District Retreat 2020: Psalms Redux


A Morning Prayer


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Being beyond imagining

Light penetrating gloom

Peace infusing our existence

We praise you.         



Life giving Creator

Darner of our torn life

Shaker of the sparkle

We praise you.         



 Proclaimer of goodness

Establisher and restorer of truth

Midwife to life

We praise you.         



Indescribable God as we come together to pray

release the ropes that tether us that we might float in the stream of your Spirit

and rest in the harbour of your love.  



Anne Smith



After reading Psalm 123


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The heavens, mottled with cloud,

proclaim your glory

The earth below, the ground of our being,

Gives birth to your splendour,

Our eyes are drawn to you

And earth and heaven are joined

Dependant on your love

Resistant to your will

Secure in your faithfulness

Hesitant in obedience


Humble yet proud in equal measure

Have mercy Lord

We wait for your approval

As recalcitrant children look to the parent

Have mercy Lord

We receive from your bounty

As beggars from the perpetual benefactor

Have mercy Lord


We go in your grace,

In awe, in peace, in light.


Anne Smith 






Through the window


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The night draws in

Light fades

Vision is dimmed

Distance excluded

Immediate magnified


Closeness spotlit

Reflection possible in the blackness

Each to its own light

Natural and manufactured


The Lord is my light

Yet when God grows dim

For those who look

The image can be seen


 Help me to keep attentive to the light and dark,

The magnified, the spotlit and the reflection,

In order to see 

the active, 


ever present God


Anne Smith




A Psalm of Lament


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God of healing and comfort,

Why are you absent in the lives of our children?

Where are you in our anxieties and disappointments?

How can your people flourish in their pain?


God of peace and justice

Why do tribes need to stand against others to feel good about themselves?

Why do the victors rub salt into the wounds of those they have defeated?

Why do the powerful turn their backs on a fruitful future for all?


God of hope.

Where is our hope gone?

We long for our hope to be in you.

In your ways we see the path of healing and peace, 

In your love we see a way to live with our anxieties. .


 Can you turn the hearts of your people?

Tear down the barriers that divide 

Enable the building of relationships 

create openness, respect and trust across our differences.


So people can stand together for the healing and comfort, the peace and justice, the hope that we long for. 


For in the beauty of the world as you made it, 

In the creativity of humanity, 

In the joy of fruitful relationships

We see your glory glistening through. 


And out of our longing we praise you.


 Ian Howarth



Qualified Praise

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God is Good

All the time. 

All the time

God is Good.


The refrain echoes round 

The enthusiasm transparent, 

The faith deep and sincere.


But why my half-hearted response, 

Prompting guilt and inadequacy?

What hypocrite am I to question God’s goodness,

to denigrate such joy!


But what of the evil, the pain?

What of the injustice, the oppression?

Can faith be built on denial of reality?


But out of praise comes hope.

Out of praise comes new perspectives

Out of praise comes commitment to make the world as God would want it. 


O God, I want to praise you.

O God, I will praise you. 

Let all the earth acclaim the Lord. 


Ian Howarth



Fast Flows the Living Water


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Soft falls the dappled light,

Gentle falls the cooling rain,

Fast flows the living water,

Make me whole again.


Dark come the storm filled clouds

harder feel the stones I tread.

Fast flows the living water

Over things I dread.


Close walk the given friends

closer still the love I find.

Fast flows the living water

Embraces soul and mind.


Out stretched the lifting hands

spoken out the healing words

Fast flows the living water

Carries heavenwards.


Deep runs the heartfelt prayer

Deeper still the song I sing

Fast flows the living water

offers thanks I bring.

Nigel Coke Woods