Daily Reflections Tuesday 11 May 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image shows a photo of cirrus clouds - a front is coming. “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’, and in the morning, “Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times”. Matthew 16:2-3 Jesus criticises the Pharisees and Sadducees for their lack of understanding, because this is important. Let us pray that we will at least recognise how important it is. And let us look forward to eternity with happy anticipation. --- Monday 10 May 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows a dismantled model railway awaiting to be rebuilt A few years ago we moved; a much loved model railway had to be dismantled with consequent chaos and much further labour rebuilding it differently in its new abode. We have all had to face major change during this pandemic and there has been much pain involved in managing its effects and implications. Many people long to reverse all those changes, to “go back to normal”. The late Brother Roger of Taize reminds us that change is fundamental: “For Christians, life is all beginnings. They stand at the genesis of situations; they are men or women of dawnings, of perpetual discoveries. They keep on waiting when there seems nothing to wait for....God never closes the way ahead. God is always offering new ones, even if they are sometimes narrow”. Are we open to those possibilities? Can we see beyond our fear of change, beyond the chaos and the pain, and find God at work within it? --- Saturday 8 May 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Today the Church remembers Julian of Norwich, 14th century anchorite and a remarkably gifted spiritual companion and writer. “I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comfortable for us; He is our clothing that for love wrappeth us, claspeth us and all encloseth us for tender love, that He may never leave us; being to us all-thing what is good”. Revelations of Divine LoveJulian lived through the horrors of the Black Death at a time of great instability. Her cell and her religious life were not an escape from reality, not a denial of the pain of the world, but an escape into it, an embrace of the love of God she discovered within and beyond it. The picture of the nativity reminds us that our faith is incarnational; Julian understood and experienced that. Do we? --- Friday 7 May 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy It is so easy to despair of the divisions and polarities, the anger and the abuse, the exploitation and injustices which we see reflected so vividly in the media and which can also be reflected in our own hearts and minds. It is worth remembering, however, that the experience of the disciples on the Emmaus road is one we can all share.... As we walk away defeated and disillusioned, Jesus meets us. As we sling insults at one another, Jesus stands alongside. As we tell our stories of bemusement and betrayal, Jesus listens. As we stand still gloomily, Jesus waits, ever patient and then breaks in walking with us, opening and explaining, accompanying, comprehending, unpacking until the moment comes in an ever familiar action when we realise that the one for whom we waited has been present all along.... (Paula Gooder) --- Thursday 6 May 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Sometimes in times of stress or crisis we can become so wrapped up in our own responses to uncertainty and change that we forget to look outwards. During the floods of recent years there were many examples of selfless and spontaneous generosity, just as there have been during this last year of the pandemic; we give thanks to God for their inspiration and pray that as restrictions lift further, we may play our part in ensuring that the vulnerable are cared for. Work your miracle of love in and through us, O God, so that your compassion may become a stream of blessing, flowing out of our lives into our communities, and into the places where healing, hope and peace are most needed. Angela Ashwin --- Wednesday 5 May 2021 | Revd Canon Chris Pullin The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10: 10 May I hear your voice, Lord, and follow you to pasture; When I’m lost, Lord, may I trust that you are looking for me; When I am parched, let me see the rivers by which you lead me. May I recognise the thief and bandit and keep far from them; May I turn from all that destroys and find fullness of life in you. What are the thieves and bandits in your life today, robbing you of blessing, leaving you starved or lost? Where do you hear the Good Shepherd calling you to a fuller life? Ask him to give you a fuller life in the events of today. --- Tuesday 4 May 2021 | Revd Canon Chris Pullin Holy Trinity church at Preston Wynne near Hereford has no path to it, let alone a track or road. It can only be reached by walking directly across fields, perhaps encountering cattle on the way. Lord, you call us to you, but we can’t always see how to get there; we want clarity, but don’t find it; we want simple directions, but have to work things out on our own; we want ease, but have to face difficulty; we want a path, but you give us a muddy cattle-filled field. Give us grace to set our eyes on you, our goal, and to walk towards you with determination. --- Monday 3 May 2021 | Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a cross, inspired by decorative elements of the Hereford Gospels, made by Eunice Bell in 2020. It is in the cathedral’s south transept. May my life have a still centre, space for air and transparency, and a varied and colourful circumference. May I draw things in but also reach out; May I embrace but also set boundaries. Living with poise and balance can be a challenge. Is that something I can focus on today? The cross in the picture is not perfectly centred, which is probably like us. But it does hold an approximate centre, and perhaps that’s the best any of us could hope for. Ask God to open your eyes to where you give out too much in life, but also to where you resist too much as well. Pray for poise and balance. --- Friday 30 April 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows seedlings forcing their way through the soil Have you seen the wonder year by year, earth's in - sowing secretly in - wrought seed flower fruit and seed again in - falls. have you seen the wonder day by day Christ in - sowing Christ through wheat and vine our fruit - bearing Christ to glorify the source. A sister of St Mary's Abbey --- Thursday 29 April 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge God’s glory clothes creation, and the Eastering Spirit is already transfiguring our mortality, though our angle of vision seldom allows us to see it ... In spite of the fearful precariousness of creation, God believes in the power of life which he has planted in us amid so much risk. The grain of wheat risks absolute loss and seems indeed to die in the dark cold earth, but it is charged with the energy of hidden new life, and its time of glory will come. So the kingdom of God is being built secretly, and with the everlasting patience of love. Maria Boulding --- Wednesday 28 April 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge No human eye was by To witness Christ arise But I, this morning heard The Resurrection of the Word. It sprang through night, opaque, A note so pure and clear, I felt my spirit wake It flooded everywhere. I know that it has been. There is a vision new I see the universe Divinely bathed in dew. Sister Mary Agnes --- Tuesday 27 April 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows the Old Bridge in Hereford from the banks of the River Wye in the cathedral gardens One World Butterflies and mountains, cities and seas, people - trees - animals - machines, they all come out of you in the end.Maker my Maker, you shaped it all including meto be one vast and delicate wholeeverything linked to everything elseenjoying everything else. And there you are hiding in it allwaiting and hoping to be found,like a game of hide and seekyou are secretly waitingoverflowing wherever things live and grow. Have mercy when we spoil the worldwhen we wear it out, damage it, use it wrongly help us, like you, to cherish the world to discover you in all the thousand places where you hide. Simon Bailey (Still with God) --- Monday 26 April | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Taken directly into the sun, this photo of Hay Bluff in morning mist is decidedly unclear. Where is the road leading? Is it good going underfoot? Is it safe? There are no guarantees. The future stretches before us, unclear as even a familiar landscape in mist. We do not know if we will find the going rough, or easy. But then we will reach our destination, and perhaps we do at least know that. "...the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal". Revelation 21:10-11. --- Sunday 25 April | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image: The Disciples Peter and John running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection.1898 by Eugene Burnand John, the younger man, apparently without a cloak, looks cold. Both look stressed, both are in a hurry. Why did Jesus appear to the women? Everyone knows their testimony is not admissible in court. We'll have to go and see for ourselves. Can it be true? People will ask that question today, but Christians do believe it. Don't we? "He is not here, he is risen"! Luke 24:6 --- Saturday 24 April | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image shows "The Resurrection", Part of the Altar piece from St.John's church Hamburg, by Master Francke (1385 - c1436) Full of practical details; here are the insensible guards, all but one, a discarded winding sheet, and Jesus clambering out, looking as if he could do with a helping hand from an angel. Maybe it wasn't quite like this..... The angels who sat and waited may have removed the stone, not to let Jesus out, but to let the witnesses in. Witnesses are still needed. Lord, give us a helping hand to witness to the truths we acknowledge; the "certain hope" that we shall inhabit eternity with you. Amen. --- Friday 23 April | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Outside our gate are two cherry trees. This is a recent picture of the blossom against a wonderfully blue sky. There has been frost and snow since, but, at the time of writing, the blossom is still there. Augustine of Hippo wrote, "We are Easter people. Alleluia is our song". Lord, help us to remember the resurrection as we see evidence of new life everywhere we look. Let us live always in Easter season. Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia. Amen --- Thursday 22 April | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows a baby smiling at the camera As life becomes more “normal” for those people whose activities have been limited during lockdown, is there an increasing danger of a return to the frenetic life styles which can so often prove destructive? Can we find a balance between the being and the doing? Can we avoid the temptation to judge people’s value by the extent of their busyness? Can we retain what is good in what we have learned of our capacity to be during the last year? Can we experience life more like a very young child? Be Still Do not have to look for anything, just look. You do not have to listen for specific sounds, just listen. You do not have to accomplish anything, just be. And in the looking, and the listening, no the being; find Me (Ann Lewin) --- Wednesday 21 April | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows a sculpture of the Celtic Cross This prayer is part of the Northumbrian Community’s Daily Office and, like the sturdy Celtic Cross outside the Abbey in Iona, is a wonderful reminder of the centrality of the risen Christ to our faith and in our lives. Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right. From Celtic Daily Prayer, Northumbrian Community --- Tuesday 20 April | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows a tin mine in the distance of a Cornish sea scape This scene of tranquil beauty disguises the noise and harshness of life in previous times as Cornish tin miners risked their lives in under the sea. Many of us experience a similar dissonance in our own lives or see it reflected in the lives of others. There is often, disguised and under the surface, much pain. O Christ, by your grace, make my hurts into places of your presence and transforming power. Let my pain become a flame that burns with your love, so that your healing energy may overflow into others who are wounded or without hope (Angela Ashwin) --- Monday 19 April | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows a close up of the western front of Bath Abbey As we continue to enjoy more freedom, I am reminded of the angels climbing the steps of Jacob’s ladder on the beautiful western front of Bath Abbey. Bishop Oliver found the Church in a much diminished state and ordered the rebuilding in the early 1500s. The angels have wings and do not need a ladder, but he was mindful of the powerful imagery of Jacob’s dream. This was to be a time of renewal, a symbol that this is a holy place, a reminder that the angels, God’s messengers, link heaven and earth. So let us give joyful thanks: for our gradual return to the health, freedom and relationships which we often took for granted, for all the angels, seen and unseen, who have enabled and supported us, for the God who loves us and for whose kingdom may “come on earth as it is in heaven”. --- Friday 9 April 2021 | Revd Canon Chris Pullin Photograph of a peacock butterfly on an anemone taken in his garden by Chris Pullin on 30-3-21 In my lawn some flowers grow each Spring, and butterflies return once more. It’s a bittersweet thing to see as Nature is so stressed, bird and insect populations are in serious decline, and we do little to reverse the process. Help me Lord to see the natural things around me as brothers and sisters in need of care and love and protection. Waken