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    Dark Sky

    Sacraficial Knife


    Passover Door

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    High Priest Eli Image

    Tabernacle Image

    High Priest Eli Image

  LENT 2016

Day One "Ashes to Ashes"

Day Two "Rainbow Bridge"

Day Three "Dark Skies"

Day Four "Sacrificial Giving"

Day Five "Lion and Lamb"

Day Six "Passed Over"

Day Seven "The Prayer"

Day Eight "The Priest"

Day Nine "The House"

Day Ten "The King"

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A journey through Lent - 2016

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Day Three - Dark Skies.

Dark Skies

The context of this reading is that, at this time, a covenant was sealed by the dividing of an animal, the two parties would then pass between the halves. Perhaps acknowledging that the fate of the animal should be theirs if the covenant was broken.

So this is a legal act of binding rather than an act of ritual sacrifice.

Abram falls into a deep sleep and a terrible darkness descends on him. This is perhaps a natural response to the revelation of the treatment Abram's children will receive in the next 400 years. Yet there is a clear promise that despite the delay and difficulties they would experience the covenant would be fulfilled.

Perhaps the Dark Skies remind us that everyone goes through times of darkness and doubt, even Abram one of God's chosen leaders.

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Like Abram, in this passage, we also trust God in some things and yet find it hard to trust him in others.

Sometimes like Abram we have dreams and visions from God. So we ask questions to validate these dreams and visions, we demand answers. We want more proof that what we have seen is from God and will happen.

N.B. Some commentators interpret Abram's questioning as awe at the wonder promised rather than a questioning of whether it will happen. How can this happen! rather than How can this happen? A thought for another time...

Sometimes we fall into that dreadful darkness with our inability to see how or when these things might happen and what the cost might be to us in making them a reality.

We become burdened with planning, impatient for activity, we lose heart and in the darkness lose our way.

We are distracted, diverted, delayed and disheartened.

Sometimes in our own lives we can see no way out of our situations. It is then that the dark clouds, the "dark and dreadful darkness" comes over us. For want of a better word, our "sinfulness" overwhelms us, be that our priorities, our unwillingness to change, our lack of care for others, our lack of self worth or our unwillingness to sacrifice those things we enjoy.

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It is, however, often said that the darkest time is just before the dawn.

We know that God is with us in the darkness however dark. He speaks to us as he speaks to Abram in that dark. As we open ourselves to him, the darkness parts and we once again see the light.

Through our prayers, our relationships with others and our relationship with God we can see the coming of the light.

Bible Passage: - Genesis Chapter 15 Verses 7 - 12 & 17 - 21 (NIV)

He also said to him, 'I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.'

But Abram said, 'Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?'

So the Lord said to him, 'Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.'

Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.


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When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, 'To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.'

Contemplation saying.

"A thick and dreadful darkness came over him."

Contemplative Prayer.

Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,

Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,

Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.

Listen for God's voice in the quiet of your prayers.

Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.

Hymn: Singing the Faith 405 - "Great is the darkness that covers the earth"

Let us pray together.

Twitter Prayer

Make me aware of your covenant with your creation and my special place in it. Let my doubts be chased away and my fears dispelled. Amen.

Facebook Prayer

Make me aware of your covenant with your creation and my special place in it. May my doubts be chased away and my fears dispelled.

May I remember that the Saviour long awaited has already come to set me free from doubt and fear.

Help me to see the reality of your presence in my life. In the all powerful name of Jesus I pray. Amen

Full Prayer

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Ever present God, in the deepest, darkest part of the night we come face to face with our fears.

In that deep, dark time we place our faith in you.

So often we do not understand your call to us but you tell us to trust you. To place everything we have and are into your hands. For you are a loving God and will do us no harm.

Help us to understand why we feel able to trust you in some areas of our lives but not in others.

Help us always to remember that the night will turn into day, the darkness into light. Allow us to wake into the brilliance of your presence. A light which shines in the darkness and is never overcome by it.

Lord we are an untrusting lot and we question most everything. Help us to see the answers you give us in the life of your Son.

Whatever our cares and fears you want us to spread them before you in prayer.

Speak into our questioning and strip away our fears.

Make us aware of your covenant with your creation and our own special place in that covenant. May our doubts be chased away and our fears dispelled.

Dark Skies

May we remember that the Saviour long awaited has already come to set us free from our doubts and fears.

Help us to see the reality of your presence in our lives, help us to receive your loving support through the words, actions, loving support and care of those around us. For they are your messengers and agents in our lives. In the all powerful name of Jesus we pray. Amen