Monday, 23 January 2017
"Lent Group, St. Illtyd's Church, part 1 of "Praying through Lent" course and talking about the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.") Spoke for about twenty minutes...One interesting by-product (of the talk) was when Ivernia shared her faith story (in response to something I had said):
When she was younger she used to send her children to church and Sunday School but never went herself. Instead she used the time to do her washing and cleaning. Living close to the church (several doors up) she could hear the bell ringing every Sunday and Wednesday morning calling people to worship. As she listened the the bell tolling she heard her name being called in the toll of the bell. She angrily told god that she was too busy and wasn't going to answer the bell and go to church. But the bell kept ringing until finally gave in and came one Sunday with a friend of hers who offered to go with her. As soon as she decided to come the bell stopped calling her name and until she passed away a few years ago, she would come without fail to St. Illtyd's every Sunday and Wednesday, to every Bible study, Lent group and prayer meeting.
The story reminds me of the hymn:
"Jesus calls us o'er the tumult
of this world's tempestuous sea."
After Ivernia's story I was able to share with the group that God is always calling us, to know Him, to pray, to meet with Him, so He can bless us, share His love and His heart with us. He calls us in all kinds of ways, through the tolling of a bell, the words of a friend, the message of a sermon, the birth of a child or the tragedy of loss.
The following is a poem is written by the wife of G.K.Chesterton whom I have discovered was a poet in her own right. As well as the one below Frances also wrote the carol "How far is it to Bethlehem?" which is one of my favourites.
The following is an Epiphany Carol which tells of the arrival of the wise men and the gifts they bring. The 'little door' is not so much a reference to the house where Jesus was staying (Matthew 2:11) but as the the way to come near to meet Jesus, which is humbly.
Here is the little door, lift up the latch, oh lift!
We need not wander more but enter with our gift;
Our gift of finest gold,
Gold that was never bought nor sold;
Myrrh to be strewn about his bed;
Incense in clouds about his head;
All for the Child who stirs not in his sleep.
But holy slumber holds with ass and sheep.
Bend low about his bed, for each he has a gift;
See how his eyes awake, lift up your hands, O lift!
For gold, he gives a keen-edged sword
(Defend with it Thy little Lord!),
For incense, smoke of battle red.
Myrrh for the honoured happy dead;
Gifts for his children terrible and sweet,
Touched by such tiny hands and
Oh such tiny feet.