me from my blind stupidity so that your creation can find healing! Is there one thing I can do today to serve creation with love? --- Thursday 8 April 2021 | Revd Canon Chris Pullin Into the deadness of our world you come O Risen Lord, blazing forth with a living light we cannot grasp or own or keep, but which gives life to all it touches and draws all things to itself: turn me towards you that I may receive this gift and truly live. Is there some part of my life that I can open to the life-giving light of Christ today – a skill I have forgotten, a person I have neglected, an experiment I have delayed trying? --- Wednesday 7 April 2021 | Revd Canon Chris Pullin In Christian tradition Jesus ‘harrowed hell’ through his death and resurrection, leading out to new life Adam and Eve and all who had been imprisoned for long ages. This mosaic by Aidan Hart in St George’s Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas, depicts that event. In your resurrection, Lord, you draw us from the dark land of the chains and locks and keys and gates that imprison us; you open our tombs and raise us into a golden world. Take my hand and drag me from darkness into light that I may truly see and truly live. What imprisons you today? Can you offer your hand to Christ? --- Tuesday 6 April 2021 | Revd Canon Chris Pullin Photo by Chris Pullin of his house door on Easter Day 2020, when everyone was shut in and very anxious about life. Enter our homes, O Risen Lord, and appear among us as you did among your disciples. They were bewildered, and so often am I; they were fearful, and so too can I be; they were paralysed, and I know that feeling. Enter our lives, then, and breathe your peace into our hearts and your Spirit into our lives. Invite the Risen Lord to visit your home today; just pray for it and then relax and let the day unfold. --- Monday 5 April 2021 | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows golden yellow Easter lilies Lord Jesus, You spoke to Mary in the garden and gave her back her faith and hope in God. Help us to be prepared to wait long enough to seek you, to find you, and to recognise you; then draw us nearer to God and keep us with you every day as we come to know more fully the glory of the Father. Waking with Praise by Paul Isles --- Easter Day | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows the Easter garden of Hereford Cathedral God of the open gardenwe have found youand long to hold you fast.But you refuse our clinging need,eluding the lovethat would bind and possess you,sending us outbeyond the bounds of our feeble knowing.Rapt in our joy and desire,we cannot interpret you:you have gone from us again,moving into morning,moving into light.In your great love,wait for uswhere you have sent us,go ahead of us,be there to meet us,risen, released in your world. Easter Garden by Nicola Slee --- Saturday 3 April 2021 | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows the Easter garden of Hereford Cathedral God of the sealed tomb, we cannot bear to leave your dead and buried body. but you send us away to mark the long night of our mourning without you. You lie in death, alone. beyond the bounds of our feeble knowing. Numbed by our grief and sorrow, we cannot interpret you: you have gone far from us, down from darkness deep into death. In your great love wait for us where we grieve in the darkness, till we return to the grave to find you, risen, released in the night. Easter Garden by Nicola Slee --- Friday 2 April 2021 | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows a stone pathway leading off into the distance In her book 'Faith in the Fool' Angela Ashwin writes: “Jesus is the quintessential holy fool. From the start he could have captivated us with divine stunts, taking the world by force and charming us with his supernatural powers.” “He chose, instead, a path of vulnerability and rejection.” “In the end he walked determinedly to Jerusalem knowing full well that he would be killed. As Kallistos Ware remarks he acted in a way that most of his followers could only regard as wilful folly.” “Let us be fools for Christ's sake, In facing the truth, may we be set free from illusion. In accepting our wounds, may we be healed In embracing the outcast, may we be redeemed In discovering our child, may we grow to maturity In seeking true innocence may we no longer harm In yielding to dying, may abundant life flow into us In vulnerable risk, may we know love's pain and joy In the release of laughter, may we hear the chuckle of God In the folly of the Cross, may we find the Wisdom of God.” Jim Cotter --- Thursday 1 April 2021 | Bridget Swan Let it Pass Over, God, let this plague Pass Over us. Let it Pass Over every nation, every people, the young and the old. Let it Pass Over every city and every village, all across Your world. Let it Pass Over, heal those stricken in every hospital bed and in every home. Amen From a Jewish Passover prayer And the Psalm for Maundy Thursday I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1 --- Wednesday 31 March 2021 | Bridget Swan Image shows the sun rising against a very dark sky And God said, " Let there be light," Genesis 1:3 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John1:5 Saviour, let us see that your light comes into the world, even as we journey through darkness. Hold our hands until we see the dawn. Amen. --- Tuesday 30 March 2021 | Bridget Swan Image shows a meteorite in flight against a starry sky Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:2 Out of space, outside time, and out of nothing, 4.6 billion years ago, something near the moment of creation. A stray piece of material from long ago comes to rest on earth. Dear Lord, you created the universe from nothing, and out of nothing, you created us. Thank you for the miracle of creation. Amen --- Monday 29 March 2021 | Bridget Swan Image shows a meteorite against a dark background In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him, nothing was made that has been made. John 1;1-3 Recently, a meteor flashed over the West Midlands and exploded. The pieces were found in a Gloucestershire driveway. They were 4.6 billion years old, from the beginnings of the universe. And the Word of God, Jesus, was there when it was formed. We cannot grasp such enormous passages of time. Almighty Lord, thank you for occasional glimpses of eternity. Help us to raise our eyes out of the limits set by time, and to glimpse your power and glory. Amen --- Palm Sunday | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows a palm cross in front of greenery Many of us will be unable to wave palms or collect palm crosses this Sunday, but all of us can offer our open palms, the palms of our hands, as we join Christians throughout the world in giving praise. “Sing Hosanna, sing Hosanna, sing Hosanna to the King of Kings” So may our palms signify that we are open to: the gift of God’s love so freely given in the gift of our Lord, a recognition of the humility and vulnerability of that love seen in the donkey, the invitation to accompany our Lord through the pain and profundity of Holy Week, an awareness of our fragility and need for forgiveness, as our cries too can change from ‘hosannas to ‘crucify’. the grace to receive that forgiveness and reflect it to others. --- Saturday 27 March 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows light breaking over the water at Oban As the sun sets, the power of its light becomes even more apparent in the contrasts. As we approach Holy Week, so may we be even more fully aware of the power of God’s love to defeat all that would destroy it, whether in our world or in ourselves. A prayer written in the context of the oppression and evil of apartheid: Goodness is stronger than evil; Love is stronger than hate; Light is stronger than darkness; Life is stronger than death; Victory is ours through him who loves us. Desmond Tutu The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it John 1:5 --- Friday 26 March 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Yesterday we reflected on the courage of the Blessed Virgin Mary in accepting the call of God. Today we reflect on our response to God’s call to us.... Many a ship has sailed from port to port with no interference from Me, because strong will has been at the wheel. Multitudes of pleasure cruises go merrily on their ways, untouched by the power of My hand. But you have put your life into My keeping , and because you are depending on Me for guidance and direction, I shall give it. Move on steadily, and know that the waters that carry you are the waters of My love and My kindness, and I will keep you on the right course. Frances J. Roberts --- Thursday 25 March 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows The Annunciation by John William Waterhouse Mary said to the angel, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word”. Luke 1:38 Called to a destiny more momentous than any inall of time, she did not quail, only asked a simple, ‘How can this be?’ and gravely, courteously, took to heart the angel’s reply, the outstanding ministry she was offered .... This was the moment no-one speaks ofwhen she could still refuse. A breath unbreathed,Spirit, suspended,waiting. She did not cry, ‘I cannot, I am unworthy,’Nor, ‘I have not the strength’.She did not submit with gritted teethraging, coerced. Bravest of all humans,consent illumined her.The room filled with its light, the lily glowed in its iridescent raysConsent and a courage unparalleled. Denise Levertov --- Wednesday 24 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a persons hands gripping onto the bars of a cage. Lord, we have had the anniversary of our first lockdown. For some the lockdowns have been prisons of isolation and misery, for others more serene times for reflection and focus; each of us has faced these times differently and known different privations. In my own disappointments may I respect those of others; where they are similar, may I offer help from my experience; where they are different, may I learn new wisdom about what it is to be human. You, who took our flesh upon yourself, be with us all. What has most inspired you when seeing others cope? What has disappointed you about other people? Why? Image © Copyright 2021 IBTimes Co., Ltd. --- Tuesday 23 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin A reflection for the Anniversary of the First Lockdown Lit by small candles, the cathedral’s central corona is both a crown of glory and a crown of thorns Lord God, we look back in silence over a dark year of separation, sorrow and death. We hold in our hearts all those who have died, remembering the many who died without the support of those they loved. We pray for the bereaved, and those whose lives will never be the same. We lift up those who have lost home or work or financial security. We bring to you those whose mental health has been damaged or who suffer still with Long Covid. We pray for health workers and other carers who have borne so much, and we give thanks for the great advances in science and medicine that have caused light to dawn in the darkness. As we have worn the Crown of Thorns so bring us all at last to wear a Crown of Glory here or hereafter. Photo of Corona by Ash Mills --- Monday 22 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Photo taken by Clare Stevens of scaffolding and scaffolders seen through a window of the north nave aisle Our fragile selves don’t quite stand up unaided; our beauty is a work of many hidden hands; we are strong only in community and in communion; alone we fall into decay. Lord, help me to realise more my connectedness with others, their need of me and mine of them; help me to see better my need of you, and as the days of your Passion approach, your need of me. Is there someone from whom I’ve fallen out of touch? Can I be in touch with them this week, for their good and mine? --- Sunday 21 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a picture of Earth at the equinox, courtesy of NOAA Today is the Vernal Equinox, day and night in equal balance anticipating the long days of summer after the darkness of winter. In darkness and in light, in trouble and in joy, help us, O God, to trust your love, to seek your purpose and to praise your name. ‘Lent’ comes from the Old English word ‘lencten’ meaning Spring, and so should be a word full of hope and anticipation. What do you hope for today as warmth increases and days get longer? Prayer is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2000, 2005 --- Saturday 20 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows the figure of St Cuthbert, located on St Cuthberts Way Cuthbert of Lindisfarne Cuthbert was probably born in the Scottish lowlands around the year 640. At the age of eight a prophetic remark from a playmate turned his mind to sober and godly thoughts, and his upbringing as a shepherd gave him ample time for prayer. At this time of the year our thoughts and prayers must surely be with shepherds tending their sheep and new born lambs out in the hills of Herefordshire and Shropshire. --- Friday 19 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows a man holding a child on the beach Joseph of Nazareth “Husband, in faith, and that a-cold!Ah, welaway, Joseph, as thou art old.” “All old men, example take by me -How I am beguiled here you may see -To wed so young a child.” The Annunciation, Coventry Pageant As Brian Mountford puts in his book “Changing Faces” Joseph “Back in Nazareth amongst the homely date palms, pomegranates, and vineyards of that gentle land, he used to watch the child asleep in his cradle and wonder, wonder what he would have been like had he been his own.” How many men today, bringing up children not of their own flesh and blood would identify with Joseph’s thoughts? --- Thursday 18 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows a series of paper hearts with light shining through them Grant O Lord that your love may so fill our lives that we may count nothing too small