From the smallest of seeds - Reflection by Canon Mike
Read Canon Mike's reflection for Tuesday, 15 June, 2021.
To listen to an audio version of this blog, follow this link to the post on our prayer blog, Prayer for Liverpool: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/blog/from-the-smallest-of-seeds-reflection-by-canon-mike.
Last week, Dean Sue reflected very powerfully on the work of carers – those millions of people who give of their time and energy, their love and care to look after others. Carer’s week was highlighted; a week dedicated to ‘Making Caring Visible and Valued’, through organisations like Carersweek.org (https://www.carersweek.org/) who were noting the issue especially through the pandemic. Many of us know, many voiced and other organisations continued to note, that it is not just within the Pandemic that people have done this – some have done this all their lives, and the concerns for helping these millions of unpaid carers have been around for many, many years.
Highlighting the week was an opportunity to make these issues more visible in some way. Spookily, I’d tweeted about @Carersweek without knowing that Dean Sue was also writing about it! But news clips on radio and TV, and other organisations also highlighted the work of carers – these unsung heroes who give their all for others. Organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society highlighting the ever-present importance of self-care for carers; the BBC running local and national reports with a very powerful news article that I saw of organisations like MyTime in Wigan, (@mytimewigan) and what they do supporting Carers across the UK.
But I felt drawn to reflect more, in complement with Dean Sue’s, because of a prayer request I read out last Saturday at morning prayer, and from Sunday’s gospel (Mk 4:26-34). The prayer request, placed on our prayer wall (https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/requests.html), asked for prayers for a loved one, for God’s guidance and strength, peace and healing for them – to let them know they are never alone…..
Just over a fortnight ago was the ninth anniversary of my own mums passing into our Lord’s hands. A few weeks before my father, husband and 24/7 carer, was rushed into hospital with his own healthcare problems – and I and my brother stepped in for a very short time to look after mum. We experienced on a tiny scale just how difficult life was for Dad, indeed for both of them. On one of the days when it was just myself, I had that feeling that all carers know; feeling completely drained and exhausted, wondering what to do next; for me, praying in my feeling of loneliness and isolation..…when completely out of the blue at that exact moment, a text came through. From one of my ordinand friends, it simply read, “Remember, Mike, you are not alone”. There was absolutely no way that they could have known that that was precisely what I was thinking that very moment; no way. For me it was a perfect example of the answer to prayer.
Just a few weeks beforehand, in passing conversation with my parents’ neighbours, they were asking me how mum and Dad were and also mentioning how they felt helpless in knowing what to do. Previously, they had always put the bins out for my parents each week – they asked if they could still do that. My parents were delighted; knowing that through that one, small gesture, being the fastidious and caring individuals, they always were, that was one less thing for them to worry about.
Both examples for me, resonated powerfully with that prayer request, and Sunday’s gospel on one of the seed parables. Where, for me, the smallest of gestures or actions can, like the tiniest of mustard seeds, produce an impact we could never have imagined. Though small in nature, the action of that text, the offering from the neighbours, both helped in a massive way. For me, they indicate that the Kingdom is present, that God’s love is present here and now; and the effect that we might have ourselves can never be underestimated in going to help others…..that the Kingdom will come into all its fullness and glory in the future, but it can also be seen in the here and now, through the love and care that all express – especially in caring for the carer.
As Dean Sue wrote, “as Christians we are encouraged to care for each other”; like everyone, there are times when we might not know how to do that or simply what to do in the circumstances. The parables of the smallest seeds give us faith that no act or gesture is too small to make a difference to others, especially those giving so much of themselves caring for others, day-in day-out. Our prayers, our outreach, the smallest of things can help….the importance is that we do something. And from what might seem like the smallest of things, will be seen the love of God in some way….
As always, with my love and prayers; go gently…..
Canon Mike 😊
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