There is much for me to reflect on today and perhaps for you too. I have been surprised by how deeply I have felt about the issue, often (as an introvert) under the surface. There is something powerful going on here about identity and belonging that I need to work through.
As it happens I am leading a Day of Reflection today at our retreat house in Ely http://www.bishopwoodfordhouse.com/ and since it was the feast day of our patron saint Etheldreda yesterday I am using her life story to give us time to ponder on some basic and relevant questions:
- What is the story of our own life so far?
We’ll be able to draw it, or knot some cord, if that helps. Etheldreda’s life had some BIG twists and turns and some very difficult times.
- What is God saying to us now?
We’ll take advantage of a beautiful day to get outside and look and listen. God speaks in so many different ways.
- What is our vision and vocation for the future?
We’ll wonder (slightly scary thought) what we’d like those who come after us, like they came after Etheldreda, to say about us …
There are a few spaces free and if you feel the need for some reflection time the House may be able to fit you in – but ring first to check: 01353 663039. We start at 9.30 for 10.00 and finish at 4.30 and there is a charge which includes lunch of £27.
Otherwise why not use the same pattern of reflection at home for yourself, perhaps re-reading a saint’s life or a Bible story like that of Abraham first?
Meanwhile there is a huge and tender task of reconciliation to be done. Whether we are feeling jubilant that “we have got our country back”, rejected because we are an immigrant, wondering where we fit if we have grown up here but don’t share the nationalist sentiment: all of us still face the challenge to love our neighbour and especially anyone we might see in any sense as “different” or our enemy just as we love ourselves. This prayer will be said in parishes across the Church of England today:
Eternal God, light of the nations, in Christ you make all things new: guide our nation in the coming days through the inspiration of your Spirit, that understanding may put an end to discord and all bitterness. Give us grace to rebuild bonds of trust that together we may work for the dignity and flourishing of all; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen