Kate's Blog 


Blog posts will now just be on Mondays and Fridays

Friday 15 October


I really like this cartoon.  People often don’t want to be told to cheer up; they need to know that there are people around them who are there to offer love and support.
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I close with a prayer from Food for the Hungry website:
 
Lord, we thank you that you are the God of refuge. You are mighty, powerful, righteous, and true. Today, we come to you in prayer asking for your love, protection, and provision.
 
We know you are the one true source of hope.
 
Please be a place of refuge and a constant presence of love and support for all those experiencing fear, anxiety, and loneliness. Please care for the physical needs of those who are struggling to provide for their families. Bring peace and healing to those who have lost loved ones or are dealing with life-threatening illnesses.
 
Please help us come to you for hope and guidance during times of uncertainty. It’s through your grace that we can continue to serve one another in your name no matter the circumstance. We ask for your peace in place of our anxiety.
 
We pray these things in your heavenly name.  Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 11 October


So today is my birthday and I am very grateful to be here to celebrate approaching 50, as there were many occasions when I thought I would not be here now.  I have learnt that life is fragile and that I need to focus on what is important and be grateful for all I have.
 


I end today with a prayer by Kelli Mahoney:
 
Thank you, Lord, for the blessings you have bestowed on my life. You have provided me with more than I could ever have imagined. You have surrounded me with people who always look out for me. You have given me family and friends who bless me every day with kind words and actions. They lift me up in ways that keep my eyes focused on you and make my spirit soar.
 
Also, thank you, Lord, for keeping me safe. You protect me from those things that seem to haunt others. You help me make better choices and provide me with advisors to help me with life's difficult decisions. You speak to me in so many ways so that I always know you are here.
 
And Lord, I am so grateful for keeping those around me safe and loved. I hope that you provide me with the ability and sense to show them every day how much they matter. I hope that you give me the ability to give to them the same kindness they have provided to me.
 
I am extremely grateful for all of your blessings in my life, Lord. I pray that you remind of just how blessed I am and that you never allow me to forget to show my gratitude in prayer and returned acts of kindness.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

Friday 8 October

This is something I need reminding of!

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I end with a prayer by Renner:

Lord, I am so thankful for Your love that never fails and never deserts me.  I am filled with gratitude that nothing in this world has the power to disconnect me from Your awesome, powerful, life-changing love.  In moments when I feel overwhelmed by circumstances or problems, I ask that You give me a special awareness of your unfailing love in my life.  I pray this in Jesus' name, Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love
Kate

Monday 4 October

I don’t love the darker mornings, especially when I have to go to work, but I do love the autumn colours.
 
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I close with a prayer by John Birch:
 
We see signs of summer's passing in golden leaves,
shortening days, misty mornings, autumn glow.
We sense its passing in rain that dampens,
winds that chill, Harvest's bounty placed on show.
Creator God, who brings forth
both green shoot and hoar frost,
sunrise and sunset,
we bring our thanks
for seeds that have grown,
harvests gathered,
storehouses filled,
mouths fed.
And, as your good earth rests
through winter's cold embrace,
we look forward to its re-awakening
when kissed by Spring's first touch.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Friday 1 October


I really like this quote by Corrie ten Boom.  I worry so much about tomorrow and what it will bring, but rather than try and fortune tell, I need to wait and deal with things when they actually occur.
 
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I close with an anonymous prayer:
 
Heavenly Father,
When I feel crushed by my own worries,
Lift my mind and help me to see the truth.
When fear grips me tight and I feel I cannot move,
Free my heart and help me to take things one step at a time.
When I can’t express the turmoil inside,
Calm me with Your quiet words of love.
I choose to trust in You, each day, each hour, each moment of my life.
I know deep down that I in Your grace, forgiven, restored by Your sacrifice, You have set me free.  Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Monday 27 September

However we are feeling, good or bad, God is always with us.

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I close with a prayer by Charles Stanley:

Lord, I’m here today with open hands and an open heart, ready to depend on you to help me through the day and all it will bring my way. Help me be like Nehemiah, help me come to you for guidance, strength, provision, and protection. As I face tough choices and hard situations, help me remember my belovedness, help me remember that I am Your child and Your representative to the world around me. Help me live today in a way that brings honour to Your holy name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 24 September

I may not do a lot of physical walking anymore but I should definitely practice walking away from things.
 
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I end with a prayer by Lysa Terkeurst:
 
Lord, when my heart is overwhelmed, overwhelm me with Your peace. Lead me to You, my rock. Guide me to Your Word which gives me strength and refuge. Help me not to run to lesser things. Draw me to run to You first. Help me get into the habit of taking my “overwhelmed” and placing it under your will. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Monday 20 September


I have been doing some training at work on diversity and inclusion and even though I think that, because of my own circumstances, I am fairly inclusive I still need to ensure that I regularly make sure that I don’t develop any hidden biases.

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I close with a prayer from Catholic Online:
 
Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.
It is your will that they be gathered together
as one family in yourself.
Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love
and with the desire to ensure justice for all.
By sharing the good things you give us,
may we secure an equality for all
our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
May there be an end to division, strife and war.
May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 17 September


I spent many years trying to achieve the things that I perceived as ‘normal’ such as getting a job, getting married and having children.  I would so often compare myself to those who had achieved those things.  I have realised now that God’s plan for my life is different to others and that I need to embrace that.
 
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I end today with a prayer by Nicole Kirchner:
 
Lord,
I surrender my life to you. I want to do something, to make something happen, all on my own strength, but I know without you I can do nothing. I know my life is not my own, it is yours to work through me. Lord, I am grateful for this life you’ve given me. You’ve blessed me with different gifts and talents. Help me understand how to cultivate those things to bring glory to your great name.  Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Monday 13 September


I would like to share this Pooh and Piglet story which was written by Kathryn Wallace and posted on her ‘I know I need to stop talking’ Facebook page for World Suicide Prevention Day last Friday:
 
The sky was dark over the Hundred Acre Wood, and Pooh sat there, head hanging low, on a carpet of leaves. There were so many thoughts going around his head; thoughts that he knew he would never be properly able to articulate, however hard he tried. And, even if he did, what was the point of doing so? When nothing could change, not really.
 
Piglet sat next to him, right by his side.
 
Pooh waited for Piglet to ask him what was wrong, and then to try to solve all of his problems, which was what Well Meaning People so often did, even when these weren't problems that could be solved; even when just the very thought of someone trying to solve his problems made Pooh weary with exhaustion, like he wanted to climb into a dark, solitary cave until the rest of the world went away.
 
But Piglet stayed silent; and Pooh found that his quiet, constant companionship was in many ways far more soothing, far more reassuring, than any kind of words at all.
 
"If you want to talk," said Piglet eventually, "then I'm here to listen. But if you need to Just Be, then I'm here for that, too."
 
"Thank you," said Pooh, in a wobbly kind of voice; and a solitary tear snaked its way down his cheek.
"I just feel..." he tried, and then stopped. "Oh, I don't know what I feel, Piglet. Sad, and Angry, and Desperate, and Alone, and Frightened, and Broken, and Numb, and every other kind of emotion it's possible for one bear to feel. Just... what is the point of it all? Really? There is no point. I'm useless; and I think, you know, that the world might be a better place without me in it. Because I don't matter. I don't." And he looked out at the trees in the forest with eyes that were at once both empty, and wracked with pain.
 
"You matter to me," said Piglet, in a little voice. Then, more stridently: "You do, Pooh. Oh, you do.
You matter to me; so very, very much."
 
***
In years to come, Pooh would often refer back to this moment in the forest as the moment when he first felt, perhaps, that he could go on. That he would go on. Not alone, and not without support. But to know that he mattered to somebody... that was a wonderful thing.
 
"But what about all of those people who don't have a Piglet to tell them that," he mused fretfully to Piglet, one evening. "What about them?"
 
Piglet nodded thoughtfully. "They need to hear that too," he agreed. "While it might not feel like it, particularly when you're all alone: you matter. Oh, you matter. You matter to so many different people. How you're feeling right now: this isn't forever, however much it might feel like it. There is help out there. There are people who will listen. Things can get better. I promise you.
"You matter. You matter so much."
 
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I close with a prayer by Sarah Griffith Lund:
 
God of the valleys
God of the shadows
God of the pit of despair
We claim your Holy Presence everywhere.
When we see hope dimly,
You are there.
When we see life fading,
You are there.
When we see life end,
You are there.
We pray this day for all who experience suffering because of suicide.
For the person who is thinking about suicide,
For the person who is recovering from suicide engagement,
For all who fear suicide will touch them,
For all who have known the pain caused by suicide,
Grant us peace.
We pray for the arms of HOPE to enfold all of us, like a soft blanket wrapped around us, holding our pain, holding our loneliness, holding our inexpressible sorrow.
Hold onto us, God of love, even when we want to let go.
Hold onto us.
Grant us one more day.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Friday 10 September


I really like this note to self, even though ‘grown-up’ we still need to look after ourselves as much as we can because we are, and always will be, fragile beings.
 
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I end with an anonymous prayer:
 
Lord, lift me up for Your blessings today. I pray that you will anoint me with strength and self-care today, tomorrow, and always; that You will grace me with patience and wisdom. I pray that You will encourage me throughout the day to take the correct steps to walk proudly and behave well. In Your name, I pray all these things, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Monday 6 September


I sometimes struggle to sleep at night and one thing that I find does help me to relax and eventually fall asleep is by praying.  I never thought of it like this though!
 
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I close with a prayer by Julie Palmer:
 
Dear Father in Heaven,
 
Here, safe with you, I drink in your peace. Help me to sift through the many experiences, feelings and thoughts I have encountered today. I allow myself to rest, to wind down and to be still. Help me to surrender all I am to you, my fatigue, my concerns, my hopes and fears.
 
As I sleep tonight, I choose to hold your hand. I choose to live with you. I choose to believe, I choose to trust, I choose you always. Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 
 

Friday 3 September


This meme is very true; I think we should all take time to tell someone that they are appreciated as this can make a big difference to a person’s day.
 
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 I end with a prayer from the Lords Prayers Words website:
 
Lord
Let the details in life take my attention today
A warm mug of tea
The gentle grass under my feet
And the chance just to gather and eat
 
O Lord
Let the everyday pleasures ring out melodies in my heart
The smile of a friend
A warm comfy bed
The sunlight on the trees and walks in the park
 
O Lord
Let the more ordinary reveal its amazing delight
Clouds drifting by
Birds sweeping high
The sunset that transforms day into night
 
Lord
May these things inspire me to praise
And bring a clear moment of sight
Now I see how amazing the world truly is
And soak in Your goodness and light
Amen


Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Monday 30 August


I am currently co-tutoring a group of people who are training to become Worship Leaders and Local Preachers in the Methodist Church and something that we talk a lot about, especially at the start, is our call.  I am blessed that God has called me to be a Local Preacher but I am also blessed that God has called me, at this current time, to work as a Help to Claim Adviser.  Whatever our call, and whenever we fulfil it; God will use us to reach out to others.
 
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I close with a prayer from the ibelieve website:
 
Dear God,
 
Thank you that even if what we see in front of us doesn’t feel good or look good, your plans are good. That even if harm comes our way, you’ll use it for good. Thank you for the hope we can find in you. We trust that you have our future planned out from the very beginning. Allow us to rest in you and rest in your master plan. Give us the confidence that you have nothing but good planned for us. Remind us that even though we don’t know the full plan, that you know the plan. May we lean into you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Friday 27 August


I really like this meme.  Even though it can impossible at times, all of us are called to love like Jesus.
 
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I close with a prayer from the Faith in Motion website:
 
God, I have declared my love for you countless times, but I have not equally demonstrated the authenticity of that love by sensitively, compassionately and selflessly loving those around me in ways that they would recognize as true love. Forgive my neglect, and help me to allow the kind of love you have for me to be demonstrated toward others. May I be real life proof of your love throughout this day. Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Monday 23 August


One place where I can be guaranteed to have a laugh each week is at my dance group on a Thursday afternoon, in fact I tend to ache more from laughing rather than dancing!  It is my oasis in a busy week and somewhere I can be sure that I will have a good time being me and being a bit silly.  Having time to laugh and be ourselves should be prescribed medication at least once a week as it contributes so much to our wellbeing!
 
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I end with a prayer by Maynard Originals:

Dear Lord Jesus, there are so many sad and troublesome things to face in the world today, which too often cause our hearts to become weighed down with difficulties and doubts — but I pray that Your joy would fill my heart and strengthen my soul.. and that times of joyful laughter would replace those seasons of weeping and hardship.
I pray that in Christ I may be clothed in strength and dignity, wisdom and grace and that I may be enabled to laugh in the storms and not to fear the future, knowing that our times are in Your hands and You have promised to draw near to each one of us.. and be with us in every circumstance of life that may come our way..
I pray that Your joy and laughter may flow through me to others who are facing similar difficulties and hardships — and that together we may maintain an ever deepening trust in You as we look for Your any day return to take us to be with Yourself — this I ask in Jesus name, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Friday 20 August


I would like to share this Pooh and Piglet story written by Kathryn Wallace as feel that it is heartfelt and poignant:
 
It was a beautiful day in the Hundred Acre Wood, but Pooh and Piglet barely noticed how blue the sky was overhead as they walked through the forest, each lost in their own thoughts.

"I just feel so useless," Pooh blurted out, as they reached a clearing on top of a hill, from which it was possible to look down right across the valleys below. "So useless, and so helpless. Here we are, Piglet. Here in our little bubble. And while no one, least of all me, would say these last few months have been easy... we are so lucky, Piglet. SO lucky."

"I know," said Piglet, in a quiet voice. "I know." For a while, they stood there in silence; their heads full of the awfulness they had heard about and seen on the news.

Awfulness that it was too easy to pretend that was happening another world away; when in fact it was everyday people, just like them, caught up in the atrocities and the horrors of conflict.


"What can we do?" Pooh asked, sadly and slowly. "What can we do?" They had given, what little they could, but it still felt so poor, so pitiful, in the face of such disaster.

"I don't know," said Piglet. "Perhaps, Pooh, as we stand here... perhaps let's just take some time, to think of those people - those men, those women, those children, those families - caught up in all of this. Perhaps it might help them, to know that they are in our thoughts. To know that they are not alone."

"Will it?" Pooh asked his friend. "Will it really?"

"I don't know," Piglet told him honestly. "I don't know."

And the two friends stood together, thinking hard, looking up at the sky; while, hundreds and thousands of miles away, the guns blazed, and the bullets flew, under the self same azure sky.

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I close with a prayer for peace by Sue Cooper from CAFOD:
 
Jesus, Prince of Peace,
Be with your peoples
Suffering the storms of war,
In fear of thundering weapons,
Shedding raindrops of tears
For lost loved ones,
Lost homes,
And lost futures.
 
Shine on them Lord,
The sun of justice,
Bring them fresh breezes of hope,
The gentle warmth of confidence and trust
Built on a springtime of reconciliation.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

 
 

Monday 16 August


Last week I had the opportunity not only to rest but reflect on all that has changed over the past few months.  It has meant that I have come back recharged and ready to cope with everyday life again.
 
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I end with a prayer by St. Therèse of Lisieux and St. Theresa of Avila:
 
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Friday 13 August


This weekend marks 13 years since my sister Kerry passed away and 6 years since my best friend Laura passed away.  It is a reminder that life on this earth is short and we need to try focus on the blessings around us.  I don’t always find that easy but do try to make the most of things, especially new opportunities, as Laura and Kerry did not get to experience many of the things that I do.
 
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 I end with a prayer by Annabel Shilson-Thomas:
 
God of our longing,
hear our prayers
protect our dreams,
and listen to our silent hopes.
 
Deal gently with our pain,
speak to our sadness,
and remove the barriers
that imprison our spirit.
 
Shed your light
where shadows are cast,
that we may feel your warmth
and know your presence.
 
Give us courage
to hold fast to our vision
that we may build our world
and create our future.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

 
 

Monday 9 August

I wonder if this is familiar to anyone?  It is very familiar to me and something that I have always struggled with and have yet to come up with a solution to.  I do try to hand them over to God wherever possible or try to replace my problems with gratitude.  It often isn’t that easy though and I can spend ages going over and over problems in my head!
 
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 I close with a prayer by Mary Fairchild:
 
Dear Jesus,
 
Please hear my prayer. I go along each day, trying to run my life my own way. I forget to let go and give you control.
 
I wonder why things aren't going the way I want them to go. I forget to stop and ask what you want, Lord. Please help me to give you control, Jesus. I want to follow you. I want what you desire for me.
 
Help me to realize that when you close one door, you open the one you want me to walk through. Help me also to realize that what I desire may not be what is meant for me, or what is best for me. Maybe it will lead me away from what your great plan is for me.
 
Lord, let me accept each day as a gift. Let me follow the path you choose for me. Help me to be thankful for what you give me and not to worry about my needs. I trust you will take care of all my needs. Remind me that my role is to care for those around me and focus on those who need my help.
 
Help me not to be judgmental, as we are all equal in God's eyes. Help me to see the good in all of your creations. Let me leave the judging to you, dear Jesus. Instead, I will concentrate on living to please you!
 
Help me, dear Jesus, be who and what you want me to be. Give me strength, faith and hope, and most of all, give me guidance each and every day. I let go and give you control.
 
In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Friday 6 August


This is very true!  I think it can be very easy to offer ‘advice’ to others but only they know how they are feeling.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is just to walk alongside a person, helping them to take one step at a time.

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I close with a prayer written by a member of Hartwell Church, Melbourne, Australia:

Our God
We pray for empathy – seeking to understand:
ideas, people, situations, ourselves, our faith, our hopes,
seeking, exploring the why of life, the why of who we are.
Seeking because we know that only by seeking,
do we go beyond ourselves,
to where answers reside,
answers that we had never considered.
And we are enriched, by becoming more whole.
We pray that we would be vulnerable – open to being influenced
to new ideas, new possibilities.
Lives enriched with new experiences, horizons, things we thought not possible.
Surprise us, our God
We know change causes us to be vulnerable;
as we become less capable of adapting, changes seem greater
as our limits become more apparent, our abilities seem in decline
simple things, small changes take on greater magnitude.
Keep ideas, possibilities, dreams, hopes, growing in and around us.
So that change is not an inhibitor, but stimulation into new life.
Cause our attitude to change to be invitational,
not to create whirlwind in our lives, but measured growth
 
Keep us curious about life,
exploring and discovering,
growing into understanding,
 more of the mystery of life as we walk with you author of life,
and our guide.
 
As we seek these things for ourselves,
we pray that they become realities for those around us.
Use us as channels of understanding, influence, curiosity, to help others grow.
We take our part in your creation more fully when we offer ourselves to others and to you.
Use us, we pray.
Place people in our path that will cause us to grow and whom we can help grow.
The things we desire,
we pray for those whom we find difficult to love,
 as well as those close to us.
Lord, lead us into wholeness, whatever that may be,
in Jesus name.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 

Monday 2 August


In my current role, I receive regular feedback on the calls that I take.  I am somebody who can become very defensive especially when I feel that I am being criticised so I have to work very hard not to be defensive and instead thank the person for giving me feedback.   

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I close with an anonymous prayer:
 
Heavenly Father, thank you for putting wise people in my life. Please give me a spirit of humility. Allow me to listen to constructive criticism and accept feedback. Give me a calm spirit, so I can make changes according to wise council. Help me to discard the things that are not helpful, but accept and act on the things that are wise, beneficial, and helpful to others. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Friday 30 July


Today’s post is for those who are finding life difficult at the moment but are trying to keep going, hoping that there will be brighter days ahead. 
 
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I close with a prayer by Anthony D Miles:
 
O Lord my God
you know my inner most needs.
Others around me think I’m okay,
that I’ve got everything together,
but you know the truth:
that I’m not at always at peace –
with you, with others,
within myself, with myself.
I long to be made whole again;
to know your healing,
forgiveness and peace.
I give thanks and praise to you,
that you are the One who can bind up broken hearts,
soothe troubled souls,
wipe away tears,
mend relationships,
restore the fallen,
and give hope when all else seems hopeless.
Re-create me today,
and grant me a new beginning;
for I put my trust in all that Jesus has made possible
through his life, death, and resurrection.
Lay your hands gently upon me, today, I pray.
and anoint me with your Holy Spirit,
for your love’s sake.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Monday 26 July


As there have not been any Pooh and Piglet stories recently, I thought I would try to make up for it slightly with this meme.
 
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I close with a prayer from the Made New website:
 
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to be gentle towards every person I encounter today, in thought, word and deed. May I recognize that others are facing difficult circumstances which I know nothing about. Oh Lord, that others would encounter You when they meet me today! Still my tongue and open my heart. Fill me with a spirit of forgiveness and generosity. As it be Your will Lord, place the words in my mouth that others need to hear today. Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

 

Friday 23 July


In order to be able to appreciate the good times, we need to experience bad times as well.  It is never easy going through difficult times but we are never alone, God is with us and will guide us through the rain showers and storms until we reach the sunshine again.
 
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I would like to end today by sharing this Irish blessing:
 
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Monday 19 July


As someone who regularly falls asleep whilst praying, I find this meme very comforting. 
 
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 I end with an anonymous prayer from womansday.com:
 
Lord
You bless us as we rest
Restore us as we sleep
You care for us as we drift off
And make our dreaming sweet.
 
You are the safest place
You are the God of Grace
Forgiven, loved and held by you
Is each small seed of faith.
 
You know our thoughts and feelings
You see our deep desires
You understand our weariness
And catch each tear we cry.
 
You walk beside us every day
You are a constant friend
You stay with us all through the night
On you we can depend.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Friday 16 July


Today I would like to share this cartoon by Matt Walker from Cartoon Church.  As we begin preparing to return to in person worship, I think people will feel a range of emotions.  For me personally, I am looking forward to seeing people again but I am also slightly nervous as I am still vulnerable.  I think it is important that we try and respect others and their views, especially those who do not feel ready yet to return to their ‘normal’ activities.
 
web-dave-walker
 
I close with a prayer from crosswalk.com:
 
Father God,
The World as we knew it is gone, and for what feels like such a long time we have experienced so much hardship during this Pandemic. As we prepare to walk into the future we pray for the “new normal” to come. May our hearts be unified in You more than ever. May the tender moments of seeing someone again in person be all the more rich and treasured. May the reunions, interactions, and moments ahead be held in such intentionality and may we turn to You in sincere gratitude. Help us to come out of this Pandemic better, not bitter. Help us to become more considerate of others, more mindful of how we can help one another, and how we can serve You and Your children well. We thank You that no matter how dark the night may get, there is the hope of the dawn to come.
In Jesus Name,  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Monday 12 July


I have a patch of ground in my back garden that has never served much of a purpose.  I have tried to grow vegetables but have never really succeeded and last year I sowed some wild flowers but they didn’t grow very much.  This year, the whole area is full of poppies, daisies and other wild flowers and you can really see the beauty of God’s creation.
 
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I end with a prayer from the Anglican Church of Australia:
 
God of grace, in the story of creation,
you made the earth a garden
and entrusted it to us to till and to keep,
a place of peace and beauty
where we could walk with you.
In the story of redemption,
the one who died for us was buried in a garden,
and there you raised him up
to greet us with new hope and risen life.
In the story of the Church,
you tend us as a garden,
a place of careful pruning and abundant harvest,
where we can work with you.
Meet us, we pray,
in all the gardens where we go
for nourishment, refreshment and prayer,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 9 July


I love that I can be the ‘real me’ around my friends and I hope they feel that they can be the ‘real them’ around me.
 
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I close with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
I give thanks for my friends, for connection and laughter, for comfort and strength, for encouragement and unity, for forgiveness and grace, for celebration and joy. They are so many things to me, such a rich tapestry of blessings, woven through my life. Thank you.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 5 July


I haven’t shared any funny meme’s for a while so I thought I would share this one.  I am very careful when I use a sermon illustration to make sure that the person can’t be identified!

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I end with a prayer taken from the Catholic Review:

May we make our homes places of relaxation,
joy, love, peace and safety.
May we be generous and considerate,
not thinking only about ourselves,
but helping others enjoy the blessings of the summertime.
Lord God, Creator of all things,
guide our steps and strengthen our hearts
during these months of summer and vacation days.
Grant us refreshment of mind and body.
May we constantly strive to make a meaningful difference
in the lives of our loved ones and in the world around us
as we enjoy the warm days of summertime.
Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate


 
 

Friday 2 July


I have spoken a lot about the importance of self-care and looking after yourself and this quote explains why it is so important. 
 
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 I close with a prayer from the prayerist website:
 
O God, this is a prayer for your help within my life.
I desire to give myself each day the grace that comes from Christ.
I do not stumble to forgive, or care for those in need,
I find I love to serve and learn, and have willing hands and feet.
 
I love all those around me and encourage them each day,
In all they ever could be, I see them with heavens gaze.
And yet I fear I stumble when looking at myself,
I often wish that somehow I could be someone else.
 
I criticise and scrutinise each aspect within me,
And tend to find so many reasons to reject the one I see.
From every aspect of my thoughts, I find that I compare
Myself to others, cleverer, or more talented or fair.
 
And once I've finished putting myself down in every way,
I sense my spirit failing, and then lock myself away.
Yet I know that if I start to place those feelings in your grace,
I find I forgive my failings and give thanks for each new day.
 
My spirit grows much lighter, I open eyes to see,
The joy of being human when you stand so close to me.
The journey that I travel is the adventure you began,
The miracle of love and grace that I hold in my hands.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Monday 28 June


I love this cartoon by the Naked Pastor as it shows that Jesus accepts everyone.
 
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I end with an anonymous prayer:
 
Almighty God, through your Holy Spirit you created unity in the midst of diversity;
We acknowledge that human diversity is an expression of your manifold love for your creation;
We confess that in our brokenness as human beings we turn diversity into a source of alienation, injustice, oppression, and wounding.
Empower us to recognize and celebrate differences as your great gift to the human family.
Enable us to be the architects of understanding, of respect and love;
Through the Lord, the ground of all unity, we pray.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 
 

Friday 25 June


Summer brings with it a number of anniversaries of people close to me who have passed away, including my best friend Laura.  Laura did not have the opportunity to experience things that I have lately such as getting a job and visiting new places.  I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience these things and try to appreciate them that little bit more.
 
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I end with an anonymous prayer:
 
Thank you for the lives
of all those loved ones
who, whilst no longer
walking beside us
or holding our hand
along life’s journey
as once they did, live on
in the collective memory
of those they have left behind.
Enjoy their company, Loving God
until we shall meet again
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate




 

Monday 21 June

I am very bad at all 5 of the things listed below and in fact I think it may be easier to give up eating cake!  However, I need to make a conscious offer to try and cut down on these things as these stop me from being the person who God created me to be.
 
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I close with a prayer from the Spiritual Life website:
 
Lord, at times I feel as if I’m sinking — in my attitude and thought patterns, even in my faith. Forgive me for letting negativity have power over how I feel, think and live. Fill me with a fresh breath of optimism today, and help me learn to transform my thoughts, heart and life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 
 

Friday 18 June


Over the last few weeks, I have been able to have friends in the house as well as meet them for lunch.  It has been so special spending time in person with them and has made me value their friendship even more.

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I close with a prayer from the lords prayer words website:
 
To be known, and yet loved is a blessing.
Thank you for all those who see me, who seek to understand, support and nurture me.
 I am forever grateful to be able to come just as I am, in every season,  to walk in intimacy and love with others.
This is the richest blessing, the greatest gift and the beautiful legacy of your walk and life amongst us.
Thank you so much for all my friends and loved ones. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Monday 14 June


I am someone who has a tendency to carry round a whole luggage trolley full of baggage including negative thoughts about myself and others, regrets about the past and guilt.  I find it very hard to let go of, even when I do hand it over to God but it is something that I am trying hard to do so that I can reduce the load on myself and lead a much freer life.
 
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I close with a prayer by Cheryce Rampersad:
 
Oh King of Heaven, how we love You!
You, our Father, are magnificent and none can compare to your Glory.
We bow down before you in humble prayer.
Lord, we ask that you help us release every negative thought, every trace of doubt and every bit of fear that may lurk deep within our hearts.
Help us to let go of the things that consume our happiness as we declare you release joy into our lives.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 
 

Friday 11 June


I would like to share the latest Pooh and Piglet story written by Kathryn Wallace:
 
And then, after the longest time: the sun came out. And Pooh set out from his little house, across the Hundred Acre Wood, to the corner of the forest where Christopher Robin lived.
Christopher Robin was waiting for Pooh, hurrying down the steps of his house just as soon as he saw him. "Hello Pooh," he said. "Hello."
 
Christopher Robin and Pooh had seen each other regularly over the past eighteen months, when restrictions allowed, but not being in one another's support bubble, it had been a long, long time since they had been able to reach out and give one another a hug. For a moment they stood there, slightly awkwardly. "Shall we...?" said Christopher Robin; and
 
"Are we...?" asked Pooh.
 
And then, having established that they were both Hugging Kinds Of People (which not everyone is, and it is always important to check that first), they reached out for one another; and there, in the midst of the forest, with the sun pouring through the treetops like molten gold, they had the best and the most brilliant hug of their whole entire lives.
 
As they stood there, saying nothing at all, Pooh found himself with tears streaming down his face. Tears of happiness, because of how good it felt to be able to once again hug those that he loved. Tears of regret, for all the hugs they had missed out on over the last year and a half and would never get back. Tears of guilt and of sadness, for all those who were not so lucky as he; for all those whose loved ones were no longer with them, those who would never get to enjoy a hug with those loved ones again. And tears of sheer joy, for the appreciation of such a simple act that he would never, ever take for granted, ever again.
 
"I love you, Christopher Robin," said Pooh as the duo finally stepped apart, and Pooh saw that Christopher Robin's eyes were wet with tears, too.
 
"And I you," said Christopher Robin, his voice not quite steady. "Silly old bear."
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I close with a prayer by Andrew Taylor-Troutman:
 
O Lord, your beloved Son longed to gather us like a mother hen embraces her chicks. We yearn for the comfort of connection, for our losses are terrible, our griefs heavy. As we are wise and patient in taking precautions against this deadly virus, grant us a childlike hope for brighter days. Guide us through this time of physical distancing so that, once it is safe, we will have maintained the emotional connections that allow us to hold one another. Wrap us in your steadfast love in the name of the Incarnate One. Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 7 June


I have probably mentioned before that I used to struggle to show my emotions and sometimes my emotions would become so supressed and pent up that I would just explode with anger.  I have learnt to control them better and now tend to end up crying rather than getting angry.  It is rather embarrassing but I am learning that showing emotions is good as it communicates to others just how you are feeling.

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 Rather than share a prayer today, I would share a variety of scriptures which can be used when we experience difficult emotions:

When you feel scared, choose to believe He’s in control.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
 
When you feel weary, choose to believe He’s good.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
 
When you feel alone, choose to believe He’ll never leave you.    
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
 
When you feel depressed, look for ways God loves you. Remember that each day brings a new display of His mercies.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
 
When you feel worthless, choose to believe you are of great worth to God.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… (Psalm 17:8)
 
When you feel unloved, choose to believe that God’s love for you never goes away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)
 
When you feel broken-hearted, choose to believe God has the power and desire to heal.
He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
 
When you feel desperate, choose to remember where your strength comes from.
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:19)
 
When you feel overwhelmed, choose to spend time in the presence of God, remembering all He has promised you.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
 
When you feel hurt, choose to believe the Lord is there to help and shield you.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:20-22)
 
When you feel like giving up, remind yourself of how to take one more step.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 4 June


So as part of my training for my new job, I have been listening to calls from people asking for benefit advice.  I have begun to realise that sometimes people don’t need or even want advice; they just want to know that they have been listened to and understood.  It does not matter if we have not got all the answers, what matters is that we give people our time and show them that we care.

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I close with a prayer from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Dear Lord Jesus, every good and perfect gift is a blessing from You and You have blessed me with so much. I ask that You would use me to be a blessing to others who are in need or facing difficulties.
 
Make me a channel of Your blessing, a channel through whom Your love and peace and joy and love flow out from You, through me to others. May I be Your hands to bless others. May You guide my feet to places where I can go and be a blessing. May my speech be seasoned with salt so that I may speak words of comfort and encouragement, and speak the truth in love. Give me the grace to be available when others are in need.
 
Lord, I pray that You may increase in my life and I may decrease, so that the blessings that You pour through me to others, may draw each one closer into the arms of the Lord Jesus. In His name I pray,
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 


Monday 31 May


I have always had a love for musicals and one of the first ones that I saw was Annie.  I loved the song ‘the sun will come out tomorrow’ and often sung it when I was having a bad time, hoping that tomorrow would be a better day.  Indeed there are times when I still sing it to myself, nobody would want to listen to my singing, and it makes me smile to remember that after all the bad days there was, and still is, a tomorrow .


Sunflowers

I close with a prayer taken from the Cross Walk website:

Father,

I want to thank you. I want to thank you well in advance of the blessing that is to come.

Though today feels marred with anxieties and trouble, I want to give you thanks knowing that this difficult season won’t last always. While I suffer, and in the glorious season to come, God, you remain the same.

Scripture reminds me that your love endures forever. You do not love me based on the circumstances I face. Your love is truly unconditional.

I thank you for that truth. I am grateful that you see me fit to be loved. May my words praise your name forever, just as your love endures.

Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate
 

Friday 28 May

I am actually writing this blog three weeks in advance as I am going to be spending three weeks away from home whilst my adaptations are done.  I am blessed to be able to spend a week in Pagham near Bognor Regis and a week in Poole.  I love being beside the sea and am really looking forward to sitting listening to waves and watching them roll up on the sand.  It will be good to enjoy the moment and not think about all the chaos of the past few weeks.

Worry

I close with a prayer by Rev Peter Lippiett:
 
We thank you, creator God,
for the goodly heritage you offer us,
from green downland
to the deep salt seas,
and for the abundant world
we share with your creation.
Keep us so mindful of its needs
and those of all with whom we share,
that open to your Spirit
we may discern and practice
all that makes for its wellbeing,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate

Monday 24 May

Through God’s Grace, we can have all of these things.  A friend told me that a way to remember Grace what Grace stands for is to think of the phrase ‘Glorious Riches At Christ’s Expenses’ and having these things are certainly glorious riches and something to be eternally grateful for.
Wish
 
I close with a prayer from Connect Us:

 
Lord my Father in Heaven, You are so incredibly good to me. I did nothing to earn Your love and yet You love me still. Extending grace and mercy to me, You have forgiven my sins and removed them from me. I thank You for this amazing grace. Let me not remember my transgressions except to remind myself how You have saved me. I am so grateful to Your Son Jesus who has borne my sin and shame for me on the cross. I look forward to the day when I will enter Your eternal kingdom. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love

Kate
 

Friday 21 May


I have talked a lot about self-care since the start of this blog as it is something that has helped me a lot and continues to help me.  As the meme says below, self-care isn’t just about eating your five a day or getting a good night’s sleep, it is about taking care of your emotions and being kind to yourself, just as you would treat your best friend.
Self-care

I close with a prayer called “The journey: a contemporary prayer poem for self-esteem and self-worth” taken from the Living Prayers website:
 
O God, this is a prayer for your help within my life.
I desire to give myself each day the grace that comes from Christ.
I do not stumble to forgive, or care for those in need,
I find I love to serve and learn, and have willing hands and feet.
 
I love all those around me and encourage them each day,
In all they ever could be, I see them with heavens gaze.
And yet I fear I stumble when looking at myself,
I often wish that somehow I could be someone else.
 
I criticise and scrutinise each aspect within me,
And tend to find so many reasons to reject the one I see.
From every aspect of my thoughts, I find that I compare
Myself to others, cleverer, or more talented or fair.
 
And once I've finished putting myself down in every way,
I sense my spirit failing, and then lock myself away.
Yet I know that if I start to place those feelings in your grace,
I find I forgive my failings and give thanks for each new day.
 
My spirit grows much lighter, I open eyes to see,
The joy of being human when you stand so close to me.
The journey that I travel is the adventure you began,
The miracle of love and grace that I hold in my hands.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate

 


Monday 17 May


This quote by C S Lewis is very true.  Forgiveness is not something I find easy, both forgiving others and myself.  I struggle to let things go and find myself going over and over things again and again, making things so much bigger than they were to start with.  It is something that I need really to work on, with God’s help.

Forgiveness

I close with a prayer by Lauren Dungy:
 
Heavenly Father, thank You for forgiving me and bringing me back into relationship with You. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross to show us the true meaning of forgiveness. Help me to show that same forgiveness to others, so they can see You living in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate

Friday 14 May

One Truth Youth have been looking at other religions and one of these has been Judaism where they spend the Sabbath spending time resting, eating and with family and not using electronic items such as watching television, using a mobile phone etc.  We decided that, although it may be hard not to use a phone or computer for 24 hours, it is also good to be able to take a step back and spend time resting and reflecting.  It might not be possible for us to take a full day out of our week but even a short time of rest can be beneficial.

Sabbath

I close with a prayer from Woman’s Day website:

Merciful Jesus, you are my guide, the joy of my heart, the author of my hope, and the object of my love. I come seeking refreshment and peace. Show me your mercy, relieve my fears and anxieties, and grant me a quiet mind and an expectant heart, that by the assurance of your presence I may learn to abide in you, who is my Lord and my God. Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate

Monday 10 May

This cartoon made me smile but I also think that it is an important reminder, especially for those of us that perhaps lead services or sessions, that we are ensure that we speak with clarity in a way that will be understood and not misinterpreted.
 
Text
 
I close with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Thank you Father,
for the selfless giving of time.
For those often quiet saints
who do not argue their theology loudly,
engage in lengthy debates,
over complex doctrinal issues,
or make their presence felt
within the hallowed space
of Church Council meetings,
but simply get on with doing
the business,
visiting the sick, the aged
and the lonely,
a shoulder to cry on,
a listening ear
and the reassurance
of one who cares.
Thank you Father,
for all those quiet saints,
who live their faith through their lives
in a world that often forgets
that you were never too busy to listen,
never too busy to minister to needs,
never too engrossed in work
to bring hope and wholeness into lives.
Thank you Father,
for your quiet saints.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love

Kate
 

Friday 7 May

I have struggled in the past with friendships, especially when growing up, but I am now very blessed to have an amazing group of friends who accept me for who I am.  I think having a shared faith brings us closer together and allows us to share with each other on a deeper level, knowing that the other person will understand what we mean.

Surround-yourself-with-God-fea

I close with a prayer by Kathryn Shirey:
 
Almighty God, I give thanks today for the friendships in my life. Lord, this life isn’t meant to be lived alone, so I am grateful for the people who walk alongside me, supporting me, loving me, and encouraging me. For we cannot do it all alone but are better together. Help me to be more aware and gracious to my friends, appreciating them and accepting their help. Help me to be a better friend, too, supporting, loving, and encouraging others. Lord, lead me to find and cultivate deeper friendships and be a good friend in all that I do. Shower your blessings upon those I call friends, that you may ever be in our midst. Bind us together, Lord, for a cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love
Kate

 

Monday 3 May


As well as starting a new job, I am also in the process of having my house adapted so that I can get around easier in my wheelchair and use the kitchen more efficiently.  I am having to move the contents of the kitchen into the lounge as well as get packed up for three weeks out of the house whilst they are doing the majority of the work.  This is all rather overwhelming and there seems so much to be done so I am trying to break it down into little chunks and do one cupboard or drawer at a time.  I am getting there slowly but am so looking forward to getting away from all the mess and chaos. 

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 I close with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
In the darker moments,
when clouds gather
and the heaviness we feel
seems overwhelming,
remind us of your love,
carrying the weight
of so much in that cross,
embracing the world
with arms outstretched
that we might know
freedom from the chains
which now constrain us.
Bring us to your light,
release our burdens
and from despair bring hope.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 30 April


The picture below made me smile and have a chuckle to myself.  I may not have children who enjoy playing in mud but I have a cat that does.  Milo, my black and white cat, loves rolling around around in the soil and then having a nap in a flower pot and often comes in a dark shade of grey.  I should really tell him off for bringing dirt in; instead I laugh at him and take photos to show people!
 
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I close with a prayer by Courtney Pococh:
 
Thank you, Lord, for all of your blessings in my life. Thank you for surrounding me with wonderful friends, family members, and neighbours. Thank you for giving us the gift of your beautiful world and all the skies, mountains, and lakes. Thank you for the thrill of celebrations and the enrichment of music. Thank you for all of the animals and creatures that you made. Thank you for giving us the promise of eternity and everlasting life. When I am down or depressed, please remind me of all of the many reasons why I should be thankful and guide my spirit toward your happiness.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 26 April


I think this applies to all of us in a way.  Whatever our circumstances are, I think it is important that we try and support each other in whatever way we can knowing that we are all finding life difficult in some way or another.
 
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I close with a prayer by Debbie McDaniel:
 
Lord, thank you that our comfort abounds through Christ. Nothing in the world can bring us the comfort and peace that you alone can offer. Thank you that you understand our trials, and you care. Through our own struggle and pain, help us to be your vessels to offer comfort and strength to others who are hurting.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 20 April


There have been a number of times, especially in the last year, when I have felt a real lack of hope but through the darkness come glimpses of light often in the form of love and kindness from family and friends.

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I close with a prayer from the Hope Together website:
 
Loving God,
Thank you that in a world of despair,
You are our Hope.
In a world of darkness,
You are our Light.
In a world of sorrow,
You are our joy.
 
Help us to share the Hope of our hearts with one another
Enable us to give Hope to others through Your work amongst us
Use us to transform our nation and to spread Your Hope to every corner of this nation.
May our land flourish by the preaching of Your word and the praising of Your name.
In Jesus Name. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate

 

Monday 19 April


If you need permission to have a lazy day then please read the quote below as it seems lazy days are good for your health! 
 
fri 16 april

I close with a prayer from christianity.com:

Lord, my mind, body, and spirit feel tired and worn down. I need you to give me the strength I need to not give up. Things in my life feel impossible but God your word says that all things are possible with God. By your grace, allow me to find rest in your shadow. Shelter me from the storms of life. Give me wisdom so I am able to take the right next step forward. Strengthen my weary mind, body, and spirit. Help me to run and not grow weary, to walk and not grow faint. I thank you, God for being my ever-present help, anytime I face troubles. I can’t make it without you. Thank you for carrying my load so I can continue to do the good you have called me to. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Friday 16 April


Here is another instalment of Pooh and Piglet by Kathryn Wallace:

Pooh was tired.

"Tell me a story, Piglet," he said.

Piglet thought for a time. "Well," he said. "It had been the longest, darkest time that the Hundred Acre Wood had ever known. Everyone, everywhere, had buried deep into their homes; better to keep themselves safe and protected from the frozen winter, that threatened everything it touched.

"There were times, that long cold winter," Piglet continued, "when the plants and the animals thought that it might never end. It was very difficult to feel any kind of hope, when all around you the wind raged, and the snow fell, and everything was dark and bleak indeed.

"But then! One day, for what felt like the first time in months, the sun came out. And with it, the forest started to come alive, too.

"Green shoots poked their way through the blanket of cold, damp leaves, starting anew. Buds formed on the trees, and the weary residents of the burrows and the dens and the trees took their first steps, out of the darkness, towards the blue of the sky.

"Yes, that moment they had thought would never arrive, had finally come. Spring was here, bringing with it new hope, and joy, and a tentative belief that, yes, there were better times ahead.

"Not everyone made it through the long winter, though. Even as they were celebrating the warmth of the sun on their faces, they were also grieving for all that they had lost. And for those, too, who had not lived long enough to see another spring.

"But, Pooh," - and he turned to his friend - "for the first moment in the longest time, it felt like that promise of a brighter future, nurtured for so long, might just come to something more than a mere promise.

"There is a long road still to walk," he acknowledged. "But, with every bud that blossoms on the trees above us; with every bird that sings; and with every new, friendly face that we see, emerging from the darkness... we move forwards. Together, we find the light."

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I close with a prayer from the Jesuit Resource website:
 
God, thank you for Spring and the hope of warmer, longer, brighter days.
Thank you for the coming of growth and life and birth.
Thank you that things are coming awake in the world.
This is what our calendar says, and we do see some signs that it is real.
But we also still struggle with the residual layover of winter.
Now we ask that you bring into reality all that belongs in this season.
Your word says that we will have provision, and hope, and joy, and health and loving relationships here and now in this life.
We ask that what belongs in this season would become actual in our practical lives.
We hope in you and in your promises.
We hope in your gift of Spring.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

 

Thursday 15 April


I am feeling very blessed and grateful at the moment as I have managed to obtain my first paid job since leaving University, twenty plus years ago.  It is one day a week and not only will it help me financially but it will also give me the opportunity to push myself as well as meet new people.
 
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I close with a prayer by Beth McLendon:
 
Loving Lord,
As I express my gratitude to you in prayer, may it be a pleasing, joyful sound to you.
Thank you, Lord, for your love. It brings me acceptance and significance.
Thank you, Lord, for your truth. It brings me guidance and direction.
Thank you, Lord, for your mercy. It brings me help and comfort.
Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness. It brings me stability and strength.
Thank you, Lord, for your beauty displayed in the earth. It brings me joy and delight.
Thank you, Lord, for your way of redemption - the cross. It brings me salvation and regeneration.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Wednesday 14 April


Even though things have improved in recent years, I still think that there is a lot of stigma around mental health and asking for help.  For me, it is always easier and often more acceptable to people to talk about my physical disabilities rather than my mental health problems and I long for the day when I can talk about both freely and know that I will not be judged.
 
weds 14
I close with a prayer from crosswalk.com:
 
Lord, thank you for being a God of compassion. When I feel hungry or beat down by the heat of this world, you offer refreshment. With you there is nourishment for dry and hurting places. May I see where you provide for me, because sometimes I don’t notice it. Sometimes I reject it. But Lord, I admit that I need your refilling often.
 
When I feel shaken, you are not. You never cease to offer love and compassion for those who are weary. When I can’t figure out what to do and it feels like everything I do is wrong, your arms remain open to receive me. I can’t understand your acceptance and love, but you offer it. Help me accept it.
 
