Tag Archives: Prayer

Until that happens: Words of Wisdom from Anne at Atelier Beads

Phil Groom writes:

Anne at Atelier Beads has been posting here periodically  ever since Dave Walker received his infamous take-down notice from Mark Brewer.

Responding to my post Empathising with the Enemy, Anne offers the following words of wisdom, words which also seem be an appropriate follow up to David Keen’s call to leave room for repentance and change: 

1) If you’re going to take over the operation of a business, you’d better find out how that particular business works. Doesn’t matter if it’s a grocer’s, a sporting goods store, or a bookshop chain. If it’s to succeed, management needs specialized knowledge.

2) If you’re going to travel to a foreign country, and especially if you’re planning to do business there, you’d better acquaint yourself with the laws and customs of that country. Whether it’s complex issues like pensions and taxes or simple things like when people are accustomed to taking their lunch breaks or days off, any prudent business person would take the time to acquire this knowledge. Larger companies now hold orientations for their staff who travel. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is just as true today as it was 2,000 years ago.

3) If you are a lay Christian desirous of doing missionary work, it’s only common sense to submit yourself to the direction of your church’s leadership (bishops and priests in this case) both in your home country and in the country you plan to work in. This is certainly the religious and spiritual equivalent of Item 2. Jesus himself gave careful instructions to his disciples before he sent them off to do missionary work. A lot of those instructions involved their contacts with the locals.

There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that any of this was done. We therefore have a failing business venture, a lot of maltreated employees, and apparently a lot of co-religionists who are insulted and outraged. There was still time, when things began to go bad for the Brewers, for them to step back, make a realistic assessment, and gather their forces to move along on a better path. They chose not to do that. Instead, they resorted to a lot of clumsy and questionable legal tactics (slapdowns, threats of lawsuits, bogus bankruptcies) in a futile attempt to cover up their many mistakes and to escape the consequences.

It would be lovely to hear that they’d repented of at least some of this and intended to make amends. I think until that happens it’s probably more important to look after and help the injured.

For all the bitterness and anger that many may, quite rightly, feel towards the Brewers, let’s keep that final sentence in mind as the reason we’re here. And let’s join with Anne in offering this prayer for justice:

Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen


A Psalm for Thursday

Time to Pray

Phil Groom writes:

For my not-quite-daily prayers I use Church House Publishing‘s Time to Pray: it’s an excellent and very handy little prayer book, just right for someone like me whose mind tends to wander all over the place as I wander into work each day. I find the structure and discipline of following a fixed pattern of prayer is precisely what my chaotic and caffeine-laced mind needs; and yes, I count myself fortunate to have a job to go to, unlike many of those for whom I offer this Psalm, those whose employment tribunals are coming up on Thursday this week.

It also strikes me as highly appropriate that for this post I am drawing on a book published by Church House Publishing, one of the publishers (alongside SPCK themselves, of course) whom I believe the collapse of the SPCK bookshops has hit the hardest.

Today, being Tuesday (albeit not for much longer: I’m writing this at 10.30pm), one of the set readings is Psalm 17:1-8. It struck me as highly appropriate for Thursday’s hearings and I took the liberty of rephrasing it slightly in my prayers this morning, turning it from the singular to the plural, from the past to the present… and yes, a few more liberties. Hit the link above for the unadulterated text if such things worry you. I offer it again for all of us now:

Refrain: Deliver us, O Lord, by your hand.

1  Hear our just cause, O Lord; consider our complaint; 
 listen to our prayer, which comes not from lying lips.

2  Let our vindication come forth from your presence; 
 let your eyes behold what is right.

3  Weigh our hearts, examine us by night, 
 refine us, and you will find no impurity in us.

Deliver us, O Lord, by your hand.

4  May our mouths not trespass for earthly rewards; 
 may we heed the words of your lips.

5  May our footsteps hold fast in the ways of your commandments; 
 may our feet not stumble in your paths.

Deliver us, O Lord, by your hand.

6  We call upon you, O God: will you answer us? 
 Incline your ear to us, and listen to our words.

7  Show us your marvellous loving-kindness, 
 O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand
   from those who rise up against them.

8  Keep us as the apple of your eye; 
 hide us under the shadow of your wings.

Deliver us, O Lord, by your hand.

The problem with such a prayer, of course, is that the Brewers are likely to be offering similar prayers, thinking of us as their enemies, rising up against them. That’s perhaps one of the saddest aspects of this whole business, that they too believe themselves to be serving God. It’s enough to make a grown man weep; and I do.

If you can, then, pray not with bitterness, pray not for vengeance, but rather for peace and justice…

Finally: Mark and Philip Brewer, if you happen to read this: once again, I assure you of my prayers: may you find the grace to respond generously to those whom you have wronged; and if you cannot find that grace of your own free will, may the courts help you find your way…