to do for you. nothing too much to give and nothing too hard to bear. St Ignatius of Loyola (1491 - 1556) --- Wednesday 17 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows hands in prayer Patron Saint of Ireland, as Bishop, Patrick made this base at Armagh which became the centre of his See. He evangelised the people of the land by walking all over the island, gently bringing men and women to a knowledge of Christ facing fierce opposition and possible persecution. Giving thanks for the life and witness of St Patrick, we pray for all who are persecuted because of their faith throughout the world today. May we find strength in these words of Lancelot Andrews (1555-1626), words which resonate with the words of the hymn St Patrick's Breastplate. I bind unto myself this day the strong name of the Trinity. Lord, be within me to strengthen me, without me to preserve me, over me to shelter me, beneath me to support me before me to direct me, behind me to bring back, round about me to fortify. --- Tuesday 16 March 2021 | Bridget Swan Image shows a tree in snow Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white be white as snow. Isaiah 1:18 Dear, pure Lord, it is hard for us to believe we have been forgiven. Press this into our hearts... Not just that you love us, but that to you, we are worth it. Amen --- Monday 15 March 2021 | Bridget Swan Images shows Clematis tangutica "Freckles", climbing an Italian cypress You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas. I am strong when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up, to more than I can be. Loving Lord, although I know you reach down to me, you help me to climb higher. Not because I need to in order to reach you, but because I can. Thank you. Amen --- Sunday 14 March 2021 | Bridget Swan The extraordinary beauty of variegated ivy leaves. Let all things their creator bless, And worship him in humbleness. Lord, help us to see the beauty in all your creation, including the commonplace. Amen --- Saturday 13 March 2021 | Bridget Swan A Very Windy Corner - images shows a garden arch at a crazy angle This arch has feet of concrete, but the wind blows it over two or three times a year. God's power is revealed to Job after he complains that he has done nothing to deserve his troubles. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone?" Job 38:4-6 (chapters 38-41 for the whole speech) Almighty God, help us to remember you made the whole earth. You created storm and tempest, wind and rain, volcanoes and earthquakes. You have power to do anything. But so do we, through the power of your Spirit. Amen --- Friday 12 March 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.... Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not actually mean that I am doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always, though I may seem to be lost ... I will not fear, for you are ever with me , and will never leave me to face my perils alone. Thomas Merton --- Thursday 11 March 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows a stained glass window Here is Peter caught between his faith in his Lord that he can walk on water and his doubt that convinces him he cannot. The monastic life has been perceived as a vocation to hold the tension between such opposing forces on behalf of humanity. I think this concept is also applicable to the vocation of all Christians. Do you agree? We have to be candles, burning between hope and despair, faith and doubt, life and death, all the opposites. That is the disquieting place where people must always find us. And if our life means anything, if what we are goes beyond the monastery (church?) walls and does some good, it is that somehow, by being here, at peace, we help the world cope with what it can’t understand. (William Brodrick) --- Wednesday 10 March 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10 As the river shapes the landscape, so are we shaped by the living water of the Holy Spirit. We give thanks for the currents of grace and the waves of love which give us life and enable us to grow in love and faith. We pray for all those enduring the turmoil of troubled waters; those who feel they are drowning in waters too deep for survival; those stranded on the dry land of loneliness or absence of faith who are longing to be washed into the currents of life again. May all who suffer receive the loving support they need, may those who support them be granted strength and compassion, that through the vulnerability of helped and helper alike, we may all discover Christ’s gift of living water flowing deeply through our lives. --- Tuesday 9 March 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Here are the steep and uneven steps inviting us to leave behind the now familiar, secure but light-limited crypt of lockdown to discover the joys and sorrows, choices and risks, of a return to the greater space of the wider world. As this process begins, many of us will be apprehensive while others trip over and maybe tumble down in their enthusiasm to reach the top. We pray for wisdom, compassion and hope as we continue to seek God’s guidance through these times. Through darkness, in troubled times, let holiness be your aim. Seek wisdom. Let faithfulness burn like a flame... God hold you, enfold you, and keep you wrapped around His heart. May you be known by love. (Paul Field) --- Monday 8 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Teach me, good Lord, the virtue of simplicity in my daily life and habits. To pretend no more than I am; to desire no more than I need; to spend no more than I can afford; to consume no more than is just; that I may be complete yet lacking in nothing, after the example of my Saviour Jesus Christ, who for our sakes became poor that he might make many rich. Prayer by Massey H. Shepherd Jr Simplicity is a virtue we all need to embrace. How shall I do that today? --- Sunday 7 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a sea turtle eating plastic In ignorance at first, Lord, we began to pollute the planet; those days of ignorance are long past. Give me vision to see everything I do in the light of its consequences for all living things for the health of the earth for those coming after me. In every action and choice of my life may I be a bearer of healing and hope. The gospel (‘good news’) for the world today has to be about the salvation of a dying planet. How do I proclaim that in the words and actions of my daily life? --- Saturday 6 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows someone making bread Jesus said “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger” (John 6: 35) Lord, you said that the bread you gave was your life for the world. In a world hungry for good news, hungry for truth, or hungry for actual food, may my life feed others in every sense of that word; may I learn from you to make an offering of myself, my time and talents and substance, so that those I live among may not hunger because of what I withhold. In what ways today can I feed those around me? How can I give rather than take today? --- Friday 5 March 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a windsurfer on the open sea There are days, dear Lord, when my ability to remain upright seems precarious; days when difficulties and forces beyond my control seem overwhelming; days when I’m not sure that my wits and skills will see me through. Yet yours are the wind and the waves and the spray, and I am yours also, made to sport and strive in their midst. Give me courage and joy when the challenge exhilarates, and strength when it exhausts. What are the challenges I can say I enjoy? What are the challenges I have overcome in recent days? What is making life a challenge today? --- Thursday 4 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows a child holding an adults hand as they walk outside A torn jacket is soon mended: but hard words bruise the heart of a child. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882) --- Wednesday 3 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows new growth shooting upwards out of the roots of a tree Brother Ramon once wrote: "Creation is the dance, the rhythm, the harmony of God, and earth, sea and sky are caught up in the revelation of his love." Nicola Slee in her poem "Spring Trees at Pleshey" puts it like this: Look, long, then, here, at this budding of dead wood: and in our lives, however dry or gnarled the grain, he'll cause the flower of love to sprout again. --- Tuesday 2 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows a care giver holding hands with their patient. Chad was the first Bishop of our neighbour Diocese Lichfield. Chad who died on this day in the year 672, travelled extensively and became much loved for his wisdom and gentleness in otherwise difficult circumstances, plague being prevalent at the time. We have ourselves witnessed (and continue to witness) such wisdom and gentleness in so many wonderful people during the present pandemic. "Somehow. in the refugee camps. in hospitals and rescue centres, in the stress and desperation and emergencies of every kind, people manage to inject the practicalities with gentleness and kindness, patience and understanding. Knowing that every patient, every victim is unique. Is precious." Charlotte Gray --- Monday 1 March 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Saint David’s Day Image shows a host of daffodils growing in front of a woodland Saint David the Patron Saint of Wales was a monk and bishop in the 6th century whose feast day falls on the meteorological first day of Spring: the season of new life and hope, and daffodils! Shakespeare, in The Winter's Tale, wrote: "Daffodils That come before the swallows dare, and take The winds of March with beauty.” Saint David was highly regarded for his kindness and compassion to others - particularly the poor and sick; and so it seems appropriate that this is also a time when we remember the Marie Curie Daffodil appeal and give thanks for the care and compassion of the Marie Curie Nurses. Heavenly Father We give thanks for the life and witness of Saint David, For the Church in Wales, For her Mission and Ministry. For all whose vocation is in the caring professions. and pray for them. Amen --- Sunday 28 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image shows swiss chard growing in Bridget's garden The Lord is my shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing… Psalm 23, surely one of the most famous song lyrics in the world. It is about having enough. Here in this country we have no reason to be short. We can lie in green pastures and feast at the Lord’s table. Our problem is sharing. In the world, but also in this country, some of us go short, while others have plenty. Generous Lord, help us to give of our plenty so that all may have enough for the feast. Amen John Rutter originally wrote this anthem, a tender and lyrical pastoral version of Psalm 23, in 1976. It later became part of his setting of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, completed in 1985. --- Saturday 27 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image shows the crucifixion as depicted in the Thomas Traherne window This is a very challenging image, and we can be reminded of its real meaning, nearly every day, at the right time, when the rising sun shines through it. Risen Lord, help us to see what others cannot, to show others what we see, and to live by it. Amen --- Friday 26 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader A photograph of a cabinet filled with Bridget's china collection You know the T-shirt, “Santa, I can explain”? My explanation is, I have been collecting this china for 50 years, and I do use them. Jesus said, “Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” (Luke 9:3) We surround ourselves with “stuff”. It’s probably because we feel a little – lonely? insecure? But there is a problem when our possessions start to possess us. Dear Lord, help us to learn to live more simply, less hedged about with things rather than people. Guide us as we try, every day with your help, to tread more lightly on the face of the earth. Amen --- Thursday 25 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader An illustration of a person sleeping with their head on their arms against a black starry background 'I want to thank you Lord, for being with me so far this day. I haven’t been impatient, lost my temper, been grumpy, judgemental, or envious of anyone. But I will be getting out of bed in a minute, and I think I will really need your help then. Amen.' I recently came across this in Lauren Bacall’s autobiography. Apparently, Gregory Peck sent it to her! I had seen it before, but it still makes me laugh. Ruefully, perhaps. Dear Lord, help us to be conscious of your presence always, at all times of the day, and whatever we are doing. Help us to take our shortcomings seriously, even if we laugh at ourselves, and to use your strength to get better. Amen --- Wednesday 24 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy How easy it is to relate to the exhaustion of this pilgrim, shoes off to rest his sore feet, eyes closed to seek some inner peace, body relaxing in the warmth of the sun as he takes much needed rest after his long journey. We have been on a long journey too, a journey whose end is not yet in sight and we long for refreshment. Can we see ourselves as pilgrims? Pilgrims on a long journey through life, each journey unique in its gifts and challenges, each in the presence of the God who created and loves us, who sustains us and offers rest? Pilgrim God, you are our origin and our destination. Travel with us, we pray, in every pilgrimage of faith and every journey of the heart. Give us courage to set off, the nourishment we need to travel well and the welcome we long for at our journeys end. So may we grow in grace and love of you and in the service of others, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. (John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford) --- Tuesday 