Thought for the Day 18/06/2020 - 04/07/2020

11/07/2020

Thought for today, 4th July 2020

For many years today has been a significant day for North American's because today is their Independence Day. This year the 4th of July is a significant day for England and other parts of the Union because the next phase of relaxing 'lockdown' is taking place. Hairdressers, pubs and restaurants are reopening today after more than 100 days. Whether or not it is a wise decision remains to be seen, but we must keep trying to regenerate our economy at the same time as protecting ourselves from COVID-19.

The House of Bishop's, with guidance from the Government's scientific advisors, have decided to re-open our churches from tomorrow. Tomorrow, weather permitting, at 10.00am St Nicholas's Church will hold their service on the Green. We hope to start to open the Church building for mid-week services from Thursday the 9th of July at 10.30am with a virus safe system and procedures. Once we are happy with our system the church will be open for Sunday Worship possibly from the 19th of July. St Michael's Weeton will be open for morning prayer from this Sunday the 5th and St Matthew's Ballam from the 19th.

Considering things are beginning to change, this will be the last 'thought for the day post' I hope you have found them to be a good resource over the last 100 or more days.

Thank you to Rev Alan Byrom for his 'thoughts for the day' throughout this week. I am very grateful to Alan for helping with this important contribution to our daily routine and I hope all of our daily contributions have been helpful to you during this difficult time.

I would also like to thank Liam who has been dedicated to updating the website with daily posts since the beginning of the lockdown. Liam will continue to manage the website and keep our notices up to date in the future. Rev Philip



Friday 3rd July 2020 Meeting Jesus when it matters

Thomas John 20:24-29

It is fascinating when we gain a glimpse of the characters of those first disciples. Peter for example, headstrong and with too big a picture of his own strength; Andrew who introduces others to Jesus. And today, Thomas, often called the doubter, but perhaps more accurately the questioner. He it is who, true northern grit, says, 'Let's go with Jesus, so we can die with Him'. (John11:16). He it is who blunders into Jesus's final words of reassurance by saying, 'How can we know the way?' (John14:50) He receives there an answer of mind blowing magnitude and endless implications for life here and hereafter: Jesus says, 'I am the way the truth and the life'.

Perhaps we will want to say that Thomas' no-nonsense approach to life can be a bit of a liability as well as a strength. For some reason when the risen Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room, Thomas is not there. We might think that the united testimony of all the brothers he has served with and learnt with for years might convince him that Jesus was alive and had appeared to His followers. But on the other hand, it is a massive thing to take on board. 'No', says Thomas, 'I cannot believe that Jesus is alive until I see Him and not only that but I want to inspect His wounds, so I know it is the same man!' Not so much doubt as inability to take it all in. Reasonable enough.

And so when Jesus does appear before him a week later, it is then that Thomas is faced with the risen Jesus and the invitation to touch His wounds. I don't suppose he actually did this as his immediate response is one of the most direct and heartfelt declarations of faith: My Lord and my God.

Jesus comments that he believed after he saw; what of us who have not seen and yet have believed in Jesus, crucified, dead and buried, and risen again? We are blessed indeed Jesus says. May we each one, as we meditate on the cross and the resurrection, be able to respond with that cry of commitment and joy, My Lord and my God!

We have seen several people in one to one situations with Jesus. One had religious problems, another was morally compromised, Martha was in the throes of bereavement, Mary Magdalene was overcome with sadness, Thomas could not let things rest, he had to experience for himself. Whatever our issues and however we come whether trusting, questioning, troubled, Jesus stands ready to receive us and address us one to one at our point of worry, need, interest, not knowing. Be sure to speak to Him about anything at all and listen out for what He might say to you!

'We do not know... how can we know the way?'

Courageous master of the awkward question,

You spoke the words the others dared not say

And cut through their evasion and abstraction.

Because He loved your awkward counter-point

The Word has heard and granted you your wish.

Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine

The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine. Malcom Guite

Alan Byrom



Thursday 2nd July 2020 Meeting Jesus when it matters

Mary Magdalene John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene has a bit of a mixed press in the minds of some people; just what her background was is not really very clear, although it does seem that Jesus delivered her from some kind of oppression/possession. This really does not matter that much. What is important is that she became a follower of Jesus, and after His death and burial she was one of the first to visit the tomb and discover that is was empty. She, as John tells us, then ran to tell Peter, who then went to see, along with another disciple (John himself?). From the other accounts it would seem that other disciples and followers were around as well. At some point, however, Mary finds herself alone and outside the tomb, heart-broken, utterly confused and not a little apprehensive; who after all would raid a tomb and steal a body? What might happen to the followers of a man executed for the goodness of His life and so horribly desecrated in His death?

