Monday, 3 October 2011

Evening prayers for justice and peace

I wandered around the house in a rather desultory attempt to think about things I might need in Paris and ended up putting a mainly rather pretentious choice of books into my case - and also managed to leave behind the detective fiction book which might at least have had a chance of actually getting read!
Almost at the last minute I took this small book down from the shelves in my office in Ferney and this evening I have prayed in my hotel room according to the Monday evening order of prayer.
Each Day and Each Night by J. Philip Newell offers simple orders of prayer for the morning and evening of each day of the week. Each day has a theme and Monday's is justice and peace - you can get a taster here. It also has a lectionary of Bible readings for each day. Each day's morning and evening prayer begins with verses from the wonderful Psalm 139.
I know that in moving to Paris the one thing I shall miss most from my previous job is praying with others in the chapel on an almost daily basis. So I know that I need to find simple ways of encouraging myself in the discipline of prayer. I'm glad at the intuition that simply made me slip this into my bag, it spoke to me in all sorts of ways tonight to be praying for justice and peace, two of the key areas of work underpinning much of what the WCC does. It helped me look back to the Peace convocation this year and forwards to the WCC's assembly "God of life, lead us to justice and peace". It has been such a blessing to be able to pray with others so often in a very beautiful place, now I shall have to try and find different ways to frame my days with prayer. Much of what I feel at the moment has to do with a sense of very deep loss but also of profound thankfulness. The reflective Celtic but also quite Ignatian path through a simple office of prayer that Philip Newell sets out certainly helped me tonight to name that and stay with it a while. I'm sure the morning and evenign prayers will help me through these first few weeks of a very new existence.
It is going to be fun but it is also going to be chaotic and hard work at times. I will need discipline to make up in part for being less involved in preparing and leading public worship.

The opening prayer begins:
...O Christ of the lost
and betrayed
come close to me this night
that I maycome close to you

The closing prayer ends:
Who keeps watch
over us this night?
Who but the Christ of love.

This is what happens when you spend your life taking tomatoes out of sandwiches - you get asked to join a blog called BLT!

For a long time I never ate raw tomatoes, then in my late 20s I got quite partial to the little cherry tomatoes and nice ripe vine tomatoes in salads. I Rome I got slightly obessesd with the very sweet mini plum tomatoes. Even now I suually offer the tomato bits in restaurant salads to Dr B. What I really take exception to though is tomatoes in sandwiches. On planes and trains, in cafés and bars I order a sandwich and then spend time opening it up and removing the (what I consider to be) utterly horrible slices of tomato, the sliced version of the fruit just gives the bread and everything in the sarnie a sort of yucky texture and flavour. Out vile slice!
Given this, it was quite funny that I should be invited to post occasionally on a blog called BLT. In this case though it's not bacon lettuce and tomato but Bible Literature and Translation and it's certainly not just a sandwich.
Two folk whose blogs I admire and have been following for several years - J.K. Gayle and Suzanne McCarthy - blog there alongside Theophrastus and Craig R. Smith. These folk are all seriously knowledgeable about biblical translation, which I am not. One of the reasons I read Suzanne and Kurk is because I learn so much. Anyway the blog is about community building as well as exchange of ideas and information about the Bible, translating and literature. They would like me to add my voice which I am happy to do, though it won't be often unfortunately as I shall have to start blogging or doing some web based work in French in coming months, improve my typo 3 skills and more besides.
Anyway I have two initial posts in gestation for BLT and neither of them is about tomatoes you'll be pleased to hear. Writing this is my way of saying, please be a bit patient guys your Paris correspondent will be joining you soon! I was just not in any fit state over the past few days to do blogging of any kind, let alone try to learn Wordpress. So the best I can do is dedicate my first post from Paris to BLT.
I have however arrived in Paris, despite antibiotics and general sinusitus induced lethargy I managed to pack a suitcase and get myself here. Work begins tomorrow, wonder if there will be sandwiches for lunch?