Have compassion for my doubts, fears, actions, thoughts, and the wrestling that happens in me. Show me new ways, Lord. Help me see your care and kindness, especially when I feel empty and alone.
 
Lord, I need compassion from others. I need compassion for myself too. Help me notice and embrace compassion offered to me. Help me extend compassion to myself and others, especially when it’s hard to do. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 13 April


This picture made me smile so I thought I would share it.  The quote is very true as well and something that I try to do but need to try much harder at!
 
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I close with a prayer taken from the Living Prayers website:
 
Thank you for the blessings you give to us of comfort, warmth and rest.
Thank you for the beauty of nature, blue skies and smiles.
Lord, thank you for the pleasure of conversation, intimacy and love,
And for the sustenance of food, drink and water.
Help me to notice and value these rich blessings in my life.
May I feel full, whole and ready to give to those who have little.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 12 April

Today’s reflection is written by Kathryn Wallace and taken from her ‘I know I need to stop talking’ Facebook page:

This is Gran.

Gran is a fiercely independent lady, who, in her head is little more than a day or two over the age of twenty-one. Gran has lived alone for many, many years now; and loves the fact that she can walk around wearing only her pants, should she choose to do so, not to mention the fact that there is no one to judge her when she pours out a celebratory Cinzano and lemonade or four after lunch when she sits down to watch the racing.
Despite Gran's independence, though, she is reaching a time in her life when she is simply not able to do everything herself. Gran had a fall, last year, and now has to use a stick to get around at home. Worse, too, Gran is finding that her mind simply isn't working as it used to. Words for familiar household objects teeter at the brink of her memories, yet remain frustratingly out of reach. Twice, Gran has gone to make herself dinner, only to find the dinner that she had made herself the previous evening and forgotten to eat, burned to a crisp in the depths of the oven.
And so, throughout the pandemic, Mum has come over to Gran's house every day - sometimes more than once a day - to check on Gran and ensure that she is okay. Mum does Gran's shopping; makes sure she has everything within reach; strips the sheets and changes the bed; cleans the dust from the mantelpiece and the grime from the kitchen surfaces where Gran's tired eyes do not even see it, any more.

This is Nadim and Anneena's mummy and daddy.

Nadim and Anneena's mummy and daddy are both key workers, key workers who work long, extended hours, often well into the night. Nadim and Anneena's mummy and daddy do very important jobs, but it means that they can't always be there to pick Nadim and Anneena up from school, or even be with them every weekend. So Nadim and Anneena often get looked after by their granny and grandad. They have them over for breakfast, pick them up from school, and even have them over to stay the night when Nadim and Anneena's mummy and daddy are both working a night shift. Nadim and Anneena love spending time with their granny and grandad, but have felt really worried that they might give them Covid during the pandemic. They know, this, that if it wasn't for their granny and grandad, Mummy and Daddy wouldn't be able to do the important jobs that they do. Everyone is very grateful to Nadim and Anneena's granny and grandad.

This is Wilf and Wilma.

Wilf and Wilma have a sister, Wendy. Wendy is disabled, which means that, even though she is older than Wilf and Wilma, she is not able to go to school with them. Instead, she goes to a special school, and gets lots of help. When she is not at the special school, Wilf and Wilma's mummy and daddy look after her. Wendy needs a lot of looking after. She needs so much looking after that Wilf and Wilma's mummy had to give up her job in an office. Now, her job is looking after Wendy instead. Wendy finds it difficult to sleep at night, so Wilf and Wilma's mummy and daddy have to look after her in the night, as well as in the day. Wendy is very kind, and very funny. Wilf and Wilma think that Wendy is the best big sister in the whole wide world.

Mum, and Nadim and Anneena's granny and grandad, and Wilf and Wilma's mummy and daddy; love Gran, and Nadim and Anneena, and Wendy, very very much.
They are just some of the estimated 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK. The unpaid carers who the pandemic has shone a spotlight onto, in terms of the vital role they play in keeping our society going.

Few people set out to become an unpaid carer. They do it not as a career choice, but because of love. Love that will, in some cases, see them give up everything, to be there for the people who need them most.

And the toll that it can take, when trying to juggle their caring responsibilities with everything else in their lives - work, and home, and health, and education, and, probably very far down the list, their own wellbeing...can be immense.

To every one of our unpaid carers, I hope you know how phenomenal you are.  Thank you. Thank you so much. Please: make sure you look after you, too ?

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I close today with a carer’s prayer by Heather Smith:
 
Let me be kind when tiredness overwhelms
my weary brain and turns my legs to lead;
let me brave when truths must be conveyed,
confronting the past and all things left unsaid;
let me fight on for you when various rules
make nonsense of your rights and reinforce your fears;
grant me the stamina to speak and treat with fools,
remaining calm when biting back the tears.
Help me to know somehow that life goes on
beyond this time of stress and sleepless nights;
help me to smile and love you in the midst
of endless pointless and exhausting fights.
And when the caring ends, help me to be
kind, in my guilt and weariness, to me.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Sunday 11 April


Today’s Psalm is Psalm 133 and I would like to share this version written by Carla Grosch-Miller:
 
Oh how wonderful,
how joyous it is,
when we dwell together
In peace and unity.
It is like a good meal,
the satisfaction
of a full belly.
It is like hearty laughter,
cleansing tears,
knowing looks.
It is like the freshness of the morning.
It is like the comfort of nightfall.
Here the Holy blesses,
Now and forever.
 
psalms-133-1-2
 
I close with a prayer from the Church of England:
 
Grant to your people, good Lord,
the spirit of unity,
that they may dwell together in your love,
and so bear to the world
the ointment of your healing and the
dew of your blessing;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 10 April


I came across this version of The Ten Commandments on one of the Facebook pages that I follow and thought I would share them as I found them not only easier to understand but also easier to relate to.
 
sat 10 april

I end with some prayers of intercession taken from the re:worship website:
 
Liberating God,
in love You have set us free:
    free from slavery to sin and self,
    free to know and love You,
    free to follow and serve You.
 
We praise You for Your faithful love toward us,
and for the many ways You have demonstrated that love to us.
We see Your love in the natural world around us—
   in the sky and trees and rivers.
We see Your love in the gift of Your commandments—
   the rules for living that guide us into right relationship with You,
   and with the people around us.
And we see Your love in Jesus Christ,
   who lived and died to bring us life.
 
Because we have experienced Your love,
we come before You with confidence,
bringing our needs and the needs of our world.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.
 
We pray for those who live surrounded by violence—
whether from war or political unrest, crime or domestic abuse.
We pray for those who have been victims of violent crime,
and for those whose loved ones have been injured or murdered.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.
 
We pray for those who find themselves involved in crime,
whether by choice or through coercion;
those caught up into gangs or prostitution,
those who have turned to crime to pay for their addictions,
those who are imprisoned.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.
 
We pray for our homes and families:
for parents juggling the responsibilities of work and family,
for husbands and wives whose marriages are breaking down,
for children chafing under parental authority or expectations,
for men and women caught up in adultery or adulterous thoughts.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.
 
We pray for the many people in our world who do not yet know You
and have not experienced the new life that comes from knowing Christ Jesus;
who continue to search for purpose and meaning.
God, in your unfailing love, hear our prayer.
 
Merciful God,
give us strength and courage to keep Your commandments,
    to live in faithful obedience to Your will.
Guard our hearts and minds from all that might distract us
    from living out our commitment to You.
Help us to find our true worth in knowing You more fully,
    and serving You more faithfully.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Cornerstone. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate
 

Friday 9 April


I mentioned on Tuesday the progress I feel that I have made over this past year when it comes to coping with the ups and downs of life.  I know that, as we emerge from another lockdown, I am not the same person that I was last March.  It has been a hard year but I am grateful for all the blessings I have had and all that I have learnt.
 
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 I close with a prayer by Sue Nickel:
 
O Holy One,
these days I come and stand before You in all sorts of ways:
restless, silent, weeping, yelling … very hopeless.
However I am—and changing as I do—
what matters most is that you are steadfast and sure.
You are all around me and, for this,
I am very grateful.
You are the Sovereign One, Healer, Sin-Forgiver,
Sight-Restorer, and Lord over all powers.
Yet despite this, you came to the world as the Infant One.
As such, I want to come humbly before you,
whisper my fears and speak my COVID-19 anxieties
to the One who knows all suffering.
O source of  perfect comfort,
give me Christ-Courage for these days.
Immortal, invisible, all wise God,
you give to all of life both great and small,
and in all of life you live,
you who are Life itself.
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise!
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 8 April


Today I am going to share the latest Pooh and Piglet reflection written by Kathryn Wallace:
 
Pooh and Piglet stood together, lost in their own thoughts. Thinking of those they had lost: both those they had known personally, and those who they had never known, but who yet somehow they felt they might have done, in the way that they were, in many ways, all of us, too.
 
"Piglet?" said Pooh, after a time.
 
"Yes Pooh?" said Piglet.
 
"Why is grief so terrible?" Pooh blurted out, with the emotions that he felt as he did so threatening to overwhelm him. "Why is it such a terrible, painful thing? Why does it hurt so much, at times so much that it seems it's impossible to bear any longer? Why, Piglet? I don't understand." And, in a very small, sad voice: "Why?"
 
Piglet was silent for a time.
 
"I don't entirely know," he eventually said. "There are some things in this world that are so huge, so powerful, that I can't even pretend to truly understand them.
 
"But I can only imagine," he continued, "that grief has to be as terrible as it is... because the love that we felt, that love... well. It was just so wonderful."

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I close with a prayer taken from the Tullylish Parish website:
 
Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages curing every disease and illness.  At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
 
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
 
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.
 
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
 
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
 
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
 
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
 
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
 
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
 
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Wednesday 7 April


I have probably mentioned this before but I am terrible at letting things go and have to know all the whys and wherefores.  I know this does me no good at all so am working hard at giving things over to God and leaving them there with Him rather going over every detail again.
 
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 I close with a prayer by Mary Fairchild:
 
Dear Jesus,
 
Please hear my prayer. I go along each day, trying to run my life my own way. I forget to let go and give you control.
 
I wonder why things aren't going the way I want them to go. I forget to stop and ask what you want, Lord. Please help me to give you control, Jesus. I want to follow you. I want what you desire for me.
 
Help me to realise that when you close one door, you open the one you want me to walk through. Help me also to realize that what I desire may not be what is meant for me, or what is best for me. Maybe it will lead me away from what your great plan is for me.
 
Lord, let me accept each day as a gift. Let me follow the path you choose for me. Help me to be thankful for what you give me and not to worry about my needs. I trust you will take care of all my needs. Remind me that my role is to care for those around me and focus on those who need my help.
 
Help me not to be judgmental, as we are all equal in God's eyes. Help me to see the good in all of your creations. Let me leave the judging to you, dear Jesus. Instead, I will concentrate on living to please you!
 
Help me, dear Jesus, be who and what you want me to be. Give me strength, faith and hope, and most of all, give me guidance each and every day. I let go and give you control.
 
In Jesus' name, Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Tuesday 6 April

As I look back over this past year, I am able to see the progress that I have made especially when it comes to having resilience and dealing with knock backs.  I am proud of myself for the way I have dealt with things and am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to progress and also being with me every step of the way, even though it did not always feel like it.
 
tues 30 march
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I close with a prayer by the Presbyterian Church of Ireland:
 
Lord of time,
all of a sudden everything has speeded up again.
After the slower, steadier pace of lockdown,
hurry sickness has set in once more.
I feel it in myself,
I sense it all around in society,
I know it in the way my congregation has approached the resumption of its life –
the re-emergence of that ever-present push,
to more, more, faster, faster.
Patient Lord –
creator of a world in six days,
gradually developing each aspect of life,
when you could have done it with one word;
redeemer of humanity,
who waits for the fullness of time to come,
before sending your Saviour;
builder of a kingdom that grows at the pace of nature,
from seed to sapling to tree,
from leaven to loaf;
help me to hasten slowly in these days.
Rather than rush back to what was before,
or hurry headlong into what everyone is saying is the new future,
give me the grace of waiting,
of walking, not running –
little by little,
moment by moment,
day by day, 
letting you set my pace,
keeping in step with the Spirit’s leading.
Progressively reveal your will to my heart,
the wisdom of what you have taught me to my mind,
the well-crafted lifestyle you want me to adopt in my daily existence,
the ways of God for my spiritual community and spheres of service.
Train me in timeliness,
rein in my impulsiveness,
make me mature in discerning,
not premature in deciding,
that I might better sense your presence and prompting,
your leading and guiding.
In Jesus’ name.
Amen 
 

Monday 5 April


One of my favourite Christian musicians is Michael Card.  His songs are usually ballads and I find that I can really reflect on the words.  Here are the words to his song Morning Prayer which I ask Alexa to play most mornings as I find it motivates for the day ahead:
 
We wanted to give You this morning, Lord
We wanted to give You this day
Thanks for the sun and its light in our hearts
There are so many things we need to say
 
As we look to a new day to spend with you
It’s exciting to think what it means
That you would choose us and use us and call us your own
That you love us and give us a new song to sing
 
In order to give you the whole of the day
We must give you this first special part
The sun as it rises reminds us of You
The day without You is like a day in the dark
 
We wanted to give You this morning, Lord
We wanted to give You this day
 
In order to give you the whole of the day
We must give you this first special part
The sun as it rises reminds us of You
The day without You is like a day in the dark
 
We wanted to give You this morning, Lord
We wanted to give You this day
 
mon 29 march
I close with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
I enter this day with joy
knowing you are with me
every step of the way,
knowing there is a purpose
to each breath that I take,
knowing there is a hope
toward which I walk.
 
I enter this day with faith
knowing you are the strength
which I depend on,
knowing you are the love
that is all embracing,
knowing it is your peace
which calms my soul.
 
I enter this day with praise
knowing that I worship
with service as with voice,
hoping that my words
might reveal your truth,
hoping that your grace
might touch another heart.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate
 

Sunday 4 April


Christ is Risen! Alleluia! 
 
I would like to share this monologue written by Carol Penner called Mary on Easter Morning, A Monologue based on John 20: 1-18
 
We were weighed down, walking to the tomb.
We knew the way, for we had walked it two days before.
We had followed Joseph of Arimathea and his servant,
down the hill from Golgatha,
their arms straining with the dead weight of Jesus’ body.
We saw where they laid him, how they wrapped him in linen.
We saw their shoulders pushing that stone in place,
the sound of it grinding shut.
And though our eyes streamed tears
we marked the place,
for we knew we would come back.
 
And on the first day of the week,
we came, arms full of aromatic oil and spices;
cinnamon, cassia, myrrh.
All our resources pooled in a fragrant offering,
one last service for Jesus.
We walked the dark path,
the sky just beginning to lighten.
 
What we saw in the semi-darkness
was not the closed tomb we had expected,
but a gaping hole!
Alarmed, we looked inside,
seeing that Jesus’ body was gone.
Someone had been there before us.
How could this be?
Grave robbers?
Some final act of blasphemy against our Saviour?
Had Pilate changed his mind,
and was Jesus’ corpse now hanging somewhere for all to see?
I dropped all I was carrying and ran to find the disciples.
Peter and John came racing back,
entering the tomb:
Jesus was not there.
I stood with them, our hands on the giant stone,
confusion written on our faces.
They left, but I remained, gathering up all those spices,
my tears dropping on the ground,
would this suffering never end?
I turned and looked again in the tomb,
but this time, there was not darkness, but light!
Two angels sitting where Jesus’ body should be;
and they asked me why I was weeping!
Why was I weeping?
And then another man, the gardener,
suddenly there behind me,
also asking about my tears.
All I wanted was Jesus’ body,
so I could do what I came here for,
mourn properly, anoint him with these spices in my arms.
“Where is Jesus, tell me if you know!” I cried.
And then he said my name, and I suddenly recognized him.
Jesus!  Not dead, not cold, not lifeless, not gone forever!
Jesus, alive, before me, talking, looking in my eyes!
My heart about stopped as I reached out to hold him,
to see if he was real, touchable, Jesus in the flesh.
He talked of My God and Your God,
and suddenly it was real to me.
It was not God far away, not God not listening,
but God present, God doing impossible things,
God making morning miracles out of death’s darkness.
Jesus asked me to go and tell the others.
I threw the spices on the ground,
(no need of them now!)  and I started running,
my feet moving faster than they’ve ever moved.
beautiful with good news,
I have seen the Lord!
I have seen the Lord!
 
easter-sunday-family-service
 
 I close with a benediction from the Third Space website:

May the loving power of God,
which raised Jesus to new life,
strengthen you in hope,
enrich you with his love,
and fill you with joy in the faith.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love
Kate 


 

Saturday 3 April


Today, Holy Saturday, I would like to share this reflection called Limbo by Sister Mary Ada:

The ancient greyness shifted
Suddenly and thinned
Like mist upon the moors
Before a wind.
An old, old prophet lifted
A shining face and said:
“He will be coming soon.
The Son of God is dead;
He died this afternoon.”
 
A murmurous excitement stirred
All souls.
They wondered if they dreamed –
Save one old man who seemed
Not even to have heard.
 
And Moses, standing,
Hushed them all to ask
If any had a welcome song prepared.
If not, would David take the task?
And if they cared
Could not the three young children sing
The Benedicite, the canticle of praise
They made when God kept them from perishing
In the fiery blaze?
A breath of spring surprised them,
Stilling Moses’ words.
No one could speak, remembering
The first fresh flowers,
The little singing birds.
Still others thought of fields new ploughed
Or apple trees
All blossom-boughed.
Or some, the way a dried bed fills
With water
Laughing down green hills.
The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam
On bright blue seas.
The one old man who had not stirred
Remembered home.
 
And there He was
Splendid as the morning sun and fair
As only God is fair.
And they, confused with joy,
Knelt to adore
Seeing that He wore
Five crimson stars
He never had before.
 
No canticle at all was sung
None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,
A silent man alone
Of all that throng
Found tongue –
Not any other.
Close to His heart
When the embrace was done,
Old Joseph said,
“How is Your Mother,
How is Your Mother, Son?”
 
Holy-Saturday
 
I close with a prayer by Cally Logan:
 
Father God,  we recognize the significance of Holy Saturday for the Easter season. It is not merely a day between Good Friday and Easter, but it is a day to observe in consecration of what You did for us. We leave our own agendas, our own desires, and our own pleas at the door and crave today to be still and rest in Your presence. We are so grateful for the ability to quiet our hearts and stand in Your presence, we want to come to know Your heart more this day. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to die for us, and thank You that You kept Your promise that Easter Sunday. Let us not be so hurried in our own lives that we forget the glory that You brought forth that day.  In Jesus name, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate


 

Friday 2 April


Today, Good Friday, I would like to share this reflection by Roddy Hamilton called Last Words, based on Jesus’ last words from the cross.
 
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do
 
Here is love
caught between the powers of the world
and the breaking of heaven
on the long journey home
we do not know what it is we do
and the Last Word
forgives
 
Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise
 
Here is love
found between two thieves
crucified among the lost
and the Last Word turns
and promises paradise
 
Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother
 
Here is love
lonely on the cross
and with nothing left
the Last Word even now
brings together
mother and son
 
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
 
Here is love
some gargoyle of grace
abandoned by heaven
and the Last Word breaks
with loneliness
 
I thirst
 
Here is love
and in the last moments of life
seeks solace
and the Last Word
in the final moment
yet appeals to humanity
 
It is finished
 
Here is love
and here what it is like
when every hope
comes to an end
and the Last Word
is finished
 
Father, into our hands I commit my spirit
 
Here is love
clinging
to one last hope
that not everything is lost
and the last word
dies

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I close with an ‘Affirmation of Faith for Good Friday’ based on 1 Corinthians 1: 18-31 written by Bruce Prewer:
 
We believe in the God of Good Friday,
   who sent us Jesus of Nazareth
   to be wounded for our transgressions
   and bruised for our iniquities.
While some seek more knowledge,
   and others look for signs and omens,
   we place our trust in Christ crucified.
We believe that those who hoard their life will lose it,
   yet those who lose life for Christ’s sake will find it.
We believe that Christ crucified is the power of God
   and the saving wisdom of God.
We believe this foolishness of God is wiser than earthly knowledge,
   and the weakness of God is stronger than human arrogance.
This we dare to believe because we have seen the glory of God
   in the face of Jesus Christ.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 1 April


Today I would like to share a poem entitled Maundy Thursday written by First World War poet Wilfred Owen:
 
Between the brown hands of a server-lad
The silver cross was offered to be kissed.
The men came up, lugubrious, but not sad,
And knelt reluctantly, half-prejudiced.
(And kissing, kissed the emblem of a creed.)
Then mourning women knelt; meek mouths they had,
(And kissed the Body of the Christ indeed.)
Young children came, with eager lips and glad.
(These kissed a silver doll, immensely bright.)
Then I, too, knelt before that acolyte.
Above the crucifix I bent my head:
The Christ was thin, and cold, and very dead:
And yet I bowed, yea, kissed - my lips did cling.
(I kissed the warm live hand that held the thing.)

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I close with a night reflection by Pat Pierce of CAFOD:
 
Jesus arrested, judged, found guilty and condemned to die is held captive overnight.
 
If I were arrested and held this night what would I be found guilty of?
 
That I made friends with people irrespective of their colour, creed or class….
That I shared my bread with the poor….
That my words… and actions… brought healing and forgiveness….
That I made justice and didn’t count the cost ….
That I sought the truth and then spoke of it….
That I recognised my neighbour and loved them as my very self…
That I met God along the way in the healing and forgiveness I received….
That I accepted hospitality at many different tables….
That I was changed by the lives of others….
…. and often repented my arrogance and foolishness
in encountering their wisdom …
That friends and strangers sometimes paid the price for me….
That I never sought out suffering...
….. but journeyed with it to the best of my ability...
That the love of those about me taught me to love myself before God...
 
You call us out of brokenness
to mend and remake your creation.
Grant us the courage to stay
with all those who are held captive this night.
In the name of Jesus who is good news, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 31 March


I have learnt a lot whilst researching for content for this blog and today was no exception.  I did not realise that today is sometimes known as Spy Wednesday, referring to Judas’ action in Matthew chapter 26 verses 14 to 16:
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
 
I would like to share this reflection by Ian Poulton:
 
Jesus has been aware of Judas’ intentions, aware of what would happen, yet not once does he share with his friends what Judas will do. At the Last Supper, when Jesus tells Judas to go, the disciples assume Judas is being sent to perform some practical task. Just hours away from the arrest of Jesus, they have no inkling of what lies ahead.
 
To know that you are going to be betrayed, worse, to know that someone who has been trusted by all of your friends is the traitor, must create a feeling of intense isolation. What is there that could have been said? To have shared Judas’ secret would only have brought a sense of bewilderment among the disciples. What could anyone have done that would have made a difference?
 
Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank, knew what it was to be betrayed. The revelation to the Nazis of the Frank family’s hiding place in Amsterdam cost the lives of all of Otto Frank’s family; only he survived the Holocaust. Otto Frank knew isolation, he knew utter desolation, he could have focused upon the bitterness and anger he could justifiably have felt. Otto Frank chose to use his experiences in a positive way. After the war, he was given his daughter Anne’s diary by Miep Gies, his former secretary. He used the diary as a means of educating the world about the Holocaust.
 
In the Gospel, betrayal emphasises the isolation of Jesus, it emphasises the distance between he and his friends, but it is accepted as a step in the path that he follows.
 
Contemplating the isolation and distance of the current days, how might we feel if betrayal was added to our experience?

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I end with a reflection called Thirty Pieces of Silver by Roddy Hamilton.  I had also not heard of the word ‘kairos’ before, and according to my friend Google it( m eans ‘decisive moment’.
 
You are cheap at the price, Jesus:
thirty pieces of silver for a kingdom.
I bet Judas and you had conversations galore about this
for three years nearly,
that this was no surprise to you.
I can imagine him taking you aside saying, 'now, lord. now!
the people will listen and they'll rally round you.
this is the kairos.'
and what was your reply?
Did you have one
or was it a silent acceptance of what people cannot accept
that love is a different way.
It is never by force
never by conflict
never by violence
that they saw the wrong conflict
this one was much bigger.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Tuesday 30 March


Today’s reflection is taken from the website of St Mellitis College:
 
Holy Week is a journey with Jesus to the cross and tomb. He is the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. The crisis we are currently experiencing brings us face to face in a new way with the stark reality of Jesus’ suffering and death. And right now we find ourselves identifying with the disorientation, weakness and terror of the disciples as events unfold in ways they never imagined. This is a time of testing for us as it was for them. They desperately wanted to be strong, but their faith failed. They fell asleep, bottled out, lashed out, lied and ran away. We may find that our faith fails, too.
 
But Jesus is faithful. He is praying for us, carrying our sicknesses, and walking to the cross for us. And through his death and resurrection, his disciples are embraced by grace. His wounds heal our failures, restore hope and transform our trust.
 
Tuesday
 
 I end with the words from the hymn ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ by Thomas Chisholm:
 
Great Is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Though changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
 
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!
 
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
 
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!
 
Pardon for Sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
 
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Great Is Thy faithfulness,
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Monday 29 March

I have decided this Holy Week to share reflections, pictures and prayers from a range of sources, some that have been written this year and some written in previous years.  I hope that these will help and guide you during this week.
 
A sonnet by Malcolm Guite taken from Sounding the Seasons:
 
Come close with Mary, Martha , Lazarus
So close the candles stir with their soft breath
And kindle heart and soul to flame within us
Lit by these mysteries of life and death.
For beauty now begins the final movement
In quietness and intimate encounter
The alabaster jar of precious ointment
Is broken open for the world’s true lover,
 
The whole room richly fills to feast the senses
With all the yearning such a fragrance brings,
The heart is mourning but the spirit dances,
Here at the very centre of all things,
Here at the meeting place of love and loss
We all foresee, and see beyond the cross.
 
SmellsLikeLove
 
 
I end with a prayer by Clive Marsh based on John 12 verses 1 to 12:
 
There will again be a time to celebrate, but it is not now.
There will again be a time for feasting, but not today.
There will again be a time to pour out expensive perfume, but for the moment we leave it stored.
We long for resurrection, but for now see mostly death.
We long for the fresh air of freedom, but today salvation keeps most at home,
whilst nurses and doctors keep Lazarus company, and water waits to be turned to wine.
It will all come; but not today.
Today, we hope.
In Christ, with Christ, through Christ.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Sunday 28 March


I would like to share this reflection that I used when I last preached on Palm Sunday:
 
Once there was a young donkey called Jacob, who lived in Bethpage. Jacob was an enthusiastic little donkey who could be a bit mischievous at times.
 
“Jacob”, his mother often said. “What am I going to do with you? 
 
“Someday” said Jacob.  “I will become big and strong, strong enough to carry a man on my back.”
 
“Yes, yes you will son” said his mother proudly.
 
One day the village became very busy.   “Where are all these people from?  Why are they coming through our village?” Jacob asked
 
His mother said, “every year at this time people come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. It is a time to celebrate as they remember how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt”
 
“Can I go to Jerusalem please?” Jacob asked.
 
“No” his mother said, “we can’t go to Jerusalem but we can go to the border to watch.”
 
So off they went.  However, distracted by so many sights and sounds, Jacob wandered away from this mother and crossed over the village border.  He was seen by one of his owners, who caught him and tied him up with his mother.
 
Suddenly two men approached the place where they were tied up.
 
“Look there he is,” one of them cried out in a loud voice.
 
“Yes,” shouted the other, “it’s just as the Master said.”
 
 “Are they talking about me?” Jacob wondered as the men came nearer and started to untie him.
 
Then Jacob’s owners appeared saying “why are you untying our donkey?”
 
“The Lord needs him.  He will send him back to you shortly,” answered the men.
 
“Then you may take him,” the owners replied.  So the men started to lead Jacob away.
 
“Mum, what is going on?” asked frightened Jacob.
 
“I don’t know son” replied this mother, “but do not be afraid; I will follow on behind you.
 
The men started to put coats on Jacob’s back.  “Is someone going to ride me?” Jacob wondered, “I have never been ridden before.  I hope I will be strong enough.  I hope he won’t hurt me.”
 
But Jacob’s fears vanished when he met the man the others called Jesus.  He smiled kindly at Jacob and stroked his back.  “Hello little donkey,” he said, “you will carry me into Jerusalem today.”
 
As they approached Jerusalem, the excitement started to build. Jesus sat on Jacob’s back and Jacob’s mother followed close by.  There were large numbers of people lined up along both sides of the road.  Some of them laid their coats down for Jacob to walk on, others cheered and waved palm branches.  All of them were rejoicing, with singing and shouting filling the air.
 
“I must be the most important donkey in the city” thought Jacob, “perhaps the most important donkey in the whole world.” And so the little donkey held his head up high as he marched into the city carrying Jesus on his back.  It was the proudest moment of Jacob’s life.
 
It was late when they entered Jerusalem and Jesus gently slipped off Jacob’s back and entered the temple.  Jacob’s mother found them somewhere to sleep but Jacob was so excited that he kept going over the events of the day.  “All those people cheering and shouting for me” he said, “I can’t wait for tomorrow!”
 
He woke up early and thought, “I must go into Jerusalem, the people will be waiting for me”
 
So Jacob ran off into the marketplace where lots of people were already gathered.  Jacob marched down the road, just as he did yesterday but no-one started cheering or waving branches, no-one noticed him.
 
Jacob ran back to his mother crying and confused.  “I don’t understand it, I thought they all loved me.  Yesterday they treated me like a King and now they act as if I am not there.  I don’t understand it.”
 
Jacob’s mother lovingly looked at her son and said, “foolish donkey, don’t you see without him, you are nothing.”
 
All of us need God in our lives.  He has chosen each of us and if we let Him, He will help untie us from the things that bind us and will walk with us along the road He has planned for us. 

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I end with a prayer by Jeanyne Slettom:
 
This is a vision of the way it can be, the way it should be—
Shouts of welcome, a joyful procession,
a community celebrating together.
The same vision is offered to us today:
We can welcome Christ into our lives;
We can celebrate his transforming power.
How swiftly things changed back then,
How swiftly we, too, can be distracted.
May we hold fast to his vision of goodness—
Peace from the practice of justice,
equality from the practice of respect.
As this week unfolds,
We will let ourselves be overtaken by God’s love
We will pour it back out into the world.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Saturday 27 March


As restrictions are lifted and we eventually go back to worshipping together in person, I hope that we don’t go back to what church was before but instead take some of the positives from worship online and become something better that is more inclusive and reaches more people.

sat 27 march (2) 

 I have used this prayer by Laura Kelley Fanucci before but I thought it would be good to share it again:
 
When this is over,
may we never again
take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.
 
When this ends,
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way--better
for each other
because of the worst.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 26 March

I sometimes have a tendency to rush into things so need reminding not just to follow my heart but also to take my brain along as well so that the things I do are done to the best of my ability and not just on impulse.

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I end with a prayer by Rebecca Barlow Jordan:
 
Good morning, Lord! Today's a new day, a chance for a new start. Yesterday is gone and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced. It's a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord. Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be.
 
Today I want to start the day with you on my mind and in my heart. As I dress, let me wear the armour you've provided daily: the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the shoes of peace, and the sword of the spirit—with prayer on my tongue: praise for you and petitions for those around me and those I meet.
  
Feed me today with your daily bread. As the Bread of Life, your food, like manna, will sustain me throughout any trials and hungers. Help me to set my thoughts on things above and to speak only what will help and encourage others. Keep me from putting my foot in my mouth, and help me guard the affections of my heart today, Lord. Make whatever work I do be marked with excellence rather than perfectionism, as I seek not to make a name, but to make a difference. Help me to treat each person I encounter as you would, with respect and love, forgiving others and asking for forgiveness myself when needed.
 
As I start this day, help me remember that I belong to you, and my desire is to act accordingly. Keep my feet from stumbling and my mind from wandering into distractions that could steal precious time and energy from the most important things you have designed for me. I'm proud to be your child, Lord. And I'm so grateful that you died for me—rising again on your own new morning—so that every day could be filled with the wonder of your love, the freedom of your Spirit, and the joy of knowing you.
 
I know earthly life is short and fleeting, Lord. But I want to live today as if it were the first or the last day of my life, giving thanks for every good and perfect gift you choose to give. Today, and every day, I want to live my life for you, Jesus. In your precious name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 25 March


It is now a year since we first entered lockdown and I think that this time has shown us how quickly things can change and that we should not take anything for granted and instead make the most of what we have and the time we spend with people.
 
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 I close with a prayer by Kelli Mahoney:
 
Thank you, Lord, for the blessings you have bestowed on my life. You have provided me with more than I could ever have imagined. You have surrounded me with people who always look out for me. You have given me family and friends who bless me every day with kind words and actions. They lift me up in ways that keep my eyes focused on you and make my spirit soar.
 
Also, thank you, Lord, for keeping me safe. You protect me from those things that seem to haunt others. You help me make better choices, and you have provided me with advisors that help me with the difficult decisions. You speak to me in so many ways so that I always know you are here.
 
And Lord, I am so grateful for keeping those around me safe and loved. I hope that you provide me with the ability and sense to show them every day how much they matter. I hope that you give me the ability to give to them the same kindness they have provided to me. I am just so grateful for all of your blessings in my life, Lord. I pray that you remind me of just how lucky I am, and that you never allow me to forget to show my gratitude in prayer and returned kind acts. Thank you, Lord. In your name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 24 March


I think I can sometimes be guilty of expecting to have things handed to me on a plate, so to speak.  However, like it says below, this is often not the case.  Instead God will provide us with opportunities and we need to reach out and grab these when they come.
 
weds 24 march
 
 I end today with a prayer from the ChristiansTT website:
 
Dear Heavenly God, I come to you today with love, understanding, determination, and thankfulness for you always hearing me and knowing me so well.
 
Thank you for my life, my family, my friends and all the experiences I had upon this earth. I thank you for your guidance and light, peace and your protection. I thank you for loving me like you do.
 
Thanks because if it wasn’t for you, I don’t know how I would have made it.
 
Thank you for everything I have and for you telling me “don’t give up”. Thank you most of all for YOU, Father, son and Holy Spirit, for all you do.
 
May our relationship stay strong and stay close. May we continue on forward on this path together. With you, all things are possible. Thank you, praise you and glory to you. I Love You, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 23 March


Today is the first anniversary of the first lockdown here in the UK.  Marie Curie have organised the National Day of reflection where we reflect on all that has happened in the past year, including all the lives that have been lost, and also look forward with hope for a brighter future.
 
For me personally, this has been a difficult year especially as I have spent most of it on my own in the house.  However, there have been moments of brightness and special memories have been made.  I also hope that I will value everyday life more in the future and never take things for granted.  

National Day of Reflection

I close with a prayer by the Church of England:
 
Dear God,
Be with us as we think about all that has changed this year,
And help us to trust that you are always with us.
Be close to us as we remember those who have died,
And help us to trust they are at peace with you.
Show us how to reach out to others with kindness and care,
So that hope shines out in every heart and home,
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 22 March


I think when you listen to the news and hear the stories especially those around the murder of Sarah Everard and the anniversary of Dunblane, it can be easy to think that the world is full of terrible people and we forget the good that people are doing by showing others warmth and kindness.
 
mon 22 march

I end with a prayer taken from belief.net, when praying it you may want to name Sarah Everard or others you have heard of who have had their lives taken away too soon:
 
 O God, we pray for those who have been murdered on the streets of our towns and cities. We commit to your loving care those who have died, beseeching you to receive their souls into the mercy of your love. Comfort their loved ones who mourn. Enable them to meet the lonely and painful days ahead in the strength of your love. Let the love that you have made known to us lead us to create safer streets for all to walk upon.  Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 21 March

I haven’t shared any hymn words recently so today I thought I would share the words of Matt Redman’s contemporary hymn, I will offer up my life.   I feel that is especially appropriate in this time of Lent as we draw nearer to Good Friday.
 
Verse 1
I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love as my worship to You
In surrender I must give my ev’ry part
Lord, receive the sacrifice of a broken heart
 
Chorus
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
To so faithful a Friend to so loving a King
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung
As a praise of Your name for the things You have done
Oh, my words could not tell not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart
 
Verse 2
You deserve my ev’ry breath
For You’ve paid the great cost
Giving up Your life to death
Even death on a cross
You took all my shame away
There defeated my sin
Opened up the gates of heav’n
And have beckoned me in
 
Refrain
What can I give, what can I bring
What can I sing as an offering, Lord
I want to please Your heart
 
 
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I would like to end with a prayer from Rev. Abi and based on two of today’s lectionary readings, Psalm 51, and Jeremiah 31:31-34:
 
Merciful God.
Have mercy on our souls,
according to your unwavering love;
according to your abundant mercy
wipe away our sins and the guilt we have carried for so long.
 
Instead write on our hearts your love,
your boundaries for our lives,
your salvation that sets us free from our sins.
To live the abundant life you have for each of us.
 
Lord we would see Jesus,
we would love Jesus.
we would follow Jesus.
we would serve Jesus.
 
Lord,
Create in us clean hearts,
Renew your spirit within us.
Do not turn us away from your presence,
do not take your holy spirit from us.
Restore to us the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in us a willing spirit.
Write on our hearts, your love O God,
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Saturday 20 March

I love the fact that however much of a mess I am, God will not leave me but continues on nurturing and loving me.  
 
sat 20 march

I end with a prayer taken from crosswalk.com:
 
Prince of Peace, I find myself unable to cope with life sometimes. Instead of feeling grateful, I feel bogged down by the responsibilities of all that You’ve given me. I want to live out Your love, but I find myself consumed with frustration, jealousy, or worry. I want to grow closer to You, but in practice, I’m too tired or bored or busy. Circumstances will rarely be ideal; I know that. But I also know that the only thing that makes life worthwhile is living it with You. Show me how to pray when things aren’t perfect. Show me how to put aside all of the weights and sins and emotions that tangle me up. And demonstrate to me, daily, the reality that if I spend time with You, things will be better. I will be better. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Friday 19 March

The picture below really made me think.  God loves all of us unconditionally and although it can be hard to love or even like some people, we should always try to be kind and radiate God’s love.

tues 23 march

I close with a prayer from the Christians TT website:
 
Tender Jesus, so meek, so mild, teach us to be like You in all our ways. Teach us kindness, gentleness, generosity, and to be giving, forgiving, loving and caring. Teach us to follow in Your humble footsteps. Guide us to the place You want us to be, take control. Mould and shape us into the brilliant beings we were always destined to become.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 18 March


So today marks one year of writing this blog so please join me in a slice of virtual cake to celebrate our first birthday.
 
In a way I started this blog for selfish reasons.  I had been due to have an appointment to discuss much needed surgery as we went into the first lockdown, instead I was told that I would be lucky to get any treatment that year and that I needed to shield and could not leave the house so I was not in a good place mentally. 
 
I thought that writing a blog would give me a purpose each day and would also help to keep the members of Trinity Church, Knebworth connected.  I expected just to write it for a few weeks and then we would all get back to normal life.  I did not envisage that a year later we would be in our third lockdown and that the blog page would have been viewed nearly 17,000 times by people, not just from this area but, from all the over England as well as the United States of America and the Netherlands.
 
I have really appreciated the feedback, from both near and far, and it is helped me to feel connected during this strange time.  I obviously have not been able to lead worship in person for some now but I have come to realise that for now this blog is my ministry.  I hope and pray that you have been blessed in some way or another by this blog and will continue to be so for as long as it continues.
 
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I close with a prayer by Colleen Hanycz:
 
Loving Creator,
We asked for strength, and you gave us difficulties to make us strong.
We asked for wisdom, and you gave us problems to solve.
We asked for prosperity, and you gave us purpose and brains to use.
We asked for courage, and you gave us fears to overcome.
We asked for patience, and you gave us situations where we were forced to wait.
We asked for love, and you gave us troubled people to help.
We asked for justice, and you called us to be just and lead with integrity.
Lord, we have received nothing that we asked for or wanted.
And yet, we receive everything that we needed.
For this we give thanks. Amen
 
Thank you to everyone who reads this blog,
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Wednesday 17 March

Sometimes it is good to know that it is okay to struggle and have difficult times.
 
weds 17 march

I close with a prayer from the Life Church website:
 
Lord, a new day is here. I’ve never lived this day before. It’s full of unknown. It’s full of possibility. It’s full of moments no one but You can see. Thank You for seeing ahead of me on my path and being there to catch me when I fall. I can only live one moment at a time. Help me to live in each moment, knowing You are there. Your Holy Spirit dwells in me each moment, giving me comfort, and guiding and directing me. Thank You for Your grace and presence. Give me guidance and grace to walk in Your light today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 16 March


Whilst I was searching for some Winnie the Pooh quotes on the internet I came across this one and it reminded me of a card that I was given, with this quote on, when I went to a memorial day at my sister’s hospice.  I don’t know where the card is now but this quote has stayed with me since. 
 
TES 16 MARCH
I close today with a prayer taken from www.lords-prayer-words.com:
 
O Lord, I give you my worries and concerns and I ask for your guidance. You see it all, the outer circumstances, the inner turmoil. I know that you understand my life, that sometimes my heart weighs heavy with trouble. Right now I lay all these things before you. I breathe in, safe in the knowledge that I am held by grace. I breathe out, knowing that I am held secure in your arms. And I wait on you. For you are all truth, you are overflowing love, you are a beacon of hope and a fortress of faith. Lord, I choose to be attentive to your voice. May I be alert to your Spirit’s guiding as I journey onwards with you. I love you Father. Amen
 


 

Monday 15 March


I have shared versions of the Serenity Prayer in the past but I came across this version which made me chuckle so I thought I would share it with you.
 
tues 16 serenity
 

I end with a prayer from the explore faith website:

Gracious God, it's sometimes hard for me to understand or accept or love those who are different from me. I find myself wanting to change them so that they fit my accepted patterns.  I know that the difference between us need not separate us, but my lack of understanding makes me want to stay within the safety of my own perceptions rather than embrace what seems foreign.  Give me curiosity of mind so that I am open to the perspectives that others can offer me.  Help me see the similarities that bind us together.  Give me the courage to freely enter their experience in order to find you in a surprising new way.  I ask this for the sake of your love.  Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 14 March 


So today is Mother’s Day in the UK.  It is actually one week earlier than last year and I wrote on this blog last year about what a different day it would be for everyone due to the restrictions that were in place.  Unfortunately many of those restrictions are still in place and mean that many families will not be able to get together as they may have hoped.  I hope though, however you spend the day, that you know you are loved and cherished not just by your family and friends but also by God, who loves each of us unconditionally.

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 I close with a prayer litany by Rev Patty Lawrence:

We remember Sarai
who was taunted by others in the household
because of her inability to have children.
All-encompassing God,
we pray for those who feel excluded
when we emphasis one kind of family as normal.
 
We remember Esther,
who was adopted and raised by her cousin.
God who embraces us all,
we pray for those who cannot be raised by their parents,
for a short time or permanently.
 
We remember Jochebed, the mother of Moses,
who placed him into a raft on the river.
Saving God,
we pray for parents who struggle to raise their children
in oppressive circumstances.
 
We remember Hannah,
who loved her child so much she handed him over to another to raise.
Loving God,
we pray for parents who have placed their child in another family.
 
We remember Naomi,
who grieved the death of her sons.
God, who grieves with us,
we pray for parents who mourn the death of a child.
 
We remember Ruth,
who gave up her family to be family to another.
Inclusive God,
we pray for those who choose to be family
to those isolated by culture or language or distance.
 
We remember Elizabeth,
who had a child in old age
and we remember Mary,
who had a child as a teenager.
Ageless God,
we pray that as a community we accept people of varying life stages
and responsibilities and relationships.
  
We remember Rachel,
crying for her children
God of justice and hope,
we pray for those whose children are killed,
and look to a time when children can live safely in their communities.
 
We remember Lois and Eunice,
who taught Timothy faith by example.
Faithful God,
we pray for those who teach us faith by their lives,
may we remember that we also teach about you in the way we live.
 
We remember other people not named in the Scriptures,
like the mother of the prodigal son.
Companion God,
we pray for those who wait for a phone call or a visit,
cut off from family and friends by distance and disagreement.
 
Nurturing God, we give thanks for those
who enrich our lives by their presence
who teach us about your abundant love
who encourage us to journey in faith.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 13 March 

As someone who spent much of my late twenties and early thirties housebound, I often feel that I am very different to others of a similar age.  I haven’t been married, nor had children and am just looking for my first proper paid job.  It is very easy for me to beat myself up about this but I have to remind myself that God has a plan for my life and things happen according to the schedule that he has mapped out for me.
 
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I end with a prayer taken from the Connect Us website:
 
Lord God, You have taught us that You have a plan for each one of us. Your hand guides our steps and provides us with all we need. Because You are good, You want only the best for us. Good and gracious God, I ask that Your pathway will become manifest in my life. Help me to walk in the paths that You have laid out in front of me and lead me through the narrow gate. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Friday 12 March 

When we are going through difficult times, we can sometimes feel that God is not with us and that we are on our own.  However, as this cartoon shows, we are not alone and God is holding us in the palm of us His hand.
 
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 I close with a prayer from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland:
 
Faithful God,
it isn’t easy to trust you in these uncertain days.
We have so many questions:
Will I catch the virus?
Do we have enough to get by?
What about my job?
Help us to know you as the God who provides;
supplying manna in the wilderness,
sustaining Elijah with food brought by ravens,
feeding five thousand,
giving us each day our daily bread.
Help us not to worry about our life,
about what we will eat or drink,
what we will wear.
Help us not to be anxious about tomorrow,
or the impact of a pandemic that might last weeks or months.
Teach us not to waste these lingering hours of lockdown worrying.
Instead lift our eyes to the birds in flight,
draw our gaze to the flowers in bloom,
to see that our heavenly Father,
will meet our everyday human concerns.
Keep us focused on seeking your kingdom,
watching for how all we need will also come our way,
from your generous hand.
In Jesus name.
Amen.
 
