Inspire

A collection of prayers, verses and quotes for uncertain times.
If you have anything you’d like to contribute, please contact us at together@swbc.org.nz.
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Follow along with our Senior Pastor, Alan Jamieson, as he takes us through daily reflections on shaping our prayer.
The videos are loaded as a playlist, so you can use the icon in the top right corner of the video to navigate through the days. 


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Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
― The Book of Common Prayer


I own a corner of New Zealand that sustains my life and 4 others’
We plant and grow and eat
Fruit and vegetables fresh and clean of pollutants
The grass is green and the sky brilliant blue on good days
Most days are good days

I feel as if God is smiling on us and our good fortune

I ask why I’m so blessed
When I know the piece of land that is mine could house thousands
in the teeming cities of Asia
No green grass
No fresh fruit and vegetables can grow in their space

I hear the bird song
leaves rustling in the breeze
They hear racket and row
car horns
hubbub
grey sky overhead
How unequal are the states we
live in
But now their streets
are silent too
And they isolate themselves in spaces the size of my laundry
Five squeezed together
Day workers with no work
No money to buy essential food
Prices hiked
No safety nets
How unequal are the states we live in

― Lynley, after hearing from global mission workers in Asia


This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”

― John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings


And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

― Kathleen O’Mara, 1869, reprinted during Spanish flu Pandemic, 1919.


Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

― Philippians 4:6-7, The Message


If I am slavishly attached
to the previous moment
or if I’m already living tomorrow’s moments,
then I am not free
for the moment of the eternal now.

― Macrina Wiederkehr


I shall ask God mercifully to protect us.

Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it.

I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence.

If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others.

If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above.

See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy…

― Martin Luther, Works v. 43, p. 132. Letter “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague” written to Rev. Dr. John Hess.


Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition
sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings


It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

― Wendell Berry, Standing By Words


Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

March 13th 2020

― Brother Richard Hendrick