It is at this point that Mary has her encounter with the Risen Lord. So far we have thought about people who met Jesus in the flesh, and found rebuke and challenge, promise and life in those encounters. Here we see what it means to meet Jesus, Lord over life and now over death itself.

Mary is softened up for this meeting by a vision of angels with whom she has a somewhat inconclusive conversation, and she turns and sees Jesus, and does not realise that is who it is. We might wonder why: the blur of her tears obscuring her view, confusion of mind and heaviness of heart blunting her vision? Well, in any case she really was not expecting to see Him there!

The crucial point is that she does come to recognise the living Lord standing before her. And how? By the hearing of her name as Jesus calls to her. Her response is to try to grasp hold of Him and she is told not to; now is the time for the life of faith, the risen Lord is already on His way to His throne at the side of the Father, His earth-bound life is over.

We are like Mary: we come to Jesus after the Resurrection; ours is a life of faith. We do not see Jesus in person, but we do experience Him by faith, in the power and presence of His Holy Spirit.

And so often, like Mary, we do not see Him standing before us. Yet He is always there. The name of each one of us is on His lips. Ours is to tune in to His voice, to catch His word of acceptance and love, to listen to His call on our lives. So that we can go forward with Him in the joy of His risen life abroad in our lives; with the longing to know Him and follow Him where He leads in our life as His disciples, in this world and beyond it.

When Mary through the garden went,

Her eyes for weeping long, were dim,

The grass beneath her footsteps bent,

The solemn lilies, white and slim,

These also stood and wept for Him.

When Mary through the garden went,

She sought, within the garden ground,

One for whom her heart was rent,

One who for her sake was bound,

One who sought and she was found. (Mary Coleridge)

Alan Byrom



Wednesday 1st July 2020 Meeting Jesus when it matters

Martha John 11:21-27

Quite a forthright lady, Martha. When we see her in Luke's gospel she is berating Jesus for letting her sister Mary sit and listen to Him while there are jobs to be done. Here, as He arrives at her home in Bethany she comes out to meet Him with another reproach.

Her brother Lazarus had become seriously ill and Martha and Mary sent for Jesus to come, hoping no doubt for healing; but Jesus did not arrive, He delayed, knowing, it appears, that Lazarus had already died. This may well speak to many of us when faced with and experiencing bereavement: we prayed for healing, that all might be well, but it was not so. Where was our Lord when we asked for Him? This is Martha's conflict: Jesus loved Lazarus, she knows this, but He did not come at once when he was ill. How can this be so? One thing we need to grasp at some point about our life with Jesus is that it can sometimes be a hard discipline; things just will not be as we want them to be.

In the case of Lazarus, we see that Jesus has a purpose in not going to see the sisters immediately. He knows that through their sadness God will be glorified; that He Himself, will also be glorified. He knows that He will bring Lazarus back to life; he is in effect only asleep, as He tells the disciples. The joy of having their brother restored to his sisters will soon be outweighing their grief now. He knows He will have to deal with a distressed Martha and Mary, but He will use this and the subsequent miracle to bring home to them not only His power, what He can do (bring healing), but His person, Who He really is (God the Son).

Lazarus will come back to life, he tells Martha, he will be raised, and she knows this, it will happen in the end. But then Jesus confronts her with His claim: I am the resurrection. It is through Him that those who face death will live, passing through death itself. And He makes good His claim by going to the tomb and calling Lazarus the dead man to walk out from it.

Did Martha really grasp what Jesus was saying about Himself? She does confess Him as Messiah, Son of God; which is not quite the same thing. It all became so much clearer after the Resurrection itself.

When times seem to be needlessly hard and we feel conflicted in our faith, we do well to remember Martha and her interaction with Jesus. He is in control, He has a loving purpose and He enables us to grasp more and more of who He is; all this through the pains that life throws at us so often.

Alan Byrom



Tuesday 30th June 2020 Meeting Jesus when it matters

An unnamed woman John 4-14

Yesterday we saw Jesus interacting with a man of some importance in the community; they speak pretty much as social equals although Jesus soon takes the leading role in the conversation, pointing Nicodemus to the need for a completely new kind of life.

