Did you know there is a rose called “Rambling Rector”?

RAMBLING RECTOR

Did you know there is a rose called “Rambling Rector”? Apparently, it bears creamy flowers which eventually fade to white on twiggy stems.  The flowers have a powerful musky clove scent and are followed by masses of small hips in the autumn.

Well! my own hair is most definitely fading to white – probably accelerated in the last few weeks! I’m not sure about a musky scent, but after two children and lots of sitting at a computer, I’m no longer ‘twiggy’ and my ‘small hips’ are a distant memory.

No matter! I think “Rambling Rector” is a suitable title for a Sunday reflection during these troubled times. In the coming weeks, when we cannot meet in the church building I plan to offer you a short reflection each week, stemming (excuse the pun) from the impressions and inspiration I am discovering. It is my prayer that we all discover God more deeply in this time while we are ‘Together While Apart’.

 

 

The Old Testament bible passage appointed for this Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Lent, is from the Book of Ezekiel, a prophet of Israel in the sixth century before the birth of Christ. You will find the passage in your bibles after those other great prophetic Books, Isaiah and Jeremiah. In The Book of Ezekiel, chapter 37, verses 1 to 14, Ezekiel speaks into a time of national crisis, and calls the people of Israel back to their God, and back to the ways of God.

 

Ezekiel has a vision and he offers us a powerful word-picture of ‘A Valley of Dry Bones’, lifeless and desolate. The Lord asks Ezekiel – ‘Can these bones live?’ and Ezekiel says, basically, It’s up to you Lord! And so the Lord commands Ezekiel to speak words of hope to the bones, and as he does so, breath enters them, and flesh is restored on them.  And the Lord puts his Spirit, his own breath into them to give them life. This might well remind us of one of the creation stories in Genesis chapter 2.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

 

The Hebrew word used here is Ruarch which means both wind and breath and is understood to be the power that is within both, that is, YAHWEH (the Hebrew name for God). It is God’s power alone that puts all things into motion, breathes life into creation and makes things live.

You may know the hymn: - Breathe on me Breath of God, fill me with life anew… (several versions available on YouTube if you have access to the technology, otherwise, words given below)

 

In the last week, we have seen often distressing news-footage of people with COVID-19 who would be unable to breath without the help of a hospital ventilator. And we thank God for the medical and technical expertise that makes that possible.

 

We are in desperate need too, in these difficult days, of the breath of the Holy Spirit of God because we have great need that the fruit of that Holy Spirit will be seen in us. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is those qualities of LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS & SELF-CONTROL

We will need all these in the coming days, which may well become more difficult and troubling, as the virus touches our lives and communities in ways we cannot yet foresee.

 

We are now entering the period of “Passiontide” - the last two weeks of Lent. Next week is Palm Sunday, and then Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and finally, Easter Day.  All our plans and preparations have had to be changed and this year will be unlike any we have known before, as we recall the suffering of Jesus at the end of his life, whilst we contend with our own circumstances, our anxieties and our isolation.

 

But the truth of Easter Day, the Day of Resurrection, can never be cancelled, or even postponed. Even though we as a church cannot gather in our church building on that day, and we are physically apart, we can still reflect together on the events leading up to Jesus’ death. On Palm Sunday, his entry into Jerusalem, cheered by the crowds, the Last Supper which inaugurated the sharing of the bread and wine in our usual Communion services, the Crucifixion on Golgotha, when Jesus took the weight of all the despair and hatreds of the world, the bleak tomb, and then the joyous realisation of the Resurrection as God breathed his life of hope and love into the darkest of times.

 

Ren

Breath on me , Breath of God. ( Click to YouTube Clip)

 

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

 

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

 

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

 

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.


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