Thought for the Day
Monday 11th May
Hello and welcome to our time of quite prayer and reflection from St Hughs todayThe Lord be with you.
This week is the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale: or “the lady with the lamp” as she is famously known as. As a nurse, Florence Nightingale is an inspiration to me: I loved reading her story as a child and her story inspired me to follow my vocation as a nurse. As a non-stipendiary priest I’m often asked how I see the two “jobs “working together. We: I don’t see them as “jobs”: I see them as on vocation really. Nursing has and still does play a big part in my ministry as a priest today.
Florence Nightingale struggled to become a nurse in her time and so its remarkable that the legacy she leaves today is on of determination, resilience, and courage. It was she who brought sanitation into the dreadful conditions of field hospitals in the Crimean war and later into the hospitals at home. Florence was responsible for the large Nightingale wards that I still remember form my younger nursing days and infection control measures that saved thousands of lives. Not only was she a nurse she was a remarkable statistician, social reformer and formed the establishment of St Thomas’ Hospital and within it the “Nightingale school of Nursing”.
Florence Nightingale attributes her vocation as a nurse to receiving her call from God while sat in her garden one day aged 17 years : At first she wasn’t sure what this calling us but as she continued to minister to the ill and poor in the village outside her family’s estate she came to the conclusion that nursing was to be her divine vocation. She had to endure tremendous difficults in overcoming the social and parental attitudes of the day: Girls from “well to do families “didn’t do such things.
But Florence was determined to follow her vocation, It took years of preparation and training before she embarked on her mission to the Crimea. It was a dangerous mission. She found herself in a hostile disease-ridden environment and she too had to overcome illness as she nearly lost her own life when she became ill with brucellosis (as did many of her nurses). But she had her faith and her trust in God and would refer to the words from psalm 46:”God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”
This year is the international year for Nurses and Midwifes and it was chosen to co-inside with the biocentenery of Florence nightingale. As I sat reflecting on this the other day, it somehow seems surreal that nurses and medical staff find themselves “celebrating this vocation in the midst of a pandemic. Corona virus that is sweeping through the globe. Once again they find themselves at the front of the fight against this terrible disease that has turned the world upside down, Once again they are giving of themselves so selflessly so that other terribly sick people can be given a chance to survive, to heal and continue to be part of their families and society. Once again, they are there when the fight becomes too much, and they stay be a patient’s bedside holding their hand as best they can through wearing PPE as they leave this earthly life. Once again, they are there for families of the sick and the dying. Day after day, shift after shift, enduring the constriction of wearing PPE and having to leave their own families at home. Many have contracted the virus and sadly some have paid the ultimate price for their dedication and service to caring for others.
As Florence Nightingale was helped by the words from psalm 46, the words from John 14:1, came to my mind:
“do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me”
As we very slowly begin to come out of lockdown, may we remember these words from John, many of us are fearful of the future, of what lays ahead of us. Life will be quite different for all of us for quite a while to c0me and adjusting to this will take time, courage and selflessness. But, as with Florence Nightingale, we will find the resilience to over come it . God tells us to put our trust in him, that he is our refuge and our strength.
And so as we remember the international year of Nurse and midwives and celebrate the bicentenary of Florence Nightingale, may we also remember that God calls each and every on of us by name to be present in the world wherever we find ourselves and in whatever situation we find ourselves : We know this because God told us in The words from Isaiah 43:1
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, and you are mine”
And so, during these very difficult and challenging times may we continue to pray for all our nurses, midwives and all who care for those I any kind of need.
Let us pray the Nightingale prayer
“Today, our world needs healing and to be rekindled with Love. Once, Florence Nightingale lit her beacon of lamplight to comfort the wounded. Her light has blazed a path of service across a Century to us– through her example and through the countless nurses and healers who have followed in her footsteps.
“Today, we celebrate the flame of Florence Nightingale’s legacy. Let that same light be rekindled to burn brightly in our hearts. Let us take up our own ‘lanterns of caring,’ each in our own ways– to more brightly walk our own paths of service to the world– to more clearly share our own ‘noble purpose’ with each other.