Today's encounter is very different. Here Jesus speaks with a woman isolated within her community, and they cannot talk as equals in that social context. Indeed, everyone else would say Jesus had no business talking to this woman at all. In a public space like the village well, no Jewish man would ever engage a woman in conversation, but here Jesus starts it all off, much to the astonishment of the woman. In any case, they are both aware that Jesus is a Jew and that she is a Samaritan; these two groups were bitterly hostile to each other for all sorts of historical and religious reasons. How could a Jew ask her for water? Furthermore, the woman is clearly of bad reputation or she would not be drawing water in the heat of the day, by herself, when no-one else would consider doing it. Social distancing with a vengeance.

These are important considerations but in order to reach this woman, Jesus ignores them all. So what do they talk about? Once more Jesus is directing the conversation from the first moment. Just as with Nicodemus He is provoking her to respond to His claims as Messiah. To her He offers to give living water, the life of the Holy Spirit to flow over and through her, bringing cleansing and a refreshing life, freed from all that afflicts her now. This new life is the beginning of something that will take her beyond the confines of her existence here and now and see her safely into the new age of eternal life. A good offer!

The woman is not convinced; she makes a joke of it, this living water. Is it too good to be true; is it just some untrustworthy spin from a Jewish stranger? It is when Jesus tells her something of her immoral way of life that she takes Him more seriously. He is a prophet perhaps, although one from the wrong religion. But Jesus presses on: We must all worship in the Spirit and in the truth; I am the one who will bring this truth to bear in your life, I am Messiah, the one sent from God. It is that claim which strikes home; she goes off to tell other people about this encounter: it is possible that He is the Messiah?

The woman's life may not have been perfect before she met Jesus, but it is in the meeting with Him that she becomes aware of a deeper conflict with God in her living and thinking. This is a spiritual need and she begins to wonder if Jesus can satisfy that longing. When we come face to face with Jesus, we undergo that same probing questioning about ourselves and we come up against the central issue: how will I respond to Him and His claims on my life?

Alan Byrom



Monday 29th June 2020 Meeting Jesus when it matters

Nicodemus John 3:1-8

For the next few days I am going to eavesdrop on conversations Jesus had with a few people in John's gospel. It might be handy to read the verses from the Bible before the thought for the day.

To be a Christian is to know a lot about our Father God and what He has done for us in Christ, but it is even more a matter of meeting Jesus personally, getting to know Him, opening up to Him when we have things on our hearts that bother us, when we have questions that we would like Jesus to say something about. In each of the people we will be observing this week we find there is a conflict within themselves; how will Jesus speak into their difficulty? Maybe we will find this helpful in our own relationship with Jesus.

Right then, Nicodemus was a Jewish leader, a Pharisee, so very devout in religion and a member of the ruling council, so with some political clout. He is an important man, but he comes to Jesus at night, we do not know why. We can sense that there is in this man a conflict between the Jewish faith he has always been committed to and the challenge that Jesus seems to pose to that faith, to the way things have always been taught. He comes to find out more and Jesus immediately begins to stretch his understanding in a way that Nicodemus may well not have expected.

'You want to know what it means to know God as King?', Jesus asks, v3; 'well you must be born again!' Meaning what precisely? It might be better to say, 'born from above', the word used means both things. To know God the Father through Jesus Christ is so great a revolution in living and thinking and believing that it can be said to be the birth into an entirely new quality of life and way of living. The Apostle Paul says something similar: it is like taking off an old coat, the old life, and putting on a completely new life.

Faith in Christ is radical because it calls us back to the very roots of our lives and challenges us to make life-changing, life-enhancing decisions to follow Christ as His disciple. Exhilarating and risky both at once! A life reborn by the action of the Spirit bringing joy and growth in a life of discipleship. No bad thing, to be born a new person, from above, by the Spirit of God!! Just how that works out in practice, well that is the job of a lifetime.

Alan Byrom



Thought for today, 28th June 2020

Jesus said in John's Gospel "I am the door," (John 10 v7)

When Jesus' words and actions are recorded in John's gospel there is an accent on simplicity. Once you have read or heard them, they begin to invite you into something far deeper. Jesus says things like, I am the gateway to the sheep, I am the good Shepherd, I am the vine you are the branches, I am the bread of life. These are the 'I am' declarations but where or what do these declarations of Jesus lead us to?

