Morning Prayer Friday, 26 March 2021
Welcome to our time of prayer on this Friday morning,
as our Lent journey takes us towards a glorious Easter.
Let’s praise God for protection and guidance:
Lord of Life, whose loving care has brought us safely to the dawn of a new day, may we give thanks for your constancy – you are always there to receive and hold my trust, to rescue my soul from despair and to carry me into the light. Reveal your ways to me today in every step I take, in every task I undertake, in every act of generosity I make or receive from others. May I walk on in the light of your smile.
Here we are again, preparing for Holy Week in a time of lockdown.
No singing, no gathering in a crowd with banners or palm fronds, no shouts of Hallelujah.
Jesus lived in an occupied country ruled from a distance.
His personal world was beginning to close down around him:
the worship and accolades of Palm Sunday, by Friday, will give way to shouts of derision and hatred.
Small moments of respite from the relentless march to the cross are precious
and become part of the record. Here is a story from Mark 14:
While he was at Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for 300 denarii (a man’s wage for a year) and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her.
But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you and whenever you want you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could, she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the Gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done with be told in memory of her.’
Mark 14: 3–9
Such an act of generosity!
A tiny snapshot, a ten-minute deep breath, when an anonymous woman
gave up a precious, valuable Asian perfume, to provide fleeting relief,
the small pleasure of a beautiful smell, from the daily grind.
It was a real intrusion into an occasion for men.
Whoever she was, this was her singular way of demonstrating the depth of her love,
the strength of her commitment.
The room was against her but Jesus accepted and enjoyed her gift with ominous grace.
Generous God, we are recipients of every good gift:
caring friends, Christian fellowship, freedom to walk and to worship in a beautiful city
coming to life with the spring.
Fill our hearts today with the perfume of love, that we in turn may be generous givers.
Help us reach out to friends and family, so long unseen or untouched, with words of care.
Help us seek out opportunity to show your overflowing love and compassion
to people whose true worth may not be obvious, whose value to community may be unknown.
O Lord, help us each to raise a smile in another.
Before we set into our daily round, before we begin preparing for Easter,
let’s take a few moments today to be generous with care, generous in prayer,
and bring the balm of kindliness, the relief of companionship, to those in need.
Rescuing God, we ask your soothing care for people we know in pain,
in heavy sorrow, walking a hard way on life’s road.
Relieve their worry with assurance, calm their troubled hearts with the balm of your presence,
help them in their pain with your promise of rescue.
Keep them all close within your saving love.
When lockdown familiarity begins to pall and loving care becomes like a chore,
we can remember the woman with the alabaster jar
and her provision of refreshing beauty in a time of lockdown.
Beautiful Blessings on us all today!