter with Jesus Christ, the living Lord.

Amen