Each one leads us to a Sacrament. They lead us to Baptism and to Communion and to the other sacraments like marriage and reconciliation. Now the word sacrament is often used in church but not necessarily a word that is fully understood. It is a Latin word in origin 'sacramentum' and it means an oath or a pledge. It is a word that is ascribed to something that is actually indescribable because it is trying to describe the point in which God meets His people. The word Sacrament is trying to describe something that is beautiful yet poignant, tearful yet joyful, anxious yet full of relief, moving yet comfortable, energizing and sustaining, in this world, yet somehow touching the next. How can a word describe all those things? Well sacrament is a human attempt at articulating something about it. In my homily for the day, in the service link above, I try to illustrate what the word sacrament is trying to communicate a little bit more. Rev Philip



Thought for today, 27th June 2020

'Consider it all joy even when you encounter various trials.' (James 1 v2)

God can certainly use our mistakes to teach us, but I don't think that is what James means by the above quote. Some of our trials come from 'life in general'. Things don't go right. Usually it's not one big thing but a lot of little things. We encounter physical, financial, relational or emotional trials that knock us for six. Peter calls this 'the trial of your faith' (1 Peter 1v7). Whatever the size or length of our trial, there is nowhere we can go to escape the trial of our faith. It is like facing a driving test. A pass is a pass and a fail a fail. It doesn't matter how many different instructors you try. The hurdle will never go away or seem easier, if you want a license to drive, you have to reach a certain standard in order to overcome it, you can't 'wing it'. Likewise, you can't outrun God-ordained trials. He knows where to find you!

The good news is, there's no such thing as a purposeless trial! Each trial is designed to launch us to a new spiritual level. The interesting thing about our trials are, they're custom made; they have our name on them. Paul discovered two things about his trials. Firstly, the reason. 'To keep me from becoming conceited' (2 Corinth 12 v7) and secondly, in order for the result 'That Christ' power may rest on me' (2 Corinth 12 v9). Like a tailor measuring you for a suit that will fit perfectly well, the Holy Spirit customizes the trials we encounter to meet our spiritual need, to mold us, and to make us more like Jesus! Rev Philip

Rev Alan Byrom will be returning with his 'thoughts for the day' next week from Monday to Friday.


 

Thought for today, 26th June 2020

'We should make plans - counting on God to direct us.' (Proverbs 16 v9)

Yesterday we looked briefly at this proverb, here are a few more reflections upon it. There must be a balance between faith and careful planning. For example, if you were unemployed, there is no point in saying. "I am just waiting for the Lord to provide a job." You still have to contribute by sharpening up your skills and sending out your CV. We have to play our part. It's like the old soldier's motto. 'Trust in God, but keep your powder dry! Place your life in God's hands, but stay at the ready. You must do all you can to prepare yourself, understanding that the favour you need comes from the Lord.'

To walk by faith does not mean you stop thinking, planning, taking advice, and self-correcting. We trust God for safety when on a car journey, but we wouldn't pass on a blind curve. We should trust God for our health, but we wouldn't chain smoke, stay up all night and subsist on crisps and fizzy drinks. Acting foolishly, expecting God to bail you out when things go amiss, isn't faith, it's presumption. Wisdom says do all you can, then trust in God to do what you cannot do. Faith and careful planning go hand in hand. They always have and they always will.

With that in mind we are going to hold our open-air service on the Green on Sunday the 5th of July. The Government and Diocese have said worship can resume from the 4th. The planning for indoor worship is coming together, but still needs some refinement. Meeting outside and maintaining social distancing is far easier and far safer for the time being. Rev Philip


   

Thought for today, 25th June 2020

'The wise man looks ahead...' (Proverbs 14 v8)

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about the anxiety of not being able to look ahead, illustrated with a little story of being on a runaway train without any control over it. Remember what Jesus said to Peter, "Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." (John 21 v18).

The limitations that have been placed upon all of us, so we cannot act in the way we would naturally act, is really problematic. On Monday I was told by the diocese to postpone our outside service on the Green and then the latest announcement from the Government is to allow worship to take place back in the Church building from the 4th of July, with a lot of caveats and systems to put in place.