“May human caring become the lantern for the 21st century. May we better learn to care for ourselves, for each other and for all Creation”
“Through our caring, may we be the keepers of that flame. That our spirits may burn brightly to kindle the hearts of our children and great-grandchildren— as they, too, follow in these footsteps.”
Deva-Marie Beck, PhD, RN © 1996
Tuesday 5th May
It’s a year ago now that I was very privileged to take part in a pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine with our ministry team and a year ago today, we found ourselves in the little town of Nazareth.
Nazareth Old Town is a beautiful little place. It tiny narrow streets transported me back into biblical times: it was very much like the first place, we visited Jaffa, which Jenny spoke about last week. What struck me most when we arrived there was how peaceful and quiet it was and that was because it was the Sabbath. Now in Israel the Sabbath is observed by Christians as its day of rest and apart from the churches which opened for services that morning everything else was closed except for little eating place where we could get something to eat and a drink. So we spent most of the afternoon staying in our accommodation which was in an old Ottoman house: a very beautiful little place very typical of its times. we also saw a Greek Orthodox Christian christening when we wondered put at lunch time for a bite to eat.
Now Nazareth has a great significance for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, it was the place where Visitation of Mary took place where the Gabriel visited Mary to tell Her she would have a child and call him Jesus.
Secondly it was Jesus’s childhood home and thirdly it was the place where Jesus started his ministry and that is what I’d like to focus on today.
Jesus announced his ministry in the synagogue with words from with words from Luke Chapter 4 verses 16-19 “
“When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the sabbath and stood up to read the scriptures. The scroll of Isiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written. “the spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring God News to the poor. He has sent me to Proclaim that captives will be released, and the blind will see, and the oppressed will be set free the time of the Lords favour has come”
Now I’d always assumed and imagined that the synagogue where Jesus announced the commencement of his ministry would be quite a big place within the little town. It would have been be a significant place of worship and with that I imagined it being bigger than some of the surrounding buildings. But I could have been further from the truth: It was in fact a very small building. We eventually found the synagogue in a little narrow street, through a tiny small courtyard and it wasn’t very big at all: just a small rectangular room. What struck me was the fact that this most important message at the start of Jesus announcing his ministry happened in such a tiny building in such a small village. And the result of this announcement, was after three years of Jesus’ ministry within Galilee and the surrounding areas, Christianity was to spread around the world beginning on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples.
Now Interestingly last Sunday was vocation Sunday: a Sunday when we think about all the different ways we can be called to serve God. Vocations aren’t just about those who have been called to serve God in the ministry as Priests, but of the many other ways in which we can be called. We can be called to serve as deacons, we can be called serve as lay ministers. We can be called to serve with any office within the church or anything we do in the church: we can be called to Choristers we can be called to be the organist. We can be called to arrange the flowers. We can be called to be doctors nurses paramedics. We can be called to be social workers, carers, teachers, lorry drivers, delivery drivers, refuse collectors. Retail workers, plumbers, electricians the list is endless. What is important is that whatever gifts we are given we are called to do them in different ways. We are called by God to minister within whatever circumstances and situations, we find ourselves in.
In today’s situation, with the Corona virus circulating around the globe, we are having to think of how we serve God in different ways . As ministers of the church we are having to find different ways of serving and reaching out to our congregations and to our communities. We are having to learn to use things like social media and learn to video and do online services: things that are often very much our comfort zone and we are having to learn new skills. We’ve had to learn how to do our shopping in different ways. We’ve had to learn how to care for each other in different ways. We’re having to learn how to socialise together in different ways. I’m sure online quizzes and virtual family gatherings and gatherings of friends are becoming the norm at the moment
But one thing remains the same and that is the fact that we are God’s hands and God’s feet. It doesn’t matter how we minister or where we minister. We are called to be God’s hands, God’s feet, Gods’ voice, God’s eyes and God’s ears in this world in whatever situation we find ourselves in and in whichever way we are able to do this
As Mother Teresa of Avila says:
“’ Christ has no body now but yours. No hands , no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walked to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands yours are the feet yours are the eyes you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
And our calling don’t have come form big beginnings. Just as Jesus began his ministry over 2000 years ago in a tiny village in Palestine, our ministries too can begin from anywhere: large or small places, among large or small groups of people, and the effects will spread out among the community in the way God intends them too.
Now I’d like to leave you with a verse from Ephesians 30: 20
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all geberations for ever and ever: Amen “
May the grace of God be seen in your eyes
may the peace of God be heard in your words,
may the love of God be shown in your hand,
May the joy of God be sung in your heart
Amen generations forever and ever: Amen ”
You are Lord of all the seasons.
You are the Lord of all time and hold the world in your hands
1. ‘In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.’
We praise you O God , we acclaim you as Lord; all creation worships you , the Father everlasting, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
God of new beginnings , we meet you here on hard clay, hungry slugs and stubborn weeds, failures and half finished projects, in dying and decay.
In your name we offer thanks for worms and mould, patiently transforming waste into fertility , sharing the labour with us .
And so we thank God for hands to dig the soil. Thank God for legs to share the load.
Thank God for eyes to see the stranger.
Thank God for hearts to welcome them home.
The Song ‘ What a wonderful world’ Sung by children.
Friday 1st May
A leap of faith
” by faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later recieve as his inheritance, obeyed and went , even through he did not know where he was going” Hebrews 11:8
Grey squirrels look very attractive bouncing around the garden, but they lost their popularity with me when one of them chewed its way into our loft. It caused several hundred pounds of damage biting through electric cables. The house insurance didn’t cover it- squirrels are classed as vermin. Read the small print.
But yesterday ,I watched one squirrel in the garden. He was on the flat roof of a garage just the other side of our hawthorn hedge. He was abit agitated, running one way, then another. Suddenly, he took a massive leap, out and up, to the branch of a tree that must have been ten feet away. An enormous jump for such a small animal. He made it-just. Then with a twitch of his bushy tail he was away into new territory.
I don’t know why he jumped. Maybe he’d been scarred by something I couldn’t see. Perhaps he saw an opportunity ahead of him. Whatever it was he had the courage to take a leap of faith. To move on from where he was. A leap into the unknown.
Eddie Askew: Love is a Wild bird.
We have a squirrel who visits our garden and during the lockdown I have spent time watching him running around and feeding from the bird feeders.
Then he’ll run along the fence and jump off into a tree in nextdoors garden: a leap into the unknown.
We too are finding ourselves in unknown territory just now. The days seem to run into each other: we find ourselves having to make decisions and yet we find it difficult because we don’t even know what the immediate future is going to be like never mind the long term future. Things change from day to day. We long to be able to ” get back to normal” and yet we don’t know what that ” normal” will look like. So life’s not very easy at the moment. But what we do know is that we have had to change our ways of doing things and when lockdown is eased, we will have to move on. When circumstances change or new opportunities arise, we have to do something so we have to have courage. We have to be like that squirrel and take that leap of faith into the unknown, Just like Abraham, we don’t necessarily know how things will turn out, but we can be assured that we are never on our own because God is always there walking alongside us waiting to help.
Tuesday 28th April
Calming the storm
Ive been inspired these last few weeks by watching the TV programme “Race across the World” Five teams of two have to navigate their way across various countries with just a map and a certain set amount of money. They can use any means of transport except flying and have to cross 5 check points before reaching their final destination. The team in this series consisted of: a husband and wife, an uncle and nephew, a mother and son, a brother and sister and 2 friends.
Throughout the race, all the teams found themselves facing a multitude of challenges ranging from lack of resources, illness, unrest in one country resulting in one team being airlifted out and a constant risk of running out of money.
