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More thoughts on 'words'.... (Hosea 14:1-9)

‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’ (Psalm 19:14)

I know the sayings, ‘Actions speak louder than words’ and ‘After all is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done’. Yet today I want to say something in praise of words. For today’s reading exhorts the people to ‘take words’ with them as they return to the Lord (v 2). Of course, we want to avoid empty words and idle talk – but words matter, or I would not be writing and you would not be reading. Words shape our thinking and our doing. Indeed, speaking is a form of doing. Without words, it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to express our thoughts, hopes or regrets, our sorrows, dreams or cares. Words are essential to expression and may be necessary even for thought.

In evangelical circles, we tend to prioritise spontaneity and extemporary expression, but this passage favours the careful use of words. ‘Take words’, says Hosea. Then he specifies what words should be brought. He lays down a form of liturgy. ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say “Our gods” to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion’ (vs 2,3).

When we are insincere, we ‘weary the Lord with our words’ (compare Malachi 2:17). Yet this is true whether our words are spontaneous or rehearsed. The advantage of using prepared liturgy is that we can take the time to think about what we are going to say. Whether we write the prayers ourselves or use the work of others, the act of poring over a text can help sharpen our focus and hone our commitments. Especially when praying with others, thoughtful words can become the vehicle for transformative prayer.

Robert Parkinson


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My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’ 
Oh God, can those words be for me too?
How I long to hear them!
I’m not Moses, but I’m also on a journey – trying to follow Jesus.Some days, life seems like an unmarked wilderness,
and I’m not sure which way to go.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to trust.Other days, I’m so busy that I don’t stop to listen.
I’m stressed and distracted and frazzled.
‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I hear you Lord. Help me to pause and take time for you.Then there are the days when I do remember.
I walk restfully in your presence.
How different those days are.‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’
Yes, I believe you Lord. Those words are for me. 
Your presence does go with me and give me rest.
Thank you Lord!Amen
Richard England

Sabbath rest....

As I reflect on my sabbath rest - my sabbatical - these questions from Peter Mead ( Scripture Union daily bible study) got me thinking....When you stop to think about what is on your to-do list, what are the first things that come to mind? Do you trust God with these things?
Do you trust God enough to take a day off?Are you striving to please God for salvation? Rest in what Christ has done.
Are you stressed as you strive in your work, even in your work for God?
Resting can be the ultimate declaration of trust! Let rest remind you of God’s goodness towards you and trust God's faithful provision!Peter Mead


A journey begins with one step and (with some trepidation) I start my sabbatical.
The hope?
To rest, have time out to reflect on calling,  ministry and what it might look like in the future - personally and within the context of Ruthin....
So, a prayer:
Loving God, in my journeying and my resting, in my listening and or reflecting please guide me and lead me afresh to the light of your truth, Jesus.
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