This week's reflection is from the Rev'd Shirley Holder, one of our curates
Today, 11th March, would have been a dear friend’s 90th birthday, but since she died a few weeks ago, I have been thinking about how she embodied the fruit of the Spirit and especially the first three, love, joy and peace. Wendy was always full of the joy and it was real joy, a deep gratitude for and delight in all the people and good gifts God brought to her. She loved being in her garden, quietly tending it, or enjoying it in prayer and meditation. Her front door was always unlocked, and a great welcome was assured, for she also loved being with people, encouraging them to talk about the ups and downs in their lives, and listening carefully and prayerfully.
Prayer was the key in her life, and she loved to encourage others in prayer. Her particular insight was to use one’s imagination in prayer and, as we use this Lent to reflect, be restored and be refreshed, I would like to share two of her ways of praying, which I hope will help you.
The first is to find a physical object to illustrate a verse or passage of scripture and to sit with that, letting God use your imagination to hear what he is bringing to you. Thus for ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, find a mud-spattered walking boot, or wellie, or old shoe and explore what images that throws up, as you think about Jesus trudging across all sorts of terrain to find you.
The second is to sit opposite an empty chair and imagine someone, for whom you want to pray, sitting in it. Think about what is special about that person and think about what challenges they may be facing. Then invite Jesus to come close to them and imagine what gentle words of affirmation he would speak to them.
Two weeks before she died Wendy phoned all her friends in Christ-like love for those who had shared her life. She wanted to thank us for our friendship, and joyfully recounted many times together and her many blessings. I am sure she is resting in peace.