They had to find work to sustain themselves and learnt to seek and accept help from total strangers. Apart from the competitiveness within themselves( it was a race after al), they found inner strength, love, compassion, companionship, and learnt self resilience and self respect along the way.
I found the whole race additive and inspiring and admired the way in which each team faced up to their challenges and found a way through them.
We are now entering week 6 of lockdown due to the Corona virus circulation and causing havoc among us bringing utter despair, frustration and anguish. Yet among all of this we are also experiencing an outpouring of love and compassion, of dedication and respect to others, of self resilience and self respect, and an inner strength that manu of us never knew we had.
Of course we all have ups and downs and ther are times when we feel that this storm will never end and the news reels seem so negative and destressing. Im reminded of the story of the calming of the storm.
Luke 8:22-24 One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.
25 Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?”
They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, “Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!” Message bible
some of these disciples were experienced fishermen : they knew the dangers of the Sea of Galilee and how these storms could suddenly whip up, so they weren’t frightened without good course.
Just as we today can feel frightened and anxious it isn’t without good course. But as Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee, God calms the storms in our lives. He understands our fears today as we live through this storm of Covid -19. We see him walking alongside us through the love and compassion people are showing to others: often complete strangers as we care for each other. When we feel overwhelmed, maybe we can just take a deep breath and ask God to help us to be calm and relives our anxieties.
Heavenly Father, be a soothing voice within the storms that often seem to overwhelm us, calming the waters through witch we sail, Stilling the winds that would divert us and guide us safely throughout this day. Amen
Hope for tomorrow
Psalm 30:5: Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
I woke early today and sat outside listening to the dawn chorus: the birds flying from tree to tree, bush to bush, calling out to one another. The sun was raising , pushing away the night sky and a gentle breeze was in the air and the morning dew glistening on the grass.
Amidst all the difficulties and challenges we are all facing came the joy of a new day, The joy of the continuing renewal of creation; the renewal and healing of God’s world.
This reminded me of hope: of hope in God’s healing through the resurrection of Jesus: that the situation we find ourselves in is not the end : that hope and light come out of the darkness.
We continue to pray for all those suffering from the effects of Covid-19: for those who are ill at home and in hospitals, for those in care homes and hospices. We pray for those who care for them: medics, nurses, ancillary staff, GP surgeries, paramedics and family and friends caring for those at home and for those who are vulnerable.
God of compassion and love, we offer you all our suffering and pain. Give us strength to bear our weakness, healing even when there is no cure, peace in the midst of turmoil and love to fill the spaces in our lives. Amen Iona Abbey worship
He is Risen: He is risen indeed
We find ourselves waking up to a different kind of Easter this morning: not a” different Easter” but “a different way of celebrating Easter”. I found myself outside in my garden at dawn listening to worship and reflection via my computer as I lit my own Easter Candle and held it up to celebrate the risen Lord, the light of Christ coming once again among us.
This was the first time I have ever celebrated the Resurrection of Christ on my own and it was a rather beautiful yet emotional time. I must admit I had tears in my eyes, because of the enormity of the times we find ourselves in. I felt alone for a few minutes but then I realised I was not alone: so many of us are celebrating this Easter together: not in our churches but in our own homes connected by prayer and social media, Television and telephones.
It lead me to think about Mary: the first person and woman to find the empty tomb and to see our Risen Lord. How confusing it must have been for her: still in shock after the dreadful events of the past few days, tormented by grief and then finding Jesus’ body was not there. Then as she sits weeping, she hears a voice, looks up and sees Jesus standing the. She doesn’t recognise him at first but when Jesus speaks she immediately knows it is him.
Despair turns to joy: joy that Jesus’ death was not the end but the beginning:The beginning of a new life. What was once dark was now filled with glorious light.
Today ,we find ourselves in a difficult challenging, unbelievable place while a dangerous virus sweeps across the world. We too are wondering when this will all end and when we can return to ” some of normality”.
Today as we celebrate Easter, we see God at work among us, walking alongside those who suffer in many ways and those who are caring for them.