Next week will be the first anniversary of this blog.  I only expected it to continue for a couple of weeks and to read by just a small circle of people from Trinity Church.  However, the blog is still going and that small circle extends out not only to the North Herts Circuit but to the north of England and America.  I would love to find out where people are from and how you found this blog and hope to do a post about this on the anniversary.  So please email me, if you would like, at katestrinityblog@gmail.com
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Thursday 11 March 

We may not think we have done much but we will never know just what a difference we have made to someone’s day by being kind to someone even if it was just saying thank you or allowing someone to pass at a safe distance.

 
thurs 11 march
 
 I close with a prayer by Christopher Heffron:
 
Dear God,
your Son taught us
to love our fellow man,
yet too often
we neglect that lesson.
Teach us to choose
love over hatred,
peace over conflict,
and kindness
over aggression.
Remind us
that we are all part
of one body,
one family,
one world.
Amen.
 
 
Next week will be the first anniversary of this blog.  I only expected it to continue for a couple of weeks and to read by just a small circle of people from Trinity Church.  However, the blog is still going and that small circle extends out not only to the North Herts Circuit but to the north of England and America.  I would love to find out where people are from and how you found this blog and hope to do a post about this on the anniversary.  So please email me, if you would like, at katestrinityblog@gmail.com
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Wednesday 10 March 

I am sure you have heard the phrase ‘you will feel better after a good night’s sleep’ well; I find that a nap can also help.  On days when I am in pain, low in mood or overthinking, I find it helps to take a nap.  I find it just switches off my brain for a little while and then I am ready to begin again.
 
weds 10 march

I close with a prayer by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith:
 
Jesus, I am stressed. Help me to accept your invitation to come empty and receive the rest I need. Help me to willingly release my fear, my worries, my agenda, and my to-do list. Ease the tension and replenish my body. Silence the voices of doubt and speak Your words of truth. Remove the heaviness of my day and pour out abundantly into my life. Fill me with Your peace, joy, and love. Fill me until the overwhelm is consumed by Your grace, and my life reflects the beauty of resting in You. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 9 March


I have a tendency to overthink things and this is often worse when I am alone and not distracted by other things.  My thoughts run riot and can end up causing me hurt so I think that an important part of looking after ourselves is trying to keep our thoughts under control.  Also if our words can hurt ourselves then they can also hurt others and we should try to be aware of just how hurtful words can be.

tues 9 march 

 I close today with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
Dear God,
Thank you for being the God who never sleeps.
Thank you for always being here for me, even when I’m not always here for you.
Thank you that you are Love and that you want the very best for me.
Thank you for your promises and that you never change.
I am feeling totally overwhelmed. Please help me.
Help me to rest in the fact that you know what is best for me.
Forgive me for turning away from you and trying to control the outcome in situations in my life.
The Bible says that you are not the God of confusion but of peace.
Help me to rest in your love and to feel the peace which surpasses all understanding.
Help me to feel your love and comfort.
Help me to be still and know that you are God and that you will take care of me, just like any loving parent takes care of their children.
Your Word says to cast all of our anxiety on you because you care for us.
I turn all of my burdens and concerns over to you.
Please guide my every step and help me to be attentive to your loving direction.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 8 March


This third lockdown, and the shielding that comes with it, has definitely been the hardest.  The first one was a bit of a novelty in a way and I had time to catch up on jobs around the house that needed doing and I enjoyed having more time to myself.  I was in hospital when the second lockdown started and was recovering from surgery for the rest of it.  This third lockdown seems to have lasted for forever, the days seem to drag and blend into each other.  Motivating myself is getting harder, especially motivating myself to do tedious jobs such as shredding paperwork.  I am trying not to be too hard on myself and let whatever I do, even if it is not much, be enough.  I hope that you go easy on yourself as well if you are finding things hard.
 
mon 8 march

I end with a prayer by Paddy Ducklow:
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
You may have to push forward, but you don’t have to push so hard.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
Do not be in so much of a hurry. At no day, no hour, no time are you required to do much so frantically. Move, but move faithfully, decisively, and deliberately in the plan of God.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
Be urgent about the things that are urgent. Be easy about the things that are not essential. Pursuing the wrong urgencies may cause you to overrun the essential… and the important.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
In tragedy look for God when you can’t find meaning. In hopelessness find meaning when you can’t see God. Either way, you will move ahead.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
The frantic and stressed actions of uncontrolled urgency are not the foundation for the wholesome walk. Nor does such anxiousness reflect the gracious intention of the Creator. The frantic cause you to fall further away from the calming confidence of God’s calling.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
Know God’s identity for you and in you. You are His creation and His people. Allow your soul to be immersed in the many joys of God.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
Go generously and walk thankfully into your work, your relationships, your leading, your family. Meet God in your hours, in your days. Let the pace of your life flow naturally toward its unforgettable completion.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
Beginning or ending, planning or reflecting, hurting or healing, cherish each moment. Savor God’s guidance. Seek what’s really important. Surrender your soul to the simple peace of God’s leading and urging, to His beginning and ending.
 
Go easy. Go gently. Go in peace.
 
Now go, with easiness towards yourself, with gentleness towards others and with peace in God.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Sunday 7 March

 
I am taking part in our Zoom service today so thought I would share the reflection that I will be sharing there based on John chapter 2 verses 13 to 22 and Exodus chapter 20 verses 1 to 17.
 
Picture the scene: It is a typical Passover Feast and Jews not just from Palestine but from all over the world have travelled to the temple.  The place was teeming, money changers were changing currency to enable people to pay the required temple tax.  There were sellers of sheep, oxen and doves hoping to sell to those who wanted to make a sacrificial offering.  It was like any normal Passover until this unknown man came in, disrupted the normal business of the temple and challenged the views that the Jews held.
 
What struck me when reading this passage, was how it can relate to us today as a church in the time of a pandemic.  At the beginning of 2020 people, as they had done for many years were meeting together in church buildings to worship God.  Then this unknown virus came along, turning everything upside down, closing our buildings and challenging our traditional ways of worshipping God.
 
People have had to find new ways of worshipping from their own homes.  The BBC has been putting on Sunday services’ including Songs of Praise and it is believed that one in four people have tuned into watch.  Many churches are now holding online services be it via Zoom like us or over YouTube.  Some ministers have found that their online services have attracted congregations that are three times larger than before lockdown. 
 
In our Gospel passage, Jesus cleared the money traders and the sellers out of the way and I think in a way services moving away from buildings and onto our screens has cleared away some of the barriers that get in the way of going to church and following Jesus.  
 
Attendance has been down in recent years because of people especially children taking part in sporting or leisure activities but with all activities stopping due to lockdown, people have had the time to join in a service.  If a person is working or busy on a Sunday morning, then they can catch up on the service at a time convenient to them.  Barriers such as access and transport have all been removed and those normally too unwell to attend church have been finally able to feel part of worship.  Instead of having to rush to get everyone out of the door on time, families have been able to be more relaxed and enjoy worship as a family.
 
Obviously I have missed seeing people in person and am desperate to hug people again but I have relished the opportunity to join in with a range of services from a range of denominations and if I so wish I can join in with a service in the week.  As someone who would often be busy doing various bits and pieces at church on a Sunday, it would sometimes be difficult to really focus on the service and what God was saying to me but worshipping from home has given me the opportunity to focus.
Watching a service on a Sunday has not only helped to give me a sense of normality but also a sense of hope.  With our lives so stripped back and so much taken away, it is easy to feel a sense of hopelessness and I think for many people, including those who would not normally attend church, online services have offered a sense of hope and have also helped people to realise that they are not alone in how they feel.
 
However there are some downsides of online worship.  In the temple, Gentiles were excluded from entering the inner areas and instead had to worship in the outer areas which would have been very noisy and so meant they were not able to worship as they would have liked to.  2.5 million older people have never used the internet and there may be families that cannot afford internet access so I think that we need to be mindful that we don’t exclude people.
 
The Church of England has addressed this issue by setting up Daily Hope.  This is a phone line that has enables callers to access reflections, music and even full services.
 
In verse 19, Jesus talks of destroying the temple and it being raised again 3 days later.  Jesus was not talking about the temple building but himself.  Jesus should be at the centre of our lives and our worship whether we are in a building, talking part on zoom or watching our television.
 
I think one way that we can show that Jesus is at the centre of our lives is through our care and concern with others.  Even though the building has been closed, Trinity has remained open for business in terms of caring for each other and those in the wider community.
People have been keeping in touch with each other through emails and phone calls and Trinity Times has helped unite us a body.  Members of the church have been involved with various projects such as keeping our church youth group running on line, organising Lent groups, helping Stevenage foodbank, helping with the village’s COVID Response Team and cooking weekly meals for those who are more vulnerable.  Our keyworkers have remained working throughout and, in sometimes stressful circumstances, have continued to demonstrate God’s love to those they work with.
 
I, personally, have been very blessed by the phone calls and emails I have received as well as the across garden visits not to mention the numerous trips to the post box that people have done for me.
 
Our Old Testament reading from Exodus talks about the commandments and how we are to honour God in what we do and I think that we have certainly done that even though we have not been together in the building.
 
The last year has been extremely difficult but I think it has taught us that we don’t need to be in a church building to be part of the body of Christ.  We are all hoping and praying that we will be able to worship together in person soon and what a service that will be.  I hope though that we don’t forget the things that we have learnt during this time and instead incorporate them into our daily lives and our worship, keeping God as our focus.  Amen
 
 
I do hope that this won’t happen when we go back to worshipping together:
 
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And I close with a blessing taken from the re:worship website:
 
May the Lord show us the greatness of his goodness,
that we overflow with thanks every day.
May the Lord bless us abundantly with rest for the heart,
power for virtue,
wisdom for life,
and patience in suffering.
May the Lord bless us with joyful hope,
and one day with the inexpressible joys of eternal life.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

 

Saturday 6 March

I know that when I have been struggling, the most helpful thing that someone can do for me is not to try to fix things but to be there for me.  I am very blessed to have people who are there for me and will walk alongside me in the good times and the bad times. 
 

sat 6 march

I end with a prayer from crosswalk.com:

 
Dear Lord,
I pray for my friend right now. I pray that you will help them with the struggles they are going through in this season. For you know exactly what they need in this moment. Draw near to them and let them feel your presence. Open their eyes, ears, and hearts to you. Help them have the discernment to hear your voice as you lead them in their next steps. Speak to them as they read your word and bring verses of encouragement and comfort to their attention. I pray that you will calm any fear or anxiety they may be feeling. Replace it with the confidence to obey your word and to trust you. I pray that your guidance will be clear to them from this day forward. In your name, I pray. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate


 

Friday 5 March


I know that a lot of you like the Pooh and Piglet stories that I share.  Unfortunately no new ones have been written so I thought I would share this instead. 
 
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I end with a prayer by Jeff Schreve,
 
Dear God, I hate to say it, but I have been guilty of grumbling and griping about all my problems and trials. I have failed to be thankful and to remember that You are at work in my life, even through all the troubles.
 
Please forgive me, God. I want to be a person who keeps my eyes on You and praises You, no matter what may come my way. So, thank you God for these blessings and these challenges. I know You are in control of all things.
 
I know You love me and work all things together for my good. I choose to trust You, Lord. Teach me to be a praiser who always finds the good... and not a complainer who always finds the bad. In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Thursday 4 March


Sometimes if I have had a bad night, I tend to start the day off being a bit grumpy and I have to make a conscious effort to be happy and grateful otherwise I spend the whole day in a mood and will go to bed at the end of the day feeling a lot worse than I woke up and having not really achieved anything.
 
thurs 4 march

And I end with a prayer from crosswalk.com:
 
Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives, thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us. Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times, strengthening us for your purposes. Thank you for your great love and care. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you that you are always with us and will never leave us. Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life. Forgive us for when we don't thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you've given. Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh. Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy. We love you and we need you, this day and every day. We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate


 

Wednesday 3 March


I was sorting out my wardrobe the other day and realised that I haven’t worn some of my smarter clothes for over a year and they are now slightly small.  I think I will need to work harder at the diet or buy a bigger size! 
 
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I close today with a prayer by Renee Davis :
 
Dear Father God, Thank You for Your unfailing love for me, Your blessings, and goodness. Thank You for Your faithfulness to guide me and see me through times of uncertainty, for lifting me up, and setting me on high. Thank You for Scripture that comforts and reminds me of Your promises, plan, and provision. Thank you for taking away my fears and worries, the what-ifs, and reminding me that my help comes from You. Help me be a good steward and to sow wisely. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure inn God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 2 March


Today’s quote is for anyone who feels that they have nothing to offer at the moment and that they are insignificant.
 
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I end with a prayer by Lindsay Snyder:
 
Lord, I know that Your Word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know I am your child; I know that I am saved by your grace. You are kind, good, merciful and gracious, and because You are all of those things, I know You are all of those things for me. When I feel unworthy, help me stop looking at and comparing myself to others, but fix my gaze on You. Through You I will always see my worth clearly. Thank you for your gracious love toward me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Monday 1 March


This month is the annual Daffodil Appeal ran by Marie Curie.  This year it is particularly important for them to raise funds because Marie Curie Nurses have been on the front line of the pandemic providing vital care for dying people and their loved ones and also they have been unable to fundraise as normal. 
 
Their website, www.mariecure.org.uk, contains lots of valuable information as well as various ways in which people can raise money for them including walking 10,000 steps every day in March.
 
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I end today with a prayer by Rev Dr Lezley Stewart:
 
Each new day
we celebrate what it is to be free -
to live our lives in fullness.
This is the eternal gift of God.
 
But freedom and fullness lives in the simple
? in each breath we take
? in knowing we have a roof over our heads
? in the love of family and community
? all the things we might usually take for granted...
 
Freedom also invites the gift of generosity
? to continue to give where we can
? to support one another as we are able and go the extra mile
? to offer a welcome smile and forget the more formal handshake of yesterday
? to be what we have always been called to be - human.
 
This is not a Church crisis, a worship crisis, nor a financial crisis
? this is about the gift of life, which is for all, irrespective of birth, status or circumstances.
 
As we remember the most simple of these things, may we be inspired to renew calm, peace and hope in every new day.
 
For in the midst of all storms a Presence is found, and freedom in Christ remains.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 28 February


The Psalm for today is Psalm 22.  This is believed to have been written by David.  It is about a person who is crying out to God to save him from the taunts and torments of his enemies, and who then, in the last ten verses, thanks God for rescuing him.   In the New Testament Jesus says the opening words from the Psalm, ‘My God, my God why have you forsaken me’, shortly before His death on the cross. 
 
I would like to share this poem entitled Psalm 22 by Issac Watts:
 
Now let our mournful songs record
The dying sorrows of our Lord,
When he complained in tears and blood,
As one forsaken of his God.
 
The Jews beheld him thus forlorn,
And shake their heads, and laugh in scorn:
"He rescued others from the grave;
Now let him try himself to save.
 
"This is the man did once pretend
God was his Father and his Friend
If God the blessed loved him so,
Why doth he fail to help him now?"
 
Barbarous people! cruel priests!
How they stood round like savage beasts!
Like lions gaping to devour,
When God had left him in their power.
 
They wound his head, his hands, his feet,
Till streams of blood each other meet;
By lot his garments they divide,
And mock the pangs in which he died.
 
But God, his Father, heard his cry;
Raised from the dead, he reigns on high,
The nations learn his righteousness,
And humble sinners taste his grace.
 
Why-Did-Jesus-Say-On-The-Cross
 
I end with some prayers of intercession taken from re:worship website:
 
Almighty God and Father, we do not come to talk with you today because we think we are so good and wonderful, but because you have been so good and wonderful to us—adopted us into your family and blessed us as your children.
 
Help us to cling to the promises you make to your family:
· to love us when we see only our selfishness and lack of love to you
· to forgive us, because of everything Jesus did for us in his life of love and in his dying on   
  the cross
· to give your family a share in the resurrection when their bodies are worn out and rest in dust and ashes.
 
We thank you for Jesus Christ our Lord, who walks out in front of us to lead your people safely through the difficult and trying times ahead. We marvel that he would turn his back on a big name for himself in his life on earth, and choose to go to the place of suffering and death, out of love for all people in the world. There he identified with all godly people who have called out in despair: 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'
 
May your Spirit help us to carry the cross for people in need of our loving concern, doing the best we can for their special needs without counting the cost to ourselves.
 
Bless all those who feel like giving up,
those who feel they cannot take any more sickness and suffering,
those who care for the sick, the dying, and those who grieve inwardly.
 
Bless our leaders who have big responsibilities to carry:
· the leaders of our country, including the prime minister
· the leaders of the churches
· the leaders of our congregations,
    
Give us new strength by your Holy Spirit as Christ comes to us in his supper. Refresh us for the journey ahead, replenish our faith, and give us new confidence for the future. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

 

Saturday 27 February

As I have said many times the thing I have missed the most is the company of others.

sat 27 feb
I close with a prayer from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Loving Father, for the first time in my life I myself am really feeling lonely and it is a hard thing to face. Lord, I begin to understand that there are many lonely people, many hurting people in the world today. Many who are putting on a pretence of being happy and yet they are crying out for the companionship of someone who really cares.
 
Lord, I am starting to get an understanding and compassion for those that are lonely. Help me to understand that there are many lonely people in the world, and I pray that You would draw close to all who are facing loneliness today. Lord, You are the only One Who can truly fill the aching void in the lives of lonely people. So I bring each one to You, and pray that Your Holy Spirit would touch hearts that are lonely and bind up their brokenness. Lord, draw many into a closer walk with Yourself. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Friday 26 February

As we approach another weekend, even if the days all seem similar, we don’t have to be busy all the time and can take time for ourselves.
 
fri 26 feb

I end with a prayer written by Orin L. Crain: 
 
Slow me down, Lord!                                                     
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

 Give me,
Amidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music
Of the singing streams
That live in my memory.
 
Help me to know
The magical power of sleep,
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations
Of slowing down
To look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend
Or make a new one;
To pet a dog;
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.
 
Remind me each day
That the race is not always won by the swift;
That there is more to life
Than increasing its speed.
 
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.
 
Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life's enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of our greater destiny.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

 

Thursday 25 February


I am nearing the end of my pain management course and one thing that I am trying to do more of is to live in the moment.  This means focussing on the here and now and not on the past and not on the future.  It is not easy, especially if the moment is not pleasant, and I do find myself losing focus but it is something that I will continue to practice and hopefully I will get better at it.   
 

 mon 15 feb
 
 
I would like to end with a meditation prayer taken from crosswalk.com:
 
Lord, quiet my heart and still my soul as I wait on you during these moments alone. I recognize you as a holy and majestic God—one who deserves great praise and glory. All of creation testifies to your awesome and unique works. There is no one like you, no other god worthy of honour.
 
I want to focus on You, Lord, and to shut out all the distractions of the world. For these next few moments, it’s just you and me, God. You are Spirit, but you are a God who knows us so intimately. I like to imagine you literally sitting here beside me, because of your promise that you are Emmanuel—always “with us.”
 
As I think about the truths in your Word, may the meditation of my heart be sweet and honouring to you. I am not trying to clear out my mind. I simply want you to empty me of self and fill me with your Holy Spirit.
 
I long for your presence, Lord. Narrow my thoughts to include only those things that are honourable, truthful, beautiful, pure, and praiseworthy. I ask for your wisdom to apply these truths to my life morning, noon, and night—literally all through the day. For you are worthy to be praised all the time.
 
I remember your great faithfulness in the past and am so grateful that you shower fresh mercy and grace on me each morning. I rehearse your goodness through answered prayer and personal reminders to me daily of your love for me. Even when I feel alone or distant from you, you draw me back into your presence when I purposely slow down and draw close to you.
 
I treasure your Word and want to chew on the truths you reveal to me today. As I pull apart each piece and reflect on every principle and word of instruction, I’m asking you to guide me and teach me what you want me to know.
 
Is there a promise here for me to remember? Is there an action I need to take or a sin to forsake? Is there more for me to understand about your character? Help me personalize your message to my heart today. Your Word is powerful. I celebrate the strength and wisdom you will give me as I learn to honour and glorify you more.
 
I need you and love you, Lord. And I ask you to speak through your Word and in these quiet moments together. Whisper or shout into my spirit, whichever you want, and whatever I need the most. But most of all, just receive my praise as I focus my thoughts only on you. I’m listening and anticipating as I read and meditate on your beautiful Word.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 24 February


I feel that these words by Pope Francis are very appropriate and are something that we can all try to do during this Lenten period.

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I will close today with a prayer by Ann Siddall:

O God, help us to use this season of Lent
to examine our attachments,
and to sense where You invite us
to live more simply and deeply.

Shine the light of Your love
into the private corners of our lives
where we have acquired so much clutter
that it has begun to restrict our freedom.

Grant us the strength to free ourselves
from appetites and needs that drive us
into taking, having and wanting
more than we need or have time for.

Teach us that in letting go
we become free, rather than deprived,
generous rather than covetous,
and spacious rather than restricted.

We offer You our Lenten observance,
and today we place our feet
on the road to Easter, and walk
the Way that You have walked before us. Amen.


Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 23 February


I think that the past year has given many churches the opportunity to rethink the way that they operate and the outreach that they provide.  With services been shown on television, the internet and via Zoom many more people have been able to engage than previously as people can choose to worship in a time and a way that suits them. 
 
Many churches have also been providing valuable outreach during the pandemic such as offering practical help to those who are shielding, operating food banks, using their buildings as test and vaccination centres etc.  I hope that when things return to some degree of normal that churches continue to reach out rather than reach in.
 
tues 23 feb

I close with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
God of Love, God of Peace,
This fractured world
Cries out in pain,
Burns deep into my soul,
And challenges me
To make a difference.
 
God of Love, God of Peace,
God of this world,
Scarred by grief and tears ,
Ignorance and fear,
Soften hearts of stone,
And begin with mine.
  
God of Love, God of Peace,
Create within me
A heart for people,
A desire for change,
For new beginnings
To start this day.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate

 

Monday 22 February


Those of you who know me know that I do not find dieting easy.  I find the idea of the elimination diet appealing but I am not sure how easy in practice it would be to actually get rid of things such as worry and guilt.  At Lent we talk about giving things up so maybe I will make a real effort to give up or reduce those emotions that tie me down.
 
mon 22 feb
I end with a prayer taken from the Equipping Godly Women website:
 
God, as I go about my busy day today, I ask that you would give me a sense of peace and calm. Help me not to get stressed out, worried or frantic by all the problems I see around me. Instead, please give me a sense of peace and calm that comes from knowing You are in control, You have it all figured out, and my best is enough because I can always trust You to take care of issues and situations I can’t. Please help me keep my eyes on You today, not all the negativity in the world around me.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 21 February


Today is the first Sunday in Lent and the Gospel reading for today focuses on Jesus’ baptism and His time in the wilderness. I would like to share a poem based on today’s reading called ‘Beloved is Where We Begin’ by Jan Richardson:
 
If you would enter into the wilderness, do not begin without a blessing.
 
Do not leave without hearing who you are:
Beloved,
named by the One who has travelled this path before you.
 
Do not go without letting it echo in your ears,
and if you find it is hard to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what this journey is for.
 
I cannot promise this blessing will free you from danger,
from fear, from hunger, or thirst,
from the scorching of sun or the fall of the night.
 
But I can tell you that on this path there will be help.
 
I can tell you that on this way there will be rest.
 
I can tell you that you will know the strange graces
that come to our aid only on a road such as this,
that fly to meet us bearing comfort and strength,
that come alongside us for no other cause
than to lean themselves toward our ear
and with their curious insistence
whisper our name:
 
Beloved.  Beloved. Beloved.
 
slide 3
 
 
I end with a prayer by Rev Abi:
 
God,
As we take this journey
That draws us ever closer to you
Walk with us
Sustain us,
Nurture us.
 
God, as we go through
The wilderness of lent and of our lives,
Send your manna to us,
give us wisdom to turn from temptation
And your grace to turn to.
 
God, as we walk through the pot holes of life,
The valleys, the pits of life,
Guide us with your hand
Keep our feet steady,
And our vision on you.
 
 God, whether we choose to give up something for lent
Or do something positive,
Let us not do it out of obligation
Or the tyranny of oughtness,
But out of love for you.
 
Keep us in your paths of love, mercy and grace.
Lord help us to remember we are not alone
but that we are walking with our fellow/sister travellers . Amen
 

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 20 February


I really like how the bible quote has been used to illustrate the picture below and feel that it is very fitting for this time.  It still surprises me, especially when I look at pictures on the television or in the paper, how many people are not wearing masks or wearing them improperly as chin warmers.  I think wearing a mask is one thing that we can all to do make a difference at this difficult time.
 
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 I close with a prayer by Richard Bott:
 
Creator,
as I prepare to go into the world,
help me to see the sacrament
in the wearing of this cloth -
let it be "an outward sign
of an inward grace" -
a tangible and visible way of living
love for my neighbours,
as I love myself.
Christ,
since my lips will be covered,
uncover my heart,
that people would see my smile
in the crinkles around my eyes.
Since my voice may be muffled,
help me to speak clearly,
not only with my words,
but with my actions.
Holy Spirit,
As the elastic touches my ears,
remind me to listen carefully -
and full of care -
to all those I meet.
May this simple piece of cloth be
shield and banner,
and each breath that it holds,
be filled with your love.
In your Name and
in that love,
I pray.
May it be so.
May it be so.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 19 February


As I approach a year of shielding, I am finding the loneliness the hardest thing to deal with.  Although I have lived alone for many years, I tended not to feel lonely as I was always out and about doing things or having people come to the house.  Now I fleetingly see people at the door or over the internet and although that it is better than nothing, I do feel a gap in my life at the moment.  However I have to remind myself that this is just for now and hopefully in a few months I will be able to see people again and get out and about.  I will then probably moan that I don’t get enough time on my own!
 
fri feb 19
  
I close with a prayer by Debbie McDaniel:
 
Dear God,
Thank you that you see us right where we are, in the midst of our pain and struggle, in the middle of our desert land. Thank you that you have not forgotten us and never will. Forgive us for not trusting you, for doubting your goodness, or not believing you’re really there. We choose to set our eyes on you today. We choose joy and peace when the whispered lies come and say that we should have no joy or peace.
 
Thank you that you care for us and your love over us is so great. We confess our need for you. Fill us fresh with your Spirit, renew our hearts and minds in your truth. We ask for your hope and comfort to continue to heal our hearts where they’ve been broken. Give us the courage to face another day, knowing that with you before us and behind us, we have nothing to fear.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 18 February


Although the cartoon below applies to Anglican Churches, I felt that it also applies somewhat to Trinity Church as we are currently in an interregnum.
 
thurs 18
I end with a prayer taken from the website of St Barnabas Church, Epsom:
 
Loving God, as we journey together through this period of Interregnum,
we thank you for your everlasting faithfulness to us.
 
At this time of uncertainty and change we ask that you send us your Holy Spirit,
to fill us with your vision, energy, and faithfulness in prayer.
 
We ask that you will help us to share responsibility, grow in faith, love one another,
care for those in need and have courage to face our future and embrace the unknown,
with praise in our hearts, in loving obedience to you.   Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 17 February


Today is Ash Wednesday. On this day, in the Catholic Church predominately, a priest places ashes, made from the Palm Crosses from the previous year and in the shape of a cross, on parishioners’ foreheads to remind them of their mortality and the need for repentance. Catholics are also expected to abstain from eating meat today.
 
Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent which lasts for 40 days, not including Sundays, finishing at Easter.  Many from more orthodox and traditional denominations observe Lent strictly by abstaining from meat, fish, eggs and fats until Easter Sunday.  Others will choose to give up just one item for Lent such as chocolate or alcohol. It is also becoming increasingly common for people to give up other things in order to refocus their faith during this time such as watching TV, or social media and will use this time to study the bible and pray more intensively.
 
However you spend today and the rest of Lent may it be a time where you can know Him more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly, day by day.

 
feature-image-ash-wednesday.or
 
 
 I end today with a prayer by Christine Sine:
 
God may we remember
All of life is held together with nails
Piercing flesh of the son of man
May we remember and give thanks
 
God may we remember
The power of sin and death are forever ended
Hung upon a cross and crucified
May we remember and give thanks
 
God may we remember
The bread of life broken for us
That we may eat and filled with abundance of life
May we remember and give thanks
 
God may we remember
God’s blood poured out for us
The deep wounds of love suffered for us
May we remember and give thanks
 
God may we remember ashes on foreheads
And kneel before the one whose love knows no end
With humbled hearts and repentant spirits
May we remember and give thanks
 
God may we remember we are but dust
And walk together into tomorrow’s unknowns
Breaking bars, building bridges, setting captives free
May we remember and give thanks
 
God may we remember and give thanks
Let us take up our cross and follow
Believing that in Christ all things work together for good
May we remember and give thanks, Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 16 February


Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day.  It always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9. 
Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on a fast for Lent and pancakes were the perfect way of using up these ingredients.

The name Shrove Tuesday comes from the tradition that on this day Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to confession and were absolved from their sins, also known as shriven.  A bell would be rung to call people to confession and this came to be called the Pancake Bell and is still rung today.

According to another tradition, in 1445 a woman from Olney in Buckinghamshire heard the shriving bell while she was making pancakes and ran to the church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan.  From this came the pancake race which when, restrictions allow, take place across the country.  must wear an apron and a hat or scarf.

shrove-tuesday

I close with a prayer taken from the Methodist Church website:

On this Shrove Tuesday, Lord help us to enjoy and give thanks to you for the bounty you provide for us and remind us to share your gifts with others. And as Lent begins tomorrow, prepare our hearts and minds to reflect upon the temptation of Jesus for 40 days and nights and what that means for us. Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 15 February


This winter, with its snow and lockdown restrictions, has definitely given us the opportunity for quiet time.  I have especially enjoyed the amazing sunsets this past week which remind me of God’s presence and His light in our darkness.
 
tues 16 feb

I end with an anonymous prayer:

Lord, In the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and wind can pierce ….. remind us of the warmth of your love. In the midst of Winter, when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early ….. remind us that in the darkness your light still shines. In the midst of Winter, when the flowers of spring still lie hidden in the earth, when leaves are off the trees, and the world can seem bleak ….. remind us that Easter is but a short time away. And when in our lives we feel as if we are experiencing a season of winter, reach out to us with the power of your resurrection so that we may feel the warmth of your love and see your light that alone can take away the darkness of our soul.   Amen

 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 14 February


Whilst sorting out my folders this week, I came across a service script from four years ago and with that was a Valentine’s Card that I used to introduce the theme of unconditional love.  I will share what was written on the card:
 
To my dearest Kate. 
I love you so much that I gave up someone special just for you. 
I cry when you cry, laugh when you laugh and I am always there right by your side in good times and bad times.
I know you may sometimes upset me with your words and actions but I forgive you.
My love is unconditional,
God
 
Some of us may have received cards or gifts today, others may have not but one very special gift that we have all got in common is that God loves us unconditionally.
 
 god-is-love-design-template-aa

 I end with ‘The Love Prayer’ taken from the ‘Sacred Journey’ webpage:
 
Today I remove all boundaries and walls,
Once used as a means of defence,
I forgive those things from the darkened past,
That in love’s divine realm make no spiritual sense.
Releasing all worries, all burdens and doubt,
I bring light to the shadows of fear.
By centering myself with a loving thought,
Harsh judgments I no longer hear.
The greatest experience that life has to give,
Is love from an open heart,
For it moves me to appreciate all there is,
And I’m one with it all, not apart.
It’s love that brings me closer to God,
And leads me according to God’s way,
Love’s light warms my spirit, it nurtures my soul,
And assures me everything is okay.
I am one with God and never apart,
As I live this day with an open heart.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 13 February


I thought I would share this, especially as tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day.
 
ten ways to love

I close with a prayer by Debbie McDaniel based on 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1 to 8:

Dear God,
 
Thank you that you are a loving, gracious God. Thank you that you’ve offered us forgiveness and the gift of new life in you. Thank you that your love is perfect, it never fails, and that nothing can separate us from your love.
 
We pray that our lives would be filled and overflowing with the power of your love so we can make a difference in this world and bring honour to you. We ask for your help in reminding us that the most important things are not what we do outwardly, it’s not based on any talent or gift, but the most significant thing we can do in this life is simply to love you and to choose to love others.
 
Lord thank you that your love is patient. Help us show patience with those around us.
 
Lord thank you that your love is kind. Help us to extend kindness to others.
 
Lord thank you that true love is not jealous. Help us cast aside feelings of jealousy or hatred towards others.
 
Lord thank you that your love does not brag and is not arrogant. Help us not to live with pride or arrogance, but to choose to walk with humility and grace.
 
Lord thank you that true love does not act unbecomingly. Lord help us to extend kindness instead of rudeness towards others. Help us to lay aside the critical tone and tearing down with our words, so that we can truly walk in peace.
 
Lord thank you that true love does not seek its own. Lord help us not to live selfishly, looking only to our own interests.
 
Lord thank you that true love is not provoked. Lord help us not to become easily angered. Help us not to be so quickly reactive, but instead slow to speak and slow to become angry.
 
Lord thank you that your love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Lord help us not to hold grudges, but to choose to forgive, even when it’s difficult.
 
Lord thank you that your love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Lord help us to love your words of truth, may we walk in your freedom and wisdom. Let it be what drives our lives and choices every day.
 
Lord thank you that your love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, thank you that your love never fails.
 
Help us to love as you love. Fill us with your Spirit so that we can choose what is best. We are weak Lord, but we know also, that even when we are weak, you are strong within us. Thank you that it’s not all up to us. Thank you that you equip us to face each day with the power of your love, your forgiveness, and your grace.
 
We love you Lord, and we need you today, and every day, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 12 February


I think the main thing this past year has taught me is that life is a very precious gift and one that we should make the most of, even if we do face dips and difficulties along the way.
 
life is precious

I end with a prayer by Vienna Cobb Anderson which I may have shared previously but felt that it fitted with the theme of today:
 
God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:
 
We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.
 
We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.
 
We thank you for setting us in communities:
for families
who nurture our becoming,
for friends
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
for strangers
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
for children
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.
 
We thank you for this day:
for life
and one more day to love,
for opportunity
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
for neighbours
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us,
to be our God,
and to give salvation.
 
For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Thursday 11  February


I would like to share another cartoon by Dave Walker, which I hope makes you smile.  On a serious note, for Christian Aid and many other charities, Covid-19 has hampered fundraising efforts at a time when funds are needed more than ever and they are relying on people to donate via other means. 
 
collecting-2017-800
 
I end with a prayer called Love Never Fails taken from the Christian Aid website:
 
Even in the darkest moments, love gives hope.
Love compels us to fight against coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty.
Love compels us to stand together in prayer with our neighbours near and far.
Love compels us to give and act as one.
Now, it is clear that our futures are bound together more tightly than ever before.
As we pray in our individual homes – around the nation and around the world – we are united as one family.
So, let us pause and find a moment of peace, as we lift up our hearts together in prayer.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 10  February


As I have mentioned before, I am doing a pain management course and as part of a breathing exercise we are asked to listen to the sounds around us.  It is amazing the things that I can hear that I have never really noticed before, things that become drowned out by every day noise, like the sounds of the cat’s water fountain or the motor of the computer.

weds 10 feb 
 
You might like to try this exercise:
 
Blocking out all sounds and activity in this fast-paced, noisy world can be a challenge. But the following steps can help you to relax and focus on that silence within.
 
You can do this whenever and where ever - even if you only have a few minutes! Allow yourself to gently get into it, eventually spending longer periods in silence.
 
First, get into a comfortable position.
 
Now listen to the sounds around you. Don’t try to block them out, just acknowledge them, remembering God’s presence in them: in the people and activities they stem from.
 
Focus on your body: Starting at the top of your head, work your way down, closing your eyes, relaxing your facial muscles, your shoulders, then your torso, your arms, hands, legs and feet, right down to your toes.
 
Remember God’s presence in you, in your body and in your feelings, and remember that you are loved.
 
Become aware of your breathing, and pay attention to each breath without altering it – in and out, in and out.
 
Remember God’s presence in your breathing.
 
As you breathe in, accept God’s love and life; as you breathe out, let go of anything that is worrying or distracting you, placing it in God’s hands.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Tuesday 9 February


I would like to share the following reflection which is taken from the Journeying Facebook page:
 
God speaking...
The man whispered, “God, speak to me” and a meadowlark sang.
But, the man did not hear.
So, the man yelled, “God speak to me” and the thunder rolled across the sky.
But, the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said, “God let me see you” and a star shined brightly.
But, the man did not see.
And the man shouted, “God show me a miracle” and a life was born.
But, the man did not notice.
So the man cried out in despair, “Touch me God”, and let me know you’re here” whereupon God reached down and touched the man.
But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.
 
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I end with a prayer taken from Daily Readings website:
 
Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You for always listening to me and guiding me in spirit, to follow Your Word and to enjoy what You have given to me in this life from Your providence. Lord God, I pray that I hear Your voice today as You guide, guard, protect, direct and govern me.
 
Lord God You have told us that You will draw close to us when we draw closer to You. I therefore draw closer to You so that I can hear from You, know You more and obey any instruction that You will whisper into my ear.
 
We are Your sheep and You are our shepherd. Let us hear Your voice alone and not be deceived by a stranger. Help me to avoid the voice of temptations of this world from people who do not know You.
 
I seek to hear from You today any correction, instruction or guidance. Give me wisdom to discern Your voice and act on it. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 8 February

I pray however you are spending your week, whether it be at home or at work, alone or with others, that God may bless you and that you will feel His presence throughout the week.
 
mon 9 feb

I end with a prayer taken from the ‘livingprayers’ website:
 
I come before you O Lord
As the sun rises may your hope rise up in me.
As the birds sing may your love flow out of me.
As the light floods into this new day,
May your joy shine through me.
I come before you, O Lord
And drink in this moment of peace,
That I may carry something of your hope, love and joy
Today in my heart.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 7 February


The Gospel reading from the lectionary is Mark chapter 1 verses 29 to 39.  In this passage Jesus alternates between healing people and going off on his own to pray.  The people demand a lot from Jesus and He needs to spend time away from the crowds, with God his Father, in order to recharge.   We too need to find time to take ourselves away from the busyness of our lives and find time to rest and recharge with God.
 
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I end today with a prayer by Richard Einerson:
 
O Holy One, we come to you in need of your leading and instruction.  We so often become bogged down in the details of life and forget to see the bigger picture of life and its needs.  We so often give ourselves to what we think is necessary and fail to see what is needful.  Forgive us our short-sightedness and save us from our spiritual myopia.
 
We have been reminded today of how Jesus met needs all about him but did not succumb to the tyranny of demands and many clamouring voices.  Help us to follow his example.
 
Whereas we tend to think in terms of doing things primarily where we live, He thought of people elsewhere who had needs.
Whereas we tend to take our signals from others, He took his direction from within.
Whereas we tend to live life at a frenetic pace, He went out to the desert alone and prayed to find renewal.
Whereas we tend to be provincial in the scope of our concerns, He thought of other communities who needed the good news.
 
As we walk the Christian journey we pray that you will provide us a greater vision.  Interrupt our frenetic activity.  Help us to find the creative spiritual pause which will make clearer our mission and refresh us for it.  Help us to see all people as your people and to know that we have the responsibility to love them.  Help us to have the courage to change the way we have gone about life and to make it both more rewarding and more fruitful.
 
We ask your care for all of the suffering of the world.  Be with those who are living with the effects of natural disasters.  Be with who are those living with the effects of war.  Be with those who are hungry. Be with those who are homeless.  Provide them comfort. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 6 February

This made me smile as I am forever trying to steal the pen so I can write my story how I would like it to pan out rather than trusting God to write His version.  I need to recognise that His version will be way better than anything I could write and trust Him.
 
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I end with a prayer taken from crosswalk.com:
 
Lord, I thank You that You will answer my prayers in Your perfect timing. Reveal what is in my heart, and make me ready to handle the answer in the right way when it comes. Help me to pray by faith consistently and long-term, to believe, wait, and then move forward in Your timing. Help me to be patient in prayer, not give up, and trust You even during moments when I feel negative emotions. I don’t want to live by feelings but by faith. Help me not to take matters in my own hands. I choose to trust you, and I refuse to believe the lies of the enemy. I choose to be faithful in prayer. Deepen my understanding, and give me a greater knowledge of what You are doing in my life. I choose to hold unswervingly to the hope that I profess. Stretch my faith in the midst of the wait, just as You did with Your disciples when encountering a storm at sea. I thank You that You have all wisdom and will answer my prayers in the perfect way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 5 February


This week’s cartoon by Dave Walker focusses on young people and how we can stop them leaving the church.  It is rather tongue in cheek but also true in some respects.
 
We are very blessed at Trinity Church to have a group of 9 young people who, when they are able to, attend church regularly.  They also form One Truth Youth which currently meets via Zoom every Sunday night.  I feel privileged to be one of the facilitators of the group.  I have learnt so much from our members and feel that it is really important to listen and try to act on what they say as they are the future of the church.  

 young-people-706

I close with a prayer taken from Knowing Jesus website:
 
Loving Lord, I give You heartfelt thanks for all those who trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour, and I want to pray for the youth groups within our churches, and for the young people and individual group members that participate in this important ministry.
 
Lord, I ask for their continuous and continuing spiritual growth, so that they may become strong in the faith. I pray that as they meet together they may be correctly and thoroughly discipled in the truth of Scripture, and be edified and encouraged as they fellowship together with other young people and members of the group.
 
I pray that they may united together in love and develop a desire to know the truth of the gospel of Your wonderful salvation, so that they may grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that they become mighty men and women of faith, who in turn may be used by You to forward Your plans and purposes.
 
Bless all youth group leaders and keep them looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, in whose name we pray, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 4 February

I would like to share the latest Pooh and Piglet story which Kathryn Wallace has shared on her Facebook page ‘I know I need to stop talking’.
 
It was a grey day in the Hundred Acre Wood. Fat droplets of rain fell from the sky, and Pooh stood by the window and watched them fall, weighed down by the constant presence of his own thoughts.


"It feels a long road, right now," he said at last; and Piglet, who was sitting on the sofa reading a book, looked up. "A long, painful road; and if I'm honest, Piglet: I really don't know just how much more of this I can take."

Piglet nodded his little head. "Yes. Yes, it is very hard right now," he agreed.

"But when does it end?" burst out Pooh, in a voice that sounded like a sob.

Piglet paused, deep in thought.
"I suppose... it's like climbing a mountain," he said at last. "Like climbing a great, colossal mountain, that is larger than anything you and I have ever climbed in our lives. Standing at the foot of it, we can't even see the summit. That's how tall it is. But it's in our path. There is no way forward but to climb to the top. And so we do. One tiny step at a time.
"At first, even though it's strange and new, it almost feels quite easy. We've never climbed a mountain like this before, and so the novelty of it all keeps us going. We sing songs, to keep our spirits up, and take lots of photographs to share with our friends at home.
"But pretty soon the novelty wears off. The mountain is a dark and scary place, and we feel Death's presence, perhaps closer than ever before. We miss our friends. We miss so many different things, that, frankly, we took for granted, because we never realised that a day might come when we might not have them any more.
"But still we keep walking. One tiny step at a time. Towards the summit."

"But what if the summit isn't there?" burst out Pooh. "What if, all of this time, we keep walking and walking, and it just isn't there?"

"The summit is there," said Piglet, with a quiet confidence. "Oh, it's definitely there. We can't see it, because it peaks above the clouds. But it's there."

"I'm so tired," said Pooh, his voice cracked and breaking. "I'm so, so tired."

"I know," said Piglet. "I am, too. And what we'll find is that, some days, we'll make really great progress, and we'll walk ten, twenty, fifty steps closer to our goal.
"On other days, though, taking even one step forward might feel too much. And so we'll stand still, and gather ourselves, until we feel strong enough to step forward once more.
"And then one day," continued Piglet, "we'll make one, great, glorious push upwards. We'll trudge through the darkness, and the pain, feeling like this will never end...and then all of a sudden...there we are. Breaking through the clouds, reaching the summit of the mountain we thought we would never manage to climb. All around us, a sea of pure blue sky. And peace. Perfect peace."

Pooh paused, lost for a moment in the vision of Piglet's pure blue sky. The pattering of the rain against the window brought him back down to earth.
"I believe you, Piglet," he said; and he really did. "But it just seems such a long way yet to climb."

"And it is," acknowledged Piglet. "It almost certainly is. But that's why we keep on going.
"One tiny step at a time."

j 
 
 It seems appropriate to end with the poem ‘Don’t Quit’ by John Whiteleaf Whittier:
 
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Wednesday 3 February

With no activities planned outside the house and being bored by the same activities within the house, it would be very easy to stay in bed each day and in fact my lay ins are getting longer and longer!  However, lying in bed all day is not going to achieve anything so I make an effort to get up and try and make the most of every day.  That is not always easy but I think it does help me feel a bit more positive to know that I have achieved something.
 
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I will end today with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
O Lord, You are the light that guides my feet. You are the map that gives me direction. You are the peace that makes me strong. You are the leader whom I faithfully follow. May your light illuminate my life and your guidance bring direction. May I find inspiration in your word and peace in my heart as I follow You.  Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 2 February


I am doing a pain management course at the moment and one thing that we are learning to do is to focus our attention on our breathing and not on everything going on around us.  It is not easy to do as so often I am drawn to things that really do not matter.  I need to practice getting rid of all the distractions and focus just on the pattern of my breathing.
 
142009734 2843445292604307 494 
 I would like to share a breath prayer written by Sheridan Vosey.  The idea is that you try praying each line breathing in for 3 seconds, then out for 3 seconds.
 
First line (in one, two, three)
Second line (out four, five, six)
 
Lord God, fill me with your Holy Spirit.
 
