Tag Archives: Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom come – praying with psalms

Do you ever wake up to find your partner’s put the radio on in the small hours of the morning? In our case, it’s a sure sign that Lesley’s got something on her mind and is having deep and profound thoughts about it at 3 o’clock in the morning. It could be sermon writing or holiday booking, but in this case it was the exhibition recently held at St John’s.

“Thy Kingdom Come” is an annual international Christian initiative supported by the Church of England. The idea is to have a “wave of prayer” between Ascension and Pentecost (25th May – 4th June). Last year, the emphasis was on the Lord’s Prayer and our parish held an art exhibition illustrating and focussing attention on this. This year, we didn’t have such definite guidelines, so it was decided within the parish to use the psalms as our basis.

Lesley spent a lot of time perusing the psalms and finding ones that would be suitable for illustration. The artists of the parish, and Farnham in general, were then sidled up to and it was suggested they might like to produce works to be displayed in St John’s. To our delight (and slight surprise), thumbscrews were not necessary and most artists were thoroughly enthused by the idea.

So, works were commissioned, checks made occasionally to see that the artists hadn’t forgotten, but despite the smooth running, such events always generate a certain amount of stress – hence the 3am panics. Do we have enough easels? (No, we purchased and borrowed some more.) We haven’t got enough small tables! (Hooray for “The Range” in Aldershot. Four tables purchased for £9.99 each.)

So the afternoon before Ascension several of us assembled in St John’s to put the exhibition up. The contributors ranged in age from seven to seventy and the art works showed a fascinating range of imagination that does credit to all involved. I did a slight double take as I stood on a precariously propped up stepladder to mount Alison’s picture high up on a column (I’m H&S officer – should I be doing this?). However the end result was one we were very pleased with. The comments book indicated we were justified in this.

The event finished with a Pentecost party on the afternoon of Sunday 4th June, in which tea and scones, music and singing featured prominently. Thanks to all involved.

Altogether a nice parish event. Not earth-shattering in its impact, but:-
“The least you do for Jesus will be precious in his sight”

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Bob Shatwell

Thy Kingdom Come – Praying the Psalms

It doesn’t seem like a year since I was hastily putting together an exhibition of paintings depicting the Lord’s Prayer.  Artists with strong connections to our parish each took a line from the prayer and created an image.  Musicians and singers performed, and scones were enjoyed.  Amid all this festivity, we remembered that our Archbishops of Canterbury and York had set the ball rolling when they called for a wave of prayer to cross our country.

This year, they have called again; and as I write, artists are planning their response, bakers are checking their recipes and singers are practising their new repertoire.  This year, our theme is the Psalms and we are hoping that our pictures may stir up new ideas and ways of looking at these ancient songs.

Praying the Psalms – good heavens, what have those old things got to do with our lives today!  What is a Psalm anyway?

To start with, you can find them in the Old Testament because they are part of our Christian inheritance from the earlier Judaic tradition.  Open the Bible, about half way through and flip back a bit and you will find 150 Psalms lurking between Job and Proverbs.  They are ancient songs written by the Hebrew people.  If you look at the headings, you will see (for example Psalm 15) “A Psalm of David”.  We have legends of King David writing the Psalms and often you can see pictures of him, with his harp, wrestling with some poetical tracts … but this is just a legend.  We do not know for certain who composed the Psalms, there could have been several authors.  There are Psalms of joy, Psalms of despair, deep anger with God … I think we have lost the ability to have a really good lament.  The Psalms hurl so much grief and anger at God and there is nowhere better to aim it.  God is big enough to take all our human suffering – together with our joy, delight and thanksgiving for our world.  The Psalms give voice to it all.

psalms

(Photo: King David, from a 6th century mosaic from Gaza)
http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/Gaza.html#Anthedon

 

Our exhibition will give a tiny glimpse into these ancient songs, I pray that it will open your eyes to look again at the Psalms and perhaps be glad when they say, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (see Psalm 122).

 

Art Exhibition: open 25 May – 4 June 2017 at St John’s, Hale

Pentecost Party:  Psalms, art, music, refreshments: 4 June at 3.00 pm (St John’s, Hale)

 

 

Prayer, Art and Scones!

St John’s Church, Hale are hosting an art installation from 8-15th May based around the Lord’s Prayer. All are welcome to visit the church on any day 9-5 to see the artwork and pray if they wish. In addition, from 2-4pm on 8th, 14th and 15th May there will be scones and teas provided and local musicians will play.

This is inspired by Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu, who wrote to every priest in the country with a request, “In the week leading up to Pentecost (May 8th – 15th, 2016) we long to see a great wave of prayer across our land, throughout the Church of England and many other Churches.”

Lesley Shatwell, who is training to be a lay minister in the parish said, “I was inspired by the idea of a wave of prayer and have asked local artists to create seven artistic interpretations of phrases from the Lord’s Prayer. Everyone is welcome to visit and enjoy the artwork, you don’t have to be a churchgoer – I believe that all of us can find art and music to be a spiritual experience, and what could be better than scones in the afternoon?”

You can find out more on the Thy Kingdom Come website: http://thykingdom.co.uk/