23 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows moored boats at the water's edge Boats in harbour safely moored; when will they next be able to sail? Boats tossed in strong seas; when will they return to harbour? It scares me, Lord, I’m frightened by the sea, it’s depth and width, it’s unseen currents, changing moods. Out of sight of land I feel so vulnerable and alone. Have patience with me, Lord, for I am ready to sail on through calm or squall or sudden beauty, not searching safe harbours nor land across the sea, but carrying a loving cargo, the riches of your presence. I begin to see with joyful clarity and greater wonder still, I do not journey TO but WITH You, Lord, are the sea, the storm, the stillness and the ship. Eddie Askew - Reflections --- Monday 22 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows an upturned boat that is being used as a shed on the island of Lindisfarne Here on Lindisfarne worn out boats are turned upside down to serve a completely different purpose. What aspects of your life have been turned upside down? Can the dislocation be transformed into something of real value? God of the upside down, rescue us from the despair of clinging to the past and help us to recognise in our up-turned lives the opportunity to grow ever closer to you, that we may reflect your transforming love. --- Sunday 21 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows the crucifixion as depicted in the Traherne window of the cathedral Many people struggling with the stress, grief, pain or loneliness of the present situation understandably find their faith challenged or deadened. Where is God? As the beautiful Traherne window reminds us, our Lord experienced pain, degradation, isolation and even a sense of the absence of God. Our risen Lord therefore understands and shares our suffering but, unlike us, is not overwhelmed by it. The hymn, God is Love, expresses this beautifully: And when human hearts are breaking Under sorrow’s iron rod, Then we find the self same aching, Deep within the heart of God.Compassionate God, you share our pain and feel our distress. Enfold us in your love, give us grace to hope and help us to reach out to you even when we are consumed with doubt or disbelief. --- Saturday 20 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Is this not this the fast I choose: to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58: 6—7 Lord, it’s easy to trivialise the fast of Lent so that it centres on sweets or booze or some other small pleasure we put aside for a few weeks. What does that change other than my waistline! Help me to fast in a meaningful way, with compassion for those in need and the mending of the environment that I might help change your world. --- Friday 19 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image is Christ in the Wilderness by Ivan Kramskoi, 1872 It’s not just Lent that makes me face myself; the present time makes me face myself: my fears and hopes, my temptations, my hungers, my sorrows -- all these surface in me when I am alone with myself in a wilderness. Yet I am not alone, dear Lord, because you are there already sitting somewhere nearby, knowing how I feel. May your presence strengthen me for all that lies ahead. Can we see and feel Christ as a companion when we are alone and tempted or lost? Remember that he has been there too, and remains there for you. --- Thursday 18 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a photo of a sparrow sitting on the ground with nest building materials in its beak ‘So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.’ – Matthew 10: 31 The birds begin to build their nests and to prepare for the new life that will come through laying, sitting, hatching and feeding; Determination, resourcefulness, faithfulness and patience are the gifts they bring. May it be so in my own life, Lord. May I work at the gifts that will carry me through long days and create new life for others. Good things don’t just happen by accident. The gifts we have need working at each day, and sometimes the best of what we do is achieved when we don’t feel like it. What should I work at today? --- Wednesday 17 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows an ash crucifix on a black background Ash Wednesday, and we are given a sign of our mortality as if we needed that this year. Ash Wednesday, and so much of life has been turned to ash. Ash Wednesday, and one day, soon or late, I will be dust and ashes. Turn me, O Lord, back to yourself, that I may know the dust and ashes of this day and of my life and self to be what you will raise to newness of life when the Day of Resurrection comes. Ash Wednesday is a day of hopeful repentance and joyful fasting. Where in life can I make a new start today? What might I be glad to be rid of? --- Tuesday 16 February 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Shrove Tuesday Image shows a photo of a mole emerging from a mole hill in a field of grass Joyce Huggett in her book ‘God’s Springtime’ opens with a reference to the Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s classic ‘Wind in the Willows’. Mole is busy spring-cleaning his little house and later revelling in the sunlight of springtime as he rolled in the warm grass of a great meadow. Shrove Tuesday offers us a time for a little spring-cleaning of our hearts and minds and a chance to reflect on how we may make our journey through Lent this year and be ready to greet the Risen Christ on Easter Day. 'What is spring'? asks the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins Growth in everythingFlesh and fleece, fur and featherGrass and greenworld all together. Nothing is so beautiful as spring. --- Monday 15 February 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows a red heart shaped balloon floating away into the sky Love releases us for takingOne more risk than we might dare.Glory breaks through dark and danger,Shows the Lord transfigured thereGod who planted our affections,Help your gifts to grow more freeKindle in us the fires of loving,Daring, dancing Trinity. Michael Hare-Duke --- Sunday 14 February 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows two hands forming the shape of a heart in front of a sunset Saint Valentines Day The Emperor Claudius (it is said) had ordered the execution of Bishop Valentine (there are several stories about the reason for this)! Whatever the truth may be, it is said that whilst Valentine was in prison he fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer. Through his love for her and his Christian faith he restored her sight and, just before he was led away for execution, he sent her a letter signed from your Valentine. And so the romantic legend began... Valentines Day must surely be this year a somewhat bitter sweet day: the pandemic has claimed the lives of so many of our loved ones and many, many thousands of loved ones are still being hospitalized. Could we ever have imagined being unable to meet our loved ones for such a long time - let alone be unable to give them a hug? But love does indeed conquer all things. The mystery of love is God’s greatest gift to us all and it is stronger even than death. “All is miracle because God is love” (words from a prayer card - from a Trappist Monastery) --- Saturday 13 February 2021 | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Image shows the view from the Custos Office window with the Tulip Tree in the Bishop’s garden to the left hand side. The Tulip Tree Does the poem sleepin the buds on the tulip tree,waiting to be touched into lifeby the springing of my words? Or is my heartbirthplace and hearthfirefrom which the spark risesto kindle the stirring leaves? Surely the poem is therefor the seeing; it needssoul - sight to wed with itand conceive a one - ness of truth. Then the whole tree will dance,singing shoots awake to the sun.Let us always be awareof the tree that burns, yet is green. Sister Michaela CSCl --- Friday 12 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image is a painting of Scarborough Harbour painted by Bridget Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar, When I put out to sea, But such a tide as moving seems asleep, Too full for sand and foam, When that which drew from out the boundless deep Turns again home. Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar. Tennyson expressing the Christian hope that death is not the final word. We will always miss the people we know who have set sail, like Tolkien's elves, into the West. Our sadness is the price we pay for loving them. But here is what Paul calls the "certain hope", that Jesus is waiting for us on the other side of death. Let us remember resurrection as well as death. --- Thursday 11 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image shows the leafy green shrub 'Christmas Box' The love of God Flowing free The love of God Flow out through me. The peace of God Flowing free The peace of God Flow out through me. The life of God Flowing free The life of God Flow out through me. David Adam One sprig of Christmas box scents the whole house. Jesus said we are meant to be leaven, and leaven everything. If you've been using the bread maker, you'll know how small an amount of yeast makes a whole loaf. Do we always affect people this way? To make them grow? Do we always leave a good feeling behind? --- Wednesday 10 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image shows Hellebores at Epiphany “A cold coming we had of it,Just the worst time of the yearFor a journey, and such a long journey:The ways deep and the weather sharp,The very dead of winter.” T.S.Eliot's 'The journey of the Magi' - read the full poem online at the Poetry Archive: poetryarchive.org/poem/journey-magi The old man looking back sees three trees silhouetted against the sky, and asks if what they saw was birth or death. They saw God revealed, as we do: in a manger, at baptism, by an old prophetess, at Easter. But not just at certain times, not even just at His table in bread and wine. But always and everywhere, revealed in creation. Have you felt very close to God at unexpected moments? --- Tuesday 9 February 2021 | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Image shows daffodil shoots pushing through the earth Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain, Wheat that in the dark earth many years hath lain; Love lives again, that with the dead has been; Love is come again, as wheat that springeth green. These are mini daffodils, not grain. But here they are, pushing up between my raspberry canes. All around us we see signs of new growth. Nature gives us new hope. Even when it's dull and rainy, the plants start to pop up. Even the quality of light changes in the Spring. Let us remember the things that give us hope and joy amidst the gloom. --- Monday 8 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Our present life can seem for some so limited and even meaningless. For others it is far too pressurised and demands can be overwhelming. The winter of those experiences can seem to be without value; but it need not be. What is going on underneath? How can we connect with God’s desire for us that we should grow? God of tunnelling roots, God of winter growth, beneath the surface and when light is less available, the trees and shrubs use their time to strengthen themselves. Reaching out and feeling forward, they connect more assuredly to their surroundings. May we use this time in a similar way, so the Spring that arrives finds us already in fuller bloom. A prayer from the Corrymeela Community. --- Sunday 7 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows the ruins of Tretower Castle Here at Tretower, the outer wall has been breached, leaving the central keep exposed. Life for many of us replicates that sense of destruction and exposure at the moment. Yet when barriers fall it may be possible to see what is behind them in a new light. What walls have been breached in your life during this past year? Can you offer to God the grief of your loss? Can you also recognise any new or life-giving insights arising from that pain? God of surprises, we bring to you our confusion and our grief for all that we have lost. We also bring to you in thanksgiving all that we have learned of your love and your life whilst our lives have been so disrupted and our assumptions and expectations shattered. In your compassion enfold in your love all whose resilience is low and all whose anxieties are high. Expand our vision, and give us grace to find new perspectives which reflect you love for us and enable us to grow in faith. --- Saturday 6 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image is a picture of Norwich Cathedral All shall be well...... Mother Julian of Norwich was a fourteenth century anchorite who lived through the terrors of the Black Death and the turmoil of the Peasants’ Revolt. She would have understood very well the challenges of personal and political insecurity and the fears arising from a pandemic. Her remarkable faith and writings enabled her to comfort, encourage and reach out to both rich and poor in her own day and to succeeding generations. Here is one of her prayers which may well help us today: In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss. In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. You are our mother, brother and Saviour. In you, our Lord, the Holy Spirit, is marvellous and plenteous grace. You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us. You are our maker, our lover, our keeper. Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. Amen --- Friday 5 February 2021 | Revd Janet Bellamy Image shows clusters of snowdrops with light shining on them Snowdrops, like us, flourish best in community with each other. Lockdown has caused so much anguish by separating us from the people we love and with the communities of which we are a part. Many are suffering from depression, anxiety or loneliness. Many others, however, have risen to the challenge of finding different ways to make connection and build a different sort of community. God of community, you know our hurting and our sense of isolation from each other. Be a presence in the emptiness, a voice in the silence and a light in the darkness to all those who feel cut off and isolated. Give strength and compassion to all those who seek to build new and safe forms of connection and community and help us to reach out, in the power of your love, to those in need. --- Thursday 4 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a carpenter working on the ornate wooden door which leads into the Cloisters Lord, I have passed through this door a thousand times and hardly taken it in. I pause today and see how complex and intricate it is, how brilliantly designed and skilfully constructed. As it’s repaired and conserved this week well-seasoned oak and Simon’s craftsmanship are making it good again. Lord! Restore me and make me whole once more by your skilled hands and through your chosen tools so I can be a door of blessing for others. The great door to the College Cloisters is nearly 550 years old. Its conservation now by craftsman Simon Bufton will help preserve it for centuries to come. --- Wednesday 3 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin The Gorges du Fier in the Haute-Savoie, France Water. Life-giving, softening, cooling, cleansing, yet scouring, cutting, eroding and penetrating too. As life-giving water can cut through rock so may the life-giving Spirit cleanse and shape me, wearing down my hardness and leaving me deeper than I was before. Are there areas of life today where your prayer might be for God’s Spirit to work within you and shape you? --- Tuesday 2 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows snowdrops pushing their way up through a blanket of snow My heart rejoices to see the snowdrops pushing through, resilient, flexible, waxy, white and green. As I lie buried beneath the frozen wilderness of these days may I have faith to know that however small and feeble I feel, if a snowdrop can push through ice and snow so can I. Lord, may it be so indeed! We can be discouraged so easily, and see our weakness and our failings instead of our strengths and triumphs. What can we celebrate today about our own resilience and growth? --- Monday 1 February 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a picture of a crusty loaf of bread sliced in half Lord Jesus, you are the bread of life. What a simple thing! As I look at my daily bread remind me that you are close, that you feed me in ordinary times, that without you I wouldn’t be properly nourished or have strength for the day’s journey. Sustain me today and every day, and may the bread I break be shared with others who hunger too. Psalm 104: 5 speaks of ‘bread which strengtheneth man’s heart’. What nourishes you in the present moment? What part does simple food play in your life each day? Can we see it as a gift of God for our well-being, as Jesus coming to feed us? --- Sunday 31 January 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image shows a picture of a person with their head in their hands looking tired in front of a laptop. It is a struggle, Lord, when I see more of my computer than of my friends. I am sapped by the effort of staying in touch with family with friends with work with life. I don’t find it easy feeling a connection with you. Unwind my tight-coiled soul and help me be relaxed in my isolation. Many of us are spending far longer than is good for us on computers and tablets and phones, lifelines for feeling connected, but also technology that tires and saps us. What is your experience? Can we let go a little of those things which can hurt as well as help us? --- Saturday 30 January 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Bible in Hereford Cathedral, Ash Mills Photography And what is your word to me this day, O Lord? Sometimes it seems faint to hear or dim to see, or I don’t know how to see or to listen well, or my idea of what it should be blinds me to what it is. So what is your word to me this day, O Lord? Open the eyes and ears of my heart that I may hear you speak. Is there a simple verse of scripture that might be a light for you today? You could simply reflect on these words of Micah’s: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6: 8) --- Friday 29 January 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin The Country Road, 1906, Harald Sohlberg From gloom to brightness, from the hard and dusty road to the glory of a golden horizon lead me, O Lord, this and every day. As I look to the distance with wonder fill me with gratitude for the ordinary blessings close at hand for they are my companions in the here and now. The distant hills radiate mystery, and the glowing sky promises warmth and comfort. But as we lower our eyes from that we begin to see richness and glory in the things close at hand; they too are filled with beauty and wonder. Is there something in the here and now of today that you can recognise as a beautiful blessing? --- Thursday 28 January 2021 | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Harald Sohlberg, Winter Night in the Mountains, 1914 Separated from so much that we love, the journey cold and endless, the loss bleak and relentless; Strengthen in us, O Lord, a sense that goodness lies ahead, that there is a homecoming one day to be enjoyed, that the frozen waste of this time is not empty of your blessing. This painting is a bleak waste of ice and snow, but as we look more carefully we see there is a house to be reached, hard to notice at first. What is the ‘house’ I am trying to see in the present moment? Low in the sky shines a bright star or planet. Is there anything shining low on your horizon that gives you hope? Pray that God will strengthen the sense of those things in you. --- Wednesday 27 January 2021 As the Covid-19 death toll in the United Kingdom passes 100,000 people, we hold in our thoughts and prayers each one of those souls beloved by God and by all to whom they have been precious in this life. Words cannot express the sense of loss felt by so many, and we pause in silence to reflect on the scale of grief and waste the pandemic has wrought. Be our light in the darkness, Lord, a rock on which to rest, a silence to enfold us, a gentle hand to hold us, a wordless arm around our shoulders, a friend with whom to weep. Be too our hope, Lord, that one day this night will end, that we will come again to light and freedom, set free from the prisons of our despair. The Revd Canon Chris Pullin --- Daily Lockdown Reflections 2020 Sunday 5 July | A member of our community “Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed: our love to others, and others love to us.”Thomas Traherne Lord, help us to enjoy your world and celebrate love,Help us identify those in our community who need to be shown love and kindness at this timeAnd allow us to recognise the love we are shown in our daily lives and be brave enough to show that love in return. --- Saturday 4 July | A member of our community “Natural things are glorious, and to know them is glorious.”Thomas Traherne Lord, help us to remember to pause and experience the natural world. Remind us to appreciate the ground beneath our feet and the skies above us. Let us see the beauty of nature each and every day. --- Friday 3 July | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them. David Hume --- Thursday 2 July | A member of our community Love thy neighbor as thyselfAs we have spent more time in our homes during lockdown, many of us have experienced a change in the relationship we share with our neighbours. Lord, as our lives slowly return to normal, help us to maintain new friendships with those in our community. Help us to be considerate to those around us who may be lonely and think of those who may need extra support. Help us to always remember the power of a friendly hello or smile in the street. --- Wednesday 1 July | Sarah Hollingdale You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32 7 Lord, thank you that you are our hiding place –Whether we’ve never spoken to you before,Or have known you for years,Thank you that you offer us refuge in these difficult times. --- Tuesday 30 June | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.Alexander Pope --- Monday 29 June | A member of our community "More company increases happiness, but does not lighten or diminish misery" - Thomas Traherne Dear Lord, over the coming weeks as restrictions begin to ease, Help us to remember that people may still be finding life difficult. As we enjoy being able to explore new places, Help us to consider those who remain confined to their homes. As we start to be able to socialise in our towns and cities, Help us to be understanding of those who may be scared or fearful of the ‘new normal’. And whilst we celebrate being able to see our loved ones again, Help us to think of those for whom that is not an option. --- Sunday 28 June | Revd Janet Bellamy A prayer from the Corrymeela Community God of holy relationship, God of distinct inclusion:with you and in you togetherness matters.Remind us that ours is not a life of living for ourselves.In being with and for each other,may we discover that how we relate to how we are different shows the essence of who we each are. --- Saturday 27 June | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader Maeshowe is a Neolithic tomb in Orkney. Every December, just after the winter solstice, the rising sun peeps round between two hills, enters the entrance and strikes the back wall for two weeks. Dear Lord, even in death, you are with us. Help us not to fear the darkness, and know that the light will come again. Psalm 23 --- Friday 26 June | Revd Janet Bellamy A prayer from the Corrymeela Community God of revelation, God of unveiling:the truths that many would pretend to discover are truths that others could never avoid.May this time be the time of conversationabout matters that lie underneath fears and prejudices,and beneath a wilful blindness.May your revealing of what has always been change us and what is to be,so that in acknowledging each other and the sins brought to lightwe might never find such cover again. --- Thursday 25 June | A member of our community "You are as prone to love as the sun is to shine" - Thomas Traherne Lord, today as the sun shines, help us to remember love in our thoughts, As temperatures rise, help us to retain kindness in our actions, And as we feel the intensity of the heat, help us to keep patience within our words --- Wednesday 24 June | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader .....I shall I fear be dark and cold,With all my fire and light;Yet when thou dost accept my gold, Lord, treasure up my mite. From the third verse of the hymn “How shall I sing that majesty” Like the widow who put only a tiny coin into the collecting box, and the Little Drummer Boy in the carol, we are often conscious of having very little to offer. But we need to be willing to offer it nevertheless, along with offering ourselves. Dear Lord, help me to understand that you don’t just accept my mite, but treasure it. And help me to know that you don’t just accept me, but treasure me, too. --- Tuesday 23 June | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader A picture from Bridget's garden Every time we plant a seed, we express a hope for the future. May we step out in faith that the future will be fruitful. Gardener God, use me, plant me, let me grow. And in bad times and good, may I bear fruit. --- Monday 22 June | Revd Janet Bellamy A prayer from J Philip Newell’s Celtic Benediction That you have placed a harmony of lights in the heavensthat night is followed by dayand the glowing of the moon by the glistening of the sunthanks be to you, O God.That you have placed a harmony of lights in my soulthat there is gentleness and firmness of strengthintuitive knowing and enlightened reasoningthanks be to you.Let me be so sure of your law of harmony in all thingsthat I seek it in my own depthsand in knowing it in my inner lifeyearn for it in the torn relationships of my worldman and womanblack and whitesun and moon in a harmony of movement. --- Sunday 21 June | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Today LordLet me light three candles in another lifeA candle of comfortA candle of hopeA candle of courage --- Saturday 20 June | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader As soon as the chip shop opened again we bought fish and chips each, and rushed off to eat it in a lay by! It was lovely. Lord, we pray for those who do not have enough to eat, both nearby and far away. And those of us that do, thank you for your providence. We thank you for our daily bread. Perhaps we also need to do something practical for those in need... --- Friday 19 June | Revd Janet Bellamy A prayer from the Corrymeela Community God of constant assurance, God who is forever new; a life of faith is not without risk. There is no telling what lies ahead when we choose to let go of what has been. But as we set off on this next adventure of finding our new and truer selves, remind us that it is in becoming that we remain the people you have created us to be. --- Thursday 18 June | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader I try to send pictures to my 92 year old mother because she can’t get out. This is a Rosa mundi from my garden. Lord, thank you for the beautiful things around us. Not everything in our lives is perfect. But help us to remember that when you looked at what you had made, it was good. Help us to remember to look when we have time, and to remember when we don’t. Wednesday 17 June | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge Prayer is an act of lovewords are not needed St Teresa of Avila --- Tuesday 16 June | Revd Janet Bellamy For the first showings of the morning light and the emerging outline of the day thanks be to you, O God. Show to me this day amidst life's dark streaks of wrong and suffering the light that endures in