As Mary and the disciples lives were changed for ever, so will our lives be changed because of our experiences. But we can be assured that we are not alone, that the risen Christ is moving among us and that the light will does shine through the darkness.
May you all have a very blessed Easter
Holy Saturday/Easter Eve
Nearly a year ago now I had the privilege to visit Israel with our ministry team. After spending wonderful day in Jerusalem where we ” walked the way of the cross” we found ourselves at the garden tomb: a contested burial site where some feel Jesus was laid to rest
Whether this was Jesus burial site or not I it didn’t really matter. After the hustle bustle and noise of the city, I found a feeling of peace here: a feeling of tranquillity.
Holy Saturday is a quite day: imagine the disciples , gathered in that upper room, hiding and in fear. Not knowing what to do. Frightened to venture out for fear of being recognised. Perhaps wondering what on earth this had all being about. Tormented with grief.
I found myself sat in my own garden this morning, quite and peaceful, listening to the birds in the early morning mist, thinking, wondering how on earth we had come to be I the situation we are all in just now.
This year, our journey to the cross with Jesus has been very different: as the virus Covid-19 engulfs our world, we too find ourselves alone in our homes, isolated, fearing to venture out. Those who have to venture out to work, to care for the sick and dying , the venerable and needy, do so in fear: for themselves , for those they work alongside and for those they care for.
This year, we spend time in silence as the world as we know it has come to a standstill. We can feel surrounded by darkness and feel the world and our lives will never be the same again.
We have the benefit of knowing the next part of this journey but the disciples didn’t. They waited in silence, anxious and in fear: maybe as we feel at this moment in time.
And yet ,as we sit and wait for this currant disease to pass, we can rest in the knowledge that God is in the midst of it all. We are not abandoned and alone. God is here walking alongside us. How do we know this: because we know that Christ will be risen again and live among us
So today, as we await the risen Lord, let us enjoy the sun, let us make that Easter Garden, let us talk to our family via social media and phone, let us care for those ill, isolated and alone and let the light over come the darkness.
” for the light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it” John 1: 5
I share with you a post I received from my brother(Joe) this morning. May we open ourselves to and embrace the love of God expressed through the life and ministry of his Son Jesus Christ self-giving love especially through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection. 🌈🙏😇
‘Morning Family & Friends,
It is GOOD FRIDAY or should I say “It’s the BEST FRIDAY”
“IT IS FINISHED”
Opening Scripture:(John 19:28,30)“After this, Jesus knew that everything had been done. So that the Scripture would come true, he said, ‘I am thirsty’ . . . When Jesus tasted the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and died.”
Important Truth: The only person ever to finish everything he had on his plate before he died was Jesus. Scripture: John 4:34, Jesus said, “My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do”
Fortunately for you and me, Jesus did finish the work God gave him. Right before Jesus died on the cross on the first Good Friday, the Bible says, “After this, Jesus knew that everything had been done. So that the Scripture would come true, he said, ‘I am thirsty’ . . . When Jesus tasted the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and died” (John 19:28, 30
WHEN JESUS SAYS IT’S FINISHED, “It is finished,” it was a shout of victory. The phrase is a single word in the original Greek: tetelestai. It was a very common word in ancient Greek society with many meanings. When Jesus said these words on the cross, he was referring to each of the meanings: It was used by servants and employees who return to their master with news they had finished the task.
Jesus had finished the task God had given him.
1. It’s a legal term judges would use to announce that a prisoner had completely served his prison time. Jesus made sure that justice had been served for our sin.
2. It was an accounting term meaning a debt had been paid in full. Jesus completely paid our debt.
3. Artists used the term when painting a picture to denote their final stroke. Jesus’ sacrifice finished God’s great masterpiece by making it possible for the pinnacle of his creation—us—to be redeemed from our sin.
4. Priests used the term when they offered a sacrifice to God to say, “The sacrifice has been made.” Jesus’ death on the cross was the sacrifice for our sin.