I receive your love,
and release my insecurity
 
I receive your joy,
and release my unhappiness
 
I receive your peace,
and release my anxiety
 
I receive your patience,
and release my impulsiveness
 
I receive your kindness,
and release my indifference
 
I receive your goodness,
and release my ungodliness
 
I receive your faithfulness,
and release my disloyalty
 
I receive your gentleness,
and release my severity
 
I receive your self-control,
and release my self-indulgence
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 1 February


As we start a new month, new week and a new day I thought I would share this. 
 
 
weds 3 feb
 
 
 
I end today with a prayer by Holley Gerth:
 
Lord,
A new week is beginning…
already I feel the rush.
Slow me down, Lord.
Slow me to the beat of Your heart.
I think of Your words that say
those who wait on You
will run and not grow weary–
and I remember that rest
is not about lack of motion
but rather moving forward with You
so that activity is a blessing not a burden.
I will run this week–there is much to do
but help me do so in a way
that keeps me by Your side.
Waiting and working,
only You could tie those together.
Please do so for me today.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 31 January


The Gospel reading from the lectionary is Mark chapter 1 verses 21 to 28.  This passage is set at the start of Jesus’ ministry.  Jesus goes to the synagogue and starts to teach.  He is interrupted by a man with an unclean spirit.  Jesus commands the spirit to come out of the man, astounding all watching.
 
I have struggled in the past to find something to focus on in this passage.  However when reading this along with the following passage where Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, it struck me that this passage shows that Jesus is there for us all, whoever we are.
 
The man was probably very much an outcast, someone who was different to the rest of the crowd and who would not normally be allowed in the synagogue.  Yet Jesus approached him and healed him of the spirit that possessed him.
 
I can relate to this story in a way as, for a number of reasons including my disabilities, I am ‘different’ to many people.  However, Jesus reached out to me and accepted me totally.  I have learnt that the things that make me ‘different’ are things to be embraced as they make me, me.
 
download (1)
 
I would like to close with the words of the hymn ’will ‘You come and follow me’ written by John Bell and Graham Maule.  I may have shared this before as  I had this hymn at my accreditation service and the words, especially in verse 4, really resonante with me.
 
Will You Come And Follow Me
If I But Call Your Name?
Will You Go Where You Don’t Know
And Never Be The Same?
Will You Let My Love Be Shown,
Will You Let My Name Be Known,
Will You Let My Life Be Grown
In You And You In Me?
 
Will You Leave Yourself Behind
If I But Call Your Name?
Will You Care For Cruel And Kind
And Never Be The Same?
Will You Risk The Hostile Stare
Should Your Life Attract Or Scare?
Will You Let Me Answer Prayer
In You And You In Me?
 
Will You Let The Blinded See
If I But Call Your Name?
Will You Set The Prisoners Free
And Never Be The Same?
Will You Kiss The Leper Clean,
And Do Such As This Unseen,
And Admit To What I Mean
In You And You In Me?
 
Will You Love The ‘You’ You Hide
If I But Call Your Name?
Will You Quell The Fear Inside
And Never Be The Same?
Will You Use The Faith You’ve Found
To Reshape The World Around,
Through My Sight And Touch And Sound
In You And You In Me?
 
Lord, Your Summons Echoes True
When You But Call My Name.
Let Me Turn And Follow You
And Never Be The Same.
In Your Company I’ll Go
Where Your Love And Footsteps Show.
Thus I’ll Move And Live And Grow
In You And You In Me.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 30 January


As I mentioned in a previous blog, I am not normally a fan of the snow but knowing that I don’t have to go anywhere has made it much more enjoyable.  I have particularly enjoyed watching the children who live a few doors down make snowman and throw snowballs at each other.  Hearing their laughter and seeing their smiles certainly helped to bring joy to what otherwise would have been a dull day.
 
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I close today with a prayer by Cal Wick:

Lord, in the midst of Winter, when the days are cold and wind can pierce remind us of the warmth of your love.
In the midst of Winter, when days are short, dawn comes late, and dusk arrives early remind us that in the darkness your light still shines.
In the midst of Winter, when the flowers of spring still lie hidden in the earth, when leaves are off the trees, and the world can seem bleak remind us that Easter is but a short time away.
And when in our lives we feel as if we are experiencing a season of winter, reach out to us with the power of your resurrection so that we may feel the warmth of your love and see your light that alone can take away the darkness of our soul.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 29 January


I would like to share this story that has been doing the rounds on Facebook recently:
 
A professor gave a balloon to every student, who had to inflate it, write their name on it and throw it in the hallway. The professor then mixed all the balloons. The students were given 5 minutes to find their own balloon. Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon. At that point the professor told the students to take the first balloon that they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it. Within 5 minutes everyone had their own balloon.
 
The professor said to the students: “These balloons are like happiness. We will never find it if everyone is looking for their own. But if we care about other people's happiness....we'll find ours too.
 
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 I end today with a prayer taken from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Loving Lord, as the world situation seems to get worse by the day I cling to You more closely than ever before and thank You that You are in control of my life, and that nothing can separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord.
 
Father, flood my heart with Your perfect peace that passes understanding and may I be immersed in Your joy, knowing that the joy of the Lord is my strength for today and my bright hope for tomorrow, for I know that when I am weak, then I am strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
 
But Lord, I ask this not only for myself but for all those that I love and for all my brothers and sisters in Christ, many of whom are facing various difficulties and escalating dangers in these increasingly problematic times.
 
Thank You, that as Your children we can all cling to Your faithful promises which are new every morning. Thank You, for the joy of being in Christ. Thank You, that the joy of the Lord is our strength. In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 28 January


I like to include a ‘lighter’ post at least once a week so thought I would share some of the cartoons put together by Dave Walker of CartoonChurch.com 
 
I know that we cannot meet for refreshments or in person worship at the moment but I am sure that many of you possess some of the skills listed below and I am sure as soon as it is safe to do so we will use those skills once again.
 
skills-1000
 
 I close with a prayer from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Loving God, we praise and bless You for every member of Your Church family throughout the world, and for the diverse ways that You graciously use each one to fulfil the particular role that You have purposed for them, in Your wider plans and purposes.
 
Thank you, that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and Your own special possession. Thank You, that we are stones being built up into a glorious dwelling-place, a Temple fit for our God, so that we may proclaim Your praises with our lips and in our lives. You have brought us out of darkness into Your wonderful light and we praise and bless you for your grace and mercy towards us and all people.
 
What a privileged people we are and how we bless and thank You for making us one with each other, and in union with Christ Jesus our Lord. Stir up in our hearts a desire to be in unity one with the other, under the banner of Christ our Head. Sanctify us with Your truth and keep us ever looking to Jesus, Who alone is the Way to God, the only Sacrifice for our sins and the only Mediator between man and God, Whom to know is life eternal and in Whose name we pray, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Wednesday 27 January


Today is Holocaust Memorial Day where we remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
 
According to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust the theme for 2021 is “Be the light in the darkness. It encourages everyone to reflect on the depths humanity can sink to, but also the ways individuals and communities resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’ before, during and after genocide.”
 
There will be an online service this evening at 7pm and people are encouraged at 8pm to light a candle and place it in their window to remember those who were murdered for who they were and to stand against prejudice and hatred today.
 
 download
 
I close today with a prayer taken from resources provided by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust:
 
God of love, on this day we pray for the victims of the Holocaust and of genocides in other parts of the world. We pray that you send your light on all who lost loved ones. We pray that you help us hear the words of survivors. We pray that the names of all victims will never be forgotten, but will be remembered by us and by those who come after us. We pray that our world will resist evil and intolerance, so that we can all live together in peace and
prosperity. And we pray that you will help us be the light in the darkness. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 26 January


Over this past year my gratitude for my house, food, water and warmth has increased immensely and they are no longer things that I take for granted.  I am also grateful for all those workers that have enabled food to be produced and sold as well as those who have kept our utilities such as water and gas running throughout this pandemic.
 
tues 26

I close with a prayer by Wendi Lou Lee:
 
Dear God, thank You not only for Your countless blessings, but for the challenges that draw us near to You. Thank You for the hard moments when You gave me the strength to wait out the storm.
 
Jesus, You are so good. Whatever storms come into my life, You are my Rock and my Shelter. Thank You for Your sustenance that fills me, Your light that surrounds me, and Your love that never fails. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 25 January


Sometimes when we are struggling we just need to take one day at a time and if we can’t manage a day at a time then we can take it at an hour at a time or even a minute at a time. 
 
Life-Changing-Christian-Quotes
 
 I will finish with a prayer taken from the website of the Presbyterean Church in Ireland:
 
Faithful God,
it isn’t easy to trust you in these uncertain days.
We have so many questions:
Will I catch the virus?
Do we have enough to get by?
What about my job?
Help us to know you as the God who provides;
supplying manna in the wilderness,
sustaining Elijah with food brought by ravens,
feeding five thousand,
giving us each day our daily bread.
Help us not to worry about our life,
about what we will eat or drink,
what we will wear.
Help us not to be anxious about tomorrow,
or the impact of a pandemic that might last weeks or months.
Teach us not to waste these lingering hours of lockdown worrying.
Instead lift our eyes to the birds in flight,
draw our gaze to the flowers in bloom,
to see that our heavenly Father,
will meet our everyday human concerns.
Keep us focused on seeking your kingdom,
watching for how all we need will also come our way,
from your generous hand.
In Jesus name.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
    

Sunday 24 January


This past week has been the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity where Christians of all denominations gather to pray and worship together.  Unfortunately, due to Covid19, this has had to be moved to online rather than in person.  
 
The resources for this year have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland. The theme is, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, and is based on John 15:1-17 and expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family.   Although the situation regarding Covid19 was not known when the resources are prepared, the resources are very suitable for this time.
 
GRAY WOP 2021 English Poster

The Ecumenical Service for the ‘Week of Christian Unity’ would have taken place today in one of the churches in Knebworth had we been able to meet in person but has now had to be moved online.  The service features three distinct parts or vigils and I would like to end by sharing the intercessions from the first vigil entitled ‘The Unity of the whole person’:

God of love, through Christ you said to us: “You did not choose me but I chose you.” You seek us, you invite us to receive your friendship and abide in it. Teach us to respond more deeply to this invitation, and grow in a life that is ever more complete.

The joy of our heart is in God.

God of life, you call us to be praise in the midst of the world and to welcome one another as a gift of your grace. May your loving gaze, which rests upon each person, open us to receive each other just as we are.

The joy of our heart is in God.

God you who gather, you knit us together as one vine in your Son Jesus. May your loving Spirit abide in us at local church and community meetings and ecumenical gatherings. Grant that together we celebrate you with joy.

The joy of our heart is in God.

God of the one vineyard, you call us to abide in your love in all we do and say. Touched by your goodness, grant us to be a reflection of that love in our homes and workplaces. May we bridge rivalries and overcome tensions.

The joy of our heart is in God. Amen

 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 23 January

I am longing for the day when we can sit and do this.  Even though I am in one of the priority groups for the vaccine I have realised that it will be mid-May at the earliest until I am able to spend time with those close to me.  I get a bit upset thinking about it as it seems ages away but I need to be grateful that my loved ones are still here and hang on to the fact that there will be a day when we can get together and share stories.
 
sat 23

I finish today with a prayer by Sasha Breakenridge:

Lord Jesus Christ, light of this world, thank you for the hope you have given us.
Help us to give our worries to you and, above all, to trust in your unfailing love.
For you have promised us "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."
Almighty God, our protector, let us trust in you to carry us through this time of uncertainty.
Jesus, hear our cries as we mourn those who've left us.
Whatever tomorrow may bring, we will praise your name.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 22 January

I am sure you know by now, from the sheer volume of blog posts on the topic, that I am a strong advocate of self-care.  I think the analogy below is a good one and although self-care is not always instinctive and something we might find hard to do, it is necessary for every one of us.
 
fri 22
I end with a prayer entitled ‘The journey’ taken from the Living Prayers website:
 
O God, this is a prayer for your help within my life.
I desire to give myself each day the grace that comes from Christ.
I do not stumble to forgive, or care for those in need,
I find I love to serve and learn, and have willing hands and feet.
 
I love all those around me and encourage them each day,
In all they ever could be, I see them with heavens gaze.
And yet I fear I stumble when looking at myself,
I often wish that somehow I could be someone else.
 
I criticise and scrutinise each aspect within me,
And tend to find so many reasons to reject the one I see.
From every aspect of my thoughts, I find that I compare
Myself to others, cleverer, or more talented or fair.
 
And once I've finished putting myself down in every way,
I sense my spirit failing, and then lock myself away.
Yet I know that if I start to place those feelings in your grace,
I find I forgive my failings and give thanks for each new day.
 
My spirit grows much lighter, I open eyes to see,
The joy of being human when you stand so close to me.
The journey that I travel is the adventure you began,
The miracle of love and grace that I hold in my hands.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Thursday 21 January

I think sometimes we have so much ‘noise’ going on around us that we can miss God speaking to us.  This ‘noise’ could be things in our lives that are troubling us or things going on in the world around us that distract us.  We each need to find a way to take our focus away from the ‘noise’ and onto God’s voice.

shepherd 

I end with a listening prayer taken from the living prayers website:
 
Heavenly Father,
 
I wait upon you.
I pause, still my mind and still my heart.
I wait upon you.
I stop, and listen beyond the everyday.
I wait upon you.
I rest, and allow my soul to have space.
 
I wait upon you.
Quiet, at rest, held.
I wait upon you.
And call Abba, Abba Father.
I know you have searched me, and you know me.
I know you are the beginning and the end.
I know you are the Redeemer.
I wait upon you,
Allowing your grace to penetrate my whole being.
And in this place, close, protected and eternal
I find that this grace renews my strength,
Wipes away my tears,
And promises new hope.
 
I wait upon you.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Wednesday 20 January

I found this picture just before Christmas and have been waiting until we had some snow to share it.  I know we have only had a light dusting here but thought I would share it now, just in case we don’t have anymore!  I normally don’t like the snow as it means I can’t go out in my wheelchair but as I can’t go out anyway, I quite enjoyed watching it fall and watching my cats try to avoid getting their feet wet.
 
snow

I finish today with a prayer by John Birch:
 
There is a winter in all of our lives,
a chill and darkness that makes us yearn
for days that have gone
or put our hope in days yet to be.
Father God, you created seasons for a purpose.
 
Spring is full of expectation
buds breaking
frosts abating and an awakening
of creation before the first days of summer.
Now the sun gives warmth
and comfort to our lives
reviving aching joints
bringing colour, new life
and crops to fruiting.
Autumn gives nature space
to lean back, relax and enjoy the fruits of its labour
mellow colours in sky and landscape
as the earth prepares to rest.
 
Then winter, cold and bare as nature takes stock
rests, unwinds, sleeps until the time is right.
An endless cycle
and yet a perfect model.
We need a winter in our lives
a time of rest, a time to stand still
a time to reacquaint ourselves
with the faith in which we live.
It is only then that we can draw strength
from the one in whom we are rooted
take time to grow and rise through the darkness
into the warm glow of your springtime
to blossom and flourish
bring colour and vitality into this world
your garden.
Thank you Father
for the seasons of our lives
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 19 January

I think one thing that the past ten months has taught us is that the church is so much more than the building.  Despite not being able to meet in person, members of Trinity Church have been able to keep in touch with each other through letters, phone calls, socially distanced walks and zoom meetings.  We have still been church and there for each other despite not meeting.  In fact I think I have been able to connect with some people on a deeper level than before and I am very grateful that I have had the opportunity to do that.
 
tues 19

I end today with a prayer by Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark:
 
Ever-present God,
be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing,
be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen
we may with the zeal of Pentecost
inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness
to an emerging world.
For Jesus’ sake.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Monday 18 January

I have mentioned before in this blog that the thing I miss most at the moment is the the fact that I can’t hug people especially my Dad.  I can talk to people on the phone, on the screen and in person across the garden but I can’t give them a hug.  It is especially hard when you know that a person is having a particularly bad time so I like the idea of using my prayers as way to hug them.
 
mon 18

I came across this prayer exercise from the First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth and it maybe something that you wish to try.  (I wasn’t sure what I thought about this at first and I wasn’t going to try it or post it but I did actually find it quite helpful so thought I would share it in case you find it helpful as well.)
 
Think about someone you love…and really miss.  Think about how special that person is to you, and how you wish you could give that person a hug right now.  Now hold your arms around yourself nice and snug. It probably feels like you’re giving yourself a hug but this hug is actually for that special person you miss.
 
Loving God,
I’m thinking about someone special,
Someone I miss,
Someone I love.
Please help that person get this hug,
So they can feel my love,
And know that I am with them
In my heart.
Amen.
 
Continue holding your arms around yourself and imagine all the people who love and miss
You. You are special to more people than you know. Breathe in gently
as you feel all the hugs of those people.  
 
Loving God,
Thank you for the love,
Of friends and family.
I know I am loved.
I know I am not alone.
Amen.
 
And now gently, gradually open your arms…wider…and wider…until they are stretched out and completely open. God wants to hug you, too. God’s hugs are so powerful and so gentle that we can only feel them with our hearts.  Take in a deep breath. Feel God’s love hugging you from the inside out. And sigh out a gentle Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 17 January

The psalm featured in the lectionary this week is Psalm 139 which talks about how we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  I would like to share an alternative version of this which is written by Carla Grosch-Miller and is from the book ‘Psalms Redux’.
 
As close as breath, You are.
 
The mystery of Your being
so intimate, so strange.
A silken veil obscuring vision;
a compelling luminescence
that will not be solved.
 
You are the light and the veil.
You are the weaver and the cloth.
You are the dancer and the dance.
 
There is nowhere
You are not.
There is nothing
not in You.
 
All of time and space
cohere in You.
The smallest particle,
the largest galaxy,
the mite
and the mammoth
bear your imprint.
 
From before conception,
You order our being.
We are a wonder,
a miracle in flesh and blood;
bodies that bruise and heal,
minds that grasp and grow,
hands that care, craft and create.
 
We reach our limits,
and there we find You.
We contract to the still centre;
there You are.
 
Blessed are those who seek You
and blessed are those who sense You.
Blessed are those who,
catching the light from the corner of their eyes,
turn and face You.
Blessed and the barefoot
and blessed are those who cover their heads.
 
Blessed are the lips that sigh: Holy, Holy Holy
 
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I close with a prayer of confession taken from the re:worship website:
 
God, You know everything about me.
Every word I speak,
every thought I think,
every deed I do—
You know them all, even before I do.
 
So take a good look at me now.
Look deep into my heart and soul.
Point out the things that displease You,
the thoughts and actions I need to change.
Show me how to live as You would want me to live.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 16 January

I think the cartoon below is funny but all church leaders are under a lot of pressure at the moment.   They may be under pressure to open their churches and under equal pressure to close them.  They may be trying to make sure that all the needs of their congregation are being met but could find this hard especially if members struggle with technology.  They may be needed more in a pastoral context but may feel restrained by social distancing.  They may be faced with the loss of congregation members and have to deal with their own emotions as well as others.  I think it is important that we remember our church leaders in our prayers at this time.
 
minister sat 15
 
 
I close with a prayer from the Archdiocese of Dublin.  It is intended for those of the Roman Catholic tradition but I think it can be applied to any denomination whether priest, vicar, minister or pastor.

Eternal God,
Be with our priests this day as they seek
to minister to your people.
May you be a guiding and protective presence with them
as they bring the consolation and hope of Your word
and the grace and nourishment of Eucharist
to those entrusted into their care.
Grant them the strength of mind and body,
keep them safe to do your will,
And give them the courage and peace
to face each day with trust and confidence in You.
Into your hands O God, we commend them;
fill them with your grace and healing.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 15 January

I think this quote sums up life and it’s up and downs very well.
 
life is amazing fri 15

I end with a prayer by Fr. Luciano Felloni:
 
Lord God, we thank You for giving us the gift of life. We all know that we do have our ups and downs, and we are asking for your strength and guidance as we face our own challenges. Let your light shine on us, so that we will be reminded that You are always here to guide us in every single step that we take. All these we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 14 January

I really like the definition of hospitality shown below.  I feel it sums up how I was first treated when I arrived at Trinity church ten or so years ago.  I arrived with a lot of baggage so to speak, but was made to feel welcome straight away and like I was part of the church family.  I know that it is not just me that has experienced that type of welcome.
 
With the churches not open at the moment, it can be difficult to practice hospitality.  However, there may be someone we can write to or ring to let them know that they are thought about and are part of the church family.
 
hospitality Thur 14

I close with a prayer by Rebeca Jiménez Yoder:
 
Lord, give us the eyes of Jesus to see our neighbours and the strangers we meet.
Teach us what it means to love the stranger as we love ourselves.
Forgive us for our selfishness,
for our silence,
for not caring enough for the strangers who come to our communities.
Teach us to love and care for the stranger the way you do.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


Wednesday 13 January

This made me smile and I hope it does you, especially if you have experienced first-hand the joys of finding glitter on the floor days after you thought you had seen the last of it.  I do try to encourage people especially the young people that I come into contact with.  I do hope that years later they will remember the encouragement I gave them as well as the activities we did where they could use as much glitter as they liked!
 
glitter Weds 13

I close with a benediction taken from the re-worship website:
 
May God, who gives us patience and encouragement,
help you live in complete harmony with each other,
as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.
And may he fill you completely with joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that your lives overflow with confident hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Go with God!
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 12 January

I think we all know the saying ‘hands, face, space’ but I came across the sign below with the word ‘grace’ added.  I find it difficult to show grace at times especially when I see people meeting with others when they should not be or not wearing a mask.  But as it says below Jesus has commanded us to love our neighbours as ourselves so I need to try to do that however difficult it feels.  Also we need to show ourselves grace and not give ourselves a hard time for whatever reason.
 
hands, face Tues 12

I close with a blessing for face masks by Megan Jones:
 
Giver of All Life,
May we wear our masks,
grateful for our health and the health of those around us.
May we wear our masks with compassion,
knowing that this small act is one of kindness.
May our masks draw us together,
inspiring respect for one another and enabling mutual care.
Bless our masks and all they teach us
about loving our neighbours and our community.
And help us to find purpose in this new task,
as we await the day we can remove them safely and with joy.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 11 January

I would like to share this reflection that I found on Facebook called ‘the journey is short’ by Cindy McCune:
 
An elderly woman got on a bus and sat down. At the next stop, a strong, grumpy young woman climbed up and sat down sharply beside the old woman, hitting her with her numerous bags.
 
When she saw that the elderly woman remained silent, the young woman asked her why she had not complained when she hit her with her bags.
 
The elderly woman replied with a smile: “There is no need to be rude or discuss something so insignificant, as my trip next to you is so short because I am going to get off at the next stop."
 
This answer deserves to be written in gold letters: “There is no need to discuss something so insignificant, because our journey together is too short."
 
Each of us must understand that our time in this world is so short, that darkening with struggles, useless arguments, jealousy, not forgiving others, discontent and an attitude of constant discovery is a ridiculous waste of time and energy.
 
Did someone break your heart? Stay calm. The trip is too short.
 
Did someone betray you, intimidate, cheat or humiliate you? Relax. Excuse. The trip is too short.
 
Did someone insult you without reason? Stay calm. Ignore it. The trip is too short.
 
Whatever the problem someone has brought us, remember that our journey together is too short.
 
No one knows the length of that trip. Nobody knows when it will arrive at its stop. Our trip together is too short.
 
We will appreciate friends and family.
 
Let us be respectful, kind and forgive, we will be filled with gratitude and joy, after all our trip together is very short.
 
Share your smile...our trip is VERY short
 
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I will finish today with a prayer by Mary Southerland:
 
Loving God
I have to thank You for looking beyond my faults and for loving me unconditionally. Forgive me when I fail to love others in the same way. Give me eyes to see the needs of the difficult people in my life, and show me how to meet those needs in a way that pleases You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 10 January

The lectionary readings for this week focus on new beginnings.  Genesis chapter 1 verses 1 to 5 are an account of the beginning of everything.  Acts chapter 19 verses 1 to 7 focuses on the new beginnings of those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit. Mark chapter 1 verses 4 to 11 is the first passage in which an adult Jesus appears and comes at the start of his ministry.
 
Today, at Trinity Church, we would have held our annual Covenant Service where we commit to serving God using the words below.  I know that we cannot be together but maybe you want to say the words aloud knowing that other members of the church will be saying them also.  
 
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And I close with a prayer by Jane Deren:
 
In the year ahead,
Lord of New Beginnings,
stretch our souls
and move us
into new awareness
of the human family,
their needs and their longings.
 
Make these into
our needs, our longings
so we move more confidently
from our small selves
to a deeper sense of community
where our resolutions reflect
our interdependence.
 
Help us recognize the
possibilities you have offered
to us as a people,
so we can commit to practice
the Hope that happens
when we gather gratefully
in your Name and we hold up to you
this fragile, precious world.
 
Grant us all the grace
in this year ahead
to sow the seeds of justice
and to gather peace in our day.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 9 January

Even though we now have a vaccine available I am finding it harder, especially as we enter a third lockdown, to hold onto hope that life will return to ‘normal’.  I sometimes feel like I am clinging onto a rope for dear life.  The good thing though is that God is hanging onto the other end of the rope and will not let go even through the toughest times.  I just have to trust in God, which is not always easy, and cling onto hope.

never lose faith 


And I end with a prayer taken from the Knowing Jesus website:

Lord Jesus, I come to You because when I look at the hard times that we are facing, my heart seems to fail as I don’t know which way to turn, except to You. Thank You, that You have always been there for me, and thank You that you have always come through with Your help in time of need, always at the right time and always in the right way.
Keep me from fear of what tomorrow may bring, knowing that I do not need to be afraid or fearful, because You have promised to supply all my needs according to Your riches in mercy.
 
Thank You, Lord, for Your Word which has so many beautiful truths and wonderful promises. It tells me that You are always there to help when times are hard. Thank You for this scripture from the Bible, which someone gave me today, "do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 
Thank You for this lovely truth and for the many promises that You have given to all Your children. May my heart rest in You Lord, and keep me from fear in these difficult times. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 8 January

I thought I would share this today for those that have had a difficult week.  If your week has gone well perhaps you could send it to someone you know who is finding things difficult.

use on a friday fri 8 jan 


I close with a prayer from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Thank You, Lord, that You are my refuge and my strength in hard times and an ever present helper in times of trouble. Help me to cling to You and this truth from the Bible that You keep bringing to my mind.
 
I know that You are the only all-powerful God, and that there is nothing that is too difficult in my life for You to deal with, nor is there any obstacle in my path that is so insurmountable that I cannot cross, knowing that You are by my side.
 
Please give me Your strength to face today’s hard and troubled times, with the confidence of knowing that Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Thank You that my strength comes from You, and that Your grace is sufficient for all the tasks and duties that will cross my daily path, not only for today but for the rest of my journey through life.
 
Thank You, Father, that Your grace is sufficient. Help me to meditate on this truth every day,
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Thursday 7 January

One thing I miss and I know others do too is our Thursday afternoon ‘dance’ group called Trinity Two Step.  I have put dance in inverted commas because it is more movement to music of various different genres broken up by tea and refreshments, often cake!  
 
There would be afternoons where I would be lacking in energy and would prefer to stay at home.  However once I was there and the music started, I would feel loads better and energised.  There is also a lot of fun and laughter which gives everyone a boost.
 
Although I have been learning new seated socially distanced dances for when we can finally meet again which energises me slightly, I can’t wait to get together with everyone and dance.  That will be a special day and will also feature cake as we have missed out on many birthdays!
 
missing dance for on a thursda
I close with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
I give thanks for my friends, for connection and laughter, for comfort and strength, for encouragement and unity, for forgiveness and grace, for celebration and joy. They are so many things to me, such a rich tapestry of blessings, woven through my life. Thank you. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 6 January 

I think when there is so much injustice in the world it can be hard to understand why it is happening and where God is in the situation.  The problems may seem insurmountable but all of us can play a part, however small, in helping to make things better.  This could involve praying, donating money, volunteering time; doing whatever we can with what we have to make the world a better place.     
 
want to ask god weds 6

I close with a prayer taken from the Compassion website:
 
Heavenly Father, you to teach us to seek justice, to defend the oppressed and take up the cause of the fatherless and the plea of the widow.
 
We ask that when the scale of injustice seeks to overwhelm us, your spirit will be the encouragement we need to keep to speaking out against it.
 
Today, we ask for breakthrough for those facing situations of injustice. May they know a sense of hope that only you can bring. Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 5 January 

I think that we can sometimes think we are lazy if we spend time doing very little so I like the idea of sacred idleness.  I don’t have children but I do enjoy cuddling up in a blanket with a cat on my lap in front of a warm fire with my music on in the background.  I may not be working through my ‘to do’ list but I like to think I am recharging my batteries and sacred idleness is a good definition for this!
 
sacred idlesness tues 5 
 I close with a prayer from ChristiansTT website:
 
Heavenly Father, we thank you. Thank you for the many wonderful gifts you have given us and for the blessings we have not yet received.
 
We trust You Lord, our beacon of light, our hope, our provider, our all in all. These things I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, So Be It, Amen and Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 4 January 

At the beginning of each month, I like to focus on a health campaign or charity. This month is Dry January.  It was established in 2013 by the charity Alcohol Concern and the aim of the campaign is that people give up alcohol for January.  According to Alcohol Concern’s website doing Dry January “enables you to take control of your relationship with alcohol and drives a conversation about alcohol: why do we drink it, what does it do, and how can we reduce the harm it can cause?”  It also has the benefit of reducing the waistline and saving money. 
 
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And I close with a prayer for the New Year by Debra Mooney:
 
May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding us from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening us to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making our path easy,
But by making us sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from us,
But by taking fear from our heart;
Not by granting us unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping our face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making our life always pleasant,
But by showing us when people and their causes need us most,
and by making us anxious to be there to help.
God's love, peace, hope and joy to us for the year ahead.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 3 January 

On Tuesday night, I was woken up by one of my cats wanting to be let out.  The room was very light and I was surprised to see that it was only 3 am.  Looking outside I could see an amazing full moon, which I now know is called the cloud full moon.  Seeing that reminded me that God is the light in our darkness.
 
The lectionary reading today focuses on the journey of the magi to find Jesus.  The wise men were searching for Jesus and although they went off course slightly, they followed the direction of the star until they found Jesus. 
 
God acts as our guiding light helping us to find our way especially through the dark and difficult times.  It may not be an easy journey and we may go off course but God is there with us helping us to reach our destination.

three-wise-men-on-camels-icon- 


And I end with a prayer by Moira Laidlaw:
 
God of all time,
we praise and adore you for breaking into the darkness of this world
with the glorious light of your presence.
A light which made your love for the world visible
in the babe born in Bethlehem—
Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour.
A light which guided those gift-bearing travellers from afar
to find and worship the Christ-child.
A light which leads us to you, now revealed in Jesus Christ.
We pray that you will accept our worship
for it arises from hearts and minds
in awe over the enormity of your gift to us of pure love.
In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 2 January 

At this time of year especially I have had a tendency to look back over my life, often with regret for the things I have done and the wrong choices that I have made.  I have come to realise though that it is not just those things that make up my story.  My story is also filled with how I have accepted who I am and how I am trying to follow God’s call for my life.
    
jan 2

And I close with a prayer taken from the ChristiansTT website:
 
Loving God,
 
Bless my resolutions and promises. Give me the strength to carry them through. Fill me with hope, confidence and positivity.
 
Lord, remind me of my truest values and deepest desires. Help me to live in the goodness that comes from doing what You want me to do.
 
Help me to put aside anxiety about the future and regret of the past, so that I might live in peace with You now, one day at a time. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 1 January 

Happy 2021!  I would like to share this blessing with you today.  I know that for many of us the start of the year will be difficult with all the current restrictions that we are facing.  However I pray that we can put our hope and trust in God so that even in the difficult times we will feel His love and peace.
 
fri 1 jan

I close with a prayer by Joseph P Shadle:

 
God of Love,
You are with us in every transition and change.
As we enter into this new era with excitement and even some anxiety, we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding love.
We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.
We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.
We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.
Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.
We ask this in your Holy Name.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate
 

Thursday 31 December

I don’t often stay up until midnight but I may do tonight and I will be taking on the role of the pessimist making sure that 2020 leaves by the back door as it has been a difficult year for so many of us.
 
new year eve

And I close with a prayer by Van Varner:
 
Heavenly Father,
At midnight,
When the old year dies,
And the new comes bounding in,
I draw strength from knowing
That in the next twelve months
The snows will go
The buds will burst
The heat will rise
The leaves will fly,
That all these things will happen
According to Your schedule
And in Your time;
That there is order in Your universe,
And that I am part of it.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Wednesday 30 December

This is very true!  I don’t tend to set New Year’s Resolution’s but I will be trying very hard next year to watch what I eat.
 
weds 30 dec

I close with a prayer by Debbie McDaniel:

Dear God, Help us to focus on you today, remembering that the gift of Christ, Immanuel, is our most treasured gift for the whole year through. Fill us with your joy and the peace of your Spirit. Direct our hearts and minds towards you. Thank you for your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of brokenness, you’re still with us. You never leave us. Thank you for your daily Presence in our lives, that we can be assured your heart is towards us, your eyes are over us, and your ears are open to our prayers. Thank you that you surround us with favour as with a shield, we are safe in your care. We choose to press in close to you today… In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 29 December

I don’t know about you but I am even more mixed up about what day it is or what I should be doing than usual!
 
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And I close with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
You gave your all to the world
in the bleakness of that stable.
Love was born that day
Pure love
Undiluted
Poured out for all
who call on Your name
Such Grace
Undeserved
deserves a response
in the life that we lead.
Forgive our ingratitude
for all you have done,
draw us to your Word,
give us a new song to sing,
that will resonate throughout this world.
And begin with us today. Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Monday 28 December

I think this quote is very apt for lockdown, especially spending Christmas in lockdown.   In the future, I will certainly value being with others much more than I have previously.
 
mon 28 dec

And I end with a prayer taken from crosswalk.com:
 
Lord, in a season when every heart should be happy and light, many of us are struggling with the heaviness of life—burdens that steal the joy right out of our Christmas stockings. Crazy weather disasters strike at unsuspecting areas, ravaging peaceful homes and interrupting the lives of unsuspecting residents. Tragedy arrives as innocent victims suffer,
and an inner voice whispers, “Be afraid!” We need your peace, Jesus.
 
Lord, we still carol the wonderful message, huddled beneath winter caps on snow-covered porches, or from churches, led by enthusiastic musicians or choir members. Yet we confess that our hearts are too often filled with wonder of a different kind: wondering when the bills will be paid, when the terror will stop, when rest will come. Will it ever? Is the message still true?
 
In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up that good news again. This Christmas, make it real in our hearts. Never have we needed Your joy and peace more than now. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh. Forgive us for forgetting—that Your love never changes, never fades, and that You never abandon the purpose for which You came: to save us from our sinful condition, and to give us life eternal, the joy of relationship with a holy God. Your birth—and Your death—sealed Your promise to us forever. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Sunday 27 December

Today’s lectionary reading is taken from Luke chapter 2 verses 22 to 40.  In this reading, Joseph and Mary bring the baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and to offer the sacrifice prescribed by Jewish law. 
 
Whilst in the temple they encounter Simeon and Anna who have been waiting for this moment for many years and who praise God when they see the baby Jesus.  Simeon, in particular, also gives an insight into what the future will hold.
 
I think one thing that we can take from this reading is the value of listening to older people as they often have valuable experience and insights to share.  For me personally, I have found listening to the insights of some of the older Local Preacher’s very enlightening and something that I carry with me.  I also hope that as I get older I may pass some of the insights I have gained from my life experiences onto those younger than me.    
  
Image
 
I end with a benediction by Roddy Hamilton which is inspired by Simeon’s song (Luke 2:25-27).
 
May all wonder find a place in your soul
and dance with you unexpected steps;
 
May all joy be at home within your heart
and weave a sacred rhythm throughout this life and all to come;
 
May unsolved mysteries make your life an adventure
and pull you towards unknown places waiting for you since the very beginning;
 
May blessing be your forever-companion
and cradle you, strengthen you and love you always;
 
May all stillness coorie (snuggle) into your soul
forging a peace that gives to all things a place;
 
May the ebb and flow of life be a daily gift
offering times of pain and celebration and healing;
 
and may God let you see what others miss:
promise cradled in every wonder,
the flow of life shaping a sacred story
where love, and you, dance together daily.
 
And when eyes that have seen all living
draw into focus salvation’s intent,
may they recognise at days end
a promise, a deed, a gift
fresh born in the world.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate




 

Saturday 26 December

So today in the United Kingdom is Boxing Day.  This originated as a holiday on which to give gifts to the poor but in recent years has become a shopping holiday with many people getting up early to visit the sales.  I expect this year most sales shopping will be done online and it has been good to see that a number of supermarkets are closing to enable their staff to have a proper Christmas break in return for all they have done over recent months.
 
In Roman Catholic traditions, today is also known as St Stephen’s Day or the Feast of Stephen where Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is celebrated.
 
Boxing-Day-Quotes

And I close today with a prayer by Jemma Allen:

In the resting and regrouping,
the breathing out and in,
be with us still, God incarnate;
in the family celebrations delayed,
in the pj day and plates of leftovers,
be with us still, God incarnate;
as the candles are put away,
the orders of service filed with annotations,
in the reviewing and rejigging,
be with us still, God incarnate.
 
You are the One who enters our humanity,
consoling us in calamity,
companioning us in loneliness,
encouraging us in kindness,
sustaining and challenging and blessing us.
Be with us still, God incarnate
this Christmastide,
and all our days.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate
 

Friday 25 December

I know our celebrations will be very different today to previous years but I would like to start with a prayer called ‘let the celebrations’ begin by Ann Siddall. 
 
Like eager children waiting for dawn,
tearing at the wrapping to get to the gift,
waking sleeping parents with shouts of joy,
let our celebrations begin!
 
May this Christmas morning
find us able to say “Alleluia”
even in the midst of pain and anxiety,
because You are our hope.
 
Jesus Christ, come to us,
fill our hearts with joy in knowing
this deeper truth that life contains,
that because You come, all will be well.
 
Let us witness not to successful lives,
not to perfect health, faultless families,
highly achieving work, or new possessions,
but to the quiet inner knowing of You.
 
And as we gather this joyful morning,
let our Alleluias rise from willing lips,
from lives opened to Your gift,
and from hearts filled with Your love.
 
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
and Amen!
 
 
I felt that the second verse was especially appropriate for today as I know many of us are anxious about the current situation.  I hope that however you are spending the day that you feel the love, peace, joy and hope that only God can bring.

35176-merry christmas peace

And I close with a prayer that has been attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson:
 
Loving God,
help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
 
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
 
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Christmas Day and always,
Kate

 

Thursday 24 December

It was hard trying to find a picture to use today as like many ‘special’ days in 2020, it just feels like another day and to be honest many of the pictures just didn’t seem appropriate. 
 
This time last year I had just come out of hospital following surgery and was fairly limited in what I could get involved in.  However, I fully expected that this year I would be leading worship and then spending time with my Dad and his partner.  Instead, I will be watching an online service, having a meal delivered from the pub and opening presents on FaceTime.  It will be hard but I will try and find happiness amongst the sad moments.  I am very grateful that I and my family and friends are safe and healthy.  I also feel very loved as have had so many phone calls and doorstep deliveries this week to let me know that I am thought of. 
 
I hope and pray that you too will feel loved, especially the love of God, and will be able to find happiness, even if only in glimpses, this Christmas.
  
Amazing-Christmas-Eve-Quotes-a

And I close with a prayer taken from lords-prayer-words.com:
 
Father God,
In a small animal shelter, two young newlyweds came to take refuge.
In candlelight, laying upon straw, the promised one stirred within a nervous young mother. How we wonder that your Son, a piece of you sent from heaven could reside in such humble beginnings.
And yet we engage with this picture, with the expectancy, with the hardship and with the wonder.
This is the eve that held such promise, the eve that would be remembered forever, the eve that changed everything.
We remember this moment now and continue to wonder at your amazing plans, at your unfailing love, and at your amazing grace. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Christmas Eve and always,
Kate
 

Wednesday 23 December

I would like to share today the words from Love Came Down at Christmas written by Christina Rossetti.  
 
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
 
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
 
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
 
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 And I end with a blessing taken from the re:worship website:
 
Let the love that shaped earth and heaven
dwell within us this Christmas.
Let the love that created humanity
dwell within us this Christmas.
Let the love that overcomes suffering and hatred
dwell within us this Christmas.
Let the love that causes us to rejoice with loved ones
dwell within us this Christmas.
Let the love that forgives and renews
dwell within us this Christmas.
Let the love that brings reconciliation after separation
dwell within us this Christmas.
Let the love that brings the blessing of peace
dwell within us this Christmas.
And may we share that peace
with all people near and far. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate


 

Tuesday 22 December

I make no excuses for posting another Pooh and Piglet story so soon after the last one.  This one, written by Kathryn Wallace, was posted a few hours after it was announced that we were going into Tier 4 and many Christmas plans would have to be changed. 
 
I shed a few tears when reading this so you may want to grab a tissue in advance.  I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my Dad and his partner as planned which is very hard.  However, we do have love and we have hope that once things have improved, we can meet again.
 
"It's very dark, right now," said Pooh, in a subdued voice, as he looked out into the inky depths of the Hundred Acre Wood. Across the room from him, Piglet sat on the sofa; a tiny figure in their support bubble of two. The room was illuminated only by the flames of the candles they had lit: for those loved ones they longed to be with so much, yet, this year, were so impossibly far away.
"Yes," said Piglet, in a similarly subdued voice. "Yes, it really is very dark right now."
Pooh thought of all of the other Christmases he had experienced, so very different to this one. He thought of all that this year had taken from him; from them all. The get togethers. The celebrations. The experiences. The hugs. Oh, the hugs. And he felt a swathe of emotions - from anger, to fear, to despair - wash over him.
"Of course," said Piglet, almost as though he had read Pooh's mind, "there are some things that even the darkest times cannot take away from us. The memories. The love. The hope. We'll always have those, Pooh. Always."
Pooh shook his head. "I don't know, Piglet. I don't know. Right now, in particular, it feels very hard to feel any kind of hope. It is so dark, Piglet. So very dark."
Piglet looked over at the flickering candle flames. Despite the chill of the air, and the occasional draught, they still burnt brightly.
"One thing I have learnt, Pooh," he said, "if I may be so bold to say so; is that while there is light... there is hope. And we are the lucky ones, you and I. Because we have one another.
"I know, that on the darkest days, that you will be there for me - even when we can't physically be together. And on the days when it all seems too much, Pooh, then I promise you, that's when I will always step in. To lift you up. To share your pain. To walk by your side."
"Where there's light, there's hope," repeated Pooh, staring at the little flames.
"That's right," agreed Piglet. "The days are, indeed, very dark. But where there's light, there is always, always, hope."
And the two friends sat together. Lost in their own thoughts, and memories.
Across the room, the candles glowed.

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I know this quote applies to those no longer with us, but feel it also applies to those we are separated from this Christmas.
 
I close today with a prayer by Rebecca Barlow Jordan:
 
In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up that good news again. This Christmas, make it real in our hearts. Never have we needed Your joy and peace more than now. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh. Forgive us for forgetting—that Your love never changes, never fades, and that You never abandon the purpose for which You came: to save us from our sinful condition, and to give us life eternal, the joy of relationship with a holy God. Your birth—and Your death—sealed Your promise to us forever.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Monday 21 December

So yesterday the fourth candle would have been lit on our advent wreath.  This candle is known as the love candle and so the theme for this week will be love. 
 
Love plays a key role in the Christmas story. Due to Joseph’s love for Mary, he didn’t stone her when he found out she was pregnant with what he thought was a child out of wedlock with another man. Mary shows a natural motherly love for Jesus, and most importantly, we see God’s love for everyone by sending his son for us.
 
Jesus focused on preaching love throughout his ministry and two of his greatest commandments involve love: Love God, love your neighbour.  
 
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I end with a prayer for this week of advent taken from Christianity.com:
 
Heavenly Father, the whole meaning of Christmas can be explained in one little four-letter word…LOVE. You sent your gift of pure love to us that first Christmas. Love descended from heaven to be born of a virgin. Love lay in the scratchy hay of a manger in a meagre barn in Bethlehem. All of your love, God, was robed in the delicate skin of a baby and wrapped in swaddling clothes. This final week of Advent helps us to reflect on the magnitude of love that was made manifest in Jesus.
 
You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Messiah, and Ruler of All, yet you came not as a lion but as a lamb. You came as an innocent baby whose purpose was to walk this earth in complete love and then to sacrificially give your life as an atonement for the sins of your children. Emmanuel. God with us. Love in the form of a man.
 
There is no greater gift than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends. You willingly gave the gift of your life because of your love. Your righteous blood covered our sin. You redeem and restore us when we confess you as Lord and Saviour of our life. In that moment, you give us the gift of your love for all eternity. We receive grace upon grace and mercy upon mercy in that moment.
 
The greatest gift of all came that first Christmas. It wasn’t wrapped in a beautiful package and set under a decorated tree. The greatest gift came wrapped in the flesh of baby Jesus and laid in the rough wood of a manger. Our perfect gift would later be rewrapped in the scars of our sin and nailed to the rugged wood of a cross on Calvary, all because of love.
Father, this final week of Advent, fill our hearts and minds with the significance of that truth. Thank you, Lord, for loving us enough to send Jesus. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Sunday 20 December

Today’s Gospel reading from the lectionary is Luke chapter 1 verses 26 to 38.  It talks of how the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would give birth to Jesus.
 
As I haven’t had children, I find it hard to relate to Mary in terms of being pregnant and having a baby.  However, I think that I can relate to her in terms of her being called to doing something that to her and many others seemed impossible.  When I felt called to be a Local Preacher I felt that I was being called to do the impossible as I struggled with social anxiety.  However, I overcame this and am now an accredited Local Preacher.
 
Just as Jesus grew inside Mary, the knowledge and love of Jesus grew inside of me so that I could share it with others.