Solomon says "We should make plans counting on God to direct us" (Proverbs 16 v90). It is God's will for all of us to ultimately succeed because He delights in our success. There is a long check list for the PCC to go through to make our church as COVID safe as possible. The PCC will thoroughly go through the check list before any service takes place in or outdoors. Rev Philip



Thought for today, 24th June 2020

"Even though I walk through the deepest and darkest valley, I shall fear no harm, for You are with me." (Psalm 23v4)

In the Summer of 1982, my friend and I set off from London Euston on the late train back to the northwest. That meant we had to change trains at Crewe for the last leg to Preston. The first leg went fine. We were very tired and looking forward to getting home. A train pulled into Crewe station and even though the signage was poor, we clambered aboard one of the coaches. To our surprise it was a very old coach, very much in the style of a Harry Potter steam railway coach. We weren't all that bothered, being tired and just sat down. The train started to rumble out of the station. Looking around the coach it seemed poorly lit with a strong smell of diesel. I started to feel uncomfortable. There was no one else on board that coach so I decided to go on a walkabout. I slid the door open to the corridor only to be hit with the wind blowing through the coach door window that was still partially open. It was stuck and wouldn't close, I walked down the corridor to find the door shut to the next coach and there was no light in there. I walked to the other coach to find that door locked and no one in sight. Basically, we were moving ever forward into the darkness not knowing if we were on the right train. The train kept increasing in speed, which was disconcerting to say the least. Just to heighten the tension our coach light kept flickering which seemed very reminiscent of a gas mantle. Our imaginations started to run riot. Was there a driver? Was this a ghost train? Where were we going? When will we stop? Will we ever stop? The main problem was the lack of control over direction, speed and destiny.

The direction of travel for the country in the light of COVID-19 and all the problems that entails, both for the health of the nation and the economy, feels to me rather like being on that train. Decisions are being made too soon or not soon enough, but you don't have a say. Vision of what is in front is veiled in a fog and your hands aren't on the controls or the brakes.

What I do know is, even though that train journey back in 1982 felt really long, we did eventually roll into Preston station, familiarity was restored in the end. Rev Philip



Thought for today, 23rd June 2020

Unfortunately, the planned service on the Green this coming Sunday, the 28th, is having to be postponed. This is due to the advice from the Diocese. Having stated that, they recognize the advantages of worshipping outside and hope that we can proceed in the not too distant future. I know that many of you will be disappointed but there are also a considerable number of you that were uncomfortable about going ahead too soon. Taking all this into consideration I believe the decision to postpone is the right one. We will monitor the situation regularly.

Below is an extract from the Diocesan Coronavirus Team to my email, asking if we could go ahead with an outside service.

'It is likely that the number of people allowed to gather outside will be higher than the number of people allowed to gather inside, which will make outside worship more attractive and viable. To sum it up in one sentence:

It's not allowed now, we don't know when it will be, but hope it will be soon, and we do not know on what terms it will be allowed.' (Sam Cheeseman on behalf of the coronavirus team)

'Many waters cannot quench love neither can the floods drown it.' (Song of Songs 8 v7)

Today is Audrey's day! Also known as Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely. A daughter of a king, she desired to commit her life to prayer and chastity. She founded a religious house at Ely for both men and women, over which she ruled as Abbess. At her death on this day in 678, she was revered a s a woman of austerity, prayer, prophecy, an encourager, with concern for those in her care.



Thought for today, 22nd June

Today is St Alban's Day, the first Christian Martyr of Britain. You may already know the story, which was first recorded by the Venerable Bede, which tells of Alban who was a Roman Soldier in the city of Verulamium (now St Albans in Herefordshire). Christians were going through a period of persecution at this time during the reign of Emperor Diocletian and Alban came across a Christian priest who was on the run from the authorities. Alban sheltered him for several days and was very impressed with the priest's devotion in prayer and undeniable faith.

Alban received instruction from the priest and was converted. When the priest's hiding place was discovered, Alban dressed himself in the priest's cloak, to allow the priest to escape and was arrested in his place. Tortured by the Roman authorities, Alban refused to renounce his faith. He was beheaded on this day, probably in the year 250, and so became the first British martyr. His shrine stands today as a place of pilgrimage in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban.

It says in Paul's second letter to Timothy. "Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier's aim is to please the enlisting officer. In the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules.......'Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things."

To Alban, the enlisting officer that he wished to please was Jesus Christ himself. For Alban that meant sharing in the suffering of Christ as one of His good soldiers.


