The Peace of Wild Things
Let us have 10 minutes of silent prayer now (you can click on the link below if you want a 10 minute timer with a gong at the beginning and three gongs at the end)
Read the following passage slowly, twice or three times. Listen for a word or phrase that stands out for you.
John 14:16, 18-20, 25-27
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. You know this Spirit, who lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. ...
All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Take 10 minutes for quiet reflection on this scripture passage, inviting the Counsellor to breathe life into any words or phrases that have stood out for you.
As we listen to the following song, composed and sung by Susan Jean Latimer, feel free to join in if you would like to. The lyrics are from Julian of Norwich:
All shall be well, all shall be well,
All manner of things, everything,
All shall be well.
Read the following poem by Wendell Berry through slowly - what does it evoke in you?
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
As you reflect on this poem, spend some time listening to the birdsong outside, or looking at a flower, tree or some other part of nature. You could spend about 5 minutes doing this (but please feel free to take more time over this if you feel drawn to).
When you are ready, read the following passage slowly, twice or three times. Again listen for a word or phrase that stands out for you.
Matthew 6:25-34 (I have included the Message version of the last verse)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (NIV)
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (MSG)
When you are ready, spend some time reflecting on the following questions:
Questions for reflection:
What fears have I been carrying in my mind?
What is the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, saying to me through the scripture passages, silences and nature this morning?
How can I give more attention to what God is doing right now, in this moment?
As an ending prayer, hear Jesus speaking to you through John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
To conclude this time of prayer you can listen to one or both of the following songs:
The opening song used in the guided prayer time is composed and sun by Brie Stoner, from the link: https://vimeo.com/81819819