GallagherFeature 2 12-10-18 


I end today with two prayers based on the lectionary reading from John Birch:
 
When does an ordinary life
Become extraordinary
A mundane day
Become revolutionary
A moment in time
Change history?
When God enters in
Forgives sin
Allows us to
Begin again
When we repeat
Those words of Mary
‘May it be to me
As you say’
 
 
Lord God, you choose the very least
And raise us up to greatness
For nothing is impossible with God
You take the weak, the poor and blind
And raise us out of darkness
For nothing is impossible with God
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Teach us obedience, Lord
In every part of our lives
Ears to hear your word
Hands to do your work
Feet to walk your path
A heart for all your people
A mouth to shout your praise
A childlike faith
Humility
Confidence
That says
To the possible
And the impossible
I am the Lord's servant
May it be to me as you have said.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate

 

Saturday 19 December

I know that this post is not particularly related to the theme of joy but I wanted to share it as I know these stories have brought joy to a number of people over the months.   It also highlights the joy of friendship, even though we are not able to see as much of our friends as usual.  The post today is written by Kathryn Wallace and taken from the ‘I know I need to stop talking’ Facebook page.
 
"It's not going to be the same, this Christmas, is it Piglet?" said Pooh, in a sad, sorrowful kind of a voice.
 
"No," said Piglet, as he lifted a glass bauble carefully from its nest of paper threads and hung it onto a tree branch. "No; no, it won't be quite the same."
Pooh exhaled, looking at the reflection of the tree lamps in the window. Darkness had fallen in the Hundred Acre Wood; a black, inky darkness, that wrapped around Pooh's little house like velvet cloth. He thought how grateful he was that he and Piglet had one another in their little support bubble; and then he thought again of all of the many, many friends that he wouldn't get to be with that Christmas, wouldn't get to celebrate with as he always did. And he sighed, a heavy sigh.
 
"I just wish..." he said, just as Piglet said:
 
"I know.
 
"But the thing is," Piglet continued, "that even though it won't be possible to be with Eeyore, and Owl, and Kanga, and Roo, and Rabbit, and Tigger, and Christopher Robin, this Christmas, like we usually are... they are, of course - all of them - still with us. Right here." And he put a little trotter on his chest, just over where his heart was, and Pooh felt an overwhelming wave of emotion rise up out of him, as tears pricked the corners of his eyes.
 
"Here," said Piglet, and he opened a little box that Pooh hadn't seen before. "Take these, seven of them, and put them up on the window, will you."
 
Pooh did as he was told, and very soon all seven candles were lit and glowing warmly on the window sill, the two friends watching as their flames flickered softly.
 
"What do the candles mean?" Pooh asked Piglet.
 
"The candles are for our friends," said Piglet. "Our loved ones who, for various reasons, we can't be with this year. And tomorrow, Pooh, we're going to take this box, and we're going to leave candles on the doorstep of every single one of our friends. Candles so that they, too, can light them, and feel a little bit warmer on these dark winter nights. Because perhaps, by the act of receiving them, and lighting them, they will know, however physically far away we might feel... that we are there.
 
 
"And then one day," Piglet continued, "the warmer days will come again. Spring is coming, Pooh. I can sense it. And with it: hope, and the promise of a brighter, better future.
 
"For us all.
 
"For us all."

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I close with a blessing taken from womansday.com:
 
May the blessing of joy abide within you; May the blessing of peace rest upon you; May the blessing of love flow out through you; May all the blessings of the Lord be yours at Christmas and in the New Year.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Friday 18 December

I wanted to share today this quote from Pope Francis.  Despite the fact that this Christmas will be very different from previous years, one thing that is a constant is that we celebrate the birth of the Jesus – a special gift that will bring us all hope, love, joy and peace.
 
religious-christmas-quotes2-15

I would like to end with a prayer taken from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Lord, as we enter the Christmas season, we want to take time to thank You for sending Your Son to be born as a baby and to become our Saviour, so that He can bring peace into the hearts of those that believe, and joy to those that find their hope in Him.
 
Lord, we know that only in Him is true peace and lasting joy to be found, and as we sing the Christmas carols and choruses this Christmas season, we pray that true joy would come into the world, and that many would find their peace. In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Thursday 17 December

I think this quote follows on from yesterday, where I talked about gratitude and how choosing ‘an attitude of gratitude’ can replace despair and darkness with joy.   I know, from personal experience, that when caught up in despair and darkness that this is often easier said than done.  I have had to make a real effort to be grateful for the things in my life that God has provided for me and the journey that He has set me upon.
 
sat 19 dec
 
I end today with the words of a song written by Michael Card called Joy in the Journey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jfSmrCsqD4
 
There is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey
 
And all those who seek it shall find it
A pardon for all who believe
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind
 
To all who've been born in the Spirit
And who share incarnation with Him
Who belong to eternity stranded in time
And weary of struggling with sin
 
Forget not the hope that's before you
And never stop counting the cost
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost
 
There is a joy in the journey
There's a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life
And freedom for those who obey
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always, Kate

 

Wednesday 16 December

I will admit that this is the first week that I have really struggled to find appropriate quotes especially those that fit the theme of this week which is joy.  I am usually a bit of a bah-humbug when it comes to Christmas anyway but am struggling more this year with all the restrictions in place especially as I shielding.  I find it hard to feel joyful when I feel that in the world at the moment there is not a lot to be joyful about.
 
I found this reflection very appropriate and I did, after reading it, write down some things that I am grateful for including being inside when it is raining, having a roast dinner delivered and having technology to keep in touch with my Dad as well as church family.
 
Just where did I put that Joy?
Just where is Joy hiding?
I tried to find it by putting up the tree early. Joy did not last.
I spent some hours watching revolving Hallmark Christmas movies. Joy left during the commercial.
I added a new string of lights to adorn the wreath. Joy disappeared when the lights went out.
I pulled out the ingredients to resurrect old family recipes. Joy did not sustain past the mixing.
And, there in the stillness of presence, letting the absence of things get me to the “real.”
I remembered my gratitude list of old.
I recalled that despair cannot tolerate gratitude.
I put down the remote control, the playlist of carols, the decorations and the unforgiving list undone.
I heard the still small voice invite me to the blank side of a discarded envelope with a pen in hand.
I started to list the gifts: the car that started today, the text message that reminded me that someone needs me, the running water that came warm from the tap, the burner that turned on, the words that I can read, the breath that I inhale, the thought that I can think, the child that once believed, the people that taught me what it means to belong, the God-With-Us that refuses to let go when we do.
And then, creeping in like dew and remaining present like fog that won’t lift,
I felt it whisper to my soul: Joy.
In my gratitude, Joy arrived and refused to move out.
Emmanuel: God-With-Us.
 
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I end with an advent litany written by Brad Reynolds called Gaudete, (which is the Latin for rejoice):
 
Because Christmas is almost here
Because dancing fits so well with music
Because inside baby clothes are miracles.
Gaudete!
 
Because some people love you
Because of chocolate
Because pain does not last forever
Because Santa Claus is coming.
Gaudete!
 
Because of laughter
Because there really are angels
Because your fingers fit your hands
Because forgiveness is yours for the asking
Because of children
Because of parents.
Gaudete!
 
Because the blind see.
And the lame walk.
Gaudete!
 
Because lepers are clean
And the deaf hear.
Gaudete!
 
Because the dead will live again
And there is good news for the poor.
Gaudete!
 
Because of Christmas
Because of Jesus
We rejoice!
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 


Tuesday 15 December

I thought that there is only one hymn to share when the theme of the week is Joy and that is ‘Joy to the World.’  It was written by Isaac Watts, a Christian minister and writer whose words were inspired by Psalm 98.
 
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
 
Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
 
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
 
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.
 
joy-to-the-world
I close today with a prayer called Joy to the World by John van de Laar:
 
It may seem naive,
in a world of grief,
to choose to live in joy;
 
It may seem foolish,
in a world where solemnity is power,
to sing and dance to a different tune;
 
It may seem cruel,
in a world of suffering and injustice,
to speak of light and celebration;
 
But you have come, Jesus,
to bring joy into our grief,
light into our darkness,
singing into our mourning;
and it is an act of healing and proclamation
to believe and embrace the joy you offer.
 
Joy to the world!
The Lord is come!
Hallelujah!
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love now and always,
Kate

 

Monday 14 December

So yesterday was Gaudette Sunday or the Sunday of Joy and so the theme of this week is joy.  It can be hard for many people at this time of year, perhaps even more so this year, so this candle offers a bright light during an often difficult time. 
 
The third candle is also known as the Shepherd Candle to highlight the joy the shepherds experienced when they received the good news about Christ’s birth.  It was during the middle of the night, the darkest time, when the shepherds encountered angels bringing joyful news.
 
The word joy appears more than 100 times in the bible.  Biblical joy goes deeper than happiness.  It is an extreme deep-rooted happiness that cannot be deterred by our present circumstances and comes from God alone.
 
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And I close with a prayer from the YouVersion webpage:
 
 Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the joy that entered the world when Jesus was born.
Thank you for becoming God with us.
Lord, sometimes it’s difficult to live joyfully, especially in difficult or busy seasons.
Please purify our hearts this week and remind us that You’re in control.
Help us to consider it joy when we experience trials of any kind because we know You’re creating something beautiful and eternal.
As we fix our eyes and hearts on You, fill our souls with renewed strength, courage, and hope.
Lord, you are always worthy of being praised – and we want to worship You!
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate


 

Sunday 13 December

This Sunday is known in many churches as Gaudete Sunday or the Sunday of Joy.  The day takes its common name from the Latin word Gaudete which means Rejoice.  Some churches will light a rose coloured candle on their advent wreath. 
 
The lectionary readings for today are all filled with Joy and Hope in the coming Lord.   One of the readings from Luke chapter 1 verses 46 to 55 is known as The Magnificat or Song of Mary.  The words were spoken by Mary during her visit to her cousin Elizabeth. 
 
I would like to share a re-writing of the Magnificat by John Shea:
 
All that I am
sings of the God
who brings his life
to birth in me.
My spirit soars
on the wings of my Lord.
He has smiled on me
and the blaze of his smile
no woman or man
shall ever forget.
 
My God is a gentle strength
who has caught me up
and carried me to greatness.
His love
space cannot hold
nor time age
and all quicken to his touch.
 
My God is a torrent of justice.
He takes the straight paths
in the minds of the proud
and twists them to labyrinth.
The boot of the oppressor
he pushes aside
and raises the lowly,
whom he loves,
from the ground.
With his own hands
he sets a table for the hungry
but the unfeeling rich
suffer the cold eye
of his judgment.
  
Our mothers and our fathers
he has held in his arms
and the future grows
like this child within me
for the God of whom I sing
bears us his son.
 
joy-advent-week-3
 
And I close with a prayer of petition and intercession reposted on the re-worship website from the Christian Aid website in 2016.  However, I still think it is appropriate for today.
 
Merciful God,
May Mary’s song be heard through the ages,
drowning out the din of Christmas chaos.
 
May it be heard by the victims of violence
in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
May it ring in the ears of the traumatised
in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
May it sing in the hearts of those stuck
in the refugee camps of Lebanon, Jordan and Greece.
 
May it be an earworm song of hope
for all standing strong for land rights.
 
May it be the rally cry of peace
for the war-weary of South Sudan.
 
May it nourish hope in the bellies
of those fearful of failed harvests.
 
 
May it be a song that stirs reverent fear
in the hearts of those who assume power.
 
And may the joyful promises of justice
and overturned power fill all our hearts
to overflowing action. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and Always,
Kate


 

Saturday 12 December

Today I would like to highlight the work of an organisation which aims to reconcile communities and bring about peace.   CHIPS was founded over 50 years ago by Roy Calvocoressi, a Christian and a barrister.  He was frustrated by the law’s insistence that one side must always be ‘innocent’ and another ‘guilty’ – with little regard for the subtleties of conflict, or its many root causes. His reflections led him to Cyprus, where he gathered a team to live and work in the heart of the conflict in the 1960s.  Since then CHIPS has run projects across the world in countries such as Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Uganda and Ghana. 
 
Since 2014, CHIPS have also been working in Brixton.  They work across three of the largest estates in the area and aim to empower stronger communities, to tackle the root causes of violence including mental health, and to prevent youth violence.  Further details can be found here: https://chipspeace.org/
 
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I end today with a prayer by Catherine Gorman of CAFOD:
 
God of mercy,
help us to listen to your voice,
a voice that speaks of peace to all people.
 
Let the sound resonate within us,
until a whisper becomes a shout
which cannot be ignored.
 
Move us with your love,
so that our actions echo your peace,
and we may bring tidings of comfort and joy
to those touched by conflict.
 
Fill us with your hope, O Lord, and
quiet the fear and hatred which divides us,
as we seek to build a future together,
of true and lasting peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Prince of Peace, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this advent and always, Kate

 

Friday 11 December

I know John Lennon was part of the Beatles and know some of their music but, until I came across this quote and googled him, I didn’t realise the extent of his work as a peace protestor.  I think the quote is very appropriate not just for this time of year but for always.
 
tues 8 dec

I close today with a prayer by Rev. Karla Miller:
 
Ah Holy One,
in this season of Advent,
we wait for you to break into our worlds, unexpectedly.
 
Help us to stay awake, to be aware, to hope against hope.
 
We pray for your peace in this world
when You will settle things fairly between nations,
and make things right between peoples.
 
We pray for your peace
when all will turn their weapons into something useful
but not for war.
 
We pray for you to show us
how to simply be advocates for your peace and hope.
Help us to know that what we do makes a difference.
 
We pray for the peace you bring within families.
We pray for the peace you bring within ourselves.
We pray for your peace to come for those who are ill,
those who are grieving,
Those who are struggling,
those who are suffering,
those who are lonely,
and those who have been devastated by disaster.
 
Surprise us with the possibilities
of how your vision of peace and hope might take root,
and how we might live into this vision of justice and love
for all of creation.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always.
Kate
 

Thursday 10 December

Today I would like to share the poem Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou.  It was written for the White House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony back in 2005:
 
Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.
 
Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.
 
We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?
 
Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancour,
Come the way of friendship.
 
It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.
 
Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.
 
In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
 
We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.
 
We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.
 
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
 
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
 
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.
 
We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
 
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.
 
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 “Child with a Dove” by Pablo Picasso (1901)


And I close with a prayer from Katherine Hawker:
 
Dear God,
As we journey down this Advent road,
grant us the courage to make peace.
Peace in our hearts,
Peace in our homes,
Peace in our communities. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure this Advent and always,
Kate







 

Wednesday 9 December

Today I would like to share an Advent reflection written by Edwards Hays from his book A Pilgrim’s Almanac:
 
 Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.
 
Daily we can make an Advent examination. Are there any feelings of discrimination toward race, sex, or religion? Is there a lingering resentment, an unforgiven injury living in our hearts? Do we look down upon others of lesser social standing or educational achievement? Are we generous with the gifts that have been given to us, seeing ourselves as their stewards and not their owners? Are we reverent of others, their ideas and needs, and of creation? These and other questions become Advent lights by which we may search the deep, dark corners of our hearts.
 
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And I close today with a prayer taken from womansday.com:
 
Almighty God, we bless you for our lives, we give you praise for your abundant mercy and grace we receive. We thank you for your faithfulness even though we are not that faithful to you. Lord Jesus, we ask you to give us all around peace in our mind, body, soul and spirit. We want you to heal and remove everything that is causing stress, grief, and sorrow in our lives.
 
Please guide our path through life and make our enemies be at peace with us. Let your peace reign in our family, at our place of work, businesses and everything we lay our hands on.
 
Let your angels of peace go ahead of us when we go out and stay by our side when we return.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always, Kate

 

Tuesday 8 December

I spoke yesterday about how we all need to have a sense of inner peace.  When we know what it is like to experience peace and how good the feeling is then we will want to share it with others. 

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I close today with a prayer of peace written by David Tonghou Ngong:
 
Dear God, we hear of peace only as a faraway dream;
we long for it in our lives, in the lives of our families,
our friends, and our countries.
But with each passing day
the prospect for peace
seems to be increasingly tantalizing.
Restlessness seems to be
the order of our present existence:
our inner restlessness rooted in various anxieties,
our societal restlessness rooted in
the evils that go on around us,
the restlessness of our world
plagued by conflicts of all sorts.
 
Dear God, we hear of peace only as a dream;
a dream we would love to be part of,
a dream we long to have in our hearts, in our neighbourhoods,
in our countries, and even in our churches.
 
We pray dear God,
that we may experience that peace
that passes all understanding,
we pray, O God, that we may experience You,
the Peace of the world.
 
Penetrate the grieving heart,
accompany the lonely one,
remember the forgotten,
reclaim the strayed,
make music out of the
disharmony of conflict and chaos.
Let our restless hearts rest in you, O God.
This we pray in the name of the Christ,
who beckons us into the vision of Peace.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Monday 7 December

The second Advent candle stands for peace and in our lives we need both inner peace and peace with others.
 
I think having a sense of inner peace often starts to develop when we have a relationship with God, and it can grow as we trust in God and focus on His strength.  Isaiah chapter 26 verses 3 says “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is focused on You because He trusts in You”  We can make this personal to ourselves by saying “God will keep me in perfect peace as my mind focuses on Him and trusts Him.”
 
God has also called us to be peacemakers in our world.  This isn’t always easy especially at Christmas but each time we bring peace to a situation we are helping the world to become a better place.   

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I end with the words of the hymn Make me a channel of your peace written by Christopher West based on the prayer of St Francis of Assisi:
 
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.
 
Make me a channel of your peace
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there's sadness, ever joy.
 
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
 
Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.
 
Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.
 
Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we're born to eternal life.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Sunday 6 December

Today’s Old Testament lectionary reading is taken from Isaiah chapter 40 verses 1 to 11.  In this passage, Isaiah comforts the Jews who are in exile in Babylon, giving them Yahweh’s assurance that their 60 years captivity will end soon and that they will be going home as free people.  Isaiah isn’t afraid to tell them that the exile was a punishment for their sin but counters this by saying that their sins are forgiven and the exile is over.  God will lead them home in the same way that a shepherd cares lovingly for his sheep. 
 
Isaiah originally spoke these words in the 6th century BC which were fulfilled when the exiles returned home.  When I read this passage initially I struggled to understand why it has been chosen as a lectionary reading for Advent.  However, there is a deeper meaning to this passage than just a message to the exiles in Babylon.   The words in verse 3: “A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. “ can also be seen as a foretelling of the words of John the Baptist.  He called upon people to prepare for the coming of the Lord. 
 
This Advent, we can perhaps prepare ourselves by asking God to forgive our sins and renewing our lives so that God’s love can live fully in us and radiate out to others.
 
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 I end with some prayers of intercessions, based on today’s lectionary readings, by Rev Richard Fairchild:
 
Gracious God help us to meet you as you come to us.
Help us to prepare your way in our lives,
and to announce your coming in love to others.
Take, O God, what we give and transform it, to your glory.
Take, O God, what we do and transform it to your acting.
Take, O God, what we say and transform it to your singing.
Take, O God, what we live and transform it to your creating.
Lord, hear our prayer....
 
Lord, hear too our prayer for those rough places in our lives
and in the lives of others that we name before you.
Fill the valleys with your light,
level the uneven paths with your grace,
and grant that your Spirit might so move us and others,
that your saving presence might be visible to all.
Lord, hear our prayer....
 
Lord, on this Sunday of preparation,
this Sunday which celebrates your peace,
help there to be peace in our lives and peace in our churches,
and peace in our world.
Where we have sinned, move us to repentance,
and help us confess to those we have grieved and seek their forgiveness;
and where others have sinned against us
help us to trust in your vindication
and grant that those who have hurt us
might see your light and be made new in Christ.
Lord hear our prayer....
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Saturday 5 December

The picture below has been doing the rounds on Facebook and is very appropriate so I thought I would share it.  Christmas this year will be very different for all of us which I am sure many people will find hard especially if they cannot be with loved ones.  However we need to look forward with hope, hope that next year will be different. 

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I end today with a poem called Hope of Advent by Brian Shivers:
 
Hope is a strange thing.
Hope in the face
     of uncertainty,
     of discord,
     of disease,
     of brokenness,
     of adversity,
     of wickedness,
     of bad news
seems irresponsible and naive.
 
But . . .
 
 Hope sees a way
     where the path appears blocked.
 
Hope beckons us
     when all else seems lost.
 
Hope is
     that which pulls us
     toward possibility.
 
Hope is foolishness
     in the eyes of a pessimistic world.
 
Hope is
the audacious persistence
of a young expectant mother
who sings songs of deliverance
in the shadow of occupation and patriarchy
because of the promise held
in her womb. 
 
O, the voice of hope
It will not waver in the presence of fear.
It will not yield under the strain of adversity.
It will not fail in the grip of oppression.
 
Courage,
Faith,
Love,
Resistance,
Change,
     are impossible without it.
 
In this season of Advent,
In this season of waiting,
In this season of anticipation,
may we live our lives “as if”
in this “not yet” world;
may we be known
as people of hope.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this Advent and always,
Kate
 

Friday 4 December

Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal this year is called Love builds Hope.  The website says:
 
Together, we can build hope
At the end of one of the most difficult years the world has faced, we invite you to stand together with us to build hope for the poorest and most vulnerable people. In the face of storms, drought and disease, your love builds hope.
Your love builds hope for young people like Imote in Nigeria, who has struggled to feed his young family due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Your love builds hope for mothers like Kawite in Ethiopia, a mother on the frontline of the climate crisis.
Join us this Christmas to build hope for communities facing terrible crises across the world.

The website has a variety of resources, including prayers, reflections and individual stories.  There is also the opportunity to donate if you would like to.   
 
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I close with a blessing taken from the Christian Aid website:
 
May you abound in the hope of the prophets,
imagining another way
May you abound in the hope of a mother,
singing revolution
May you abound in the hope of an infant,
the incarnation of love
May you abound in the love that builds hope
this day and evermore
And may you have a hopeful Advent and a
comforting Christmas. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love this advent and always,
Kate

 

Thursday 3 December

Kari Jobe is a Christian singer and songwriter from America.  She wrote The Blessing earlier this year which became very popular on Social Media and for which she won a Grammy Award.  She has also written a song called ‘When Hope Came Down’ and I would like to share those words with you.  The song can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0wxoAcc78k  

My hope is that one day when I am able to lead worship that I can include this song in an Advent or Christmas service.

 
So this is how it was
A silent night like any other,
When heaven sent the One,
The One we will call our Saviour,
And redemption begins,
In a stable in Bethlehem,
 
All of the angels lifted up their voices,
And filled the night with Hallelujah's,
God is with us now,
Everyone come and join the heavenly chorus,
Our saviour King is here before us,
All to hear the sound
The song creation sang,
When Hope Came Down
 
So this was truly God,
Wrapped in a tattered blanket,
Love was finally here,
Sleeping while the world awakened,
And redemption begins,
With a baby in Bethlehem
 
So let us sing Redemption Song,
Let us worship Christ the Holy One,
We were lost, but we were found,
When Hope Came Down,
When Hope Came Down.
 
When Hope Came Down,
When Hope Came,
When Hope Came Down
 
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I close with an Advent prayer written by Rev. Abi, and posted on her Long and Winding Road blog:
 
To you Lord, we lift up our heads, hearts and hands in prayer.
We put our trust in you, believing that your word is true.
We lift up to you our longing for hope in a despairing world.
We lift up to you our need for hope in a time of deep hopelessness in our world.
We lift up to you our deep desire for hope
 in a bleak and sometimes depressing world.
 
You promised hope to Israelites and you kept your promise.
You promised hope in the coming of your son and he was hope for the world.
You promised hope to the early church and that hope was not denied.
You promise hope to us and we pray for your continued faithfulness.
Lord, we pray for strength when our faith falters.
We pray for you to pour on your love so it fills our lives
and splashes over on everyone around you.
Fill us with confidence in your presence in our lives.
Fill us with your joy and peace as we go through this busy time of year.
Keep our minds focused on you,

our hearts filled with you and ours outstretched for you.
Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love this Advent and always,
Kate

 

Wednesday 2 December

This year the Church of England are offering a series of reflections and online services along the theme of Comfort and Joy.  They hope that it will enable people to reconnect with the traditions of the past and also offer God’s consoling love in today’s difficult times.

Daily Hope is a part of this and is a free phone number, 0800 804 8044, offering music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. The Comfort and Joy reflections, services and some of the music will also be available throughout Advent and Christmas on this phone line enabling as many people as possible to access the materials. 

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I end today with a prayer by Kate McIllhagga:
 
Now is the time of watching and waiting
A time pregnant with hope
A time to watch and pray.
 
Christ our Advent hope,
Remind us to prepare for your coming;
Remind us to prepare for this time
When the soles of your feet touch the ground,
When you will become one of us
To be a one with us.
 
May we watch for the signs,
Listen for the messengers,
Wait for the good news to slip
Into our world, our lives.
Christ our Advent hope,
Help us to clear the way for you;
To clear the clutter from our minds,
To sift the silt from our hearts,
To move the boulders that prevents us meeting you.
 
May sorrow take flight,
And your people sing a song of peace
And hope be born again.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate




 

Tuesday 1 December

If we had been at church on Sunday, we would have lit the first candle of our advent wreath.  My first memory of an advent wreath was not at church but watching one being made out of old coat hangers and tinsel on Blue Peter.  Apparently this tradition started in 1964 and is still repeated every year, although the candles have now been replaced by baubles!
 
It is believed that the concept of the Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the 16th century.  However research shows that Johann Hinrich Wichern, who was a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor, invented the modern Advent wreath in the 19th century.   This came about because children at the mission school would ask every day if Christmas had arrived.  So in 1839, he built a large wooden ring made out of an old cartwheel with 20 small red and 4 large white candles and a small candle was lit every weekday and Saturday and on Sundays a large white candle was lit. This custom became popular in Protestant churches in Germany and evolved into the smaller wreath with four or five candles which we have today.
 
The candles used at Trinity are red with a white candle sometimes known as the Christ Candle in the middle so I was surprised, when looking for pictures, to find rose and purple candles.  Apparently many Catholic churches use these colours as they correspond with the colours of the liturgical vestments for the Sundays of Advent.
 
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I end with a prayer by Hope Bolinger:
 
Heavenly Father, Advent is a time for remembering and reflecting on the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Father, I pray that you will turn our hearts toward you as Christmas approaches. Let us not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season this year and miss the chance to celebrate the gifts of hope, peace, joy, love, that you sent to us on that first Christmas.
 
Father God, every word in scripture points to the gift of hope that we have because of Christ Jesus. The Christmas story wasn’t the beginning of that message of hope because the old testament is full of glimpses of your plan to redeem your people and restore them into a relationship with you, but we are able to truly begin to see and understand just how great your love for us is when we read the story of Jesus’ birth in scripture.
 
You showed us a glimmer of that hope as you chose to send your son into this earth through a family tree that was a little bent and scarred.  We glanced it again as you chose a tribe that was small and a city that was lowly. It can be seen when we recognize that you don’t send your Son to be birthed in a fancy palace among the wealthy and the elite, but our King of Kings and Lord of Lords was born among common shepherds and livestock in a barn.
 
Help us to see that you are with us. Nothing is too difficult, too messy, or too dirty for you. Jesus came to give us the gift of eternal life through the salvation that only you, our Heavenly Father, can give when we believe on your Son, repent of our sins, and confess Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
 
That first Christmas, you gave us the gift of hope wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Thank you, Father, for your immeasurable gift. In Jesus’ precious name, we pray. Amen

 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’ love
Kate


 

Monday 30 November

I never imagined when I started this in March that I would still be writing this blog at Advent.  Obviously, this will be a very different advent for all of us but, despite all we are facing, Advent is a chance to prepare for and remember the birth of Jesus. 
 
Each week of Advent has a theme: Hope, Peace, Love and Joy.  I will try to stick to the theme each week, starting with hope, but this blog will be a bit like an advent calendar you never know what you will get until you open the door, unless it is a chocolate one!  I intend to share reflections, carols, testimonies, pictures, prayers and hopefully there will be something for everyone.
 
 
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 I end today with a prayer from Carol Penner entitled Advent Adventure:
 
A story of light dawning,
light that is yearned for, longed for, desperately sought,
a story of light dawning in darkness;
darkness that covers the deep,
darkness that speaks of death.
 
A story of hope dawning,
hope that is yearned for, longed for, desperately sought,
a story of hope dawning in the midst of despair;
despair that defeats us,
despair that speaks of death.
 
A story of peace dawning,
peace that is yearned for, longed for, desperately sought,
a story of peace dawning in the midst of violence;
violence that destroys us,
violence that speaks of death.
 
The story is about Jesus.
A baby dawns as light in the world,
a dayspring of hope, the bright and morning star.
He is the Prince of Peace.
We take our place in this gospel story;
hesitant, unsure, not knowing our lines.
 
Lord, you are the Author who imagines us.
You created us, you know this story inside out.
In this dark season of adventure,
give us light for the journey, and hope.
Guide our feet into paths of peace.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Sunday 29 November - first Sunday in Advent

The lectionary reading for today is Mark chapter 13 verses 24 to 37:
 
“But in those days, following that distress,
“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
 
26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
 
28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
 
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
 
35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
 
When I first read this I felt that this was rather a dark text to be reading on the first Sunday in Advent.  I had expected to read a more cheery text at this time of year, maybe part of the Nativity story.  However, looking closer I realised that this text does offer us hope.
Although the passage talks about dark days when people will begin to lose hope, Jesus urges the people to stay awake and watch for signs of hope that will come when not expected.
I think we, as a country, have been experiencing a dark time with regards to Covid-19.  Thankfully, we are now seeing glimpses of hope in the form of a vaccine.  In a way, I think the vaccine can be seen as the shoots on the fig tree.  We know that the vaccine is coming and that is a sign of hope but it is not ready yet so we need to be patient and keep to the restrictions placed on us until the shoots fully bloom and the vaccine is ready for us to have.

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I close with a prayer of dedication and commitment based on Mark 13: 33 and this comes from the Christian Aid website:
 
God our rock and our salvation
so much of faith is waiting
like a pregnant woman waiting in hope
like a people under siege, holding out till relief comes
like the soul lost in the darkness,
unable to see even a glimmer of light
yet stumbling through the night because somewhere out ahead,
day will surely break
God be with us in our waiting
 
Living God, keep us awake in faith,
faith that acts;
when our faith grows weary, strengthen us
when our faith grows fearful, give us courage
when our faith grows despairing, give us witnesses
and when the faith of others falters,
may we be a light in their darkness.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 28 November

I choose today’s quote not just for the words but for the fact that it just looked so bright and cheerful when outside is rather dank and dreary.  I don’t know about you but I find it much harder to be thankful in winter when it is cold and dark then in summer when the sun is shining and all the flowers are in bloom.  However each season has a purpose and reasons to be thankful.  When I look outside, I am thankful that I am inside in a warm and cosy house whereas others may be on the streets or in temporary accommodation.
 
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I close today with a prayer of thanks by James Spencer:
 
Lord, as I participate in the all-too-consuming activities that require my attention today, I pray that I would not lose sight of You.
 
Give me this day a heart of gratitude.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which looks beyond my appreciation
for things,
for comfort,
for peace,
for prosperity.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which is ever and always
            thankful for the Giver
            thankful for the One who has provided
            thankful for the One who, unlike His gifts, will never fade away.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which refuses
            to surrender to frivolous complaint,
            to seek more than you have given,
            to succumb to the annoyances and frustrations of this world.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which is so filled with thanksgiving that worry and concern have no room.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which remembers you as the present Giver who is my refuge and my portion.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which cries out thanksgiving and praise even in the midst of anguish, pain, and frustration.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which is capable of love, hope, and peace despite the tensions, hurts, and foolishness of this world.
 
Give me a heart of gratitude which is ever and always Yours. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 27 November

There have been many times in my life when I don’t have a clue what I need or who I need so I am very grateful that God does and that He will provide just what I need when I need it.
 
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And I end with a prayer for Unwavering Trust taken from Connect Us website:

O God, my Strength, I put my trust in You. You have never forsaken those who seek You. You have never let me down. I know that You never will let me down because my life so far has been a testimony of Your greatness. Mould me into Your image, and hold me close to You. Show me how to mature as a Christian and improve on my walk of faith. Steady my trust in You so that it never wavers, no matter what battles I face on this earth. I declare that my faithfulness to You will be strong at all times. Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 26 November

With restrictions starting to be lifted again next week, it is a good time to look at our lives and see if some of the things that we started during lockdown could be continued such as phoning people regularly.  Conversely, it is also worth seeing if there are some aspects of our ‘normal’ lives that are not worth resuming such as being so busy that we don’t get time to do the things that really matter to us.
 
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And I close today with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
As I adventure with you today
be the compass that guides me,
the light that shines on my path,
the only one I follow.
As I adventure with you today
be the word that encourages,
the hand that reaches out,
each time I stumble
As I adventure with you today
let me glimpse our destination,
and appreciate the places
through which you lead me.
As I adventure with you today,
be the strength I need to follow,
and as the day draws to a close
let me rest in your embrace.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Wednesday 25 November

The poem below was shared on Facebook at the end of October when there was a lot of debate in Parliament over providing school meals during the half-term holidays.  That issue was resolved but with the Christmas holidays coming up many families will struggle and many will rely on food banks for help.  The use of food banks has increased immensely due to Covid-19 so, if you are able, please consider donating to a local food bank.
 
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And I close today with a prayer from the Trussell Trust:
 
Loving God,
Help us to see clearly in this time of fast-paced change,
To see our inter-dependence on one another,
To see one another’s courage, resilience and creativity,
To see one another’s sorrows, fragility and humanity.
Remind us that these reflect your image.
Help us to respond to suffering and poverty as they unfold,
To discern how to grieve, to comfort and to connect,
To discern in what ways to give, encourage or serve,
To discern where our task is to tell our story, to influence or to give
 others space to play their parts.
Remind us that this reflects your wisdom.
Help us to acknowledge the injustices made manifest by this crisis,
To meet them with a thirst for justice,
To meet them with an awareness of grace,
To meet them with a commitment to change.
Remind us that this reflects your heart.
Help us to see the hope dawning even in the darkness,
To nurture empathy,
To reject greed,
To embrace compassion.
Remind us that this reflects your love.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 24 November

The church youth group, One Truth Youth, are still meeting even though it is now via Zoom rather than in person.  We have recently been looking at clips from Youtube and discussing them.  Many of these clips have shown that we may not see the results of our kindness but this kindness often creates a ripple effect which will mean that our one single act of kindness can lead to many acts of kindness. 
 
tues 24

I end today with a prayer taken from Warrior of God website:
 
Lord of all goodness, You sent Your Holy Spirit to us that we may produce the fruit of good works to our neighbour. Help us learn the value and power of kindness. May we humble ourselves and be patient with others, learning to hold our tongue of sharp words and irritable reprimands. May we strive to work on saying a kind word to someone each day, to speak kindly of others, and to shape our thoughts so that we may never think unkindly of someone. When we have fallen from this resolution, remind us that it costs us very little to be kind, but the rewards of such deeds are the lifting of someone’s sorrow, giving them a lighter heart and a vision of hope, or showing them the face of Jesus in our smiling words. Help us to improve day by day in a kindly disposition until it becomes second nature to us. We ask this through Christ our Lord, in union with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 23 November

I thought that this was a good poem for a Monday morning when getting out of bed can be a struggle and the things we have to face during the week seem so big.
 
mon 23

And I end today’s blog with a prayer by Rachel Wojo:
Lord Jesus,
I praise you for the gift of another day-
For your mercies new each morning.
My eyes are open and my heart is beating;
Each of those mean you have a plan for me.
This minute. This hour. This day.
I don’t know every step of your plan for today
But I know it will be for my good.
And I’m confident it will be for your glory.
Will you lead me, Jesus? I need you.
Will you order my steps, each one?
May your love flow through me
And may I embrace every opportunity
To share your love with others.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

Sunday 22 November

I would like to share a reflection from Eddie Askew and based on Esther chapter 5 verse 2.  He talks about the story of Esther and how even though God is not mentioned directly, it is obvious He is at work.  He says “God tends to work through people, through our own efforts,  and he uses the most unlikely people to transform things such as Esther, an immigrant Jewish orphan, a woman.”
 
You made some strange choices, Lord.
Ordinary people without a track record.
People from the poorest of backgrounds,
hardly fitting the job description.
 
Into the middle of explosive authority
you send a woman,
with small experience of life
to fight for the survival of a nation.
 
Into a palace,
where men cheat and lie
in their lust for power,
you send a woman
to speak for truth.
 
Into the face of a law,
that could silence with death,
you sent a woman,
and she stood in her royal robes
and waited.
 
And the king saw her courage,
and it pleased him
He held out the golden sceptre
to her and her people;
 
And once again your people are saved,
and once again history is changed.
 
Esther-5-2 
 
 And I end with a prayer from Jenny Hawke:
 
Lord,
it’s easy to think
that the little I do
is of no consequence to you,
that the world will not change because of me.
 
Forgive me for lack of action,
when I fear I’ll waste my time
and no one will see the little I do.
 
But I do believe I have a choice,
and I have a part to play,
whether small or big,
It’s the part you have given to me.
So Lord,
whatever I can do, I will do
with your help.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Saturday 21 November

Since this blog started, I have talked a lot about self-care and doing things to take care of our own mental and physical well-being.  If we look after ourselves then we are better equipped to be able to reach out to others.
 
sat 21

I end today with a prayer from the Woman’s Day website:
 
Lord, lift me up for Your blessings today. I pray that you will anoint me with strength and self care today, tomorrow, and always. I pray that You will grace me with patience and wisdom. I pray that You will encourage me throughout the day. I pray all of these things in Your name. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate

 

Friday 20 November

When I prepare services, which I haven’t done for nearly a year now, I will sometimes look at the Hebrew or Greek meaning for the word as this may give me more of an insight into the message behind the passage.  I feel it is very appropriate that the Hebrew meaning of word be still is let go because when we have worries and anxieties, we need to let go of them and hand them over to God.
 
fri 20 n0v

I end today with the words from the hymn ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord”.   You might like to read it through replacing the words ‘be still with let go’.
 
Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here
Come bow before Him now
With reverence and fear
In Him no sin is found
We stand on holy ground
Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here
 
Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around
He burns with holy fire
With splendour He is crowned
How awesome is the sight
Our radiant King of light
Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around

Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place
He comes to cleanse and heal
To minister His grace
No work too hard for Him
In faith receive from Him
Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 19 November

There have been times when I have been able to look back and realise that I have been worried about nothing so to speak. However, I find it very hard not to get caught up in my worries and to focus and enjoy the moment.  This is something that I need to try and do more of.

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I end with a prayer from the Positively Jane website:
 
Dear God, I come before you. I am laying my fear and anxiety at your feet. I ask that you help me get through all of the doubts and fears when I feel as if I am being crushed. Remind me that you are a powerful God. Remind me that I can trust in you. I know I can’t do this on my own. I need you. In the matchless name of Jesus I pray. Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate
 

Wednesday 18 November

This is a reminder that I sometimes need.   I sometimes can take on so much and want to do my best with that work that I end up overloading myself.   I often realise too late that I have taken on too much so need to make sure I keep a regular check on what I am doing so as not to overload myself. 
 
weds 18

I will finish with a prayer by Orin L Crain
 
Slow me down, Lord! Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.  Steady my harried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
 
Give me, amidst the confusions of my day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.  Break the tensions of my nerves with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.
 
Help me to know the magical power of sleep, teach me the art of taking minute vacations; of slowing down to look at a flower; to chat with an old friend or make a new one; to pet a dog; to watch a spider build a web; to smile at a child; or to read a few lines from a good book.
 
Remind me each day that the race is not always won by the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed.
 
Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.
 
Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life's enduring values. That I may grow toward the stars of our greater destiny.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 17 November

Here is this week’s humorous quote!

tues 17

During one of his addresses Pope Francis said “A bit of good humour is very good for us! It will do us much good to pray St. Thomas More’s prayer frequently: I pray it every day, and it helps me.”   So I end today with the text of that prayer:
 
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humour to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humour.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 16 November

I thought this was a very appropriate blessing for a Monday morning although I do hope it is not snowing as it looks like it is in this picture!

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And I close with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
God bless you in rising,
through dawn chorus
and cheerfulness.
God bless you in working,
through honest toil
and service.
God bless you in sharing,
through spoken word
and embracing.
God bless you in resting,
through peaceful sleep
and protection.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate
 

Sunday 15 November

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been looking at Matthew chapter 22 verses 37 to 40.  Focussing first on loving God, then loving yourself and this week the focus is on loving your neighbour.

I think the past few months have really given us the opportunity to show love, not just to our neighbours in terms of those living near us but to others living in the village and further afield.

There have been opportunities both informally and formally to offer help to each other.  In Knebworth, there has been the Covid Response Team which answered over 500 requests for help with shopping, picking up prescriptions and obtaining masks.  The scheme attracted over 150 volunteers from Knebworth itself and even if people did not use the scheme, they knew it was there if needed.

I know that with this second lockdown, fatigue may be setting in but I hope and pray that the neighbourly spirit that has developed will continue long past when lockdown has lifted.

LYN+sm 
I make no excuses for ending today with the words of my favourite hymn: 'Brother, Sister, let me serve you':

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.
 
We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions 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 long 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've 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.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love
Kate

 

Saturday 14 November

I feel that this quote needs no words to explain it.
 
sat 15 nov

I end today with a prayer by St Benedict:
 
O gracious and holy Father,
give us wisdom to perceive you,
diligence to seek you,
patience to wait for you,
eyes to behold you,
a heart to meditate upon you,
and a life to proclaim you,
through the power of the spirit
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate



 

Friday 13 November

One of the things that I learnt during the first lockdown was how to be alone without being lonely.  Coming home from hospital last week into the second lockdown was difficult as I felt very lonely especially after being on a busy ward, but I am gradually finding ways of coping with the loneliness that comes with living alone and shielding.

fri 13 
 
I close today with a prayer taken from the Knowing Jesus website:

How I thank You Heavenly Father, that You are there all the time and have promised never to leave me nor to forsake me. What a great comfort it is to know that no matter where I am or what I am doing, I can call upon You, day or night, knowing that Your ears are ever open to my cries for help.
 
Lord, You know that there are times when I feel so very lonely. I feel that no one I know seems to understand or even cares. I realise that they all have their own problems and interests, but even those that I am closest to do not seem to understand me or show any interest in me.
 
Lord, I know that part of the problem is that I am focussing on myself and my own needs, instead of realising that many other people are probably feeling much the same as me, and have no one to talk to and no one who understands them.
 
Help me Lord, to turn the eyes of my heart toward You every moment of the day and away from myself, knowing that only You can provide the fellowship and intimacy that I crave for, and that it is You alone Who can flood Your perfect peace into my heart and reveal Yourself to me in a new and special way. Thank You for being my Comforter and Counsellor. I pray that I may draw close to You in a way that I have never known before, so that Your comfort and grace may flow through me to others who are going through a similar loneliness. This I ask in Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Thursday 12 November

I may have shared something similar to this before, so apologies if I have but it would have taken me quite a while to scroll through six months of blogs posts to try to find it!
 
There is a lot of talk in the media at the moment about Christmas having to be cancelled.   Yes, our preparations and how we spend our time may be different to usual but on Christmas Day we will still celebrate the birth of Jesus.
 
The picture below shows some of the things that are not cancelled.  We may not be able to sing publicly at the moment but there is nothing wrong with singing and dancing along to some tunes on the radio.  I think Christmas will be difficult for many people but I think we have try to and make it the best that we can and not forget the reason for the season.
 
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I end today with a prayer taken from ‘A daily prayer with Chris Facebook page’:
 
Dear Lord thank you for cosy dark nights.
Thank you for long curtains, central heating, warm baths and comfy beds.
However Lord as the days seem to get shorter, darker, colder and more miserable, be near us.
Fill us with your light so that the darkness isn't quite as dark, the miserable thoughts not so nasty and an empty heart is full of your love.
Lord be near us as we venture into winter, before we can celebrate at Christmas.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Wednesday 11 November

Although Remembrance Day is today, Sunday was when the traditional acts of remembrance took place.  I found the scenes from the Cenotaph particularly moving and the lack of veterans especially poignant.   It reminded me of the missing, not just those no longer with us but those who are have had to remain in their homes, many alone, for many months.  
 
Despite the restrictions, there were opportunities to join in with worship across the media and many stood on their doorsteps at 11 am to observe a two minute silence.  I hope that through these and other actions, that those who fought for us and those who lost loves ones, realise that they may not be in our sight this year but they have not been forgotten.
 
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I close with a prayer from Rev Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference:
 
Empathising God,
We remember this month the terrible carnage of war in the past and in the present.
With hearts laid low we remember those known and unknown to us,
whose lives have been sacrificed.
We remember how humanity falls into violence and hatred in so many ways.
May your hope guide our policies, our nation, or thinking and our lives,
And may seeds of peace germinate in our hearts and may they spread, grow and flourish.
So that the world shall be filled with the glory of God as the water’s cover the earth,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Tuesday 10 November

Whilst in hospital last week I was looking for some humorous quotes for this blog as to be honest, there are times at the moment when we all could do with a smile and a laugh!
 
tues 10

And I close today with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Abba Father, you know me well,
Made in your image,
A part of your will,
You’ve seen my thoughts,
Know my words,
You’ve laid your hand upon me, Lord.
 
If I lay down in the dark of the night,
Closing my eyes
to shut out your light,
In my darkness
you’re there beside,
A loving Father, a hand to guide.
  
If I rise up on the wings of a bird
Soar to the heavens,
The depths of the earth,
Mountain or sea,
High or low,
There’s nowhere to hide, nowhere to go.
 
There’s no hiding place
from the presence of your Spirit.
No hiding place
From the searching of my heart,
No hiding place
From the hand that’s there to guide me.
For wherever I am,
be it near or far,
Wherever I am,
is the place where you are.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’ s love
Kate

 

Monday 9 November

Yesterday Trinity Church should have been meeting, albeit in a slightly altered form to incorporate social distancing.   However, for the second time in recent months, the church is now closed for in person worship.  Even though the building may be closed, Trinity Church is still open and as the quote says below we can still be there for each other by offering prayer and support in whatever way we feel able.
 