  

 Thought for today, 21st June 2020

'Saul was David's enemy from that time forward' (1 Samuel 18 v29)

Dr. Seuss wrote hundreds of children's stories. Some of his most famous are of course about The Grinch. Stories like, the day he stole Christmas, were among my children's favourites when they were growing up. The Grinch had some strange traits. When he got really jealous about someone, he would bite himself! Envy does that; it makes you target others but ends up consuming you instead.

In the Old Testament God blessed King Saul and elevated him to the highest position in Israel. But when David's great military accomplishments were recognized by the people, Saul became insecure and threatened. Instead of rejoicing that God had sent David to help him fight the enemy, Saul grew resentful and became 'David's enemy from that time forward.'

Envy is destructive and poisons a person's life. It causes a person to compare themself unfavourably with others. This forces them to forfeit their joy and contentment. They can become ungrateful and self-centered. We should always be able to rejoice in the success of others. We must remember that God made all of us His children, when none of us deserved it. Let's ask God to remind us of the many times He has blessed us when we didn't really deserve it!

Rev Philip



Thought for today, 20th June 2020

'This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it' (Psalm 118 v24)

There is a phrase in the Bible that is used hundreds of times and that phrase is, 'It came to pass.' It is something that registered with me as a small child in Sunday school. Not 'once upon a time' but 'it came to pass'. We should take those words literally, once upon a time leads us very much into a fairy tale or a legend. 'It came to pass' means precisely what says, things in life both good or bad, are not permanent. They were real for sure but not permanent. Life is a continuum of change. Accepting that will not only help you handle the bad times but stop you clinging so tightly to the good ones. There are three principles to help you enjoy the roller coaster of life.

Remember, every day is a gift. Find enjoyment in it and not just some of it. Even though you are always moving toward another goal or objective, learn to squeeze every ounce of joy out of the present. Don't let life slip away while you are waiting for the next big event.

Appreciate the little things. They are all around you- the delight on a child's face, the love of a friend, a good night's sleep, a kind deed, a fresh insight. When you appreciate what you have, it multiplies. So be grateful for the little things and God will give you even more to appreciate.

There are two lies you should never buy into. One is the forever lie, which says your situation will never improve. The other is 'the never lie', which says that if things get worse, you will never be able to handle them. Both are distortions. God's Word says that everything 'comes to pass'. It says in Ecclesiastes, 'To everything there is a season'. Endings bring new beginnings! So, keep trusting God and the cloud you are under right now will give way to sunshine. Rev Philip



Thought for today, 19th June 2020

Job said 'I beg God for help, but there is no answer...' (Job 30 v20)

Sometimes it may feel as though your prayers are not being answered and you wonder if He is listening. What does it mean if He doesn't seem to respond? Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from His silence.

The first thing to remember is that silence isn't the same as absence. King David said in his psalms 'Where can I go to escape your spirit? Where can I go to escape your presence? If I go up to heaven you are there, if I go down into the pit you are there also. (Psalm139)

You have to be very secure with somebody to just sit in silence and be peace with them. Silence takes the emphasis off words and builds an intimacy where words are no longer necessary. If you want to be that comfortable around God, then learn to enter into silence with Him without panic.

Silence also tests your trust level! How much trust is actually involved, if somebody is coaching your every step. It's like a parent running alongside a child who is trying to learn how to ride a bike. At this stage the child lacks confidence but she is going to look strange if at 18 her dad is still trotting beside her. At some point God takes his hands off the handle bars to see how far you have progressed. Your ride might get a bit wobbly for a while but it demonstrates how far you have come and allows your confidence to grow. Rev Philip



Thought for today, 18th June 2020

'Live not as people who do not know the meaning of life, but as those who do' (Ephesians 5 v15)

Before the virus came, a woman, recognizing her advancing years, wrote a letter to her friend: Dear Margaret, I am reading more and dusting less, admiring the garden more and fussing less about the weeds. I'm spending more time with loved ones and less time working. Since life's meant to be enjoyed, not endured, I'm no longer postponing the things that add joy and laughter. I'm using my best china to celebrate 'special events' like the first crocus, or losing a pound, I wear my new jacket to the supermarket and I'm not saving my expensive perfume, I wear it for supermarket workers and bank clerks. The word 'someday' no longer is part of my vocabulary. If it's worth doing its worth doing now!