every person. Dispel the confusions that cling close to my soul that I may see with eyes washed by your grace, that I may see myself and all people with eyes cleansed by the freshness of the new day's light A prayer from J Philip Newell’s Celtic Benediction --- Monday 15 June | Bridget Swan, Cathedral Reader My granddaughter discovering that sitting up on your own can be tricky when you’re seven months old... Lord, help us to remember that even when things are new and tricky, we are always travelling along with you. We will learn the new things, and grow because of the changes. ... she doesn’t fall over when she sits anymore. Now she can crawl! --- Sunday 14 June | Revd Prebendary Ann Barge For each new day, pray for enough strength for that dayenough love for that dayenough hope for that dayenough peace for that day From Psalm 29: 11 Saturday 13 June | Revd Janet Bellamy In the beginning, O God,your Spirit swept over the chaotic deep like a wild windand creation was born.In the turbulence of my own lifeand the unsettled waters of the world todaylet there be new birthings of your Spirit.In the currents of my own heartand the upheavals of the world todaylet there be new birthings of your mighty Spirit. A prayer from J Philip Newell’s Celtic Benediction Friday 12 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Pelargoniums that overwinter each year in front of 2 The Close, and burst into colour when the days warm and lengthen Sheltered from the wind may I be, protected from frost by a warm house nearby, quickened by southern sun, and watered by gentle rain. O Lord! As these flowers survive each winter so may I survive the winters of life! What are the quiet blessings that enable you to get up each day and keep going? Give thanks for them. --- Thursday 11 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin We stand in the great ocean of your being and love, O God. Our life, our existence, our destiny, are in your hands. May we sense your providence and grace in sorrow and in happiness in pain and in pleasure in fear and in faith as your presence quietly surrounds us. Hard sometimes to sense God’s presence, yet without it everything would cease to exist. Can you accept that it is there in the hard times as well as the easy times? --- Wednesday 10 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Who shall I be today Lord, in what disguise shall I appear? Shall I be happy or sad, young or old, smart or scruffy? Help me to find myself in you, on the inside, and so be real, not living through outer costumes, and being false. We are all tempted to present ourselves in different ways, to cover what we think people won’t accept and to pretend to be what we think they will accept. Perhaps you can spot this in yourself. Pray to live out your true self, not your false self. --- Tuesday 9 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin St Columba who founded the monastery on the small island of Iona is remembered throughout the world on his feast day today. St Columba’s Bay, Iona, the traditional site of his first landing in AD 563 Salt sea and stony shingle, wind and wet and wild; these were Columba’s lot on the island he was given. Peace and blessing, prayer, learning and art; these were his planting and cultivation, whose colour and fragrance were known throughout the world. May we be as Columba, flourishing by God’s grace even if the soil we have is salt and stone. We may find ourselves given poor soil or hard ground in life, and feel it’s hard to do well. Perhaps that’s how you find things. Can we take encouragement from Columba’s willingness to accept what he was given, and by openness to God to find that he could blossom there? --- Monday 8 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Thomas Ken’s name, scratched by him as a schoolboy on a stone at Winchester College. Today we remember Bishop Thomas Ken. He was ejected from his bishopric in 1691 over a very public matter of conscience, and lived until 1711. His hymns are regularly sung today. Lord, I my vows to Thee renew; Disperse my sins as morning dew. Guard my first springs of thought and will, And with Thyself my spirit fill. Direct, control, suggest, this day, All I design, or do, or say, That all my powers, with all their might, In Thy sole glory may unite. Would I risk all my security and comfort over a matter of conscience? Who in my lifetime has made such a stand? --- Sunday 7 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Gates closed since March across the North Porch, Hereford Cathedral It has been hard to be locked out of your house, O Lord. The place of welcome and nourishment and peace has become a desert; where we look for bread we are offered a stone. May the day soon come when gates can be unlocked, doors opened, and people come to that house again; and what we have learned through being locked out -- may we bring that as a gift to lay on your altar. What most have you found a deprivation in being excluded from this cathedral, or from other holy places? Have you found new resources to help sustain you once the exclusion is ended? --- Saturday 6 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin 14th-century misericord on the north side of the Quire, Hereford Cathedral O Lord, there are days when the weight of the world seems to rest on my shoulders, and I’m tired before I get out of bed. I may not be responsible for everything, but it can feel as if I am. Things may not go so badly, but it’s hard to believe they won’t. When I feel like this remind me that you carry me, that the world and everything in it is yours, and so help me face the day leaving you to do the worrying. Sometimes we work ourselves up over matters about which we can do nothing, thinking ourselves more important than really we are in the big scheme of things. Can we pray to be released from this delusion, and to leave more problems in God’s hands? --- Friday 5 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Flowers in the Chapter House Garden, May 2019 For the triumphant liveliness of creation, the colour, the delicacy, the upsurge of life, we can wonder and be lost for words. For the inescapable decline of creation, the blight, the fading, the falling and rotting, we can wonder and be lost for words. Father of us all, in your hands lie both life and death; help us to accept them both with grace, and not to be dismayed at the present hour. Do we see death as defeat and not as inevitable culmination? Someone once said “There are worse things than death.” What might they be? --- Thursday 4 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin The road to Breinton, May 2020 When I feel tired, or lost or old I yearn to find my home at last,a place where I can know true rest,warmth, welcome and good happiness,and be myself, and rest content that all my troubles now are past;so call me this and every day to search with love, and onward roamin knowledge of your love for me, so that in you I find my home. Do you ever feel nostalgic for home, perhaps a happy home of the past or of childhood? Can you see that as a sign of yearning for God, and of wanting to find oneness with God? Perhaps such feelings point to the future, not the past. --- Wednesday 3 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin The River Wye by the quarries at Capler from which stone for the cathedral was floated upstream to the city. ‘The river of God is full of water’ Psalm 65 verse 9 You flow through my life like a river,watering, nourishing, cleansing;open my soul to the flow of your life,my fears and my failures transcending. What fears or anxieties are uppermost in your mind today? Can you be aware of God’s silent presence flowing through you to offer strength and confidence? --- Tuesday 2 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Medieval tithe barn, Bradford on Avon Be to me shade from the burning sun, coolness of stone beneath my feet and strength to overarch my life, O Lord, today and every day. Living through hot days and hard times we know our need of shelter and protection. Pray for a sense of God’s strength that you may feel secure and yet have space to breathe and grow each day. --- Monday 1 June | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth Painted panel (left hand panel) of the Visitation (by Harry Stammers) from the Lady Chapel altarpiece For the friends who welcome me, the people who share my experiences, who understand my hopes and fears, who don’t laugh at me or judge me, thanks be to you, O God! Today is the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth; you can read the story in Luke chapter 1, verses 39—56. Who are the friends or supporters I can give thanks for today? Who supports me in the current crisis, and who do I support? --- Pentecost | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Bernini’s window depicting the Holy Spirit in St Peter’s, Rome Spirit of God, may I feel you in my heart and breathe you in my life in small things as well as great things, in tranquillity as well as in exuberance, in silence as well as in song. In these strange and uncertain times let me breathe your wisdom and courage to strengthen the gifts you have already given me so freely. There is a single word in Hebrew for breath and spirit. God’s Spirit is a breath in all creation, and he breathes it into us. As you quietly breathe in and out try to sense God himself breathing the gift of his life and power within you. --- Saturday 30 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin ‘The fruit of the Spirit is … patience, kindness, goodness …’. Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23 Give us God the fruit of goodness to ripen in our souls:fruit to offer round about us,fruit to heal the wounds of this world,fruit to restore the confidence of the broken,fruit to strengthen the dispirited in doing good,fruit to feed the hungry and nourish the weak.As you feed us with your goodness, so may we feed otherstoday and every day. Goodness can be catching; a good person inspires goodness in others. Pray that goodness may be seen in your life for the health of the world. --- Friday 29 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin ‘The fruit of the Spirit is … patience, kindness, goodness …’. Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23May I always remember, dear Lord,that when I clothe the naked, visit prisoners or feed the hungryI do those things to you.Every day you show yourself to me in need;may I show myself to you in gentleness and kindness. Remember times when you have been kind, and give thanks. Remember too those times when you failed to be kind, and pray for forgiveness and the opportunity to make amends. --- Thursday 28 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin ‘The fruit of the Spirit is … patience, kindness, goodness …’. Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23 Patience, Lord, can be a fruit of your Spirit within me, but I must pray for it. I may not be able to make myself patient, I may fret and hurry and burn; but the seed of your eternity planted within me bears fruit of a different kind, fruit of your rhythms and purposes. I must pray for that fruit to ripen and not the bitter product of my misplaced haste. Are you an impatient person? What is the root of your impatience? --- Wednesday 27 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Dove of Peace, drawn by Pablo Picasso ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace…’. Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23 May I be a person of peace, dear Lord, at home at work in the world with others with myself with creation And may I be prepared to pay the price for it to be real. Cheap peace, peace that sweeps tensions and difficulties under the carpet, peace that pretends things are OK when they’re not, is no peace. True peace is often costly and demanding. Pray for that fruit of the Spirit in human lives today. --- Tuesday 26 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace…’. Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23 Give me joy in life, O Lord, a deep inner sense of wonder and goodness, of rapture for all that is, and that I have my place in your creation. May the quiet assurance that I am yours and you are mine be a deep source of joy so that I can face onslaughts of uncertainty and the loss of things that do not matter, fed deeply by the knowledge of you love and delight. Is joy about being happy all the time? Or is it about something deeper, a quiet core of genuine happiness in being created and loved by God? Pray for that fruit of the Spirit today. --- Monday 25 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image: The Bible Project ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace…’. Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23 May I receive the Spirit’s gift of love: Love to live and share Love in my words and actions Love for others in my thoughts and in my deeds Practical charity for those I find difficult Perseverance with those who ignore or reject me Charity towards my own self. As we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost on Sunday, we pray this week for the fruit of the Spirit to ripen in our lives. So pray first for love, not as something sentimental but as something practical and caring. --- Sunday 24 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Nave pillar illuminated by the Ascension window taken by Mark Ewins. Lord, help me to embrace the fact that you made me to be beautiful:beautiful in my thoughtsbeautiful in my wordsbeautiful in my deedsbeautiful insideand beautiful outside.Lighten me with your grace to make it so.Alleluia! Amen! To believe that we are special and beautiful and worth something can be one of the hardest challenges in life. Sometimes we hide ourselves in greyness rather than live out of that beauty. But ‘while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Romans 5: 8) – so how can we not be beautiful! --- Saturday 23 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin There are times when thick clouds hang upon my mind,or I find it hard to hold together, know who I am or what I’m for.There are times when the landscape of my life is darkenedand familiar ways are lost or taken from me, and the world turns strange.This suffering is as real as any other, and no less easy to heal.O Lord, find me in my lostness and heal me in my mind. As Mental Health Awareness Week comes towards its end we might pray for greater understanding of the reality of mental sickness and pain. If you are currently looking for additional support, Mental Health Foundation has a range of content on their website here For a list local support please visit WISH Herefordshire --- Friday 22 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Sixth-century mosaic of Christ appearing to the Apostles on the road to Emmaus, Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna Give us, Lord, the hand of kindness when we take the darkened way; shine upon our minds’ night-blindness and hold us firm till break of day. Has someone walked alongside you in friendship at a time of mental distress? Give thanks for that (perhaps costly) act of friendship. --- Ascension Day | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Raise us with you above this Earth,but keep our humanity intact.Help us see things in the context of eternity,but ground us in the here and now.Show us that we belong to heaven,but make us attend to the Earth with love.Dignify our flesh with divine glory,but show us how to honour human wounds. Sometimes people find the ascension story hard to accept at face value. Reflect instead on its inner meaning, that as creatures of flesh and blood we are adopted in Christ to share the divine life. --- Wednesday 20 May | Revd Canon Chris Pullin Today's reflection is provided by the Revd Canon Chris Pullin and is illustrated with an icon painted by Peter Murphy to mark St Ethelbert's Day. We give thanks today for our patron St Ethelbert:for his faith as an inspiration in times of danger,his hope as a challenge to the cynical,and his youthful vision as refreshment for the world-weary,Thanks be to God! Do I believe that I am in danger at present?Am I cynical or jaded?Perhaps the story of Ethelbert’s simple trustfulness can lend us strength. --- Tuesday 19 May | Revd Canon Chris Pullin I remember a priest with dementia;in a final sermon he asked us to be kind,and pleaded firmly for us to be kind.In a world where many suffer in body, mind or spirit,Lord, help me offer that grace of kindness every day.I am stronger when others are kind to me,so let me return the gift in love. Think of a time when unexpected kindness made all the difference to you. Can you strengthen someone through kindness today? If you are currently looking for additional support, Mental Health Foundation has a range of content on their website here For a list local support please visit WISH Herefordshire --- Monday 18 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Life isn’t always easy, Lord, inside or outside our sometimes damaged selves. Not everyone can understand our inner wounds and often we can’t either. May I always have compassion for the mental health of others, and just through simple kindness let them know I care. This is mental health awareness week, and this year’s theme is kindness. How many people are you aware of suffering mental frailty today? How can you be kind to them? If you are currently looking for additional support, Mental Health Foundation has a range of content on their website here For a list local support please visit WISH Herefordshire --- Sunday 17 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin 5th-century window made of crystal gypsum, Santa Sabina, Rome Lord, the window of my soul may be ageing, but your light is ever new. May that light fill my innermost being each day to give me vision and insight, and to direct my steps. Waken within my innermost self the knowledge of a bigger life, touch me with the light that will make me grow, make me to be blessing to others. Many find it helpful to pray each day for the gift of God’s light to live and see by. --- Saturday 16 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin 13th-century holy water stoup at the cloister door, Basilica of Sant'Andrea, Vercelli We wash a lot these days, dear Lord, for safety and for health;the simple gift of water gives us cleansing and brings life.Blessed be the water of rain and sea and river!Blessed be the water flowing freely in our homes!Help us value it as sacred and keep it from pollution,That returning it to nature it may hallow as it goes. Do we treat water as we should and pass it on so that it will be a source of life and not of death?This is a pressing question in the western world. How can I be more responsible in what I do with water? --- Friday 15 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Andrea McLean’s A Contemporary Mappa Mundi, 2005 It’s the world, but not as we know it. Things have changed, yet stayed the same. May we find gain in our loss, new colour to delight us, fresh ways of understanding how to live. In the sickness of the present time may we blessed with gifts of healing and rise to vibrant life. When this crisis passes, what will I carry from it to build a better world? --- Thursday 14 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Jonsokbål (Midsummer Night) by Nikolai Astrup, 1926 Be our light, O Lord we pray ̶ turn our darkness into day, burn within the deepest night, give us warmth and make us bright as we gather where you blaze, King of Seasons, Lord of Days! In the Bible God is sometimes described as being like a fire. Do you feel drawn towards God today, or are you standing back? Why are you choosing as you do? --- Wednesday 13 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Detail from Brudeferden I Hardanger (Bridal Party in Hardanger) by Hans Gude and Adolph Tidemand (1848) Pure air, pure light, pure water: O Lord, lord let me float along the River of Life with beauty. Help me to know and feel that it is your grace I breathe, your clean and living water upholding me, your radiant light making all things clear; and so shall I be brought to you in serenity. We can strive too much in life and make ourselves and others unhappy. Can we trust that by being carried along we may come to happier ends? --- Tuesday 12 May | Sarah Hollingdale ‘But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ Isaiah 40:31 Lord, please give us strength to get through today, to soar above like eagles. --- Monday 11 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin “He who sings prays twice” – attributed to St Augustine And will we sing?Dear Lord, it seems we won’t, at least to start with,because singing is said to be dangerous.I must learn to pray my prayer once with double the feeling,I must learn to let my heart sing in other ways as I come before you.It is good at least that some see this prayer as dangerous,because all prayer is dangerous.Help me to pray more dangerously! For much of Christian history, and still in some parts of the world, every word of worship was, or is, sung. The likelihood that when we are allowed to resume public worship we will not be allowed to sing for fear of spreading the virus will be a hard thing to accept. Pray that it may not be long before we can sing again. --- Sunday 10 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of thy Temple. Psalm 48 verse 9 O Lord, we wait and wait and wait. We seem to have done nothing but wait and watch and hope, and even your house has been denied in which to do it. We wait for your loving-kindness in the midst of our homes! Now that we take small steps forwards to greater freedom may we soon find the doors of your house open once more; there may we wait and watch and hope in peace. The closure of churches has been a painful deprivation for many people, although the first Christians worshipped in their homes and had no written Gospel. Perhaps it has been good to be reminded that our faith can live without buildings. Can we hold on to this truth for the future? --- Saturday 9 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin My soul flies from your hand, O Lord, sent forth to live and grow Through famine and through plenty, in sunshine and in snow. In times of trial and worry, of fear or painful testing I fly alone, as ever ̶ yet know your hand in blessing. St Irenaeus described the world as ‘a vale of soul making’. How is your soul being shaped by the current crisis? How do you find the hand of God at work in that? --- Friday 8 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin The Lord makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. Psalm 46 verse 9 As we give thanks today for seventy-five years of relative peace, and remember those who secured it for our continent, strengthen our resolve to make peace in Europe and in all the world today. As we see our continent with your eye’s view there are no divisions or borders, just blessings of the good and fragile Earth we share; may we share those blessings in peace, now and ever. --- Thursday 7 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Chalice made for the cathedral by Carl Krall in 1902 incorporating items of jewellery donated by members of the cathedral family We are the work of your hands Lord, and precious in your sight;precious because you love us and Jesus shed his blood for us.May we drink the cup of his sacrifice today,offering ourselves in costly ways to those around us,mindful that his cup is for us to drink in life, not just in church. Not receiving Communion in church is felt as a deprivation by many, but we can live its meaning in our lives by offering ourselves in our words and deeds as ‘a living sacrifice’ (Romans 12: 1). --- Wednesday 6 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Worcester and Gloucester appear clearly on the Mappa Mundi, but down the centuries Hereford has been almost completely rubbed out by people’s fingers. Dear Lord, I remember today everyone who feels rubbed out: people who are sick or tired, people who are lost without family or friends, people whose lack of work has robbed them of purpose, people who have fallen from sight in the crisis. Help us all to trust that we are not forgotten, not invisible or rubbed out. In due time draw us all afresh again. Do you sometimes feel ‘rubbed out’ in the current situation? Hereford is rubbed out on the Mappa Mundi, but very real in the actual world – and so are you to God. --- Tuesday 5 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Make me an attentive listener, Lord, listening with openness and respect to those who speak with me, understanding what is not said as well as what is. Give me grace to pay attention to the world around, hearing and seeing the signs of the times. Then, when I speak, may I speak with the wisdom that comes to those who listen, and may I, in my turn, be truly heard. Am I a good listener, or while the other speaks do I just think about what I will say next? Pray for the grace to listen with attention and respect, and so to become wise. --- Monday 4 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Ripon Cathedral Crypt, built in 672 AD. Ancient of Days, help me to see that I matter in my day, but that my day is one of many in your countless ages. My life is neither the beginning nor the end of anything, not a first word or a last word. May I be happy in my time to live and die, knowing that you love me with an everlasting love and will never let me go. ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (Deuteronomy 33: 27). Can I rest secure in the knowledge that, whatever happens, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus? --- Sunday 3 May | Sarah Hollingdale ‘When I awake, I am still with you.’ Psalm 139:18 When we wake up in the mornings, there is that brief moment when we forget what’s going on outside – then we remember, and it can seem overwhelming. Lord, thank you that when wake, you are with us. When we remember what’s happening, you are with us. When we get up to face the day, you are still with us. Saturday 2 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Paint me into being each day O Lord, with brushstrokes round or flat, big or small. Where I am too fussy, paint over me with a big brush; where I am unfocused, tidy me up with delicate detail; where I have gone wrong, scrape off the paint and try again. I am your work of art, Lord, and always will be. God creates us and recreates us all the time; with an artist’s eye he sees where we need correction, and his aim is to make us beautiful. Can I think of myself as one of God’s works of art? Friday 1 May | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Concert by Academia del Ricercare in Sant’Andrea, Vercelli, June 2019 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? (Psalm 137 verse 4) In this strange land, strange time, strange day, give me a song to sing, I pray. Shall I sing you, or you sing me? I know this is the mystery: that when I dare my voice in song I lose myself, and then belong in body, mind and soul to you -- so you sing me, and I sing true. What song can we sing in difficult times? Can we be the Lord’s song today? Thursday 30 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Edward King Chapel, Ripon College Cuddesdon Let me make open space for you within my life, Lord; clear space, empty space, dedicated space, uncluttered and unfussy, where I can be with you and you with me. Is there somewhere, or some time, within each day when you can still yourself and know and feel that God is with you? How can you hold onto that sense during the rest of the day? Wednesday 29 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Vines near Sallèles-d'Aude, France, April 2013 As the vines put out new growth each Spring so may we be made ready to bear good fruit in the days ahead. Thank you that vines can flourish in poor soil; thank you that they can withstand drought and flood; thank you that they can bear winter cold and summer heat; thank you that they bring