Merton Priory
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INSPIRATION AND COMFORT

Although we don't yet know when we can meet together again as normal in our buildings, we can ponder and potentially share what is giving us comfort and providing us with inspiration. Potential ideas are: reflections of what lockdown is like and how you are spending your time, learning a piece of music, learning poetry to recite, creating art to exhibit, or an idea of your own. Feel free to send in any ideas to us.

A poem: Over and Over
Shirin Ward came across this poem by Elizabeth Jennings (1926–2001), which she feels sums up our thoughts of lockdowns, past and present:
Over and over they suffer, the gentle creatures, the frightened deer, the mice in the corn to be gathered.
Over and over we cry, alone or together.
And we weep for a lot we scarcely understand, wondering why we are here and what we mean...
And why there are huge stars and volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, desperate disasters of many kinds...

What is the answer? Is there one?
There are many: Most of us forget the times when the going sun was a blaze of gold;
And the blue hung behind it and we were full of awe.
We forget the moments of love and cast out time; And the children who come to us, trusting the answers we give to their difficult and important questions!
And there are shooting stars and rainbows and broad blue seas...

Surely when we gather the good about us,
The dark is cancelled out.
Mysteries must be our way of life.
Without them we might stop trying to learn and hoping to succeed
In the work we half choose
and giving the love we need.
(13 February 2021)

Making yourself happier in 2021
Evelyn Wilson sends us some ideas culled from a set of articles in recent issues of The Guardian:
These thoughts speak to me, so might help others of us.
a. Record 3–5 things to be grateful for before you sleep.
b. Take a few minutes of quiet meditation every morning.
c. Look for ways to help others.
Treat yourself kindly; frailty is part of being human – soothe not scold, gently stroke your hand if there is no one else to do it.
Do one thing at a time. Try and group linked 'to does'.
• Raise your heart rate – with a challenge.
• Be a bit outrageous or silly.
• Don't fear failure.
• Reach out to others.
• Make a difference.
Campaign for something – actively.
Get better at feeling sad. It can be a route to happiness and make you pay more attention to detail.
Generosity makes us more grateful.
(6 February 2021)

God the calmer of storms
Mardelle Jordan brings words of comfort in troubled times:
These past few weeks have been like a storm raging around us. Day after day people of all ages and colour dying around us. Relatives not able to say their goodbye or even attend funerals. The desolation and feelings of hopelessness unbearable. In all of this we know that God sees and knows and cares. We are not alone.

We have a refuge, we have a comforter, we have hope. When all around us souls give way, God has promised to be our hope, our help, our refuge.

So we can hold fast to His promise, to be with us always, even to the end of our own days.
(13 June 2020)

Thoughts on the path ahead
Martin Lyons reflects on the service for Trinity Sunday:
The picture of Holy Trinity at the end with the doors wide open was a very powerful image.

First off you think how inviting, how nice to see the doors wide open. This brings hope; then you see the locked doors into the church body itself, which leaves you feeling shut out. Close, but so far to go before we can actually all get back through those doors.

What changes will we have to make to allow us to get back through those inner doors? It makes you realise the enormity of the task ahead.

It reminds you that the old way we did things may be gone for a long time if not for ever. Therefore it reminds us of how much we must all be willing to not only embrace change but to accept it. This for some may be a very hard rocky bumpy road to walk. Therefore we will all need to be sensitive to people's feelings as for some it will be a form of grieving; for others it will be joyous as we at first take small tentative steps along this new road; later, with God's grace, giant leaps into the future.

From all the counselling I have received I know that we cannot change the past; it has gone. However we can influence the future. Our path and destiny are in our own hands, to mould the church for generations to come.

Wow! What responsibility rests on all our shoulders!

But I believe with God's grace, help and faith in him we can get there.
(13 June 2020)

Pentecost contribution
Jason Tilbrook and Peter Judge playing music over the garden fence during lockdown:

(29 May 2020)

More drawings from Evelyn Wilson
(click on a small picture to enlarge it)

  
(29 May 2020)

Appreciating the beauty of nature
Mary Chibnall has sent in these beautiful photographs celebrating God's creation; she writes: 'Taking walks during lockdown has made me look more closely at the beauty of the flowers in the gardens that I walk past, and it's given me time to take photographs of them'. (Click on a small picture to enlarge it.)
                 
(27 May 2020)

Singing in isolation with Songs on Wheels
While staying isolated, Alice Thacker and Bruce Goatly have been recording and filming contributions to songs for Songs on Wheels to release online for residents of the care homes, day centres and clubs that the group would normally be visiting. Just because the group can't go in person doesn't mean they can't be there in spirit! Bruce has also been learning new skills for mixing about 15 separate voice recordings and editing the videos together. A couple of examples are below; there are more on YouTube.

  
(24 May 2020)

A hermit's call from the wilderness
Nick Mayhew-Smith has written a blog about hermit spirituality, aiming to show how spirituality can be expressed during a time of intense social isolation.
(Nick's latest book, The Naked Hermit (SPCK, 2019), is available now on Kindle and in hardback.)
(27 April 2020)

Lockdown drawings from Evelyn Wilson
(click on a small picture to enlarge it)

     
(27 April 2020)