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I will close today with a prayer taken from the ‘Prayers with Chris’ Facebook page:
 
Lord thank you that you gave us choice.
We can choose to disobey.
We can choose to ignore.
We can also choose to follow you, seek out love and care for one another.
Lord in these tough times, let us choose something good.
When we’re anxious, let us choose to be busy.
When we’re bored, let us choose to do something new.
When we’re sad and down in dumps, let us make the choice not to be.
Lord protect us from ourselves, help us when we struggle with poor mental health, with dark thoughts, with a troubled mind.
Help us see the brightness in the world.
Lord give each of us the spark to start something new, something interesting, something we can focus our energies on.
Keep us busy, keep us occupied.
Lord look after us.
Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 8 November

This week I would like us to look again at Matthew chapter 22 verses 37 to 40, this time the line:  “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” focussing particularly on the word ‘yourself.’
 
I think that it can be difficult to reach out to others in love if you do not love yourself.   Loving myself, sometimes even liking myself, is something that I have found very hard in the past and something I still find hard from time to time.   When I feel like that, I have to remind myself that God let His only Son die in order for me to be saved and I must be worth loving for Him to have done that!

But first love yourself

I end with a prayer called ‘the journey’ written by livingprayers.com
 
O God, this is a prayer for your help within my life.
I desire to give myself each day the grace that comes from Christ.
I do not stumble to forgive, or care for those in need,
I find I love to serve and learn, and have willing hands and feet.
 
I love all those around me and encourage them each day,
In all they ever could be, I see them with heavens gaze.
And yet I fear I stumble when looking at myself,
I often wish that somehow I could be someone else.
 
 
I criticise and scrutinise each aspect within me,
And tend to find so many reasons to reject the one I see.
From every aspect of my thoughts, I find that I compare
Myself to others, cleverer, or more talented or fair.
 
And once I've finished putting myself down in every way,
I sense my spirit failing, and then lock myself away.
Yet I know that if I start to place those feelings in your grace,
I find I forgive my failings and give thanks for each new day.
 
My spirit grows much lighter, I open eyes to see,
The joy of being human when you stand so close to me.
The journey that I travel is the adventure you began,
The miracle of love and grace that I hold in my hands.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love

Kate
 

Saturday 7 November

It can be hard to see the positives at the moment but I think this quote shows that doing just one thing can make a difference to someone.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing either.  I know we can’t touch each other but we can still phone or message someone to raise their spirits.  

One ...

I end today with a prayer by Jack Watts:
 
Father,
Allow me to serve others with a joyful heart;
Never keeping score;
Always giving;
Never expecting to receive.
Allow me to give of myself,
To give of my talents and of my goods,
To give of my time and of my energy,
To give of my heart and of my soul.
Help me understand the needs of others,
Never criticising,
Never demeaning,
Never scolding,
Never condemning.
You have been so gracious to me,
Always Loving,
Always forgiving,
Always restoring;
Never gloating over my defeats,
Even when I have been so wrong.
Father, keep a condemning spirit
Far from my heart and further from my lips.
Allow me to serve others as You serve,
With gentleness, compassion, and tenderness,
Never diminishing the worth of another,
Choosing to extend mercy to the broken-hearted,
Like You have repeatedly shown it to me, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate



Friday 6 November

I find this quote very reassuring as there have been times in my life that I have felt very alone and sometimes forgotten.

Jesus whispers
 
And I end today with a prayer from crosswalk.com:

Lord, thank you that you promise never to leave us and never to forsake us. Help me have wisdom to see clearly that just because I don’t feel Your presence, this doesn’t mean you’re not with me always. Help me have peace that comes from knowing the Truth of Your word to me today – you will never leave your children or give up on them. Help me live a life that honours You and points others toward You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate

 

Thursday 5 November

Here is the latest Pooh and Piglet story taken from Kathryn Wallace’s Facebook page which, this time, incudes Eeyore:
 
"Oh," said Eeyore, looking up from his vantage point on the floor of the Hundred Acre Wood, where he lay in his house of sticks, his head poking out, resting on a carpet of leaves.
 
"It's Pooh and Piglet.  Hello, Pooh and Piglet."
 
"Hello Eeyore," said Pooh and Piglet, and they came over and sat down, one on either side of him.
 
Eeyore sighed a heavy sigh, bracing himself for the conversation which would now surely follow. He had had a number of visitors so far that year; all of whom kept to the same lines of enquiry. "How ARE you, Eeyore?" Head on one side, concerned looking expression. Followed by a series of Well Meaning Comments: all about how he really needed to start Making The Most Of Things, and Putting A Brave Face On It All; and why didn't he Just Go And Get Some Help, because, of course, there were others Far Worse Off Than You. And, most dreaded of all: Why Don't We Talk About It?
 
But Pooh and Piglet said none of this. Instead, they sat with Eeyore; and when it became clear that Eeyore didn't want to talk, Pooh told him about how he had got his foot stuck down a rabbit hole when he went out for a walk the other morning, and Piglet told him in breathless tones how he really did think that this time, he might be on the verge of catching a Real Life Woozle. They talked, and they laughed, and they let Eeyore join in just as much as he wanted to, without ever putting pressure on him to tell a funny anecdote, or, worse still, to talk about his feelings.
 
And when the time came for the two of them to go, Pooh and Piglet didn't try that appalling convention of leaning in for a hug with someone who was very much a Non-Hugger, or trying to catch your eye in a Deep And Meaningful Manner, in the hope that you would suddenly decide to unburden yourself. Instead, they told Eeyore how much they missed him, and that they would be there again next week - as, indeed, they were every week, come rain or shine. And that, if he needed them at any point before then, that he only had to let them know. And they would be there.
 
Eeyore watched them go: Pooh trudging through the fallen leaves, little Piglet bouncing along at his side.
 
And, much as he tried to ignore it, even he couldn't deny the way that Pooh and Piglet, and their visit to see him - to see HIM! - had caused his spirits to inexorably rise.

Pooh and Piglet

I finish today with a prayer by Vienna Cobb Anderson:
 
You have blessed us, O God,
with the gift of friendship,
the bonding of persons
in a circle of love.
We thank you for such a blessing:
for friends who love us,
who share our sorrows,
who laugh with us in celebration,
who bear our pain,
who need us as we need them,
who weep as we weep,
who hold us when words fail,
and who give us the freedom
to be ourselves.
Bless our friends with health,
wholeness, life, and love.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,

Kate
 

Wednesday 4 November

This quote really resonates with me at the moment and maybe it will with you as well.  October was a very mixed month for me.  There were days that were really bad but there were also good days.  Although it was not always easy, I tried to find the good in each day.  I also learnt the hard way that I can’t do everything and I just had to lean on God and try my best and as we go into this new month I will continue to do that.
 
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I close today with a prayer taken from Knowing Jesus website:
Help me Lord Jesus, to keep my whole focus on You. Life is becoming so hard and difficult that at times it is not easy to keep the eyes of my heart looking to Jesus as I know I should, for without Him, I can do nothing. At times Lord, I feel that I am losing my way in life, but I know that as I rest in You, I will hear the gentle promptings from Your Spirit saying, “this is the way – walk in it…”
  
Sometimes Lord, I confess that when things get tough, I try in my own strength to sort out my own problems, and work out what I ought to do myself, without turning to You first,  and inevitably I seem to make the wrong choice. I know that You have a plan for my life, and I also know that living in this world is not easy, but I know that my sufficiency is in You and that Your strength is made perfect as I rest in You. Help me to apply this truth in my life.
Guide me, Lord, through all the obstacles of life, and help me with the many choices I have to make on a daily basis. May I truly learn to look to You as my Guide and Strength. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 3 November

As you probably know if you have been reading this blog for a while, I like to add a bit of humour where I can and so thought I would add this quote today.  Not only did it make me smile but it is true, having faith connects me to God who is the great provider.
 
  images

And I close with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
As I adventure with you today
be the compass that guides me,
the light that shines on my path,
the only one I follow.
 
As I adventure with you today
be the word that encourages,
the hand that reaches out,
each time I stumble.
 
As I adventure with you today
let me glimpse our destination,
and appreciate the places,
through which you lead me .
 
As I adventure with you today
be the strength I need to follow,
and as the day draws to a close,
let me rest in your embrace.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate
 

Monday 2 November

You may have noticed that at the beginning of the month, I try to highlight an awareness campaign.  This month there are various campaigns running including The Veg Pledge Campaign for Cancer Research where you pledge to go vegetarian for the month; Men’s Health Awareness Month where, amongst other challenges, men are asked to grow their moustaches and beards; Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Pancreatic Awareness Month.
 
I think what ties in nicely with all these cancer charities is that it is also the start of National Pathology Week.  Pathologists are an essential part of the healthcare system.  They examine cells and tissue samples to check for evidence of disease.   There will be displays in hospitals as well as other events so if you are unfortunate enough to have to visit a hospital this week look out something about National Pathology week.

NPW-Logo-2020-02 

 
And I close with a prayer for all medical staff from the Church of England website:
 
Gracious God,
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 1 November

Over the next three Sundays, I would like to concentrate on the passage below and look at a different aspect each week.  (Please excuse the American spelling)
 
This week I would like to focus on the line: “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
 
We could take the words heart, soul, mind, strength and look at them separately but we can also look at them as one.  We are to love God with every part of ourselves including our thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions.  We need to try and show our love for Him in every aspect of daily life, with all that we are, acting according to His word.
 
This is no easy task and I find myself regularly slipping up throughout the day and I am sure there are also times when I don’t realise that I have slipped up perhaps by saying or doing the wrong thing.  I am grateful though for God’s Grace, knowing that He forgives me for all my slip ups.  I just need to keep doing my best to show my love for Him in whatever way I can.
 
 dad54bfcebe94160b9dd2b20ca56d9

  
I close with a prayer from by Thom Shuman from the re:worship blogspot:
 
Every generation has found
its home in you,
God our provider,
and discovered that every moment
spent in your holy presence
lasts beyond all imaginable time.
You watch over us in the night,
cradling us in your arms
as tenderly as a nurse
cares for her children,
and her neighbour's.
 
Full of wisdom,
Imagination of Creation,
you humbled yourself
that we might learn
to love those
who have been swept aside
by a callous and cruel world.
Witness to God's grace,
you call us to act
in ways of love of peace
to all we meet in this life.
 
In the fresh breeze
on a summer's day;
in the leaves dancing
across autumn's lawns;
in the crisp, new snowfall
crunching beneath our feet;
in the new life
flowering in the spring:
from everlasting to everlasting
you proclaim God's grace to us,
Spirit of Life.
 
God in Community, Holy in One,
continue to be the dwelling place
of our minds, our hearts, our souls
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate




 

Saturday 31 October

I like the quote below but I must admit there are times when the stresses in my life seem to occlude my faith and it is hard to trust that everything will turn out okay.  I know in my heart that everything will happen in God’s timing but sometimes my head forgets that and wants everything sorted now.
 
sat 31 oct

I end today with a prayer taken from the Prayer and Worship website:
 
By faith
I gaze up to the heavens
and know
within its vastness
that this is your creation
planned and effected within eternity
 
By faith
I pluck an ear of corn
and know
within its symmetry
lies the chemistry of life
the potential of creation within my hand
 
By faith
I listen for your voice
and know
the whisper that I hear
breathed a world into existence
yet listens to the prayer within my soul
 
By faith
I strive to do your will
and know
the door that I approach
may lead me to shadows
where my role is to become your light
 
By faith
I cling to your word
and know
the strength that I receive
has its source within the love
that is at the centre of all things
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Friday 30 October

I really like this as it is a reminder to look after ourselves and not give ourselves a hard time if we have to change our plans and take time away from the mountains that form our daily lives.
 
fri 23
I end today with a prayer by Callie Logan from crosswalk.com:
 
Lord, we ask today for more of Your Holy Spirit in our lives.  It can be easy for us to become consumed with the fears that surround us in life, but we know that just as Your eye is indeed on the sparrow, so also do You care for and see us.
 
Teach us today to become more reliant on You.  Bring us into a greater discernment of how You operate, so that we may come into a deeper understanding that all we see with natural eyes is not all that is.  Today we ask for eyes to see Your hand in all matters, and hearts open to Your work. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 29 October

This quote says it how it is; it doesn’t matter if we aren’t perfect and don’t have everything in our lives sorted.  We just need to accept the Grace that God gives us, totally unconditionally.
 
thurs 29 oct
It seemed right to end with the hymn Amazing Grace:

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
 
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
 
The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
 
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate
 

Wednesday 28 October

At the moment, I am doing a rainbow cross-stitch to give to my specialist nurses at Queen Square.  For me they have been rainbows in the clouds, especially lately, as they have been there at the end of the phone reassuring me that I will get the surgery I need and that there is hope that things will get back to how they were.  I am very grateful for God putting these rainbows in my life.
 
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And I finish today with a prayer from Faith and Worship website:
 
Bless those who give,
who go the extra mile
in their care for others,
and whose love expands
to fill the present need,
not dwelling on the cost.
Bless their generosity,
and those receiving it.
By their good example
may others’ needs be met.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 27 October

I have shared different versions of the Serenity prayer before but I came across this one and really liked the wording so I thought I would share it.
 
sat 31

I will end today with a prayer by the Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), the Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill:
 
Living, loving God,
we praise you,
and through times of peril we lean into you,
for in Jesus Christ
you have trodden paths as difficult as ours,
revealing there a love that nothing defeats,
a love that bears us through.
 
Even as we strive to behave responsibly,
and to care reliably,
so we feel after you
that in these uncertain times we might trust you are with us,
our refuge and strength,
and our faith, hope and love might be renewed,
through Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Monday 26 October

It isn’t always easy, especially given the circumstances we are living in now, to show each other grace.  I am finding myself at times far less tolerant than I would have been prior to lockdown.  God loves all of us unconditionally despite our faults and I need to ask God to give me the grace to treat others just as He would.

thurs 22 

I end with a prayer from Christianity.com:
 
Loving God, I have to thank You for looking beyond my faults and for loving me unconditionally. Forgive me when I fail to love others in the same way. Give me eyes to see the needs of the difficult people in my life, and show me how to meet those needs in a way that pleases You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Sunday 25 October

Today is another blog based on a reflection by Eddie Askew focussing on Romans chapter 8 verses 26 to 27.  He talks about how it is not realistic to hope for fairy tale solutions to our problems.  It is better if we can try to fix the problem ourselves and discover our own strengths.  If we can’t solve the problem, then we have to learn to rely on God and live within the current situation.  This sounds difficult but God is there to surround us with His love and support us and through this we will grow.
 
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Lord, when life’s hard and puzzling,
and I can’t see the way ahead,
it would be so much easier
f you did everything for me.
Answered my questions,
dealt with my problems.
Bulldozed a road
right through the wilderness
and signposted it, just so.
Life could be so much smoother
if you  helped a little more
 
A coin in the slot God,
who let me win
each time I pulled the handle I’d like that, Lord.
No worry, never any risk.
I could relax, and concentrate on loving you.
 
Cupboard love, I hear you say?
Well, yes, you have a point.
If loving you depended on the way
You fixed the path, it wouldn’t have much value.
The lowest form of payment.
Tit for tat.
 
And would I want it round the other way?
That your love too
depended on my doing everything, just so?
I’d be in quite a hole if that were true.
If love were measured out by what I’d earned,
There wouldn’t be so much of it about.
 
But, thank you Lord,
it doesn’t work like that.
Your love’s available for free,
and loving wisdom and struggle that I face
is part and parcel of your love.
My problems come, not in spite of love,
but because of it.
You gather up the pains into your plan,
and draw me to yourself,
mature and stronger than I was before.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Saturday 24 October

I think at a time when so many issues seem to be dividing people, this quote says it all.

sat 24 

I close today prayer from the Lutheran Book of Worship:
 
O God,
you created all people in your image.
We thank you for the astonishing variety
of races and cultures in this world.
Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of friendship,
and show us your presence
in those who differ most from us,
until our knowledge of your love is made perfect
in our love for all your children;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Friday 23 October

I have no idea what happened to the post that was intended for today.  I printed copies out for those that receive the blog but since then it seems to have disappeared into the ether.
 
I thought I would share this quote instead cause it made me smile after I had spent ages and ages looking for the missing blog post.
 
motivational-quotes-about-stre

I finish with a prayer taken from ‘A daily prayer with Chris’ Facebook page:

Dear Lord thank you that as the seasons change, we can look forward to the crisp winter mornings, the fresh cold air and the prospect of Christmas celebrations.
Lord tonight we pray for everyone anxious that they’ll be having a lonely Christmas.
We pray for everyone already feeling the winter blues.
We hold in our thoughts the elderly, the homeless, those without work, those suffering from depression and everyone not looking forward to the clocks going back!
Lord this is a strange time of the year.
This year is already a very strange one!
Lord give us comfort and hope as we look forward into next year.
To the springtime when this virus will be a year old.
Lord lead us confidently on to the dark nights, in the knowledge that you are the light in the world.
Lord once there was only darkness!
Now there is light!
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 22 October

I would like to follow on from yesterday’s blog about judging others with another quote today:

fri 23 oct


I conclude today with a prayer taken from Elev8 website:

Lord Jesus Christ, grant me the gift of understanding. Help me to understand the feelings of others, the desires of others, the goals of others. At the same time, help me to understand myself in my actions and reactions. Widen my vision beyond my own small world to embrace with knowledge and love the worlds of others. Help me, Lord, to always see you at work in my own life and in the lives of others. Bless me with insight, acceptance and love that is tempered by you who are all things to all men. Help me to understand, Lord. Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Wednesday 21 October

I would like to share this reflection that was shared on the UK Methodists Facebook page and is written by Jonathan Kestenbaum:
 
A young couple moved into a new neighbourhood.
The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbour hanging the washing outside.
"That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."
Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
Every time her neighbour hung her washing out to dry, the young woman made the same comments.
A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, "Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?"
The husband replied, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."
 
And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.
So don’t be too quick to judge others, especially if your perspective of life is clouded by anger, jealousy, negativity or unfulfilled desires.  Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.
 
Judging-a-person-does-not-defi
I end today with a prayer taken from the Christian Aid website:
 
Loving God,
strengthen our innermost being
with your love that bears all things
even the weight of this global pandemic
even the long haul of watching for symptoms
of patiently waiting for this to pass
watching and waiting,
keeping our gaze fixed on you,
and looking out for our neighbours
near and far.
 
Instil in our shaken souls
the belief and hope that all things
are possible with your creative love
for strangers to become friends
for science to source solutions
for resources to be generously shared
so everyone, everywhere, may have what they need
for your perfect love that knows no borders
may cast out any fear and selfishness that divides.
 
May your love that never ends
be our comfort, strength and guide
for the wellbeing of all and
the glory of God.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Tuesday 20 October

Some of you may know that on my office wall, I have a lot of different signs with sayings on such as ‘Live well, laugh often, love much’; ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself; and the one that makes people stop and smile, ‘What if the Hokey Cokey is really what it’s all about.’ 
 
I like this sign below and think that it would good as part of my collection, it would also remind me not to moan too much but to make the most of things.

tues 20 oct
 
 
And I end with a prayer taken from lords-prayer-words website:
 
Lord
Let the details in life take my attention today
A warm mug of tea
The gentle grass under my feet
And the chance just to gather and eat
 
O Lord
Let the everyday pleasures ring out melodies in my heart
The smile of a friend
A warm comfy bed
The sunlight on the trees and walks in the park
 
O Lord
Let the more ordinary reveal its amazing delight
Clouds drifting by
Birds sweeping high
The sunset that transforms day into night
 
Lord
May these things inspire me to praise
And bring a clear moment of sight
Now I see how amazing the world truly is
And soak in Your goodness and light
Amen

 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 19 October

Yesterday marked seven months of this blog.   I started it at the beginning of lockdown, partly to give me something to do and also to try and keep the congregation of Trinity linked together in some way.  I have had so many positive comments which I am very grateful for and for now, as Covid is on the rise again, the blog will continue as we all try to get through this difficult time in whatever way we can.
 
tues 13
 
 Today’s prayer is taken from ‘A daily prayer with Chris’ Facebook page:
 
The Lord tells us in the Bible to be happy more times than to be sad.
Lord thank you that you remind us to be happy.
For we need reminding.
Thank you that you remind us about the love all around us.
For we need reminding.
Thank you that you sent your Son to be our God from Heaven, in human form.
To live and breathe, eat, worry, walk among us,
Love and be loved.
For that we often need reminding.
Lord we’re into this week now.
We’ve heard the news.
We know what’s coming.
And Lord, I’m going to face this week for a smile, as I know you’re with me.
In your name we pray (with a happy smile).
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Sunday 18 October

I thought I would share another reflection by Eddie Askew.  This one is based on the story of Mary and Martha from John chapter 12.  In this passage, we hear how Martha did what was expected of her and was a good hostess, showing her love in practical ways whereas Mary was unconventional and neglected her traditional role to spend time with Jesus.  
 
Martha was upset with Mary and was probably more upset when Jesus appeared to support Mary.  Jesus wasn’t saying that Martha should not have fed them but was saying that giving so much time to preparing the food meant she had less time to spend with Him.
 
Askew sums this up by saying “it’s one thing showing your love by doing things for people, but there are times when we need simply to sit with them and hear what they are trying to tell us”.
 
martha-and-mary-1
 
I will finish with Askew’s reflection:
 
An easy trap, Lord
to get so busy doing things for you
there’s no time left
to enjoy your company.
Times when I rush around so fast
my halo’s almost blown away,
and in the whirlwind of activity
I lose direction.
But when I pause
to gather breath and energy
for one more push
I realise with a sense of disappointment
you’re not impressed.
You sit there smiling,
waiting for the moment
when my circlings cease
and we can give each other
a proper welcome.
Not a half nod on the run
but a quiet not so brief encounter.
 
The trouble is, Lord,
When I’m honest with myself and you,
I have the feeling that my busyness
Is meant to keep our meetings
On a level that leaves me in control.
Your presence sometimes
seems too close for comfort.
You face me with the facts
of my infirmity and fearfulness,
and in our meeting I detect
both love and judgement.
 
That slows me down,
but on reflection I begin to understand
the judgement’s swallowed up by love,
and I’m accepted
not so much for who I am
or what I’ve done,
but who you are
and what you’ve done for me.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Saturday 17 October

I have shared lots of stories of Pooh and Piglet so thought it was about time I included something about Eeyore!
 
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I finish today with a prayer by Saint Ignatius of Loyola
 
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Friday 16 October

I am very blessed to have a few people like this in my life and it is reassuring to know that they are there when I need them and when I need to offload.

120611953 2750223895259781 447 
 
I end today with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
I give thanks for my friends, for connection and laughter, for comfort and strength, for encouragement and unity, for forgiveness and grace, for celebration and joy. They are so many things to me, such a rich tapestry of blessings, woven through my life. Thank you. Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Thursday 15 October

I came across this on Facebook and it made me giggle, I hope you enjoy it too.
 
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I close today with a prayer for the world by Rabbi Harold Kushner.
 
Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly,
so that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin colour.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness,
so that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbours.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbours.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 14 October

October is Black History Month in the UK.  This has been celebrated for more than 30 years.  It was first founded to recognise the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to the UK over many generations.  However, it has now expanded to include the history of not just African and Caribbean people but black people in general.
 
During this month, there will be programmes on television and radio as well as newspaper and magazine articles focussing on topics such as the salve trade, racism today and influential black people in the UK.
 

black-history-month-events-for

And I close today with a prayer from the re:worship website:

 
Creator of all people,
in our amazing diversity of size, shape, colour, and giftedness:
guide us, by your grace,
to recognize the beauty and fitness
of all whom you have made in your own image.
 
Give us gifts of humility and generosity of spirit
to recognize in all people, the face of our Saviour, Jesus,
and to practice his commandment to “love one another,”
toward the end of bringing harmony and peace
among persons of all colours, origins, and abilities,
for the sake of your Kingdom.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 13 October

Whenever I go out instead of just checking I have my phone and keys I now have to check I have my mask.  Also just like I always seemed to lose gloves, I now lose masks!  Joking aside, I think that it is important that we wear masks if we can out of respect for others.
 
NFRN-creates-face-mask-poster
 
I end with a prayer about masks written by Richard Bott:
 
Creator,
as I prepare to go into the world,
help me to see the sacrament
in the wearing of this cloth -
let it be "an outward sign
of an inward grace" -
a tangible and visible way of living love for my neighbours, as I love myself.
 
Christ,
since my lips will be covered,
uncover my heart,
that people would see my smile
in the crinkles around my eyes.
Since my voice may be muffled,
help me to speak clearly,
not only with my words,
but with my actions.
  
Holy Spirit,
As the elastic touches my ears,
remind me to listen carefully -
and full of care -
to all those I meet.
May this simple piece of cloth
be shield and banner,
and each breath that it holds,
be filled with your love.
 
In your Name and
in that love,
I pray.
May it be so.
May it be so.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 12 October

This quote is based on 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  I have heard before that we should replace the word love with our names as a way of reminding ourselves how God wants us to act.

mon 12


And I end today with a prayer by Holley Gerth:
 
Lord,
Because love is patient…
Help me to be slow to judge, but quick to listen,
hesitant to criticize, but eager to encourage,
remembering your endless patience with me.
 
Because love is kind…
Help my words to be gentle and my actions to be thoughtful.
Remind me to smile and to say “Please” and “Thank You”
because those little things still mean so much.
 
Because love does not envy or boast, and it is not proud…
Help me have a heart that is humble and sees the good in others.
May I celebrate and appreciate all that I have and all that I am,
as well as doing the same for those around me.
 
Because love is not rude or self-seeking…
Help me to speak words that are easy on the ear and on the heart.
When I’m tempted to get wrapped up in my own little world,
remind me there’s a great big world out there full of needs and hurts.
 
Because love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs…
Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me.
When I want to hold onto a grudge,
gently help me release it
so I can reach out with a hand of love instead.
 
Because love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…
Help me stand up for what is right and good.
May I defend the defenceless, and help the helpless.
Show me how I can make a difference.
 
Because love always protects and always trusts…
Help me to be a refuge for those around me.
When the world outside is harsh and cold,
may my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth.
 
Finally, because love always perseveres…
Help my heart continually beat with love for You and others.
Thank you for showing us what the word love really means. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Sunday 11 October

 
mark-6

I would like to share with you a reflection by Eddie Askew based on Mark chapter 6 verse 31.   The verse is taken from the story of the feeding of the five thousand.  At the beginning of the story, the disciples were tired as people were making more demands on them and Jesus and they didn’t have time for themselves.  Jesus knew they were struggling and rather than demand more of them, He accepted their vulnerability and told them to rest.
 
Askew says that many of us find hard to accept that getting tired is part of human life and is nothing to be ashamed of.  We need not feel guilty and need to say no to new demands.  Jesus understands.  It is not His demands, Askew says, that run us into the ground, it’s often the demands others place on us and that we place on our ourselves.  We need to do the things that God actually wants us to do but not the things that our pride places on us to do. 
 
Lord, I’m tired.  Exhausted.
Sometimes I wonder how I find the strength.
So much to do, so little time and energy.
And always one thing more,
nagging at the back of my mind like toothache.
Unwelcome yet hard to ignore.
 
I buzz around, a frantic fly
battering the window pane
until I fall exhausted to the sill.
All noise and movement but so little done.
And in the effort to respond
to all the calls that others make
I find I’m losing touch with you.
The crowds get in between.
The more I do for you,
the further off you seem.
A paradox until I hear your voice,
not asking more of me
but telling me to find a breathing space,
a place to rest.
 
And in the quiet you are there.
No accusations,
and no suggestion that I could do more.
And as we sit together,
I begin to realise that many of the demands I face
are self-imposed.  They’re mine.
Born out of ego,
and the guilt I feel when I can’t cope
comes from my pride and not from you.
 
Forgive me Lord and help me to forgive myself
because I ask more of myself than you do.
And when I’m faced with something
I just can’t find the energy to do
give me the honesty to face the face
that maybe you’re not asking it of me.
You made the world,
It wasn’t me
and, valued as I am,
it’s you who keeps it going.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Saturday 10 October

I am always looking for different quotes on Facebook that I can use for this blog.  I recently came across the Facebook page for the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville.  According to their page: “they are a congregation of women religious in the Roman Catholic Church who follow a life of consecration and prayer united with good works.  Teaching Christian living is our corporate ministry, which, cutting across socio-economic, racial and national boundaries, assists women, men and children to live more fully and to develop a personal relationship with God.”  
 
They have a lot of good quotes on their page and I thought I would share this one first.  Rainbows have always been seen as a sign of hope. However, they have now become a symbol associated with the Covid-pandemic and in support of keyworkers especially NHS staff. 

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And I end with a rainbow prayer  by Helen Kinnett from Stratton Methodist Church
 
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, we all know,
The spectrum of colours, an arc, a rainbow,
So listen, be still and be aware,
Share with me now, my rainbow prayer.
 
Red – A symbol of God’s eternal love, a heart,
I will never leave you, we’ll never be apart,
A love so great, Jesus died for me,
A love so great, for all to see.
 
Orange – All the good fruits, of all the earth,
Crucifixion of Jesus, unmeasurable worth,
A golden sun, in the sky, light unfurled,
A candle flame, Jesus, Light of the World.
 
Yellow – The Lent Lily, showing God’s creation skills,
A field of yellow, a field of daffodils,
The pale moon and the stars so bright,
God, by His hand, created light.
 
Green – Shoots, plants and a gentle, serene mood,
Growing and sowing, our seeds, our food,
Blades of grass, a new leaf and buds on the trees,
Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prays on His knees.
 
Blue – Bluebells in woods, shadows on snow,
Signs of new life are starting to grow,
Oceans and streams, the clear summer sky,
Jesus, the Living Water, to you and I.
 
Indigo – Berries, butterflies and mountains covered in heather,
All the colours of the sky, in stormy weather,
The purple robe, worn by kings from their birth,
The royal symbol, a cloth of great worth.
 
Violet – A gentle perfume, fragrant and sweet,
Parma Violets, a treat to eat,
A tiny, beautiful, delicate flower,
God always with us, hour by hour.
 
A rainbow of colours, in the dark, rainy sky,
Reveals God’s great love, He sent Jesus to die,
A rainbow of colours, placed in the sunny sky above,
Shows us the promise, of God’s unending love
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 9 October

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get so consumed with my worries and concerns that I forget that God is in control and that He has the perfect plan for my life. 

 
fri 9
 
 
I will sign off today with a prayer from livingprayers.com:
 
O Lord, I am wound up inside.
I feel I cannot continue to meet the demands placed upon me.
I am close to burn out and I fear I may buckle under the weight of these worries.
I am tired of carrying this stress around, I so need to find some peace.
 
So I come to you.
To rest in your Father heart,
Shelter in your Almighty hand,
And cling to your promise of peace.
 
I trust that you can lead me to a new place,
Take the fabric of my life and weave in new colours.
I look to you.
I dwell on your words.
I open my heart.
 
Please restore me.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 8 October

I would like to share this post from ‘A Woman’s Soul’ Facebook page:
 
One evening my mother made dinner after a hard day's work. She put a plate of eggs, salad and burnt toast in front of my father...
 
I immediately noticed, the burnt toast.... And, I was waiting to see if he was going to complain about it, but my father started to eat them, smiling and asked me how I spent my day at school...
 
My mom apologized to my dad for the burnt toast. I will never forget his response to her: "Honey, I love burnt toast!"
 
Later when I went to bed and my dad came over to kiss me goodnight, I asked him if he really liked the burnt toast?
 
He hugged me and said, "Your mother has had a difficult day and she is really tired. She went out of her way to prepare this meal for us, why blame her and hurt her. Burnt toast never hurt anyone; but words can be very painful!"
 
We have to know how to appreciate what others do for us, even if it's not perfect, because it's the intention to do well that counts, and no one is perfect...
 
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I will end today with a prayer of Gratitude, by Kelli Mahoney
 
Thank you, Lord, for the blessings you have bestowed on my life.  You have provided me with more than I could ever have imagined.  You have surrounded me with people who always look out for me.  You have given me family and friends who bless me every day with kind words and actions.  They lift me up in ways that keep my eyes focused on you and make my spirit soar.
 
Also, thank you, Lord, for keeping me safe.  You protect me from those things that seem to haunt others.  You help me make better choices, and you have provided me with advisors that help me with the difficult decisions.  You speak to me in so many ways so that I always know you are here.
 
And Lord, I am so grateful for keeping those around me safe and loved.  I hope that you provide me with the ability and sense to show them every day how much they matter.  I hope that you give me the ability to give to them the same kindness they have provided to me.  I am just so grateful for all of your blessings in my life, Lord.  I pray that you remind me of just how lucky I am, and that you never allow me to forget to show my gratitude in prayer and returned kind acts.  Thank you, Lord. In your name, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 7 October

I have written before about the power of our words and how once we have spoken, our words can’t be put back.  I think the idea of asking myself the three questions before I speak could be a useful tool.  It would definitely make me pause before opening my mouth!
 
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I finish today with a prayer by Roy Lessin:
 
Loving God, guide my thoughts before they become my words.
 
When I open my mouth, I ask You to fill it with right words, good words, true words, loving words—words that will point the way to Your heart.  May my words be acceptable and pleasing to You as You hear their sound and know the intent behind them.
 
Use my words this day to heal and not harm, to restore and not separate, to extend mercy and not judgment, to build up and not pull down, to comfort and not injure, to bring sunlight and not shadows, to encourage and not quench, to mend and not wound.
 
May my words herald good news, be seasoned with salt, and bring grace to the hearer.
 
If I am to speak correction, may it be with compassion; if I am to exhort, may it be with humility; If I am to instruct, may it be with brokenness; if I am to guide, may it be with wisdom; if I am to inform, may it be with clarity; if I am to counsel, may it be according to Your word.
 
Guard my tongue from murmuring and my voice from complaint.  In all things, may my mouth be filled with words of gratitude, expressions of praise, and proclamations of Your faithfulness.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 



 

Tuesday 6 October

However difficult life may get, it is always comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggle, Jesus is with us always.
 
tues 6
I close today with a short prayer taken from the ‘Pray With Me’ website:
 
Guide me lord,
you are my heart
you are my strength,
you are my hope.
Teach me Lord,
and guide my way
I love you more each passing day.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 5 October

I think this is a good quote if you have got that Monday morning feeling! 
 
monday 5

I close with a prayer for a new week:
 
I come before You Oh Lord, my God, thanking You for waking me up this Monday morning to embrace the sunlight that shoots down from the heavens.  Thank You for giving me the health and strength I need to overcome every stronghold in my life. And thank You for loving me unconditionally in the times where I may fail You.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 4 October

The New Testament reading for today is from Philippians chapter 3 verses 4 to 14.  This has been said to be one of Paul’s most personal and happiest letters.   At the time of writing, Paul is under house arrest in Rome and has been waiting for a trial for several years.  During this time, his friends have been supporting him and enabling him to get his letters to those he has written to. 
 
This particular letter was to the people of Philippi which was a Roman Colony made up of Macedonians, Greeks and Romans.   The emphasis in this letter is on building up the faith and commitment of the Christians in Philippi.  Paul knows that he is not yet perfect but tells the Philippians that he will press on towards the goal and encourages them to do so as well. 
 
I think that is a lesson that we can all learn from Paul.  Despite our current situation, which can feel at times a bit like house arrest, we need to keep reaching forward and press on towards our goals.
 
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I close today with a prayer taken from Roots:
 
For those seeking to offer compassion and care,
gracious God:
help them achieve their goal.
 
For those researching a vaccine for coronavirus,
gracious God:
help them achieve their goal.
 
For those seeking wisdom in leadership of others,
gracious God:
help them achieve their goal.
 
For those with personal targets of any sort,
gracious God:
help them achieve their goal.
 
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 3 October

As well as writing Pooh and Piglet, Kathryn Wallace often writes about her feelings on the pandemic on her Facebook page and I would like to share this one today as it is important not to forget our keyworkers:
 
In 2020, for a time at least... the world as we knew it, changed completely.
 
And we were afraid.
 
We were afraid; and we were impatient; and we were confused; and we were frustrated.
This maelstrom of emotions surfaced in many different ways.  For a time, we came together. But then, very quickly, we started to fall apart.  To turn on one another.  To judge.  To forget that we had never walked another mile in that other person's shoes.
 
And yet, at the same time, underneath that maelstrom of emotions... beneath the global picture of death, and destruction, and grief... there were the small things.
 
There were the everyday miracle workers.
 
There were our frontline NHS workers.  The nurse who left her own children in care of relatives, for weeks at a time; sacrificing her own family unit to be there for others, who were also without their family unit at their time of greatest need.
 
There were the retail staff.  The shop worker who, no matter how high the case levels in his local area, got up every morning and went to work.  Only to be faced with the constant threat of abuse from those who saw him as an easy target; as a place to vent their anger at the changes they saw to their ordinary world.
 
There were the care workers.  The care worker who sacrificed her own comforts to sleep on the floor of her office, not just as a one off, but night after night.  Working without PPE, it was the only way she could guarantee not to bring the virus to the most vulnerable, whose safety and wellbeing hung in a precarious balance.
 
There were the teachers; the TAs; and everyone working on the front line of education. Working around the clock in an attempt to be there for the children in their care, both those still in school, and those learning remotely.  The countless ways they went above and beyond to bring a sense of normality to the children who needed it most; at a time when normality was something that felt like it had been consigned to the distant past.
 
There were the postal workers, and the delivery drivers.  Not only did they deliver to those of us who were unable to leave the house, they were very often the sole human contact that day for those living in isolation.
 
There were the volunteers.  Who, perhaps, weren't even employed to provide help at all; but nevertheless stepped up, at the very moment that it was needed most.  Who took the time to look out into the world, and seek to make a difference.
There were the police; and there were the fire services; and there were the breakdown drivers; and there were the call centre workers; and there were the refuse collectors; and there were the support workers; and there were so, so, SO many others.
 
There were the helpers.
 
This pandemic still has many months, maybe even longer, to run; and it can be hard not to get caught up in the pain, in the fear, in the grief.  Can be hard not to despair when we see one group turn on another, when it feels like there is no visible end in sight.
 
But it is important not to forget, I think, about the everyday miracles; and about the people who made them - who continue to make them - happen.
 
Whether it is saving a life; helping a neighbour; providing an essential service; being that point of stability; bringing a smile to someone else's day...
...in the very darkest of times, you have made our world a brighter place.
 
To all of our helpers; to all of our everyday miracle workers.
 
This post is for all of you.
 
Because I just wanted to say... thank you.
 
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I end today with a prayer for healthcare professionals and key workers, written by The Precentor of Hereford Cathedral:
 
O God of hope,
we commend to your protection all healthcare professionals and key workers
who are putting themselves at risk as they attend to the needs of other people:
as we thank them for their courage and compassion,
we pray that your Holy Spirit will support and encourage them,
especially at times of physical or emotional exhaustion,
that they may know the strength of your healing love.
We ask this for your tender mercy’s sake.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 2 October

This made me smile so I hope it makes you smile as well.
 
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I close today with a prayer of thanksgiving taken from the Catholic Health Association of the United States:
 
God of all blessings, source of all life, giver of all grace:
We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath that sustains life,
for the food of this earth that nurtures life,
for the life-giving love of family and friends.
 
We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty of the Earth that the eye can see,
for the unfolding universe that draws us beyond our imaginings.
 
We thank you for the communities to which we belong:
for families, for friends,
for neighbours and for companions at work.
 
We thank you for the strangers who welcome us into their lives and whom we invite to be part of ours.
 
We thank you for our brothers and sisters of all ages, all races, all nations and all faiths.
 
We thank you for the multitude of ways that you call us to steward the gifts of creation and to serve others in your name.
 
God of all goodness, we pray in thanks for your presence among us as we gather together, and your promise to be with us now and always.  Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Thursday 1 October

Today marks the start of Unblocktober.   Unblocktober is the world’s first month-long campaign and awareness month to improve the health of our drains, sewers, watercourses and seas.
 
According to their website, Unbloktober is needed because for too long we have consistently flushed and poured dangerous liquids and items into our drains.  This leads to the creation of fatbergs – enormous masses of congealed fat, oil, grease, wet wipes, period care products, cotton buds, nappies, and much more – which block drains and sewers and cause them to work less effectively than they should.  It can also lead to plastic pollution, which is another global crisis that we need to fight.
 
They want the public to pay more attention to what we put down the drain this October and commit to putting none of the following down our drains or toilets for the whole month:
  • Cooking oil
  • Food – even crumbs!
  • Anything containing plastic, including: wet wipes, cotton buds, contact lenses, dental floss.
 
Maybe this is something that we can all try in the coming month.
 
Unblocktober - Image
 

I end today with a prayer from Pope Francis:
 
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love
Kate
 

Wednesday 30 September

There have been a few times during lock down that I have felt like my house has been a bit of a prison but I need to remind myself that I am very lucky to have what I have as so many people don’t have a roof over their heads. 
 
house blessing prayer for home

I close today with a prayer for the homeless taken from the Bethany Christian Trust website:
 
Hear our prayer today for all women and men, boys and girls who are homeless this day.
For those sleeping under bridges, on park benches, in doorways or bus stations.
For those who can only find shelter for the night but must wander in the daytime.
For families broken because they could not afford to pay the rent.
For those who have no relatives or friends who can take them in.
For those who have no place to keep possessions that remind them who they are.
For those who are afraid and hopeless.
For those who have been let down by our social safety net.
For all these people, we pray that you will provide shelter, security and hope.
We pray that those of us with warm houses not be lulled into complacency and
forgetfulness.
Jesus, help us to see your face in the eyes of every homeless person we meet so that
we may be empowered through word and deed, and through all the means we have, to
bring justice and peace to those who are homeless. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love
Kate



 

Tuesday 29 September

I think this quote sums me up at the moment although my range of comfort foods is not limited to cookies!!
 
funny-inspirational-quote-1
 
 I finish today with expressions of faith taken from the Northumbria Community website:
 
Lord, You have always given
bread for the coming day;
and though I am poor,
today I believe.
 
Lord, You have always given
strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak,
today I believe.
 
Lord, You have always given
peace for the coming day;
and though of anxious heart,
today I believe.
 
Lord, You have always kept
me safe in trials;
and now, tried as I am,
today I believe.
 
Lord, You have always marked
the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden,
today I believe.
 
Lord, You have always lightened
this darkness of mine;
and though the night is here,
today I believe.
 
Lord, You have always spoken
when time was ripe;
and though you be silent now,
today I believe.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Monday 28 September

Here is the next instalment of Kathryn Wallace’s Pooh and Piglet stories posted on her I know I need to stop talking Facebook page:

Pooh and Piglet sat together, at opposite ends of a fallen tree stump that lay across a carpet of leaves on the floor of the Hundred Acre Wood. Around them, the air was damp, and darkness was threatening to fall.

"It's just so bleak," Pooh said to his friend. "So bleak, and so feeling like it will never end. I know, Piglet, that I should be thinking about Better Times, and Making The Best Of Things. But those are very hard to do right now, when I just feel so terribly terribly sad, and despairing, and alone."

An auburn leaf suddenly lost its grip on the tree above them, and fell, tumbling through the air.

"It is hard," Piglet agreed. "It is very hard. And it's okay to say that, Pooh. It's okay not to feel able to think about Better Times, or Making The Best Of Things. It's okay to be sad; to mourn for the times that we never realised how lucky we were to have, until, all of a sudden, we could no longer have them.

"But the dark days will end. They will. It feels hard to believe that right now, I understand. But they will end. The days will get longer, and the darkness will lift. Spring will come, just as it does, every single year, and the world will come alive again."

"It feels very far away right now," said Pooh, in a sad, sombre voice.

"Yes," acknowledged Piglet. "Yes, it does."

All around them, the leaves continued to fall.

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I will close today with a prayer for Inner Peace from the Jesuit resource website:
 
Lord, please put Your peace in my heart.
I'm worried and anxious.
My mind races and obsesses.
I can't help thinking about my problems.
And the more I think about them,
the more depressed I become.
I feel like I'm sinking down in quicksand
and can't get out.
Calm me, Lord.
Slow me down, put Your peace in my heart.
 
No matter what problem I have, Lord,
You are bigger,
You are more powerful than it is.
So I bring my problem to You.
I know what I want.
I know my will.
I do not know Yours.
I do not know how You will use this problem for my salvation.
I do not know what good You will workout from this evil.
But I trust You.
I trust Your goodness and Your wisdom.
So I place myself in Your hands.
Please fill my heart with peace.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure
Kate





 

Sunday 27 September

One of the lectionary readings for today is Philippians chapter 2 verses 5 to 11.  The following poem based on this reading was published on the Firebrand Church website:
 
Think like Jesus thought:
He was every bit God
But regarded it not
He made himself nothing
Lowering His voice,
Abandoning choice
He made Himself into a man
Becoming a slave,
 He stooped to the grave
By the shame and the pain of a cross
So God lifted Him up
Right to the top
And He gave Him The NAME
And the Greatest of Fame
That all will proclaim
and loudly exclaim
“Jesus Christ! The Lord Overcame!
All my shame, all my blame, all my pain!”
And they glorify God
They’re amazed and they’re awed!
 
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I end today with a prayer by John Birch:
 
This world I live in
this town I live in
this street I live in
this house I live in
may each be the focus of my prayer
 
Those I live with
those I rub shoulders with
those I work with
those I don't get on with
may each be the focus of my prayer
 
Those who laugh
those who cry
those who hurt
those who hide
may each be the focus of my prayer
 
Prayers centred less on self
and more on others
less on my circumstances
more on the needs of others.
May my life be likewise centred
less on self and more on You
and through You to the world
in which I live and move.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 26 September

I have said before that keeping busy is a good way of keeping my mental health stable.  However, I have been ‘crazy busy’ over the past couple of weeks and although I was coping with my workload, things have happened that have made me realise that I need to slow down a little bit, take time for myself and re-evaluate things.
 
