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Monday, 24 April 2017

"Child... I Will Not Forget You."

I take a few deep breaths and let myself feel my weight on the chair.  I try to keep my breathing regular as I type, which is more difficult that I might  have imagined!  I let myself become present to the moment, making space for sacred intentionality.

"I ask for the grace to pray and meditate on behalf of my community of faith.  I pray for all the young new families that were in church with us yesterday.  I pray that they find what they are seeking with a hope that they might find that with us, but if not, that they find it wherever it is.  I pray for Wendy, Gwen, Helena, Dianna, Irene, Iain, George, Kim, David, Thomas, Chloe, Jo-Ann, Beth, Pat, Betty, and so many more.  I ask for patience, tolerance, empathy, compassion and gentleness.  I ask that we abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, arrogance and self-interest.  May we know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness and walking humbly."

Isaiah 49:14-16
14 But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me,
   my Lord has forgotten me.’
15 Can a woman forget her nursing-child,
   or show no compassion for the child of her womb?
Even these may forget,
   yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;
   your walls are continually before me.

1)  "...nursing-child," "...the child of her womb;" "...I will not forget you;" "...I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;" "...I will not forget you;"

2) Funny that I should be giving thanks for all the infants in church yesterday and come to this passage about a woman and her nursing-child.  I remember my first pastoral charge where the pianist would go back in the pews during the sermon to nurse her baby while I preached.  For that child, at least, message time was a time of nourishment, comfort, and intimacy.  I wonder if we are still creating that kind of safe, comforting, affirming space during worship?  Was it Ignatius or Augustine who used the metaphor of suckling at the breast of God for prayer?  I am also aware, once again, how felt experience is so often the opposite of what is promised and proclaimed in Scripture.  We can feel forsaken and forgotten, but God asserts, "Even if these may forget, yet I will not forget you.  See, I have inscribed you in the palms of my hands."

3) What is the invitation in all this?  To receive the nourishment offered.

"Holy One, may you be inscribed on our hands as we pray and serve."

Breathprayer: "Child... I will not forget you."

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