The Annunciation Trust

to help you discover the God you already know

Year: 2020

Wisdom for our times?

This morning, during my time of prayer, I was listening to my friend Paul reading chapters 18 and 19 of John’s Gospel. Listening to the story being read is a different experience from reading it, and thoughts occurred to me that were new to me. I heard that after Jesus’ death Joseph of Arimathea and a secret disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate for permission to remove Jesus’ body and was obviously given permission to do so, for he with Nicodemus, a Pharisee who had visited Jesus by night earlier in John’s story, took Jesus’ body and laid it in a new tomb at considerable cost and no doubt some risk to themselves.

I found myself asking  “What would have happened if they hadn’t?”  Jesus’ Galilean family and friends would not have had the necessary access to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body, and would have had nowhere to lay it if they had. They could hardly have carried it all the way back to Galilee for burial. Presumably the body would have been dumped in a common grave reserved for criminals and the poor.  The potential symbolism of such an action is not lost on me. But that isn’t what happened.  For Jesus had some powerful friends and supporters in Jerusalem who did have access to Pilate and could make a burial place available. 

But then I asked “Why did these powerful friends and supporters not intervene earlier and seek to prevent Jesus’ crucifixion?”  We cant answer that question, of course. Maybe they did and failed. Maybe they didn’t try. Or maybe they knew that they wouldn’t be successful and accepted their helplessness. But rather than sinking into despair, they decided to focus on doing what they could do rather than on what they couldn’t, and so they gave Jesus a decent burial.  And that is what they have been known and honoured for ever since.

Which takes me to a prayer which might have been theirs, and could certainly be ours in these times:

God, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The Courage to change the things I can

And the Wisdom to know the difference.  Amen.

Prayer in a time of plague (2)

Last week’s morning guided prayer attracted about 30 people. I am going to continue to lead 30 minutes of guided prayer every Wednesday morning while we are in coronavirus lockdown. You can find details of this and other opportunities for prayer here: https://mailchi.mp/7865c2b9704a/prayer-in-a-time-of-plague-4863233.

With my prayers,
Julian

Prayer for sleep

Here is my second offering of a recorded prayer. As I said in my last post, when I wake in the night, I wish there were some guided prayers I could listen to, to settle me, to connect me with God, to remind me that all is well and I am safe.

This is a prayer for when you lie down to sleep, when you wake in the night, or when you want to rest or have a nap in the day. This is designed to help you relax and find rest in God’s presence, such that you might drift off into sleep in a feeling of trust and letting go.

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Prayer in a time of plague

In this time of distancing, isolation, and quarantine, I am offering two opportunities for prayer.

Morning Prayer Zoom

I invite you to a free, weekly online time of meditative Christian prayer and reflection.

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Simple Prayer

Sister Wendy Beckett was a Roman Catholic contemplative who knew a great deal about art. You may have seen her on tv talking about it, or you may have read one of her many books on the subject. She also wrote about prayer, and there is a quotation that I attribute to her that has stayed with me.  “If God is love, and prayer is important, then it cant in principle be difficult.”   Certainly she was convinced that “prayer is simple.” 

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My Constant Companion

Some time ago I was sitting talking with a friend in my shed. I don’t recall the context, but I do remember very clearly something that he said. I have no memory of what prompted it. He said “ Sadness has been my constant companion throughout my life.”  It took me quite by surprise, and I have never forgotten it.

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