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 I end today with a prayer for inner peace and calm taken from the Living Prayers website.
 
Holy Spirit, please encircle me,
Come hold me safe and secure.
Wrap my mind up with your truth
Guide my thoughts and calm my fears.
Steady my emotions,
Lord that you would guide my feelings,
May I not be overcome by upset.
Sustain my soul,
With vision for the future,
And hope for tomorrow.
I need you.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Friday 25 September

I know some of my posts have been quite serious lately, so wanted to share this one to make you smile.
 
38-Funny-Inspirational-Quotes-

I will finish with a prayer of thanks from the Living Prayers website:

Thank you for the blessings you give to us of comfort, warmth and rest.
Thank you for the beauty of nature, blue skies and smiles.
Lord, thank you for the pleasure of conversation, intimacy and love,
And for the sustenance of food, drink and water.
Help me to notice and value these rich blessings in my life.
May I feel full, whole and ready to give to those who have little.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 24 September

I have found this quote by American psychologist Carl Jung to be very true.  Having been through difficult times myself, I find that I can relate to others going through dark times. 

fri 25  

I close today with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Transform our struggles
into victories
Transform our doubting
into certainty
Transform our stumbles
into confidence
Transform our sorrow
into worshipping
Gracious God, we pray.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 23 September

I thought I would share this Gaelic blessing with you today:
 
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 I thought I would end with this prayer for Autumn from the Faith and Worship website:
 
We see signs of summer's passing in golden leaves,
shortening days, misty mornings, autumn glow.
We sense its passing in rain that dampens,
winds that chill, Harvest's bounty placed on show.
Creator God, who brings forth
both green shoot and hoar frost,
sunrise and sunset,
we bring our thanks
for seeds that have grown,
harvests gathered,
storehouses filled,
mouths fed.
And, as your good earth rests
through winter's cold embrace,
we look forward to its re-awakening
when kissed by Spring's first touch.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 22 September

I think the quote below is a good reminder that even though this year has panned out totally different to how we all expected it to; it has not been a waste of a time.  We need to keep on doing the good things we have been doing and try to make the most of the difficult situation that we are all in.
 
tues 22 sept
 
I close today with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship Facebook page:
 
Transform our struggles
into victories
Transform our doubting
into certainty
Transform our stumbles
into confidence
Transform our sorrow
into worshipping
Gracious God, we pray.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 21 September

As I said last week, August and September are filled with birthdays and anniversaries of those who are no longer with us.  Today marks a year, since our dear friend from Trinity, Marion passed away.  Marion was so much to many people.  To me, not only was she my good friend but she was also my encourager and unofficial mentor and without her I would not be a Local Preacher as she saw something in me I never did.
 
She is still very much missed and I do wonder what she would have said and done during this time of lockdown.  I think the phrases ‘go with the flow’ and ‘now that is interesting’ could perhaps have been used!  
 
 
Marion's anniversary

I close with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Thank you for the remembrance
of loved ones no longer with us;
for their inspiring words,
encouragement,
love and support,
an example for us to follow.
May their legacy be seen
in the people we have become,
and may we always be thankful.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 20 September

I have already written an entry based on Matthew chapter 20 verses 1 to 16 which is today’s lectionary reading so I thought instead that I would focus on the Psalm of the day which is Psalm 145.

psalm-145-1-3

Towards the end of life Francis of Assisi wrote a poem based on Psalm 145 which William Draper made into the song "All Creatures of Our God and King" in 1919.  Rather than a prayer, I thought I would end today with all seven verses of the hymn:

All creatures of our God and king,
lift up your voice and with us sing
Alleluia, alleluia!
Bright burning sun with golden beam,
soft shining moon with silver gleam,
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
 
 Swift rushing wind so wild and strong,
white clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, alleluia!
New rising dawn in praise rejoice,
you lights of evening find a voice;
O praise him ...
 
Cool flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for your Lord to hear,
Alleluia, alleluia!
Fierce fire so masterful and bright
giving to us both warmth and light,
O praise him ...
 
Earth ever fertile, day by day
bring forth your blessings on our way,
O praise him, alleluia!
All fruit and crops that richly grow,
all trees and flowers God's glory show;
O praise him ...
 
People and nations, take your part,
love and forgive with all your heart;
Alleluia, alleluia!
All who long pain and sorrow bear,
trust God and cast on him your care;
O praise him ...
 
Death, once the ancient enemy,
hear now our Easter melody.
O praise him, alleluia!
You are the pathway home to God,
our door to life through Christ our Lord;
O praise him ...
 
Let all things their creator bless
and worship him in lowliness,
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three-in-One,
O praise him ...
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 19 September

This is another quote that I need to keep telling myself especially as I am really not the most patient of people and want to know God’s plan for me right now instead of waiting for it to unfold in front of me when God is ready!
 
sat 19

I end by sharing a prayer from “A prayer with Chris Facebook page”:
 
Dear Lord what should I pray for?
I could pray for wealth,  but that wouldn't make me happy.
I could pray for fame, but that wouldn't give me peace.
I could pray for power,  but I don't want the responsibility
Lord I pray for contentment and peace.
Make me content in my life.
Make me peaceful in my worries.
Lord God,  draw me near to you.
Make me a good friend and a solid disciple.
Help me live my life in the moment, with the love of my family, friends and my father in heaven.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Friday 18 September

This quote below is along similar lines to a quote by Lao Tzu that I like which says a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  If we are feeling overwhelmed by something then we need to break it down into manageable chunks.
 
fri 18

I close today with a prayer from Crosswalk.com:

Lord, when my heart is overwhelmed, overwhelm me with Your peace.
Lead me to You, my rock.
Guide me to Your Word which gives me strength and refuge.
Help me not to run to lesser things.
Draw me to run to You first.
Help me get into the habit of taking my “overwhelmed” and placing it under your will.
Thank You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 17 September

So today would have been my sister’s 41st birthday.  August and September both contain anniversaries or birthdays of people no longer with us and this reminds me just how fragile life can be.  I try to make the most of every moment and make memories where I can as you never know what will happen and when.
 
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 And I end with a prayer taken from Living Prayers:
 
Time is in your hands, O Lord
You place the sun and moon.
You turn the tides of ocean deep
So you can hold me safe in grief,
You can hold me safe.
 
Eternity is always there
Around us everyday.
From every seed that grows a tree
Creation sings of life redeemed,
In Christ we are redeemed.
 
Love is yours, it bears your mark,
Your imprints everywhere.
Each tender word I shared remains
Love lives beyond our fleeting frame,
It lives beyond our frame.
 
My precious one runs to your arms
I trust them to your care.
You catch my tears and help me see,
The hope of Heaven's glorious light,
The hope of Heaven's light.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 16 September

Kathryn Wallace has written another Pooh and Piglet story on her Facebook page ‘I know I need to stop talking’ and I thought I would share it with you today.
 
"I'm scared," said Pooh.
 
There was a pause. Then:
 
"Me too," said Piglet.
 
The two friends stood together, at a safe social distance, on the bridge overlooking the stream where they had, many times, played Poohsticks together.
 
Pooh thought about all of those times they had stood there, he and all of his friends, haphazardly dropping sticks into the sparkling water without a care in the world; and his heart ached to be back in those happier, simpler times.
 
To be back doing all of those things which had seemed so normal; which he had, frankly, taken for granted; only realising now, with the benefit of hindsight, what perfect miracle the mundanity of the day to day normality actually was.
 
"I'm scared," he said, again.
 
"I'm here," said Piglet, by his side. "I'm here."
 
Under the bridge, the water kept flowing; ever onwards.
 
Ever onwards.
 
 ad178900706illustration-fro-e1

 
And I close with a prayer for anxiety and fear based on Psalm 139 from Living Prayers website:
 
LORD, you have searched me, and you know me.
Each anxious thought, every wave of panic, all the overwhelming feelings and frightening symptoms.
 
You encircle me behind and in front, and you place your hand upon me.
From my first cries to today’s challenges, you have been with me, your love extends behind me, before me and even beyond me.
 
Where could I go from your Spirit? Or where could I flee from your presence?
I chose now to dwell in the sanctuary of your grace, to rest in the shadow of almighty love and to allow hope to arise with new freedom.
 
Your right hand will hold me.
There is no darkness in you, only light. Despair is slain by hope, sorrow held by love, suffering softened by joy.
 
I will give thanks to you, for I am awesomely and wonderfully made.
You created me, unique and made in your image. I lift my eyes to see your glory, I open my soul to your calling, and my heart to awaken with a love that slays my fear.
 
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Tuesday 15 September

Today marks a year since my accreditation service at Trinity where I was officially recognised as a Local Preacher.  I had a lot of hopes and ideas for the future.  Unfortunately surgery, an infection, more surgery and lockdown have meant that I have not preached for 10 months.  It has been hard but I have learnt that I do not need to preach to share God’s word and I may not be working but I have plenty to keep me busy!
 
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And I end with a prayer by Lesli White:
 
Loving God,
I want to thank You for my countless blessings.
I thank You not only for the food I have to eat, lovingly prepared for me, but also for spiritual gifts, in particular the loved ones I cherish dearly, a comfortable place to live, the beauty that surrounds me, health, and spiritual wealth to name a few.
I acknowledge you for the countless blessings You’ve provided.
I thank You for giving us clear direction through Your Holy Word.
Through good and bad times, help me to see that we are blessed beyond measure.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 14 September

This quote is from America, hence the spelling of favourites and is on similar lines to ones that I have shared previously talking about been grateful for each day that we have.
 
mon 14 sept

I close today with a prayer taken from “A daily prayer with Chris” Facebook page:
 
Dear Lord strengthen us for the week ahead.
Encourage, protect and prepare us for what we face.
Open opportunities for us.
Guide us through our days.
Be with us, be near us.
Lord thank you for being a father we can talk to.
Thank you for your word written down for us.
Give us an open ear, a watchful eye and a loving heart.
Let us be a beacon of your love.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 13 September

CS Lewis once wrote “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until there is something to forgive.”  This is true, so often when we do wrong we want to be forgiven as soon as possible.  However, when others do wrong to us, we are not so quick to forgive.
 
In today’s lectionary reading from Matthew chapter 18 verses 21 to 35, Jesus explains why we should forgive.   Just like the King forgave the unforgiving servant, Jesus Christ the King has forgiven us so we should forgive others.
 
CS Lewis sums this up by saying “to be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.
 
When we realise just what Jesus did in order that we would receive God’s grace and forgiveness it should help us to forgive others as we know the freedom that comes from being forgiven. 
 
However, this can be hard especially if we feel that God hasn’t forgiven us for something that we have done previously.  We need to trust that God has forgiven us and feel the freedom of God’s grace.
 
Corrie ten Boom had these words to say regarding accepting forgiveness: “It was 1947–. I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favourite mental picture. Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I like to think that’s where forgiven sins are thrown. “When we confess our sins,” I said, “God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever–. Then God places a sign out there that says ‘No Fishing Allowed’”
 
We cannot expect others to forgive us if we can’t forgive them.  A man came to John Wesley and said I could never forgive that person and John Wesley replied: I hope you never sin. When you are unforgiving, you are burning the very bridge you need to walk across.
 
Forgiveness is an ongoing process.  Peter asked Jesus how many times should he forgive and he said 70 x 7, we are to keep forgiving until we forget what has been done to us.
 
Because the unforgiving servant did not forgive, he ended up being tortured in prison.  If we don’t forgive someone then we can end up resenting a person which emotionally can end up feeling a bit like you are caught in a metaphorical prison.
 
Also, if we don’t forgive someone, a relationship may be damaged forever.  There is a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away and the father set off to find him.  He searched for months but could not find him.  Finally, in a last ditch attempt to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paulo, meet me at the fountain at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven.  I love you. Your Father.”  On Saturday, 800 Paulo’s showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
 
Forgiving someone also means that instead of focussing on who has upset us, we can focus on God’s plan for us.
 
The Forgiveness Project, founded in 2004, collects and shares stories from both victims and perpetrators of crime and conflict who have rebuilt their lives following hurt and trauma in order to help people examine and overcome their own unresolved grievances.
 
28-year-old trainee paramedic, James Hodgkinson, was killed in 2011 from a single punch to his head. He had been out in Nottingham with his father, brother and three friends after watching a cricket match. His attacker, Jacob Dunne, pleaded guilty and served 13 months in prison for manslaughter.  Later James’ mother, Joan met Jacob through a restorative justice group called Remedi.  She could see that he was deeply remorseful and that gave her hope he could change.   They are now working together talking publicly about restorative justice and raising awareness of the catastrophic effects of a single punch.
 
His mother said: Forgiveness for me means being at peace, letting go of the bitterness and letting Jacob into my life. I’ve grown fond of him.
 
forgiveness-1
 
 And I end with a prayer from Roots:
 
Compassionate, rescuing, forgiving God,
never let us take for granted
your loving, saving activity.
Never let us take for granted
the fact that despite all the evil we do
you still care for us,
still reach out to forgive and restore us.
So deal with us, we pray,
that we may have short memories
for any wrongs done to us
and long memories
for the sins you have forgiven.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Saturday 12 September

Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years and had a lot to be bitter and angry about.  However he left this bitterness and hatred behind, instead focussing on bringing apartheid to an end.  If we get caught up in the negative emotions of a situation, particularly one in the past, then we can never be free.  We need to try to find a way of leaving the negativity behind and move on in whatever way we can.
 
sat 12

I end with a prayer from crosswalk.com:
 
Loving God,
Thank You for grace.  Please help me move beyond the hurdles that trip me up and give me the strength and wisdom to look up and see the hope I run toward in Christ.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 11 September

I have had a few little wobbles recently mainly due to anxiety over when my future surgery will be.  I wish I could sometimes tell myself to pull myself together and get on with it but that really doesn’t help.  I need to be kind to myself instead and wait for the wobble to pass.
 
fri 11

Today’s prayer is taken from the Living Prayers website:
 
Holy Spirit, please encircle me,
Come hold me safe and secure.
Wrap my mind up with your truth
Guide my thoughts and calm my fears.
Steady my emotions,
Lord that you would guide my feelings,
May I not be overcome by upset.
Sustain my soul,
With vision for the future,
And hope for tomorrow.
Amen
 
Stay strong and secure in God’s love
Kate




 

Thursday 10 September


I thought I would share this story that I came across.  I will definitely use this as a sermon illustration in the future.
 
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I will finish with a prayer that asks for God’s help in overcoming the tendency to judge others by Thomas Kempis:
 
Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights Thee most,
To value what is precious in Thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to Thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual,
And above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of Thy will. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Wednesday 9 September

I remember being told at school that “you have two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you should talk.”  I am not quite sure if I did listen at that age but as I have grown older I have learnt to listen more and from doing that have learnt so much particularly from those older than myself.
 
weds 9

And I end with a prayer from Crosswalk.com:
 
Dear Lord, I want to learn to listen more than I speak. Show me how to interact with others in a way that helps them dig deep to find wisdom. Reveal to me when I am talking too much and need to ask questions instead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 8 September

I came across this quote by Jane Goodall.  Through her work which started with studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she has educated many and worked hard to ensure that endangered species are protected.  She has made a big impact on the world and in our own way, we too can make an positive impact on the world by doing things such as recycling and reducing our use of plastics.
 
tues 8
 
 
And I end with prayer from Faith and Worship website:
 
In this your beautiful
but fragile world,
bless those
who dedicate their lives
to its care,
who within their hearts
have a passion
to protect its oceans,
forests, plants
and creatures,
who are stewards
of this world
that is our home;
this world,
created by your hand,
given life by your breath,
- a precious place.
This, your gift to us;
its waters refreshing,
its soil providing,
its air sustaining.
In this your beautiful
bless those
who dedicate their lives
to its care.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 7 September

I thought the quote below was good for a Monday morning to enable us all to start the week on a positive note knowing that whatever comes our way, we have God beside us and lots of things to be thankful for.
 
mon 7

And I end with a prayer of thanks from crosswalk.com:
 
Thank you, God, for all your blessings to me and my family;
for the strength you give me each day
and for all the people around me who make life more meaningful.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Sunday 6 September

Today’s lectionary reading is from Matthew chapter 18 verses 15 to 20.   The passage gives instructions on communal discipline.  Jesus outlines what should be done if one Christian sins against another.
 
Matthew-18-15-20-1
 
I preached on this passage three years ago at St Paul’s and would like to share this poem, which I shared then, called the perfect church.
 
I think that I shall never see
A church that’s all it ought to be;
A church whose members never stray
Beyond the straight and narrow way!
A church that has no empty pews,
Whose minister never has the blues,
A church whose elders always seek
And none is proud, and all are meek;
Where gossips never peddle lies,
Or make complaints and criticize;
Where all are always sweet and kind
And to all others’ faults are blind.
Such perfect churches there may be,
But none of them are known to me.
But still we’ll work and pray and plan
To make our own the best we can.
 
 
 Like the poem states, there are no perfect churches and disagreements and conflict can occur but it is how we deal with that conflict that is important.  In the passage, Jesus outlines three steps in dealing with conflict within the church.  The first step is to go to the person and discuss the problem.  The next step is to approach the person again but in the company of two or three others.  The final step Jesus says, if the matter is still unresolved, is to tell the church.
 
Obviously in church today, how conflict is dealt with depends on the issue itself.  Whatever the issue, it needs to be dealt with as sensitively as possible.  We should try and have an attitude of love towards anyone that may have upset us in any way.  We have been shown the ultimate love and forgiveness by God sending His Son to die on the cross for us so we should try and show love and forgiveness towards everyone that we meet whether they be family, friend, neighbour or stranger.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate
 

Saturday 5 September

I never thought that I would be sharing a quote from Herman Munster from the TV show ‘The Munsters’ but it is so true that I thought I would share it.  It has taken me a long time to learn that it doesn’t matter what I look like, but probably one of the best things I have learnt as it means I can be me.
 
tues 1

And I end with a prayer taken from Melissa Ohden’s website:
 
Loving God, I pray that you help me to always remember that You are the creator and author of life. You knew me long before I was born or even conceived. You wrote the story of my life before I was living in it and you set out a purpose and a plan for me long ago.
 
Lord, help me to accept the person that you made me to be, blessings, difficulties, and all. Help me to recognize the plans and purpose for my life and to know there is no purpose too big or too small in this world, as you are the one who gave it to me.
 
Lord, help me to walk a path of obedience on this journey of a purpose-filled life. Open my eyes, my ears and my heart to what you are calling me to do in this world. Encourage and guide me, strengthen my commitment and resolve to go forth each day and live the life you created and set out for me. In doing so, I know that not only will I find myself abundantly blessed, but I will be glorifying you.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 4 September

This quote was posted on the Mindful Christianity Facebook page and alongside it was this story:  ‘A young boy closed his eyes and started...ABCD...the vicar interrupted and said why you are saying the alphabet? The boy replied 'God knows what I want to say, He will arrange the letters'. 

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 And I finish today with a morning prayer taken from praywithme.com:
 
Dear Lord,
 
This daylight, upon waking and getting ready for my day, I pray that you give me strength today, to be strong for You in this world full of temptations.
 
Lord, You know that there are struggles I will go through today.  I pray that you be with me as I go through them.  Carry me when I am too weak.  If I stumble into temptation, forgive me Lord.  Lead me away from them, I need Your strength to overcome these evils.
 
When I triumph against them, I praise you, Lord.  For without You, I will not be where I am and I will not have the strength I have.  Bless my loved ones with the strength You have given me, Lord.  You are worthy of all praises and the entire honour in the world.  You are my strength and my protection.
 
In Your Son Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate.

 

Thursday 3 September

This quote is very true; in order to appreciate the positive things in life we need to embrace the negative aspects of life as well.
 
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And I end with a prayer of thanksgiving from the Holy Land Prayer website:
 
God of all blessings, source of all life, giver of all grace in all things, I want to thank you for the gift of life, for the breath that sustains life, for the food of this earth that nurtures life, and for the love of family and friends without which there would be little happiness in life. I thank you for the beauty of creation of this great Earth, for the joy that the ear may hear, for the unknown that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder, and for the expanse of space that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves. Everything in my life, and the life that surrounds me was drawn and created by Your own hand. For this, I am grateful. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Wednesday 2 September

When I was looking for an image to use today I came across this one.  I think this is probably from a church in America as they often have big signs outside their churches.  Not only did this make me smile, this also made me realise how true this is and I hope that those who read this sign will realise that too.
 
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And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Bless all whose journey,
that search for faith,
acceptance and identity,
is made more difficult
by circumstance, doubt,
diversions, exhaustion,
stumbles along the road,
and the load they carry.
May they hear your voice,
and see your footsteps,
know how close you are,
lay down their burden,
reach for your hand
and allow you to lead
them into their promised land.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 1 September

Today marks the start of Organic September.  Organic September is a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the many benefits of organic food and farming, which include:
  • Supporting biodiversity and wildlife
  • Helping to combat climate change
  • The highest standards of animal welfare
  • Reduced exposure to pesticides
  • Food as it should be, and food you can trust
 
The event is run by the Soil Association and details of how you can join in can be on their website: https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/organic-september/
 
According to the Soil Association, organic farms have around 50% more bees, butterflies and other pollinators than non-organic farm.  Also if Europe’s farmers all followed organic principles, agricultural emissions could drop by 40% by 2050.
 
 logo1-791x600
 
 
 
 
I end today with a prayer written by Jayne Derren:
 
As we breathe the very air which sustains us,
we remember your love, God,
which gives us life.
Fill us with your compassion for Creation.
Empty us of apathy, selfishness and fear,
of all pessimism and hesitation.
Breathe into us solidarity
with all who suffer now
and the future generations who will suffer
because of our environmental irresponsibility.
Move us into action
to save our earth
and to build your sustainable Kingdom.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 31 August

I think these 8 things are good to remember even when we are not going through bad times. 
 
Mon 31
 
Finally a prayer from Nicki Kiziarz:
 
God,
Help me love the life I live right now.  Show me the good things I often overlook and help me be content with what I have.  Forgive me when I compare myself to others, forgive me for longing for things outside of You and Your kingdom. Thank You for loving me right where I am, right as I am. Help me keep my eyes on You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Sunday 30 August

The lectionary reading this week is Matthew chapter 16 verses 21 to 28 and in this passage Jesus asks his disciples to pick up their cross and follow Him.
 
I thought I would share the words of this hymn written by Charles William Everest, an American Clergyman.  It was originally a poem published in 1833 but was later altered to become a hymn.  It was then edited by English hymn writer Sir Henry Baker for inclusion in the Church of England's Hymns Ancient and Modern hymn book.  It is not in any of the hymn books I have but some of you may recognise it.
 
Take up your cross, the Saviour said,
"if you would my disciple be;
take up your cross with willing heart,
and humbly follow after me."
 
Take up your cross; let not its weight
fill your weak spirit with alarm;
Christ's strength shall bear your spirit up
and brace your heart and nerve your arm.
 
Take up your cross, heed not the shame,
and let your foolish heart be still;
the Lord for you accepted death
upon a cross, on Calvary's hill.
 
Take up your cross, then, in Christ's strength,
and calmly every danger brave:
it guides you to abundant life
and leads to victory over the grave.
 
Take up thy cross and follow Christ,
Nor think til death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.
 
To Thee, great Lord, the One in Three,
All praise forevermore ascend:
O grant us in our home to see
The heavenly life that knows no end.
 
Cross2-311x196
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Saturday 29 August

Even though the chair is now a garden chair and there is no coffee, just a bottle of water rolled across the table, this quote is very true even in lockdown.  I have really valued the garden chats that I have had with people and they have helped me get through this difficult time.

117770449 2707207966228041 445 

 And I end with a prayer of thanks for friends taken from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Loving God, I thank You for the wonderful Christian friends that You have brought into my life, each one so precious to You and each one who has brought such joy and encouragement into my life.
 
I thank You for the gifts and talents that each has been endowed with and the way that each one has brought something new and unique into my life. I ask Your special blessing upon each one, and pray that together we may grow in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we fellowship together around Your Word and encourage each other in the trials and difficulties that we are all facing at this time.
 
Breathe Your love and grace into the heart of each one and draw us ever closer to each other and to You. Help us to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Friday 28 August

When I saw this quote, I smiled to myself as this is something I am very good at doing.  Sometimes it is easier to say I’m fine rather than going into details about how you really feel.  However, the one person we should be honest with about how we feel is God because He knows anyway what is really happening with us and He is with us whatever we are going through.
 
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And I end with a prayer for strength when weary from Rebecca Barlow-Jordan
 
Lord, I’m weary.  My energy is sagging, and my motivation is lagging.  And I am so in need of you. I need your strength and your fresh touch to get back on track again. Your Word says the joy of the Lord is my strength. If that's true, then I need your joy to replace all the bone-tired parts of my mind, body, and soul.
 
The pressures of life sometimes push me into a corner, rendering me helpless to move forward. A hundred voices call my name, and I feel paralyzed at times to answer, not knowing where to turn. Lord, help me not to quit, to keep running the race faithfully, and to find strength in that safe, secret place of yours, under the shadow of the Almighty.
 
I need your strength to say no when I'm tempted to surrender to harmful things, or when selfishness clings to my clothes and won't let go. I need your strength to say yes, when cowardice and fear nudge me to deny the convictions of my heart. I need your strength to reach out in love to those both close to me and all around me. When don't I need your strength, God?
 
You are my rock, and I run to you today, believing that you will lift up my heavy arms, that you will fuel me for the tasks you've given me, and that your joy will completely consume the weakness of my life and make me strong again.  Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Thursday 27 August

Sometimes when things get too much, we just need to detach ourselves from everything going on around us and take a couple of minutes to recharge ourselves before carrying on.
 
thurs 27

And I end with a prayer for rest written by Sarah Forgrave:
 
Jesus, I am tired.
My mind is frazzled, my hands are full, and my emotions are reeling with all the things I have to do.
Help me to come to you in the middle of the overwhelm.
Remind me of your ever-present help in my times of need.
Show me how to rest in You.
Reveal to me both the beauty in the work and in the rest.
Calm my anxious thoughts and encourage my heart with Your nearness.
Instruct me in your ways.
Bring productivity and contentment out of the peace and comfort I find.
Settle me in Your truth and in Your love. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Wednesday 26 August

As many of you know I am waiting for surgery to replace my Occipital Nerve Stimulator.  Waiting has been difficult and it is something way beyond my control.  I feel that I can’t really plan anything and have no idea when I will get a call to go in.  I think I perhaps need to do as this quote says and find a way to respond differently.  

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And I end with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
Loving God,
Lately I’ve been so worried about things that are out of my control.
Help me to trust that you are working every little detail of my life out and that I have nothing to fear or worry about. 
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
 
Keep safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate




 

Tuesday 25 August

I have used the analogy before that our words can be like toothpaste: you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube once you have squeezed it out and we can’t put the words back in our mouths once we have said them.  Practicing the pause may be a good way of stopping this from happening.
 
tues 25
  
 
And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Thank you, Lord
for showing us that love
has no boundaries or end
but listens, has patience,
compassion, grace
and gives without counting cost.
Thank you for granting us
a heart for those you love
and a willingness
to step out in faith
and service.
Thank you, Lord
for showing us true love
can be ours to know and give.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Monday 24 August

In the past when I have been anxious or upset, I have tried to concentrate on my breathing often counting from 1 to 10.  However, I came across this breath prayer below and have been trying to use that as I think it is really helpful to let go of negatives and focus on the positives. 
 
mon 24 aug
 
And I end with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
God,
Please enlighten my mind with truth,
inflame my heart with love,
inspire my will with courage,
enrich my life with service.
Pardon what I have been,
sanctify what I am,
and order what I shall be.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Sunday 23 August

This week’s lectionary reading is from Matthew chapter 16 verses 13 to 20.  In this reading, Jesus asks Peter and the disciples who they think He is.   If we were to be asked that question today, what would we say? 
 
I expect we would all have different answers because as the graphic shows below there are a whole range of names that we could associate Jesus Christ with.  We may call Him different things at different times in our lives but whatever words we use to describe Him, He will be there for each of us in the form that we need Him whenever we may need Him.
 
 who-is-jesus-christ-1024x780 
 
 And I end with a prayer inspired by Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” which comes from the Spill the Beans website.
 
In the name of the Lord Jesus
the bread breaker
the light gatherer
cross carrier
welcome
 
May the peace of the Lord Jesus
the peace maker
and the temple disturber
friend of the sinner
and companion on the road
be with us all
 
Let us draw close to the Lord Jesus
the saviour
the healer
the teacher
and worship him
 
and ask ourselves
who do we say he is?
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 22 August

Yesterday I shared a reflection by Eddie Askew on Psalm 23.  I thought I would follow on from that today with this quote.   It is actually something I did not think of previously but it is actually very comforting to realise that Jesus is prepared to do that for every one of us if we become separated from Him.
 
fri 28
 
 And I end with a Pastoral Prayer based on Luke 15:1-10 by Nathan Attwood: 

Holy God:


We give you thanks and praise for the beauty of this day and for all the promise it offers.  We thank you for life, for joy, for every opportunity to walk with you as children of the light.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray.   We are all prone to wander.  We have times when our hearts are completely wrapped up in your heart and we can’t imagine that we would ever stray.  And then, one day, we wake up and wonder if we even know how to pray.  We feel as if we are merely going through the motions.  We may look just the same on the outside, but inside, we are like the Prodigal Son, lost in a far off country.
 
As easily as we wander, we quickly judge others when they wander.  We want everyone else to be held to high standards.  We get tired of always doing your business of drawing back the wanderers to your fold.  We want people to take responsibility and do right without having to be helped all the time.  When they wander, we often act as if they should do some penance before they are fully celebrated in the family. 
 
Cleanse our hearts and give us a new view of your heart.  Give us a heart like the shepherd who left the ninety-nine to go looking for the sheep, whose heart was full of joy when he found it, who celebrated and put the lost sheep on his shoulders because he was so happy to have found it.  Give us a heart like the father of the prodigal son, who threw a party when his son returned because he had been lost and now was found, dead and now alive.  Help us to find our greatest joy in the finding of the lost.  Help us to remember, and perhaps to know for the first time, the joy that comes from being lost and then being found by your love and grace.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 21 August

I would like to share another reflection by Eddie Askew, this time on Psalm 23.  He points out that “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake” is followed by “even though I walk through the darkest valley,” and Askew believes that the writer of the psalm is maybe saying that paths of righteousness don’t always lead to still waters. 
 
Later on in the Psalm, “you prepare a table before me” is followed by “in the presence of my enemies”  Askew believes that although God provides for our needs it may be in preparation ahead of a difficult time.
 
Askew ends by saying “God our shepherd is nearby; not to make life easy but to surround us with love and to give us the strength to make the next step forward”
 
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 Lord, there’s always a catch
I get hooked on the green pastures
and still waters.
I could spend my time very nicely
lying in the summer grass.
Content.
 
And if I felt really energetic
I’d open my eyes
and watch the clouds sail by,
safely, far overhead,
that’s where clouds should be.
 
But when those clouds
draw thick chill curtains over the sun,
their shadows racing over the ground,
I shiver.
And when they come down to ground level,
my level,
shrouding me in mist,
I walk a panic path of fear.
the still surface of my peace shattered.
Rough rippled
by the first breath of wind over the water.
 
Are these the paths of righteousness?
I pick my way through,
Hesitating at every step,
Worried that when I move
my foot may slip, my ankle twist.
And, sometimes, putting out my hand,
there’s nothing there.
Or so it seems.
And yet, somehow a strength is there.
Supporting me.
 
The shepherd takes me high to pasture,
over rocky paths.
Calling me to effort.
I climb,
struggling through thorn thickets,
the way marked by scraps of wool
torn from the fleece of my self-satisfaction.
It makes me breathless.
But you are there.
 
 
Counting the sheep.
Knowing when I stray.
Giving your life to rescue me.
Taking me, each day,
nearer the fold.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

Thursday 20 August

I thought I would share this Celtic blessing with you this morning.  Even though Celtic spirituality has its roots in the pagan beliefs of the ancient Celts, its basic beliefs resonate with Christians today and Celtic spirituality is becoming more popular.   The Northumbria Community and also Iona are based on Celtic spirituality.
 
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And I end with a traditional blessing taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine upon your window pane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near to you and
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Wednesday 19 August

I am sure we all have days where we wake up and realise that, for whatever reason, today won’t be a good day.  The best thing that we can do on those days is look after ourselves in whatever ways we can until things get better.
 
weds 19

And I end with a prayer of praise by Mary Southerland:
Loving God,
I praise You today for all that You have done in my life.
You are faithful even when I am faithless.
Your love pursues me even when I am unlovable.
Your forgiveness covers my sin and frees me from its penalty.
I praise You for your love and faithfulness to me.
Your presence in my life changes everything,
empowering me to live each moment of every day,
content in knowing You are in control.
As I face today,
remind me that no matter what happens,
I can praise You!
In Your Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 18 August

When it isn’t either too hot or raining, I have been going for ‘walks’ around the fields at the back of my house.  Since the crops have been cut, I have been able to notice things that I have not noticed previously such as lady birds and other insects.  It has been lovely just to sit and watch the ladybirds and realise that they are as much part of God’s creation as anything else.
 
tues 18
And I end with a prayer taken from the Finding Solace website:
 
Creator of all, we come to you today deeply grateful for your creation.
As we look around us we are amazed at the greatness and majesty of all that you have made.
Nature around us speaks of your greatness—the vast expanse of the sky, the mountains, trees, lakes, and streams speak of your great design.
You have given us such beauty in the colours of the rainbow, the beauty of flowers and fields.
Words cannot adequately express the magnificence of all you have created.
We join in praise with the writer of the psalms when he says, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the Earth.”
May we show our love and reverence to you, our Lord, by caring for all that you have created.
We humbly give you praise and thanks.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 



 

Monday 17 August

I thought I would share the latest Pooh and Piglet story written by Kathryn Wallace from ‘I know I need to stop talking’ Facebook page.
 
 "Piglet?" said Pooh.
 
"Yes?" said Piglet.
 
"I'm scared," said Pooh.
 
For a moment, there was silence.
 
"Would you like to talk about it?" asked Piglet, when Pooh didn't appear to be saying anything further.
 
"I'm just so scared," blurted out Pooh. "So anxious.  Because I don't feel like things are getting any better.  If anything, I feel like they might be getting worse.  People are angry, because they're so scared, and they're turning on one another, and there seems to be no clear plan out of here, and I worry about my friends, and the people I love, and I wish SO much that I could give them all a hug, and oh, Piglet!  I am so scared, and I cannot tell you how much I wish it wasn't so."
 
Piglet was thoughtful, as he looked out at the blue of the skies, peeping between the branches of the trees in the Hundred Acre Wood, and listened to his friend.
 
"I'm here," he said, simply. "I hear you, Pooh. And I'm here."
 
For a moment, Pooh was perplexed.  "But... aren't you going to tell me not to be so silly? That I should stop getting myself into a state and pull myself together?  That it's hard for everyone right now?"
 
"No," said Piglet, quite decisively. "No, I am very much not going to do any of those things."
 
"But-" said Pooh.
 
"I can't change the world right now," continued Piglet. "And I am not going to patronise you with platitudes about how everything will be okay, because I don't know that.
 
"What I can do, though, Pooh, is that I can make sure that you know that I am here.  And that I will always be here, to listen; and to support you; and for you to know that you are heard.
 
"I can't make those anxious Feelings go away, not really.  "But I can promise you that, all the time I have breath left in my body...you won't ever need to feel those anxious feelings alone."

And it was a strange thing, because even as Piglet said that, Pooh could feel some of those anxious feelings start to loosen their grip on him; could feel one or two of them start to slither away into the forest, cowed by his friend, who sat there stolidly next to him.
 
Pooh thought he had never been more grateful to have Piglet in his life.
 
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And I end with a prayer from womansday.com:
 
Loving God,
Lately I’ve been so worried about things that are out of my control.
Help me to trust that you are working every little detail of my life out and that I have nothing to fear or worry about.
In Jesus’s name,
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Sunday 16 August

The Gospel reading for today’s lectionary is Matthew chapter 15 verses 21 to 28.  In this passage, a Cananite woman came to Jesus to ask Him to heal her daughter.  Jesus is quiet at first and does not answer, however the woman persists so much that the disciples urged Jesus to send her away.  Jesus doesn’t send her away but rejects her by saying He only came for the lost sheep of Israel, meaning the Jews.   Still the woman persists and Jesus strikes another low blow by saying it is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs – the word dog was seen as a rather derogatory term.  However, the woman gives as good as she gets amazing Jesus so much with her faith that He immediately heals her daughter.
 
This story speaks to me of great perseverance and persistence.  Despite being rejected, the woman persevered and kept asking until Jesus realised how much faith she had and healed her daughter.  We may come to God with our requests and feel that He is rejecting us but we need to have faith and keep persisting, trusting that God will answer us when the time is right according to the plan He has for each of us.
 

 perseverance-quote-from-the-bi
 
 And I end with a prayer for perseverance and peace taken from the Connect Us website:
 
Lord, You infuse us with the inner strength we need.
By Your power, we are able to endure all things.
By trusting in Your Word, and by striving to live as you have commanded, we learn peace and contentment in every circumstance.
We find satisfaction whether there is abundance or scarcity.
When life is rough and we are in need, teach us to trust and persevere through these tough times with our eyes looking to you for direction.
May we feel the fullness of Your presence dwell in us as we wait on You to see us through.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’ love
Kate


 

Saturday 15 August

So today marks 12 years since my sister Kerry passed away and 5 years since my best friend Laura passed away.  Both Kerry and Laura were happy and smiling despite what they were going through and both reached out to others. 
 
I loved the way that Kerry, in her own unique way, would make me laugh even if I did not feel like it and I loved the way that Laura would be there for me when I was struggling with my treatment, often with a bottle of Dr Pepper for me!
 
They both made a big difference to other people’s lives, especially mine and I like to think I let their memory live on in me in the way that I try to keep smiling even on my bad days and try to be there for others when I can.
 
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And I end with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Thank you for the lives
of all those loved ones
who, whilst no longer
walking beside us
or holding our hand
along life’s journey
as once they did, live on
in the collective memory
of those they have left behind.
Enjoy their company, Loving God
until we shall meet again.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Friday 14 August

If there was a certificate for overthinking, I would easily have a first class distinction.  I am a master over thinker.  Once I start over thinking I find it very hard to stop and get into a bit of a downward spiral.  I think perhaps if I did as the quote below says and talk to God first, I wouldn’t get into such a downward spiral!
 
fri 14
 
And I close today with a prayer by Jennifer Herren:
 
Dear Lord,
I thank you that I can come to You always for any reason.
 I’m grateful that when I pray to You, You answer me.
Help me to come to You at the beginning of my fears and anxieties instead of waiting until I can’t stand them anymore.
The quicker I come to You the better.
 You want to free me from ALL my fears.
Help me look to You for help more often so that I can be radiant with Your joy.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Thursday 13 August

For me, knowing that God is always with me whatever happens is so reassuring and in a way reinforces the trust that I have in God.  I may sometimes feel overwhelmed with life but I will never be alone as God is there to help me through.
 
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And I end with prayer of gratitude from crosswalk.com:
 
Dear God,
Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives.
Thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us.
Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times, strengthening us for your purposes.
Thank you for your great love and care.
Thank you for your mercy and grace.
Thank you that you are always with us and will never leave us.
Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life.
Forgive us for when we don't thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you've given.
Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh.
Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy.
We love you and we need you, this day and every day.
We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Wednesday 12 August

This is another quote which has made me smile lately.  Over lockdown I have learnt not to worry so much about my clothes and my hair because actually we are all in the same boat.  Also, I try not to give myself a hard time if I don’t achieve all I had planned.  These are unprecedented times and it really doesn’t matter if my carpet isn’t hoovered or my bed made, especially as I am not allowed visitors anyway!
 
tues 11

And I end with a prayer from womensday.com:
 
God, who is more than we can ever comprehend, help us to seek you, and you alone.
Help us to stand before all that we could do and seek what you would do, and do that.
Lift from us our need to achieve all that we can be and instead, surrender to what you can be in us.
Give us ways to refrain from the busyness that will put us on edge and off centre, give us today your peace.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Tuesday 11 August

I have been very blessed, especially over the past ten or so years, to have had some amazing friends.  They have been from all ages and all backgrounds but all have been there for me, accepting and encouraging me on my journey through life. 
 
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And I end with a prayer of gratitude taken from the Woman’s Day website:
 
Lord Jesus,
You loved your friends and demonstrated acceptance, encouragement, and intimacy.
Thank you for the friends you have given me.
For the rest that is found in knowing acceptance.
For the blessing found in being encouraged.
And for the heavenly touch of intimacy that comes through the rich inheritance found in you.
Thank you.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 10 August

As you know I like to use the behaviour of geese in my services as an illustration.  I am currently reading ‘Facing the Storm’ by Eddie Askew.  In one of the reflections, he talks about how in a storm the geese don’t use up their energy flying or fighting it, instead they float together facing the storm and paddle just enough to keep their direction and position in the water.
 
Askew says that when things get difficult for us, instead of screaming and asking why this has happened, we should hold onto our faith and wait for the storm to pass.

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I end with his reflection:
 
Look at the birds.
That’s what you said, Lord.
 
And there they are,
just getting on,
with the business of living.
Being birds.
Facing the storm.
 
That’s part of my problem, I reckon.
Not content to be me.
Wanting something different.
Creating my own tensions.
Piling up the building blocks of discontent.
Making my own high-rise apartments of unhappiness.
Isolating myself in anxiety.
Made worse,
when the hand of reality
gives it all a push,
and I sit,
a child in the ruins,
howling.
 
Help me understand, Lord,
that wherever I’m at,
you’re there.
That you have something for me.
That you care.
As a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
you said.
 
Nice picture, that.
Safe from the world,
Warm, secure.
But chicks grow up,
and so must I.
Get out into the cold wind
of the world out there.
 
But knowing that your wings
are stronger than the storm.
 
I think I can live with that.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love
Kate 
 

Sunday 9 August

The lectionary reading today is taken from Matthew chapter 14 verses 22 to 33 and is the story of Jesus walking on water.  Twenty plus years ago, I was lucky enough to spend a week with the Jubilee Sailing Trust sailing around the Canaries on a tall ship. The crew consisted of abled bodied people and those of us with disabilities and we all worked together to sail the ship.  It was great when it was calm and you often forgot that you were on the sea.  However, it wasn’t so great when the winds and waves were high and my wheelchair had to be strapped down so it I not roll across the deck.  It was even worse if it was rough at night so I have a little bit of an idea of how scared the disciples must have been when they were being buffered about by the waves and as some of them were seasoned fisherman it must have been very rough for them to be scared.
 
Compared to the conditions on the outside of the boat, being inside of the boat would have been relatively comfortable and Peter had the other disciples to huddle up to.  However, perhaps impulsively and without thinking, Peter decided that he was going to leave the boat and walk to Jesus.  Peter wanted to experience more than just being inside the boat. 
 
Maybe we have our own boats – places where we feel so comfortable that we are scared of leaving them.  We may be stuck in a rut in our job but scared to make the decision to leave and move onto pastures new in case the new job is not a success.  We may want to do more at church but are worried that we may not be good enough. 
 
When Peter decided to leave the boat, he would have had to hold onto to the edge of the boat as he stepped over the side as it being buffeted by the waves.  He would then need to make a conscious decision to let go and take a step toward Jesus. 
 
Letting go can be hard and we may need to make a conscious decision to let go of the sides of our metaphorical boat and take a step to where God is calling us. 
 
Once out of the boat Peter walked a few steps but when he saw the wind, became afraid and began to sink.  We could perhaps see this as failure but at least Peter made more effort than those who remained in the boat.   Peter had the experience of walking on water, an experience that the others had not had and one that he could grow from and look back on in the future.
 
Even if things do not work out the way that we have planned, it is still worth the experience.  I was training to be a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital when I had to stop due to ill health.  At the time I felt like a failure and like a year of my life had been wasted.  I can now look back and see how that experience shaped who I am as a person and has enabled me to get alongside other people especially those with health issues.
 
Peter’s experience gave him the opportunity for a greater connection with Jesus.  We do not know how far he was from the boat when Jesus reached out and caught him and said the words “why did you doubt” but those words were unlikely to have been heard by the disciples because of the wind and rain.  This could well have been an intimate moment between Peter and Jesus where they connected and Peter saw Jesus fully for who he was, the Son of God.
 
In a way my comfortable Sunday routine was my boat.  When lockdown occurred, I had to let go of what I had been doing every Sunday for the past few years.  I could have chosen to do nothing, as the rest of the disciples did in the storm, but like Peter I stepped out.   I sunk as I failed to connect with certain types of worship but I learnt from that experience and found a form of online worship that I could connect with.  That worship has enabled me to connect with God in a deeper more intimate way.  Just as Peter and Jesus returned to the boat, I will return to my church and preaching but I hope and pray that I will take with me something that I have learned during this time and will go back a different person from when I left the boat. 
 
All of us have our boats, we just need to leave our comfort zones and follow God’s call, not being afraid of failure along the way because as Jeremiah, chapter 29 verse 11 says “I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.”
  
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 And I end with prayer from Roots:
 
In the boat you know our need.
Experiencing the storm you know our need.
Battered by the waves you know our need.
Far from land you know our need.
The wind against us you know our need.
 
To our surprise you come to us
In our fear you come to us.
You call to us.
You know our need.
 
In faith and obedience we come to you.
In doubt and deliberation we come to you.
In what we know and what we do not yet know we come to you.
Help us to know our need.
You know our need.
 
You come to us.
You call to us.
We hear your call.
We recognise you.
We would come to you.
We would know our need.
Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Saturday 8 August

Not only do I like the picture below but I thought the quote was good as well.  All of us need encouragement from others, especially at the moment as it can be hard to get motivated at times. It doesn’t take much effort to offer encouragement to someone but it can make a big difference to them and their day. 
 