forth fruit that is a blessing and a grace. Tend us, Lord, as the branches of your vine: you are the vine and we are the branches; bless and keep us all this Spring. Pray that you may be open to God’s quiet feeding of you from within, and that his fruit may be borne for others in your life. Tuesday 28 April | The Reverend Janet Bellamy In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace. From the Benedictus, Luke1:78-9 Monday 27 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Tree on the skyline near Clehonger (September 2018) Clothe me, Lord, with leaves of faith and fill me with the sap of grace, that in the wilderness of these days I might provide strength and shelter to those around me. Let me be deeply rooted in the soil of life, but always stretching up to you. In the midst of tribulation sustain me to point others to your providence and love. May my life be patterned on the tree of the cross, and reveal the tree of life. Am I able sometimes to encourage, cheer and support those around me in the present moment? What roots do I have for my own support and nourishment? Sunday 26 April | Sarah Hollingdale ‘The earth is full of his unfailing love’ Psalm 33:5 Lord, thank you that the earth is full of your love.Help us to see that today –Through the kindness of others,The beauty of your creation,And the care we have for those around us. Saturday 25 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Image of St Mark from a 12th-century English Gospel Book in the Cathedral Library, painted by the so-called Alexis Master. Today we give thanks for St Mark and his Gospel,energetic and breathless to the last,a Gospel that ends without a proper endingexcept that all of us are the ending,all of us who can make the Risen Lord known in this world. How today can I be a living Gospel?Am I good news to those around me? Friday 24 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Graham Sutherland's painting "Noli Me Tangere" (Touch Me Not) in the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, Chichester Cathedral Risen Lord, Mary Magdalen longed to touch you as she met you in the garden, but you did not allow her. We too are forbidden from reaching out to touch people we love, and this is hard. May we soon have this natural gift restored to us and know once more what it is to be fully, warmly human. Are you missing being able to reach out in normal humanity to friend and stranger? What other things can we do to express that humanity at the present time? Thursday 23 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Woodcut of St George Slaying the Dragon, from the Life of Saint George (1515) There are dragons of fear and shame and hurt that paralyse my life. They rise from the depths when I least suspect and take me in their grip. When I name them, Lord, and face them out, they cringe and melt away. Give me the strength of good St George on this and every day! Can you recognise and name old wounds that still make life hard? Can you bring them to Christ and ask for healing to begin? Wednesday 22 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin How beautiful and fragile is the Earth on which we live; How vast and how mysterious the universe beyond. Help me, O Lord, to know my smallness in Creation, and the greatness of your love at its heart. Can I rest in the knowledge that I am part of something bigger, and that I am not the centre of the universe? Tuesday 21 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Each April the cathedral gradually becomes hidden from my garden as the leaves of the great lime trees come out; it’s there, but I can no longer see it. It is disappearing now (photo April 20th). It’s easy, Lord, to lose sight of you in the confusions of the moment, as concerns about family, friends and the future fill our minds. Give us moments of calm and clearness of sight to discern your presence in our lives, and to know that past, present and future lie always in your hand. What are your greatest fears at the moment? Are they blotting out your sense of God’s love? Tell him this simply, and ask for the eyes of your heart to be opened. Monday 20 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Job Chapter 14, verse 2: ‘Like a flower, he comes forth, then withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure’. Lord, these are hard words for me to hear, but today I can’t escape their truth. Help me to recognise the fleeting nature of this life, and to give thanks that I have life at all. Strengthen in me the sense that my life belongs to you and that when death comes I will still be with you because I belong to you and you love me. Cast out my fear with the knowledge of your great love. Has the present crisis made you think more about your own death? Is that a bad thing? Sunday 19 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Stones on the beach of St Columba’s Bay, Iona, April 2019 Lord, life’s ocean shapes us by its storms and currents, it mixes us and leaves us where it will. Often we are rounded, shaped and polished by that action; but sometimes we are splintered, chipped and broken. As life’s ocean churns in the present moment may we know that your hand is at work, and that the cracks and rough edges of our brokenness will be made smooth in time by your grace. How have I been roughened by the present experience? Can I identify areas of my character which I could pray to be made smoother? Saturday 18 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin 18th-century newel post with its top worn smooth by many hands, 2 The Close There are things I take for granted, things I seldom notice, places where my hand rests many times a day; In this season of confinement may I cherish my surroundings and give thanks for those who made them, Lord I pray. Is there something you use each day for which you can give thanks? Could you appreciate better the silent companions of your home? Friday 17 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Lord Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed for us and for all the world, you carry now the cross in triumph, not defeat; a banner of new life, not a badge of death. Help us so to pass through the death of these dark and fearful days that we can find new strength, new purpose and new life to share when the day of our release occurs. What am I learning now that might alter how I live in the future? How will I carry the cross in triumph, not in sorrow? Lamb of God, from the corbel table of Kilpeck Church, c.1140. Work of the Herefordshire School of stonemasons. Thursday 16 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Vøringsfossen waterfall (almost 200 meters high), and the Måbødalen valley stretching away below, Norway I look to the future, Lord, and see hard places ahead and a rough and tiring pathway. Help me to see, too, that sunshine will warm me and cool water at my side refresh me as I go. I have everything I need in this valley; just help me to recognise this and receive your gifts. What do I fear about the future? Where do I find blessings in the struggle? Wednesday 15 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Eardisley Font: the Risen Christ leads Adam out of Hell (early 12th century, Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture) Easter Lord, drag us out of Hell with Adam. Your hands are wounded, but they reach out still to us.Take us by the hand and lead us out of darkness.Take us by the hand and save us from despair.Take us by the hand and pull us into safety.Take us by the hand and never let us go. We can feel the energy of the Risen Christ in this sculpture. Pray that we may experience the energy of his risen life in our lives today. Tuesday 14 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Emmaus, by Arcabas (Jean-Marie Pirot, d. 2018) Risen Lord, be with us in the breaking of our bread. Churches are locked and the Communion Table deserted, But this does not keep you from us. You enter the locked doors of our homes and sit with us. When we break our bread we break it with you. Open the eyes of our hearts to understand this simple truth. As we eat in our homes, can we pause to remember the presence of Christ, as close as the food we take? Monday 13 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Grunewald, Resurrection panel from the Isenheim Altarpiece, c. 1516 Lord Jesus, Burst forth to meet us in our paralysed and darkened world. We are heavy and fearful like the soldiers guarding your body, Like them we miss you when you appear. In your freedom and joy bring us blessings of life and light. Raise us in spirit today, and open our hearts and lives to receive the peace you bring. As you look at this image, pray that the Risen Christ will enter your home with love and peace. During Holy Week, the Dean will be providing an extended daily reflection with accompanying imagery. To view these please click here. Saturday 4 April | Sarah Hollingdale, Eastern Cloisters Project Lord, today we pray for those who cannot be safely at home;We pray for those in hospital,For those who wake up in unfamiliar surroundings,For those who have nowhere to call home,And for the people who don’t feel safe where they live. Friday 3 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin My movement in the world is restricted today; I find myself avoiding people on the street and in the shop; Being out and about seems a hazard, not a joy. If I cannot journey freely in the outer world, Let me now explore within, seeking you. Help me walk the path of memory and desire; Order the steps of my life, and the movement of my heart. Photograph of the labyrinth taken during the Night of the Churches 2019 Thursday 2 April | Erica Manley, Perpetual Trust A prayer of St. Francis of Assisi Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. Wednesday 1 April | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin I sit still with you, Lord, in a quieter world. You know me better than I know myself; My hopes and fears are always open to you; The secret of who I am feels safe with you. In the midst of the world's fears let me to rest with you and find peace. Photo taken at Barguillean, Argyll Tuesday 31 March | The Very Revd Michael Tavinor We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden Monday 30 March | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin In the dark I reach towards your light; In the silence I strain to hear your word; In my confusion I cling to you for peace, and in my fragility I lean upon your strength. Be a support, Lord, for those I hold in my heart. Sunday 29 March | The Very Revd Michael Tavinor Today's reflection is from Psalm 121, praying for protection. The Lord himself is thy keeper: the Lord is thy defence upon thy right hand.So that the sun shall not burn thee by day:Neither the moon by night.The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in:From this time forth for evermore. Saturday 28 March | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin. Lord, there are times when I need propping up and restoring,Times when I feel my weakness and fragility.Thank you for those who support and renew me,Specially those who are supporting me today.Help me show that I appreciate their care,And give me insight to see how I can support others. Friday 27 March | The Very Revd Michael Tavinor Today's reflection is from Psalm 23. He shall feed me in a green pasture:And lead me forth beside the waters of comfort. Thursday 26 March | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Lord, help me to bloom where I am planted, and to rise above everything that presses in around me.Save me from being trodden down by things I cannot control, and make me beautiful in my place and season. Wednesday 25 March | Revd Janet Bellamy Calm me, Lord, as you stilled the storm;Still me, Lord, keep me from harm.Let all the tumult within me cease;Enfold me, Lord, in your peace. Celtic Prayer Tuesday 24 March | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Young Woman at the Window: Sunset by Henri Matisse Lord, I’m shut in now, cut off and fearful.Give me courage and wisdom and patience.As the sun sets on the life I’ve known strengthen in me the faith that it will rise again.Be with those I love, be with those who have no one to remember them,Be with the lonely, the anxious, the sick and the frustrated.Lord, you have known isolation and fear, be with us in ours. Monday 23 March | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Lord, I feel shut in and cut off from the life I thought I knew. My place in the world seems small and colourless. Let your warmth and light shine into my shrunken soul So that I can be illuminated and expanded within. In the prison of the present times show me that there is a bright world beyond. Sunday 22 March | The Revd Prebendary Ann Barge As we watch and wait in these strange, uncertain timesMay we find comfort in the obedience of the Blessed Virgin MaryWho knew all that it means to be human watching, waiting and ponderingAs she handed over her precious Son Jesus to be the light and hope for this world. Saturday 21 March | The Very Revd Michael Tavinor Today the Dean has provided us with a prayer by Sir Francis Drake reflecting on the idea of patience. O Lord God, when thou givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same to the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory; through him who for the finishing of thy work laid down his life, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Friday 20 March | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Lord, pour your love into my heart, Clear and clean and fresh. So fill me with your love that I may pour it out for others In compassion and in service in these dark days. What I receive from you is not mine to keep, but yours to share; may I share it for the healing of the world. Thursday 19 March | The Revd Canon Chris Pullin Lord, I feel lost in the world, Stripped bare of certainty, Dried up and barren. Help me turn to the warmth of your love And reach out to your presence each new day.