A SINGLE WORD “FINISHED”. is what separates Christianity from every other religion on the planet.
All other religions are about what you need to do to be right with God.
JESUS SAYS: “It is finished.” You don’t need to do anything to have access to God. He’s done everything!
May you have a very blessed Easter!
HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY: PASTOR J.
This morning we ,at St Hugh’s, planned to have our Good Friday Activity Morning for children. This year we had planned to tell them the meaning of the Easter Story through the legend of ” the three trees and a king. We were planning to have lots of activities including games, baking Easter biscuits, making Easter Gardens, planting a willow tree in our little garden we are developing, making wall hangings telling the story of three Trees and a King and having an Easter Egg Hunt in the church along with music and songs.
Sadly we cant do this this year but Easter is still happening. This year we find ourselves walking alongside Jesus through this Easter Journey in our own homes connecting through social media. We can still have our activity morning together with our families and so here is the story of ” The Three Trees and a King. Maybe you would like to have a go at some of the activities above. Then take some photos of what you have made and share them with us: we will celebrate Easter together.
The Story of the Three Trees and a King
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.
The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”
The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!”
The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”
Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.
The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell.
“Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest. I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said.
The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell.
“Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!”
The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven.
But the woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me,” he muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.
The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals.
The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.
The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead, the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail on an ocean, or even a river; instead, she was taken to a little lake.
The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard.
“What happened?” the once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”
Many, many days and night passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams.
But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox.
“I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered.
The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said.
And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.
One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake.
Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain.
The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.
And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.
One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her.
She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.
But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth tremble with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything.
It had made the third tree strong.
And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.
That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
The next time you feel down because you didn’t get what you want, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.
A reflection by the Ven Mark Steadman, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey ” I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”
Jesus was still speaking, when Judas the betrayer came up. He was one of the twelve disciples, and a large mob armed with swords and clubs was with him. They had been sent by the chief priests and the nation’s leaders. Judas had told them ahead of time, “Arrest the man I greet with a kiss.”Judas walked right up to Jesus and said, “Hello, teacher.” Then Judas kissed him. Jesus replied, “My friend, why are you here?” The men grabbed Jesus and arrested him. One of Jesus’ followers pulled out a sword. He struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. But Jesus told him, “Put your sword away. Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting. Don’t you know that I could ask my Father, and right away he would send me more than twelve armies of angels? But then, how could the words of the Scriptures come true, which say that this must happen?”
Judas’ betrayal comes to its fulfilment as he arrives with a mob to arrest Jesus. For Judas to call Jesus ‘teacher’ and kiss him on the cheek was an insult that not only identifies Jesus to the mob but also shows his utter rejection of Jesus. Jesus responds with the word ‘friend’, perhaps to remind him of his place at the Last Supper. In cutting off the servant’s ear, perhaps Peter misreads the situation – Jesus is not a helpless victim who needs defending, he is in absolute control of these events.In Christ alone
When darkness seems to hide his face
I rest on his unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the saviour’s love
Through the storm, he is Lord, Lord of all
Are you facing difficult situations today? Ask Jesus to help you trust that he is in control.
“Servanthood is an attitude exemplified by Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7).
This morning Clergy from around the diocese would have been gathering in Lincoln Cathedral where we would have joined together in the renewal of our ministerial vows: of our commitment to ministry. Although we are unable now come together physically, we will be following a service online as we renew our commitment in a new way: the way of technology.
We are, as deacons, priests and bishops , called to be servants of Christ: servants wherever and in whatever situation we find ourselves: and none is more strange and challenging as we find ourselves today. We , along with all everyone , have found ourselves isolated from our families, friends colleagues and form you all: our congregations and parishes.
Over these past few weeks life has changed immeasurably for all of us and we are having to find new ways of ” being servants of Christ” What is remarkable is that in these rather dark and difficult times, we have seen so many give selflessly of themselves: Heath care works, Retail worker, teachers, delivery drivers, neighbours looking after the elderly and those more venerable to illness, comforting the sick and the bereaved: the list is endless and very humbling.