Don't you wonder what some people might have done differently if they had known they wouldn't be around for the tomorrow we all take for granted? Hugged their loved ones more? Contacted estranged friends to mend fences? Pursued the opportunities they always talked about? I guess we'll never know. But we do know this: realizing our time here is limited, it's the little things that make us regretful: the unwritten letters, the unspoken 'I love you,' the unshared testimonies, the times we forgot to thank God for His blessings.

Each morning you should remind yourself that every minute and every breath is a gift. Maybe life's not the party you hoped for, but it is precious and you should make the most of it. Don't wait till tragedy reorders your priorities. So, start to live as a person who knows the meaning of life.' (Ephesians 5 v15) Rev Philip




Prayer for today

Almighty and glorious Father God of infinite grace and love, we know that you are listening to us and know our needs. In these difficult times, we are comforted by your constant presence and peace, and the knowledge that you are in control. We ask that you continue to guide, through Your Holy Spirit, those whom you have ordained to lead us forward, so that we can soon safely assemble again in worship.

We pray that the coronavirus will soon be defeated and ask for wisdom and guidance to those seeking a cure and a vaccine, and to the government and authorities in managing the economy, behaviour and health of the nation.

We thank you for the sacrificial work of key workers and ask for their and our protection from the virus. We thank you also for the kindness and community spirit shown in our neighbourhood, especially to the vulnerable and lonely.

We pray for the education, welfare and spiritual needs of our country's young people, and thank you for the work in the schools of our area.

And we also ask for a just and fair outcome to the ongoing Brexit negotiations, and for the trade negotiations with other countries.

Merciful Father, we ask that you heal those who are sick or in pain from the virus or other causes, give strength to the weak, joy to those in sadness, comfort to the lonely or bereaved, and encouragement to those in fear of the future, and help us also to be sensitive and responsive to their needs.

Lord, we bring things to you through your Son, our Saviour - Jesus Christ.

Amen

(Peter Bramhall)








Prayer 

Almighty and eternal God,

who for the firmer foundation of the faith

allowed your holy apostle Thomas

to doubt the resurrection of your Son

until word and sight convinced him:

grant to us, who have not seen,

that we also may believe

and so confess Christ as our Lord and our God;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen

 Collect for Thomas, 3rd July 
































Prayer

Almighty God,

whose Son restored Mary Magdalene

to health of mind and body

and called her to be a witness to His resurrection:

forgive our sins and heal us by your grace,

that we may serve you in the power of His risen life;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. 


 Collect for Mary Magdalene





































A poem about the Resurrection

Light's glittering morn bedecks the sky;

Heaven thunders forth its victor cry;

The glad earth shouts her triumph high,

And groaning hell makes wild reply,

While He, the King, the mighty King,

Despoiling death of all its sting,

And, trampling down the powers of night,

Brings forth his ransomed saints to light.

His tomb of late the threefold guard

Of watch and stone and seal had barred;

But now, in pomp and triumph high,

He comes from death to victory.

The pains of hell are loosed at last;

The days of mourning now are past;

An angel robed in light hath said,

'The Lord is risen from the dead.' J.M.Neale





















Prayer 

God of all peoples,
may we also be like the Samaritan woman:

willing to examine our lives in Jesus' presence
that we may be worshippers of the Father

in spirit and in truth,
that we may share with those we know

what it is like to meet with Jesus....
The truth revealed her faults,

yet liberated this unnamed woman.
May your truth reveal us to ourselves

and set us free in you.

Give us and all who thirst for you

that living water of your Spirit:
water of refreshment, water of healing,
water of cleansing, water of life.

Brian McKinley (adapted) 

























Prayer

Nicodemus

I always felt quite confident,
'till Jesus came along,
that we, the Pharisees, were right,
and all the rest were wrong.But Jesus, though a rabbi,
has a disconcerting gift
for showing the familiar
with an unfamiliar drift.At first I was quite certain, as
I heard what Jesus said,
unravelling the Torah,
that he turned it on its head.Yet every time, some slant of truth
that we had buried, grew
alive and relevant -- emerged
as though being born anew.I went to him for guidance,
could no longer stand the strain.
"It isn't just the teaching, Nic,
you must be born again!" Dennis Donald




















Prayer for today

Heavenly Father we come to you today with confidence because we know you are good and have our best interests at heart.

We look at the problems around us and can lose heart but when we look beyond them to you, we know you are still in control.

You asked us to represent you here on earth and we ask your Holy Spirit to help us demonstrate what you are like to the people around us.

