14th May 2021


Six o’clock in the morning and the telephone rings. May be there’s a family emergency, so I jump out of bed only to be assaulted with a scam about my internet being cut off. In fact there was a minor family crisis as one of our grandsons fell off a friend’s quad bike and broke two fingers – his only worry was that meant he would be off football for six weeks – but that we learnt about in an email. Half past six and it’s time for the refuse lorries, and the noise of the bins being emptied by those who have an unenviable job even in good weather.

Cars and motor bikes both make a mockery of Bristol’s 20 mph speed limit wizzing down the road! But which of us have a clean record on that one? When we hear the sirens [and see the flashing lights] it’s difficult to know whether its police cars or ambulances. And the same is true of the helicopters overhead – are they on the way to hospital or in pursuit of some illegal action? When children come home from school there is happy family clatter but one over-exuberant father makes more noise than all the children put together.

Noises, especially in the night, remind me of the story of Samuel in the Old Testament, slow to understand that God was calling him. And so he was taught to reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’.

How, then, might the noises we hear become prayers – thanking God for those who keep our streets clean and safe, and for those who care for the sick and the casualties of accidents, praying God’s blessing on all who exercise a healing ministry. A prayer too for family life – that children may grow up in a secure and loving environment. Thank God, too, for the wonders of modern technology, but praying that he will frustrate the wickedness of those who use it to prey on other people’s innocence.

John Briggs