Musings from our Circuit ministers
Pray for peace in the Middle East - for people who are hurting on both sides of the conflict; for those trying to help others; for those waiting for news of loved ones; and for those in mourning.
Jesus taught that we are all one, and we need each other. The Apostle Paul gave us a picture of being a body, and when one part hurts, the others suffer with it. So let's feel the pain of the situation, and allow that pain to take us into prayer for those who hurt, whether in the midst of things or from a distance.
We do not know what the outcome will be, but we trust in God who holds us all in his hands.
Happy New Year! The new Methodist year begins on 1st September, and so we pray for ministers settling into new Circuits and for the congregations who welcome them.
We pray also for children starting school, and their teachers, especially where the school building has been affected by the presence of RAAC and has been deemed unsafe. We pray for all those making arrangements for classes while this is remedied.
We pray for young people preparing to go to university, and for those beginning new jobs and apprenticeships.
And we pray for you reading this, whoever you are, that God might bless you and continue to reveal himself to you.
Oops, what happened to June?! Well, part of it was taken up with us getting a puppy, and we have been adapting to life with her. She is settling in, and we have begun puppy training classes.
One of the many cute things about dogs is the way they put their heads on one side when you are talking, as though they are really listening hard. This may be true, though I suspect they may just be listening for the word 'biscuit'!
It's such a gift when someone listens to you - really listens, giving you their full attention. We believe God listens to us in this way, and we can listen back in the same way, quietening our hearts to hear. We can listen to other people that way, too. What might we hear if we were to really listen, rather than just give half our attention? What might we encourage them to share? How might we get to know them better? Why not give it a go?
What an amazing day the Coronation was. The coaches, the parades, the clothes, the music, the precision of it all. And all set in a church service, where King Charles promised not to be served, but to serve. These are words that Jesus said when telling his disciples what kind of kingdom his would be: not one where people lord it over one another, but where they serve each other. If you have a Bible, you can look it up in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 20 and verses 20-28 (if you don't know where to find Matthew, there is a contents list in the front of the Bible).
Imagine a world where everyone did that; where instead of spending all their money on themselves, they shared it with others; where people used some of their free time to help those around them; where those in power put the poorest first. Of course there are lots of people like this, and we are very thankful for them! But if we all did this, what a difference it would make. What can we each do, to make this a reality?
We're celebrating Easter and resurrection, while around us things seem bleak. The cost of living crisis means that more people are going hungry; using food banks; losing their businesses; seeing savings used up. The war in Ukraine is in its second year, and the conflict in Sudan has led to people being airlifted out, with each person having their own tale of loss in that situation. How can we speak of new life?
We believe in the resurrection of Jesus, not simply as an historical event, but something we can see when people come together as one, refusing to let divisions come between them and their neighbours. We see it in forgiveness offered and love shared. We see it in new hope and possibilities for people to feel safe and secure, and build their lives.
Will you live the resurrection and hold out your hand in peace to the one who, though they may look and sound different to you, and have different ideas and ways of being, is your sibling in the human family?
There are many stories in the Bible of people who came to Jesus expecting to be judged, instead finding acceptance and welcome. You can imagine how much that annoyed the ones who thought he ought to be judging people!
Maybe you have experience judgment from church. That's not God's view on things. He never judges, but helps us first to find acceptance and then to deal with things that are harming us, in the knowledge that we will never be rejected.
Easter is coming, with its promise of new life. That life is available to you, if you just ask God. And if you would like a supportive fellowship to help you explore this life, I hope you will find that we've learned a lot about the things we all carry, and are ready to offer a smiling face and not a cold shoulder.
In whatever you are doing; even now as you look at the screen, take a few breaths. The words in both Hebrew and Greek (the languages of the Bible) for 'breath' is the same as for 'Spirit'. So when we take time to breathe, we can ask God to strengthen us by the Spirit for all that we need to do. Hand things over to God and ask for his help in whatever you are facing.