You are using the internet to reach people who are seeking you yet would never come near a church building. We ask you to inspire and skill all those Christians expanding this powerful initiative.

None of us have ever faced such a shaking of all the institutions and organisations people have come to rely on. We pray for everyone involved in logistics, medical care and research. Grant them resilience in weariness, discernment in diagnosis and clarity in problem solving.

Help us to show compassion and encouragement to people who are ill or bereaved.

Thank you for your promise in Hebrews 13 "Never to leave you, never will I forsake you" so our future with you is secure.

Amen

Rob Langford





Prayer for today

Lord, I wait for the tide to turn. Until the distant becomes close, Until the far off becomes near, Until the outside is within, Until the ebb flows.

Lord, I wait for the tide to turn Until weakness is made strong, Until, blindness turns to sight, Until the fractured is made whole, Until the ebb flows.

Lord, I wait until the tide turns, Until the ordinary becomes strange, Until the empty is Presence full, Until the two become one. Until the ebb flows.

Taken from Tides and Seasons
















Prayer for today

Heavenly Father, as we plan and organize our worship over the next few weeks, help us to play our part in robust arrangements and planning. We pray that our safety measures will be effective at all times and where we may be lacking in anything, you will step in and shore them up with your grace. Amen

Rev Philip



















Prayer for today

Heavenly Father, as we plan our way forward, we place ourselves into your hands. Give our PCC and church officers wisdom and sound guidance, that all our people will be safe when we Worship you in our church building or outside through the coming months. Amen  
















Prayer for today

Lord, you are always with us, through both dark valleys and bright sunshine. You guide us with your staff and you are in control. At this difficult time, when people are uncertain about their future in both health and wealth, give us the assurance of your presence and your joy. Amen

Rev Philip


























Prayer for today

Help us Lord, to rejoice in each other's successes. Help us also to endeavour to bring out the best in each other. At this time when social interaction is difficult, unite us in prayer, that we will always pray with one mind and with one voice, to Your Glory and for the Glory of Your Kingdom. Amen

Rev Philip




















 Prayer for today

Eternal Father, when the gospel of Christ first came to our land you gloriously confirmed the faith of Alban by making him the first to win a martyr's crown: grant that , following his example, in the fellowship of the saints we may worship you, the living God, and give true witness to Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


















Prayers for Today

Faithful God, we pray today O Lord for your blessing to be upon this congregation, upon this church and upon our Diocese, and for your presence to be seen vividly in what we do and say each day. We pray that your joy and your love will flow freely in and through us.

Merciful Lord, In these troubled times we pray and give thanks for the health workers tending the seriously ill, for the scientists working on a vaccine, for the researchers analysing data and identifying trends, for the media outlets working to communicate reality, for the supermarket workers, hygiene and sanitation providers, for the good news stories of recoveries and effective planning, for the recognition that isolation doesn't need to mean loneliness, for the notes through letterboxes offering help and support, for the internet and telephones and technology that connects, for the awakened appreciation of what is truly important.

Loving Lord, we give thanks for all who have warm and loving relationships with their fathers and children and we pray for those who for whatever reason did not know their fathers, we will try to remember that this can be an uncomfortable day for you and others. And for those whose relationships with their fathers or children is painful or complicated, we support you. This Father's Day, we lift up our gratitude for all kinds of fathers, and for the amazing ways fatherly love transcends blood lines and legal categories.

Holy God, your love reaches beyond the grave. At the end of our days on earth be with us and with those we love and with those whom we love and have gone before us. We pray now for those who have recently died both Corona related and from other causes and for those bereaved by their passing.

Gracious God, we thank you for hearing our prayers and as we move into the coming week help us to remember our Saviour's words as he sent his disciples out into the world "As you go, proclaim the good news, the Kingdom of Heaven has come near". Amen

Sue Jones

Prayer for today

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours! Amen

Old Irish Blessing


















Prayer for today

Lord God help us to appreciate your presence with us at all times. Even when you are still and there is silence, help us to trust that you are always there. We ask for guidance in all things and we thank you for our independence. Even though we have free will, we pray our decision-making processes will always be founded upon your nature and your nurture. Amen

Rev Philip















    Prayer for today

Dear Father, help us to live life in the moment. Sometimes we can wait for tomorrow before doing the things we could clearly do today. In spite of the restrictions we have in this current time, help us to enjoy what is meaningful rather than just focusing upon the mundane. Amen

Rev Philip