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Prayer for the Week – 1st June 2024

Prayer for the Week – 1st June 2024
June 1, 2024 Bronwen

Weekly Reflection MWiB June 1st  2024

When I first started planning the prayers for June I initially looked for inspiration from the lectionary for the month and as a recently retired nurse was intrigued to notice that June’s gospel

readings open and close with healing messages – that definitely gave me my starting point. At the end of March I retired from almost 50 years work in the NHS and as part of my retirement gift ‘to me’ I was going on the trip of a lifetime to South Korea and Japan with my daughter. We were covering 10 cities throughout 21 days and seeing completely new cultures, lifestyles, traditions and faith. Throughout the trip I was able to pick out elements of that life to link in with my reflections for June.  All our trip was planned down to the last fine detail by my daughter – and she really did exceed all the organised travel companies as she sourced the ideal places to be at any specific time, how to avoid the crowds and get the best photo opportunities as we followed ‘the blossom trail’ from Tokyo to Osaka. I left it all to her and my only request was could we be somewhere ‘appropriate’ to see sunrise on Easter Sunday – and she didn’t fail to produce!

Sunrise, Easter Sunday: Meiji Shrine, Tokyo


Mark 2:23 – 3:6

Healing on the Sabbath  – Jesus response when challenged about the healing on the Sabbath was to ask which is lawful – to do good or evil (vs 4)

When we stood at that shrine and looked about the beauty, the cleanliness, the peace and serenity, none of it would have been possible without the staff who opened up the park before dawn, swept away the many fallen leaves and generally maintained the upkeep of the area. Although Easter Sunday was not a holy day in Japan it gave me the opportunity to think about those who work the Sabbath with no expectation that they can have it as a day of rest – those who do good. As a nurse on the wards for the first 20 years of my career I regularly worked either Saturday night into Sunday, or a Sunday day shift and at no point did I feel I was breaking the law of the Sabbath – I was doing what was necessary for the good of others,  and like so many other essential workers just accepted it as part of the job.

My thoughts on none essential workers being employed on the Sabbath however, are a little bit different, and possibly a bit controversial to those of the secular world who just see Sunday as another day of the week……………… but do we really need all supermarkets and shopping centres to be open all day and every day (and many nights too) or should Sunday return to a day for families, for peace,  to take time out………..

It is with great nostalgia that I look back on my childhood and remember all the shops closing at lunchtime on a Saturday and not reopening until Monday morning – it now seems a different lifetime – which it is!  In our hectic, challenging, world could a return to a day of rest, of being switched off, give us all the chance to recharge, time to reflect with our loved ones, time to be and not to do! As I often quote from one of my friends, when we were created we were called Human BEings  and not Human DOings. Should we try and return to those days of the Sabbath being the day of rest?

Is Sunday really a day of rest,  is Sunday a day that is truly blessed?

Blessed for all who work by need, blessed for all who helped to feed, blessed for all who hear your word, blessed for all who love your world

But also blessed are those not Yours, the one who works for self not all, the stranger who fails to hear the call, the damaged, broken, those who fall.

For all are in Your tender care and we are asked Your love to share, to show Your people YOUR  true way…  for Sunday is a blessed day.

Prayer: Loving Lord as we face a new day and welcome your sunrise wherever we are, help us to embrace all this day brings. Be alongside us as we work, within us as we pray, beside us as we love and lead us where you wish us to go, today and always, AMEN

Philippa Hill, Trustee: Bolton & Rochdale and Lancashire Districts