So in these times we find ourselves in, may we all continue to be ” servants of Christ” in the many different ways we are experiencing.
As Mother Teresa of Avila says
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
May you continue to know Gods presence and blessing in your lives and through this Holy Week.
Brother ,Sister, Let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you
pray that I may have the grace, to let you be my servant to.
We are pilgrims on a journey, fellow travellers on the road we are here to help each other,walk the mile and bear the load
I will hold the Christ light for you, in the night time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you want to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping. when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow, till we’re seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together, of Christ’s love and agony.
Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
John 11:1-2 “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with Ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill”
Almighty and everlasting God
who in your tender love towards the human race
sent you Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross;
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be partakers of his resurrection;
through 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,
Light of the world, you stepped into the darkness, opened my eyes, let me see the beauty that made this heart adore you, hope of a life spent with you.
King of all days, oh so highly exalted, glorious in heaven above; humbly you came to the earth you created, all for loves sake became poor.
So here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you’re my God. And your altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.
And you’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross, and you’ll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross.
So here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you’re my God. And your altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.
“Life is full of ups and downs. Glorify God during the ups and fully trust in Him during the downs.”: Anon
Today many of us would normally be in church with our palm crosses and branches celebrating Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem.
This year is so different for all of us. Rather then being part of a visible crowd singing “Hossana’s to our King”, we find ourselves isolating at home separated from our family and friends. We are all on a very different journey to what we have experienced and yet through all this chaos and fear, we see communities coming together: walking this journey together. Many are giving selflessly of themselves: working in extremely difficult conditions: caring for the sick, comforting the beavered, providing food and provisions for those unable to leave their homes, working in retail, providing home delivery meals and the many other numerous ways in which we are coming together to care for one another.
As we begin our journey with Jesus through Holy week , a very different journey for many of us this year, may we remember that although we cannot be part of a visible crowd, we are very much part of a crowd: through modern technology, through telephone contact , through our caring for others, through prayer.
As we journey with Jesus through holy week , sharing in his suffering and that of many others around us, may we know the peace and love of God in our hearts and homes.
When I survey the wonderous Cross on which the prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it Lord ,that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God: all the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood.
See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingling down: did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.
Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small; love so amazing , so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
A prayer for those doing school at home today: written by a child
Dear God, thankyou for my cosy home. Thankyou that you are here with me. Help me to learn new things today about your world. Fill my mind with joy and delight. Help me to be patient if I haven’t got a garden to run around in. Please heal the people that are ill and help the doctors and nurses who are looking after them. Please keep us all safe and thankyou for being my friend -Always
Looking after our mental health due these challenging times.
The effects of mental health problems are huge. Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems have been affected by stigma and discrimination. Given the challenging times we are living in with coronavirus, the reflections in this booklet were updated and new resources written in March 2020. They seek to provide hope, reassurance and comfort.
If you want to speak to someone, please visit the Mental Health Foundation website, which has lots of helpful resources and contacts. Visit http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk.
Written by Professor Chris Cook and accompanied by “have a go” habits developed by Ruth Rice
The following webpage has a daily focus of different aspects of isolation and ways in which we can use scripture and prayer to support us.
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood, Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Since I have neither bread nor wine nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols… I will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labors and suffering of the world.”
Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Sunday: Passion Sunday
Such love pure, pure as the whitest snow; such love, weeps for the shame I know; Such love, paying the debt I owe; O Jesus such love.
Such love, Stilling my restlessness; such love; filling my emptiness; such love; showing me holiness; O Jesus, such love.
Such love springs from eternity; such love, streaming through history; such love, fountain of life to me; O Jesus, such love
we entrust to your tender care
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.
Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, you taught us to love our neighbour and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend to the sick and to assure the isolated of our love and your love. In your names sake : Amen
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our