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And I end with a prayer taken from the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Lord, help me to be an encouragement to others in the same way that You have sent many little encouragements to me along the way. There have been times of weariness and times of fear and times when I have felt ready to give up, but always at the right time there was a short note or a simple call or a little token of Your love for me, which You sent by means of the many people that You have lovingly placed in my life.
 
Thank You also Lord, that You are our God of encouragement, and that we have Your indwelling Holy Spirit to help and to comfort in times of need. Teach me Your way and Your will, and help me to always heed the gentle promptings of the Spirit of Comfort within my heart, so that I may not miss an opportunity to be a minister of Your encouragement to others in times of need.
 
Show me Lord, how I can best be an encouragement to others, and may my life point others to You and never to myself. May I decrease as You increase more and more in my life. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate          

 


Friday 7 August

I have shared cartoons from Dave Walker previously and thought I would share this new one from the Church Times:
 
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And I end with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
 
Gracious God, let us never forget,
as daily life becomes more difficult
and restrictions cause annoyance,
that there are many for whom
this has been normality for years;
affected by long-term drought
or destructive storms; struggling
in poverty, or through violence
forced to adopt the life of refugee.
May we remember to be thankful
for what we have, and work together
selflessly for all who need our help.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Thursday 6 August

I like to share these ‘self-care’ quotes because I think self-care is vital for us all especially at the moment.  We all need to remember that we can only look after others if we look after ourselves first, as we are no use to others if we are worn out.  It is a difficult thing to do but it can benefit ourselves and all those around us.
 
thurs 5
 
  
And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:
 
In the darker moments,
when clouds gather
and the heaviness we feel
seems overwhelming,
remind us of your love,
carrying the weight
of so much in that cross,
embracing the world
with arms outstretched
that we might know
freedom from the chains
which now constrain us.
Bring us to your light,
release our burdens
and from despair bring hope.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 

Wednesday 5 August

I think this is a really good quote for when you are feeling a bit down on yourself and in need of a pick me up.   Just like God has a place in the world for oceans and mountains, He has a place and role for you in this world too.
 
weds 5 aug

And I end with a prayer taken from prayray.com
 
Lord,
I thank you because I am relevant in your kingdom.
You made us all unique.
Please let me be the change that the world needs.
Use me for the world, let me be the salt that will sweeten this world, and let be the light that will shine in this world.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


 

Tuesday 4 August

I have spoken about Corrie Ten Boom previously and thought that I would share this quote.  I don’t know about you but when the sun is shining like today, my worries seem less than they would on a dark and rainy day.  The good news is that God’s light and his promises shine on us though whatever the weather. 
 
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And I end with a prayer for summer by Jim Manney:
 
Creator of all, thank You for summer!
Thank you for the warmth of the sun
and the increased daylight.
Thank You for the beauty I see all around me
and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation.
Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family,
and for the more casual pace of the summer season.
Draw me closer to You this summer.
Teach me how I can pray
no matter where I am or what I am doing.
Warm my soul with the awareness of Your presence
and light my path with Your Word and Counsel.
As I enjoy Your creation, create in me
a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 3 August

I thought this would be a good quote to share, especially if you have woken up with that Monday morning feeling and have no idea how you will get through today let alone the week!
 
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 And I end with a prayer by Wendy Blight:
 
Dear Lord,
I don't know who or what will cross my path today.
But I do know that You are my Rock and my Fortress.
You are my Shield and my Strong Tower.
Help me to anchor myself to You today.
Teach me how to stand strong in You and choose only Your way today.
Help me walk by Your truth and not my feelings.
Help me to embrace anything that comes my way as an opportunity to see You at work and as an opportunity to point others to You.
Thank You that You love me and nothing can ever take that away from me!
Even if I fail today and fall short, You whisper Your unconditional love deep into my soul and remind me that Your mercies are new every morning.
That truly amazes me, Lord.
Thank You for meeting with me today.
Would You wake me again tomorrow with the same sweet whisper of Your love? I can't wait to meet with You again.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate



 

Sunday 2 August

I have mentioned previously that on a Monday night I take part in the ‘Pesky Methodists’ bible study group via Zoom.  Now we have finished the course that we were doing, we discuss the lectionary reading for the coming Sunday.  This week we looked at Matthew chapter 14 verses 13 to 22, the feeding of the five thousand.
 
One of the things that we talked about was food poverty and how there are so many people across the world, and in this country as well, who regularly go without food.  Sometimes we may feel powerless and not able to give as much as we would like.  However, in the feeding of the five thousand Jesus took what little they had and multiplied it meeting the needs of the hungry people so we need to give what we can and trust that God will use it to benefit others.
 
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 And I end with a prayer written by Joy Welford, part of the Pesky Methodists group:
 
Lord we come to you weary, hungry, tired.
We have followed you a long way and it's late ...
Should we give up now and go home to be fed?
You are reluctant to let us go, despite your own weariness.
We, your disciples, don't know what to do, but you Lord are clear... organise folk let them sit on the grass, feed them.
Lord there are so many needs out there, physical, psychological, burdens of homelessness, poverty anger and fear.
Let us play our part in supplying food, comfort and friendship in the group to which we have been assigned.
Show us how to balance our offering with the gifts of others: to accept all the skills, all the needs that you present to us and use them to bring about your kingdom.
Your Kingdom is being built daily, when we see little progress give us your vision to see the bigger picture and strength to continue.
May we work with others generously, humbly, and with good will encouraging, new ways of being church and cooperating with other groups willingly.
At a time of confusion, change and need may we sit down with you Lord and be fed.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Saturday 1 August

So as masks become compulsory in shops and many other places including churches from 8 August, I thought I would share this prayer that I found on Facebook.
 
mon 3
 
 
And I end with a prayer taken from the Faith and Worship website:
Breath of life and love,
disturb the dark clouds
of fear and anxiety
that trouble our lives,
and in this gentle breeze,
as clouds disperse,
may we sense hope
and healing, as your light
breaks in and through
our hearts and minds,
and shines out in the world.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Friday 31 July


The quote below is very true.  I have certain songs that remind me of people no longer with us.   The song ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba reminds me of my sister Kerry and the hymn ‘Brother Sister let me serve you’ reminds me of my friend Laura.  They make me feel sad that they are no longer here but also remind me of the good times that we had together. I expect you have songs that remind you of people close to you as well. 

fri 31  
 
And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website thinking of those no longer with us:
Thank you for the remembrance
of loved ones no longer with us;
for their inspiring words,
encouragement,
love and support,
an example for us to follow.
May their legacy be seen
in the people we have become,
and may we always be thankful.
Amen

Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Thursday 30 July

I don’t know about you but sometimes I just do not have the words when it comes to praying.  However, as Romans chapter 8 verses 26 to 27 says from The Message says: “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. The Holy Spirit does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.”   So it does not matter if we don’t have the words, we just need to take time to come before God.
 
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And I end with a prayer based on Romans chapter 8 verses 26 to 27:
 
When we don’t know how or what to pray,
the Spirit knows.
When all we can muster are sighs and groans,
the Spirit knows those also.
When we feel that we aren’t even worthy to approach God,
the Spirit goes before us and with us
and God welcomes us with arms open.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


Wednesday 29 July

This poster was found outside Seahouses Methodist Church and was shared on Facebook.  I think it applies to many churches at the moment including Trinity.  We may not be worshipping together but all of us are still bound together in love and connecting with each other in different ways.

tues 28

And I end with a prayer for the church taken from the Christian Aid website:
 
May your love that never fails
strengthen the weak
encourage the fearful
calm the anxious
heal the sick
through your church –
your washed hands
and feet on earth –
distant but still present
virtual but still connected
apart but still helping.
God in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Amen.
 
Stay strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Tuesday 28 July

A lot of you know that I have been trying to lose weight over the past couple of years and before lockdown I was doing pretty well even though I still liked the odd slice of cake!  Unfortunately I have slipped during lockdown and I really need to get back on track.
 
I really like the quote below and as someone who often takes people’s opinions to heart, I need to try not to take them to heart and let them go.  It is just a shame that the loss of those opinions will not show on the scales!

weds29 july 


And I end with a prayer from crosswalk.com:
 
Dear Lord,
Please help me when those around me try to bring me down.
Allow me to recognise the hurts and issues in their lives and how I can be of help to them. Help me to keep my natural human tendencies in check and not to retaliate back.
Quietly remind me where my true worth and value really lie.
Give me comfort in knowing that You are leading me on a better path and give me the strength to continue pursuing it.
Please clear my heart of any issues that will hinder me from praying for those around me.
In Your Name I pray.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Monday 27 July

I used a quote last week saying that a good way to start the day is to say thank-you so I thought I would share this one on how to end the day.   It isn’t always easy to end on a positive, especially if the day has been really bad, but it can help bring closure to the day and make us ready to start again the next day.

mon 27 july 

 
And I finish with a prayer for the end of the day posted on the Women’s Day Website:
 
Loving God, you know my worries and care for my troubles.
So I give these heavy concerns to you.
I lay these situations at your feet.
The empty cross is a place of rest, where I can reflect upon your resurrection and the moment when love overcame.
Thank you that your love in me can transform the landscape of my life.
I walk with peace into the new day, and put my hope in you.
Nothing is outside of your redeeming love, might I rest now in the knowledge that you will light my path and guide my life.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 26 July

The lectionary reading from the Gospel for this Sunday is Matthew chapter 13 verses 31 to 33 and verses 44 to 52.  Each of these parables talk about the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God as it is known in the gospels of Luke and Mark has always been a concept I have struggled to understand especially during my studies to become a Local Preacher as have I read so many different theories on regarding it.
 
However at my bible study group last week someone used the analogy of a wheel.  The Kingdom of God, which is present both now and in the future in heaven, is the centre of the wheel and all of us are like the spokes, coming to God in many different ways but all of us meeting in the centre.   All we have to do is seek God first above all other things.
 
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And I end with the words of the hymn, Seek Ye First:
Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And his righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you,
Allelu, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, allelu, alleluia.
 
Ask, and it shall be given unto you,
Seek, and ye shall find.
Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you,
Allelu, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, allelu, alleluia.
 
You shall not live by bread alone,
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of the Lord,
Allelu, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia,
Alleluia, allelu, alleluia.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 25 July

For the past few weeks at One Truth Youth, we have been having a discussion led by one of the young people.  This week it was on music and it was really interesting to hear about the types of music people liked and disliked and why.  I think it gave us all a bit better understanding of each other especially when talking about music we liked to hear in church.

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And I end with a prayer reflection by Carol Penner:
 
Thank you for the music all around us.
Each morning we hear it from the moment we open our ears;
the low notes of wind around the eaves,the whoosh of water as it comes from the tap,e glug glug as it drains,
the throaty whistle of the boiling kettle,
the metallic tap of the spoon against the cup,
the jazz percussion of our feet on the steps.
The sounds of our day,
so familiar we hardly pay attention.
Thank you for the ability to hear.
 
Thank you for the sounds of life:
the chatter of the squirrel,
the deep purr of  a cat,
the sharp calls of a blue jay,
the sound of someone we love laughing.
Give us wisdom to enter this day with good sounds,
tones and pitches and words that affirm, encourage, cherish,
our sounds affecting the world in a positive way.
 
We pray for all who sing a sad song today;
the grieving, the lonely, the lost.
We pray especially for those who have lost their voice
and feel silenced or oppressed.
There are many singing freedom songs around our world,
and so today we pray for the safety of these singers.
Give their song the strength to convince and convert,
the power to ward off war.
There are too many war songs,
we don’t want to hear another one.
 
Thank you for your songs, love songs, which we are invited to sing.
Thank you for all the parts you’ve made for the song;
soprano, alto, tenor, bass.
Thank you for the children’s part and the senior’s part,
thank you for the youth part and the part for middle agers,
thank you for the crazy baby descant
that we all love to hear.
 
You are the Great Composer .
We long to be composed each day in your image,
singing your elegant score truly, clearly,
following your rhythm by heart,
finding our voice in your beautiful world.
Hearing you in the music of life.
This is our prayer.  Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

 

Friday 24 July

I try and get up most mornings around 8 am to upload the day’s blog, which happens on automatic pilot as I am really not a morning person and I tend to go back to bed for another couple of hours or walk around in a bit of a daze until my brain kicks in! 
 
I think it would be a good habit though for me, instead of moaning about how little sleep I have got or how tired I still am, to start the day off in a positive way by saying thank-you: thank-you to God for a new day, for all its blessings and for all that I will do.

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And I end with a prayer for the morning by Lesli White:
 
Dear Lord,
You have brought me to the beginning of a new day.
As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask You to renew my heart with Your strength and purpose.
Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in Your way today.
This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel Your presence in me.
Take my hand, precious Lord for I cannot make it by myself.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate





 

Thursday 23 July

Trusting in God can be a very difficult thing because although we might think we have trust in God, our actions may say different and our lives may be filled with worry and doubt.  We need to develop our trust in God by putting Him first above everything else as it is by turning to God that our trust in Him develops.
 
thurs 25 july
 
And I end with a prayer for trust by Alexis Waid:
 
God,
I don’t know why I don’t trust You more.
I get upset at myself for my lack of trust.
I wish I was stronger and deeply rooted, but I am not.
God, help me to accept this is where I am today.
Help me to know that if I keep seeking You the trust will richly develop.
Help me feel no shame, but instead stand with You just as I am, not as I should be.
I can only become better through You.
So this is my confession Lord, I need You.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Amen.
 
Stay strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Wednesday 22 July

The quote below made me smile so I thought I would share it.  It is very easy to compare ourselves to others and the things they have but we need to focus on ourselves and do what we can to improve our own situation.
 
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And I end with a prayer of thanksgiving from the Holy Land Prayer website:
 
God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace in all things,
I want to thank you for the gift of life,
for the breath that sustains life,
for the food of this earth that nurtures life,
and for the love of family and friends,
without which there would be little happiness in life.
 
I thank you for the beauty of creation of this great Earth,
for the joy that the ear may hear,
for the unknown that we cannot behold,
filling the universe with wonder,
and for the expanse of space,
 that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.
 
 
Everything in my life,
and the life that surrounds me was drawn,
and created by Your own hand.
For this, I am grateful. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate


 

Tuesday 21 July

I am not very good at remembering verses from the bible but this one is short enough for me to remember.  It is one that I often say to myself in difficult times changing the word ‘us’ to ‘me’ and making it more personal.   This verse reminds me that God is with me in every situation and nothing is too big for Him. 
 
Romans-8v31-2
 
 
And I end with a prayer from the Christian Aid website:
 
God of heaven and earth,
in these times of isolation,
apart from loved ones,
distant from friends,
away from neighbours,
thank you that there is nothing
in all of creation,
not even coronavirus,
that is able to separate us from your love.
 
And may your love that never fails
continue to be shared
through the kindness of strangers
looking out for each other,
for neighbours near and far
all recognising our shared vulnerability,
each of us grateful for every breath,
and willing everyone to know the gift
of a full and healthy life.
Keep us all in your care.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Monday 20 July

I was recently sent this poem by William Henry Davies in an e-card from a congregation member. 
 
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
 
I am sure that I have come across it previously but it seems more relevant now as we have all had time to stand and stare.  In my front garden, I have some lavender plants which are attracting lots of bees and butterflies.  Instead of rushing past and not noticing, I have had time just to sit and watch what the butterflies and bees are doing.
 
poem2
 
And I end today with a prayer of gratitude for Creation by Fiona Murdoch from Eco-Congregation Ireland:
 
God of the universe,
We thank You for Your many good gifts -
for the beauty of Creation and its rich and varied fruits,
for clean water and fresh air, for food and shelter, animals and plants.
 
Forgive us for the times we have taken the earth's resources
for granted and wasted what You have given us.
Transform our hearts and minds
so that we would learn to care and share,
to touch the earth with gentleness and with love,
respecting all living things.
 
We pray for all those who suffer as a result of our waste,
greed and indifference,
and we pray that the day would come when everyone has enough
food and clean water.
 
Help us to respect the rights of all people and all species
and help us to willingly share your gifts,
today and always.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

 

Sunday 19 July

I would like to share an illustration that I have used previously when focusing on Luke chapter 9 verse 23: Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
 
Well, here I am, Lord. You said, "Take up your cross," and I'm here to do it. It's not easy, you know, this self-denial thing.   I mean to go through with it.  Yes, I will go through with it.
 
I bet you wish more people were willing to be disciples like me.  I've counted the cost and surrendered my life, and it's not an easy road.
 
You mind if I look around over the crosses?  I'd kind of like a new one.  I'm not fussy, you understand, but a disciple has to be relevant these days.
 
I was wondering, are there any that are padded?  I am thinking of attracting others you see? And if I could show them a comfortable one I'm sure I could win a lot more.
 
And I need something durable so I can treasure it always.  Oh, is there one that's sort of flat so it would fit under my coat?  One shouldn't be too obvious.
 
Funny there doesn't seem to be much, choice here, just that coarse rough wood one.  I mean, that would hurt.
 
Don't you have something more distinctive, Lord I can tell You right now, none of my friends are going to be impressed by this shoddy workmanship.  They'll think I'm a nut or something. And my family will be just mortified.
 
What's that? It's either one of these or forget the whole thing?
 
But, Lord, I want to be your disciple. I mean, just being with You, that's all that counts; but life has to have a balance, too.
 
But You don't understand -- nobody lives that way today! Who's going to be attracted by this self-denial bit?   I mean I want to, but let’s not overdo it!
 
Jesus gave his disciples and us the instructions to take up our cross and follow Him but are we prepared and able to do what He asked. 
 
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And I end with an excerpt from a prayer by Hila, and posted on the Love God, Love Neighbour website:
 
Today, Lord,
I once again take up my cross and follow you.
 
Forgive me for choosing daily to be complacent.
Happiness has been my god and I have believed I’m entitled to it.
Forgive me for all the excuses I have
for not responding to you immediately, with urgency, and sacrificially.
Forgive me for complaining about being bored as I sit and do nothing.
 
Forgive me for the times I have tried to make
carrying my cross more comfortable. 
I have been too concerned with finding things to make it easier;
gadgets and toys to make my cross lighter, smaller, and cushioned.
 
Forgive me for making excuses
and not going with you because I was worried about
my health, safety, reputation, loneliness, financial security,
and ability to handle extreme weather and getting dirty.
Forgive me for focusing on my comfort rather than my character.
 
Forgive me for the times I have not followed you
because it wasn’t convenient.
I didn’t want to go out of my way to see the needs around me
because then I would feel guilty for not doing something about them.
Forgive me for not loving my neighbours–
I don’t even know their names.
Forgive me for trying to pacify my conscience,
by giving just enough to feel good about myself,
but not enough to inconvenience my lifestyle.
 
Today, Lord,
I once again take up my cross and follow you.
Shake me of my complacency;
I want to live daily with an urgency
to radically be the change you call me to be.
Strip me of my comforts;
may my love for you be a driving force to live with joyful surrender.
Scratch out my schedule;
I don’t want my circumstances or timeline
to influence my dedication and obedience
to take up my cross and follow you.
Here I am; Send Me.
 
May your word pour out of me like water to the thirsty,
and may my life be full of the fruit of the Spirit.
All I am and have I give back to you with open hands
knowing that all my needs you will meet as I go with you.
Today I take up my cross and follow you.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate



 

Saturday 18 July

So today is four months since the start of this little blog and I certainly did not expect to still be writing it now or for it to have been as popular as it has been.  I will definitely keep writing but don’t worry if I start to miss a day or so, it will be because I have run dry of ideas and need to have a regroup and refresh before coming up with more ideas.   Also I am hoping to have surgery in the next few months so I will need to take a little break then.
 
Life is very slowing starting to get back to normal even if it is a ‘new’ normal for many of us.  I am finding that all of us have differing views on getting back to normal and some of us may feel comfortable doing lots of the things we used to but some of us may feel that we are not ready yet.   As it says below we need to be kind to others and kind to ourselves, taking things at our own pace and not judging others. 
 
 
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And I end with a prayer written by Dorothy Moore Brooks who is a Chaplain at Great Ormond Street Hospital:
 
Dear God,
When I feel worried about what is happening in the world,
blow my worries away like the wind blows leaves on an autumn day.
When I feel sad about how this virus is making so many people sick,
wash my tears away like a waterfall washes over rocks and makes them smooth.
When I feel scared that I might get this horrible virus,
calm my fears like the dawn makes a dark night fade away and I feel safe again.
Thank you that you are with me and everyone I am worried about.
Thank you that you love me and will always be with me.  Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Friday 17 July

When I first saw this quote I was reminded of a song, complete with actions, that we sung at Sunday School forty plus years ago called Running Over.  You may remember it as well, it goes:
 
Running over, running over
My cup is full and running over
 
Since the Lord saved me
I’m as happy as can be
My cup is full and running over
 
I have no idea if this chorus was part of a bigger hymn or who wrote it, if anyone knows please let me know.
 
I don’t think at that time I would have had much understanding of what the words meant, I think I would have just thought it was nice song with actions.  However, I now understand just what the words mean and I can sing it with much more conviction knowing that God has blessed me and my cup is full and runs over with God’s love and all he has done and continues to do for me.
 
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And I end with a prayer of thanksgiving from crosswalk.com:
 
Loving God,
Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives.
Thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us.
Thank you that you are able to bring hope through even the toughest of times, strengthening us for your purposes.
Thank you for your great love and care.
Thank you for your mercy and grace.
Thank you that you are always with us and will never leave us.
Thank you for your incredible sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life.
Forgive us for when we don't thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you've given.
Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh.
Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy.
We love you and we need you, this day and every day.
We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy!
In Jesus' Name,
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate


 

Thursday 16 July

I spoke yesterday about how today will not come again and so we need to make the most of each day.  However, we can’t easily do that if we are still carrying negative things over from yesterday.  These include things that we have done wrong that we can’t let go of, things others have done to upset us etc.  We need to try and start each day with a clean slate for ourselves and others so we can make the most of this new day.
 
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And I end with a prayer by Meg Bucher:
 
Loving God
Praise You for the sky and sun, for both remind us of a new day’s challenge and chance to chase You.
Thank You for reminding us life is not always easy, but that we don’t have to carry the hard into each new day.
Forgive us for dwelling on the past and for holding onto grudges.
Bless our hearts to be held back by nothing as we seek You each day.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

Wednesday 15 July

One of my favourite musicals is Rent and one of the songs is called Seasons of Love.  Here are some of the lyrics:
 
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
 
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
 
How do you measure, a year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
 
Seasons of love
Seasons of love
 
Remember the love
Oh, you got to; you got to remember the love
Remember the love
You know that life is a gift from up above
Remember the love
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure in love
Measure, measure your life in love
 
 
As the song says love is a gift from God and we should try and use the minutes in our days and in our years, to share love with others around us.  Today will not come again, so let us use the minutes that we have today to show love to others in whatever way we can.

weds 15 
 

 
And I end today with a prayer by Rebecca Barlow Jordan:
 
Good morning, Lord!
Today's a new day, a chance for a new start.
Yesterday is gone and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced.
It's a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord.
Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Tuesday 14 July

I have chosen to share this quote today because of the phrase “got your back”.  This phrase means that you will support someone especially in a difficult situation.  It reminds me very much of my friend Laura who was treated alongside me at the National.  When treatment was difficult for me or when things were going wrong, she would say to me, “It’s okay duck, I’ve got your back.”  It was great to know that she looked out for me but what is greater than that is knowing that God has my back and is there for me, doing what I can’t do and supporting me every step of the way.
    
 
god has your back
 
 And I end with a prayer of St Christopher taken from the Great Ormond Street Hospital website:
 
God, thank you for giving me another day.
Let me face my troubles today - the big and the small -
with a happy heart filled with your unending love.
Let me appreciate the moments of joy,
you send me this day.
Let me see the cares of others
as an opportunity to bring
your great compassion to those who most need it.
 
And God, I know that you see and know all things
- all of the world’s loveliness, and all of its harshness, too.
So on this day that you have given me,
I ask that I may bring your joy with me
as I share myself with others.
And I pray that you will be warmed
by the happiness of your children.
 
Finally, God, let me never forget
that in all things, in gladness or sorrow,
You who are all love and joy and hope
are always by my side.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 13 July

Following on from talking about the parable of the sower yesterday, I thought that I would share this quote with you today.  It is important that where we can we share our faith with others.  Some people may be ready to hear our message but others may not be.  We should not think though that what we have said is wasted, we have planted a seed and it maybe that in time that seed may grow.
 
sat 11 july
And I end with a prayer from the Faith and Worship website:

 
Help us, with simple words,
to explain the warmth
within our hearts
that we experienced
in that first encounter
with your love and grace -
the Spirit’s flame,
still burning bright within -
that others, in their own
journeys of discovery
might reach out and touch
the hand that’s always there,
and be embraced by love.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 12 July

Today’s lectionary reading is from Matthew chapter 13 verses 1 to 9 and verses 18  - 23, the parable of the sower. 
 
My garden provides a good illustration of this parable.  I decided that I would sew some wildflowers in one area of the garden that is not really used for anything.  As you know I am not a gardener so I just decided to scatter the seed and hope it would land where it was meant to land.  Unfortunately not!  Some fell on the path and was eaten by the birds, some grew up amongst my clematis and was choked by it and some must have landed on my patio as it grew up but didn’t survive long.  The seeds that did make it into the correct place, and there are not many, have grown very well and are enjoyed by the bees and butterflies.  I should have really asked someone how to sow the seed properly and taken my time and then I would have been able to enjoy these wildflowers even more.
 
In a way this is like God’s word, we have to listen and take time to understand so that our faith will grow and we can enjoy all that God has planted in and around us.
 
The-Parable-of-the-Sower

 And I end today with a sonnet on the parable of the sower by Malcolm Guite.
 
I love your simple story of the sower,
With all its close attention to the soil,
Its movement from the knowledge to the knower,
Its take on the tenacity of toil.
 
I feel the fall of seed a sower scatters,
So equally available to all,
Your story takes me straight to all that matters,
Yet understands the reasons why I fall.
 
Oh deepen me where I am thin and shallow,
Uproot in me the thistle and the thorn,
Keep far from me that swiftly snatching shadow,
That seizes on your seed to mock and scorn.
 
O break me open, Jesus, set me free,
Then find and keep your own good ground in me.
 
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 11 July

I would like to share the latest Pooh and Piglet story written by Kathryn Wallace and shared on her Facebook page ‘I know I need to stop talking’.
 
Today was a tough one," said Piglet, who was very noticeably not his usual self, and was instead sitting quietly on an upturned tree stump, looking out over the Hundred Acre Wood.
 
"I'm sorry to hear that," said Pooh, carefully sitting down on the other end of the tree stump, at a safe, social distance away from Piglet. "Is there anything I can do?"
 
Piglet paused for a moment. Then: "You're doing it," he said.
 
"I am?" said Pooh, looking down at himself in confusion.  "But I'm not doing anything, Piglet. Whatever do you mean?"
 
"You're Being There," said Piglet, in a voice that was much smaller, and much sadder, than it would generally be.  "Being there, for me."
 
"But that's nothing!" said Pooh. "I would be there for you any time, Piglet, you know that."
 
"I do," agreed Piglet. "But don't ever say that it's nothing. To you, it might seem like nothing.
 
"But to me, right now... it feels like everything."

 
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And I end with a prayer by Rev Dr Lezley Stewart:
 
Each new day
we celebrate what it is to be free -
to live our lives in fullness.
This is the eternal gift of God.
 
But freedom and fullness lives in the simple
? in each breath we take
? in knowing we have a roof over our heads
? in the love of family and community
? all the things we might usually take for granted...
 
Freedom also invites the gift of generosity
? to continue to give where we can
? to support one another as we are able and go the extra mile
? to offer a welcome smile and forget the more formal handshake of yesterday
? to be what we have always been called to be - human.
 
This is not a Church crisis, a worship crisis, nor a financial crisis
? this is about the gift of life, which is for all, irrespective of birth, status or circumstances.
 
As we remember the most simple of these things, may we be inspired to renew calm, peace and hope in every new day.
 
For in the midst of all storms a Presence is found, and freedom in Christ remains.
Amen
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate
 

Friday 10 July

At the beginning of lockdown, it was hard to differentiate between weekdays and the weekend.  This is beginning to change as I tend to spend the weekdays doing various jobs on the computer and, although still done via my computer, my weekends are beginning to take a similar pattern to previously with the church coffee morning on Saturday, a virtual service on Sunday morning and then One Truth Youth in the evening.  I have learnt though that it does not matter what I do or if my days are similar or different, God is with me all the time and only a prayer away.
 
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And I end with a prayer by Stephen Fearing:
 
God of my Life,
thank you for your presence with me this week,
in the times that were easy and the times that were hard.
Guide me to a period of rest that I might preside with you,
recharge my batteries,
and prepare to again do the work you are calling me to do next week.
This I pray in your holy and true name.  Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love, Kate

 

Thursday 9 July

I have mentioned previously how lockdown has made me appreciate the relationships I have with people, especially my Dad.  On Monday, with shielding restrictions slightly relaxed, I was able to have a hug from my Dad and he could come and sit in my lounge rather than the garden to talk.  It was so nice to finally have someone in my house; even the cats seemed to appreciate someone other than me being there!  The best thing though about the visit was the hug; it seemed to make everything okay. 
 
I think the quote below is very true, although the picture is nothing like Dad and I!
 
thurs 9 july
 
 And I end with a thank-you prayer for friends and family taken from lords-prayer-words.com:
 
To be known, and yet loved is a blessing.
Thank you for all those who see me,
who seek to understand, support and nurture me.
 I am forever grateful to be able to come just as I am,
in every season,
to walk in intimacy and love with others.
This is the richest blessing,
the greatest gift and the beautiful legacy of your walk and life amongst us.
Thank you so much for all my friends and loved ones.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 
 

 

Wednesday 8 July

Sunday marked the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.  Just before 5 pm a spitfire flew over my house as part of its journey over the Lister hospital and Bedford hospital as well as hospitals in Cambridgeshire to say thank you to the NHS.  There was also a final clap for carers at 5 pm and although no-one came out in my road, many people across the country came out of their houses to clap and say thank-you.
 
I think that due to Covid-19, the country as a whole has much more appreciation for the NHS and those who are part of it.   I am very grateful for the NHS for all it has done for me over the years and all it will continue to do over the coming years.  I am blessed to be treated by some of the top neurologists and neurosurgeons in the country as well as some amazing nurse specialists who are dedicated to their work and making life easier for people like me.
 
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And I end with a prayer for the NHS taken from the Church of England website:
 
God of healing and compassion,
we thank you for the establishment of the National Health Service,
and for the dedication of all who work in it:
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who care for the sick,
and your wisdom to those engaged in medical research.
Strengthen all in their vocation through your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Tuesday 7 July

The quote below was said by Barack Obama in 2009 at the beginning of his presidency of the USA.  I think that it is very apt for today.   In 2020, due to Covid-19, our world has changed.  Although the environment seems to have benefited positively from so many countries being locked down, over all the impact on the world has been negative.  Many many people have lost their lives or their loved ones and people are also dealing with the long term economic consequences.  As we emerge from lockdown, this country and our world will be different to what it was when we entered lockdown. 
 
As we enter what is being termed the ‘new normal’ we need to make changes to how we are going to live whether it means meeting friends, going shopping or worshipping together.  These changes may make us feel uncertain but we need to trust God in this time.
 
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 And I finish with a prayer reflection taken from Roots:
 
It's difficult to live with uncertainty. 
However bad a situation,
knowing what you have to face
means that you can start coming to terms with it,
facing your fears,
planning your strategy.
When the 'big picture' is too big or too blurred
and indistinct,
it's easier to focus on small details,
to try to control what you can.
 
The world has changed,
how does that affect our living in the meantime?
How do I need to change?
How do I want to change?
Is it possible to live each day as a new opportunity,
while knowing that it feels the same as yesterday?
 
I need your help, God,
to listen for you in the clamour of voices calling for my attention,
to focus on you in the midst of competing priorities,
to trust you in this time of uncertainty.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Monday 6 July

There have been quite a few days during lockdown where things have built up and got a bit too much and I need to take some time out to regroup and replenish.  I have learnt not to feel guilty about just sitting and know that in order to be able to do the things I do, I need to take time for myself.
 
thurs 2

And I end with a prayer of relaxation by Sarah Forgrave:
 
Jesus, I am stressed.
Help me to accept your invitation to come empty and receive the rest I need.
Help me to willingly release my fear, my worries, my agenda, and my to-do list.
Ease the tension and replenish my body.
Silence the voices of doubt and speak Your words of truth.
Remove the heaviness of my day and pour out abundantly into my life.
Fill me with Your peace, joy, and love.
Fill me until the overwhelm is consumed by Your grace, and my life reflects the beauty of resting in You.
 Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Sunday 5 July

The lectionary reading today includes these words from Matthew chapter 11 verses 28 to 30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
 
These words made me think of the poem Footprints which I will share with you now:
 
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Here’s a prayer of praise inspired by Matthew 11: 28-30 written by John Birch:
 
In times of weakness and hour of need,
yours is the strength by which we carry on,
the shoulder we rest our head upon.
When our load is heavy and too much to bear,
yours are the arms stretched out to help us
the grace that we depend on.
In times of weakness and hour of need,
your voice is heard,
‘Come… find rest.’
This is grace divine,
the path we tread to wholeness
of body and spirit,
the path that leads to you,
and for which we offer our offering of praise.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 

Saturday 4 July

Today marks Independence Day in America, commemorating the Declaration of Independence which took place on July 4, 1776.  This day is normally filled with parades and parties but is likely to be slightly different this year due to Covid-19.
 
In a way today is a kind of Independence Day for us in the UK as restrictions are lifting further.  The hospitality and leisure industry are starting to open up and it will be possible to see more people.  Places of worship are also allowed to open and many churches, including Trinity, are having discussions as to how this can be done safely.
 
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And I end with prayer written by Lisa Frenz:
 
God of love and mercy,
You have lavished your creative might on this land, giving us an abundance of natural beauty and resources.
Lord, may we always remember that this earth is yours and we are its caretakers.

Guide us that we may use what you have given us with care and thanksgiving.
 
God of love and mercy,
You shower us with mercy not condemnation, with love not hate, with acceptance not fear.
Lord, may we always remember that justice is more than law.

Give us the wisdom to see injustice disguised as protection, and the courage and knowledge to challenge such laws.
God of love and mercy
You have blessed this land of ours with more riches than most of the world can comprehend, and with an energy and vitality that can produce wonders and marvels.
Lord, may we always act to share our wealth, taking the gifts you have given us to the world, reaching out to friend and foe, alike.

 
God of love and mercy
You have blessed this land, making it a great and wonderful place to live and work and play.
Instil in us the humility which comes from the knowledge that we have done nothing to deserve the blessings we have.

Sensitise us to the dignity of all people that we may respect their individuality of culture and spirituality.
Lead us to understand their needs within the context of their lives.
Supply us with the wisdom to assist them without imposing our customs upon them.
Continue to direct and enlighten us that we may be servants to the world and all peoples.
We ask this in Jesus' name, who is God yet servant to us all.
 Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 

Friday 3 July

I would like to share the words of a hymn written by Tim Hughes called God of Justice which I heard sung on Sunday at Oasis’ Online Gathering.  The words are very powerful and a challenge to all of us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.    Here is the link to the song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nnqOI4mVKc 
 
God of Justice, Saviour to all
Came to rescue the weak and the poor
Came to serve and not be served
And Jesus, You have called us
Freely we've received now freely we will give
We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go      
 
To act justly everyday
Loving mercy in every way
Walking humbly before You God
You have shown us what You require
Freely we've received now freely we will give
We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go
 
We must go, live to feed the hungry
Stand beside the broken, we must go
Stepping forward keep us from just singing
Move us into action, we must go      

 
SOF-Micah-6-8 web
Here’s a prayer of gratitude and commitment based on Micah 6: 6-8.  It was written by Dana Cassell:
 
Oh God
Our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer-
How do we thank you?
How do we show our gratitude?
Do you want signs and sacrifices?
Do you want gold and cattle?
Can we turn over our children to you?
Would that repay our debt, make everything right?
Tell us, what do you require in return for all your goodness?
 
Oh God,
Our teacher, example, companion—
You have shown us what is good,
and call us to remember
that what you require is not
repayment of debt
or settling the score,
but obedience.
 
Show us, God
When to do justice,
how to love kindness,
and where to walk,
humbly,
with You.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate
 


Thursday 2 July

Many of you will recognise the pictures below.  One is the church bench, very kindly donated by one of our members in memory of her late husband and the other is a view of the garden from that bench.
 
We may not be able to go into church but this bench, in its secluded place, gives the opportunity to sit and take time out.  You may want to take time to reflect, pray or just listen to the sounds around you.  Whatever you do, I hope that you feel close to God and refreshed after. 
 
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And I end with a prayer of thanksgiving by Esther Simpson.  If you do go to the church and sit on the bench, this may be a prayer that you would like to pray.
 
Lord my God,
You are good, all the time.
All the time, you are good.
Thank you for this moment;
 Thank you for my senses - all I can see, hear, touch, smell, taste;
 Thank you for where I am – my home, my work, my street, your presence;
 Thank you for how I am – for the strength in my muscles, the blood in my veins, the breath
 in my lungs, the thoughts in my head;
 Thank you for who I am – for my family, my friends, my neighbours, for being your child;
 Thank you for when I am – for now, this day, this time in history.
 Thank you for it all.
Thank you that you know, you see, you hear, you act, you hold, you love.
Thank you.
I will never get to the end of all there is to thank you for.
You are good, all the time.
Amen.

Stay safe, strong and secure in God's love

Kate




 

Wednesday 1 July

Today marks the start of plastic free July, a global initiative where people are encouraged to reduce their usage of single use plastics such as plastic bottles, cups and bags.
 
It can be difficult knowing where to start but at a recent One Truth Youth meeting, one of our members explained different ways of reducing our plastic usage such as:
  • Using a reusable coffee cup – some cafes’ such as Costa Coffee offer a discount if you bring your own cup.
  • Carrying a reusable water bottle when out and about instead of buying single use bottles of water.
  • Using a ‘bag for life’ instead of single use carrier bags.
  • Buying loose fruit and vegetables rather than those that are pre-packed.
 
We were challenged to try and change one thing and I am trying to reduce my use of single bottles of water by using a reusable water bottle.  What one thing could you try and change?
 
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And I end with a prayer by Rt. Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford:
 
Creator of our common home,
You fill the earth and sea and sky with life
Forgive us our neglect of your creation
The choking waste of our pollution
The damage done by careless habits
And our indifference to future generations.
Help us to amend our lives
To refuse more plastic if we can’t reuse it
To lift our voice for lasting change
And to live well and gently on the earth
To the glory of your Son, the Living Word
Through whom you made this fragile world.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 


Tuesday 30 June

I have mentioned, probably more than once during the time that I have been writing this blog, that God has a plan for each of our lives.  God also, in his infinite wisdom, has a reason for allowing things to happen.   We, in our finite wisdom, struggle to understand why difficult things such as Covid-19 and war occur.   We just have to trust God that He has everything under control.  

God-Has-A-Reason
 
And I end with a prayer from the Moderators of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church (URC), the Revd Nigel Uden and Derek Estill:
 
Living, loving God,
we praise you,
and through times of peril we lean into you,
for in Jesus Christ
you have trodden paths as difficult as ours,
revealing there a love that nothing defeats,
a love that bears us through.
 
Even as we strive to behave responsibly,
and to care reliably,
so we feel after you
that in these uncertain times we might trust you are with us,
our refuge and strength,
and our faith, hope and love might be renewed,
through Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Monday 29 June

I have used this prayer previously at the Open Church events at Trinity when we have had a variety of prayer stations.  I thought I would share it again on here as it seems appropriate for this time.  If you want, you may want to knot some string or a piece of cord as you pray this prayer or focus on the image of knotted rope below.
 
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Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love,
Kate


 

Sunday 28 June

One of the lectionary readings for today is Psalm 13 and I would like to share this reflection by Christine Longhurst, which is a comparison between Psalm 13 and Psalm 23.
 
O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?

 
            The LORD is my shepherd;
            I have everything I need.
            He lets me rest in green meadows;
            he leads me beside peaceful streams.

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?

 
            He restores my soul.
            He guides me along paths of righteousness
            for the sake of his good name.
 
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the sight to my eyes, or I will die.

 
            Even when I walk through the dark valley of death,
            I will not be afraid,
            for you are close beside me.
            Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

 
            You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies.
            You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.
            My cup overflows with blessings.
 
But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD

because he has been so good to me.
 
            Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
            all the days of my life,
            and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.  

psalms-13-5-6
 
And I end with a benediction written by Elsa Cook based on Matthew 10:40-42 which is also a lectionary reading for today.
 
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me.
Quench our thirst for love,
Satisfy our need to be known,
Assure us that we are indeed prophets of welcome.
Let us go to proclaim this peace in God’s name.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Saturday 27 June

One of the members of Trinity very kindly lent me a book by John Stott called ‘The Birds Our Teachers’ which looks at the biblical lessons that we can learn from a range of birds.
 
One of these is the owl.  Not only does it have excellent eyesight and hearing but they have the ability to rotate their heads 180 degrees so their body can face one way whilst its head is looking in the opposite direction.  Although we cannot do this physically we can do it spiritually.   John Stott suggests that ‘we should look back to the past with gratitude and on to the future with expectation.’ 
 
This is not always the easiest thing to do simultaneously, especially when it comes to church.  There may be those who are used to a traditional type of service with a set structure and prayers and who are not interested in more contemporary types of worship and music.   Conversely, there are those who are not interested in the traditional service at all and who want to move towards more contemporary worship.   We need to try and embrace both the traditional and the contemporary when we come together to worship God.
 
Owl-Meaning-in-the-Bible-2
 
 And I end with a prayer to be wise in the things of God posted on the Knowing Jesus website:
 
Heavenly Father, as I look through the Bible at the great cloud of witnesses in both the Old and New Testaments, all of whom were pleasing in Your sight, it is my desire to live the life of faith that they demonstrated so beautifully, and to become wise in the things of God.
 
Lord, I want to know more of You, to gain a deeper knowledge of Your Word and to discover Your perfect will for my life.
 
Lord, I desire to make a difference in this world and to live for You, even when I know that it may lose me the respect of neighbours and friends, and cost me very dearly.
 
Teach me Your ways I pray.  Open the eyes of my heart to understand more of Your Word.  Unblock my ears to Your gentle voice and open my eyes to see Jesus in all that I say and do.  Thank You, that Christ is both the power of God and the wisdom of God.
 
I pray that I may know more of the Lord Jesus in His humanity, and ask that I may be increasingly transformed into the likeness of His image, and live as He did in humble obedience to Your voice, and increasing in wisdom with every passing day. I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

Friday 26 June

The other day I had a phone call from one of the members who was saying that even though we are not meeting together in Trinity we are still very much a church supporting and encouraging each other in whatever way we can and that she is enjoying being part of that. 
 
So the saying ‘the building may be closed but the church is still open’ is very apt for Trinity.  People are phoning each other, some more than they have done previously as they have more time.  Others are meeting on social distanced walks or across gardens.  Coffee mornings and quizzes are being held on zoom.  We may not be able to meet yet in our building but we are still very much the Body of Christ.
 
Also in the background, we have a team of people working on plans for our 25th anniversary next year.   You can have a say, if you haven’t already, by filling in the form in the Trinity Times or emailing Becky by 30th June.
 
 
 
Building-closed-Church-open-10
 
 

And I end with a prayer by Esther Simpson:

Lord God,
You create and recreate us in your goodness and wideness.
Thank you for the many outreaches and programmes you have blessed us with,
Thank you for the ways they have changed us
Thank you for the ways they have changed our community
As we look to a time beyond lockdown,
Keep us listening to the ways you want to restore us
And the ways you may want to recreate us.
May we not cling to the old out of nostalgia,
But rejoice at the new wine you bring
And look for the fruitfulness after the pruning.
In this time of preparation make us flexible;
To contain new wine without bursting,
To be ready for harvest,
To embrace with joy all you are recreating.
May we look to you for comfort, not comfortableness.
In the name of Jesus, our foretaste and pioneer of all things new.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate

 



Thursday 25 June

This weekend saw the shortest day and normally hundreds of people would congregate at Stonehenge to watch the sunset.  This year it was broadcast on Facebook instead.  Although I wasn’t awake at the 3 am to watch, I really enjoyed looking at some of the pictures after.  I thought this quote was very appropriate.
 
 
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And I end with a prayer by John Birch:
 
That we can glimpse you within creation
is a beautiful thought,
but also tells us that you desire to be seen,
to be found and known.
Open our eyes, Lord,
as we walk through this world
feel the wind and sunshine,
see the majesty of creation
unfolding before our eyes.
Help us to see you.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate


 

Wednesday 24 June

I have previously talked about Julian of Norwich and would like to share this reflection called ‘The Limitless Love of God’:
 
The love that God most high has for our soul is so great that it surpasses understanding. 
No created being can comprehend how much, and how sweetly, and how tenderly our maker loves us.
Our inborn will is to have God, and the goodwill of God is to have us.
There is no end to our willing and longing until we know God in the fullness of joy.  Then our desire is filled.
He wills that our occupation shall be in striving to know and love him until we are made whole in heaven.
Our life is grounded in faith, with hope and love besides.
 
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And I end with a prayer by Louise Gough, a presbyter from Bramhall and Wythenshawe Circuit.
 
God, your love – gentle, immense, unconditional – arcs a rainbow of grace to shelter us all and creates a space of belonging and healing.
Your love – grounded in reality, accustomed to suffering – welcomes the excluded, tends hidden bruises, binds wounds and remakes lives and community.
God, may the astonishing truth of your love, your wide span of hope, dawn afresh in our hearts and turn us inside out as we act on your call to share your compassion.
Renew our faith and courage that we may live as people transformed by the gospel and inspired by the limitless horizons of your Spirit.
Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 
 

 
Tuesday 23 June

I was looking for a quote to share with you today and came across this one in my ever expanding library of quotes.  I must admit there have been times lately when I have been having a real moan because things are not going the way that I want them to or how I have planned in my head.  As I have said before, and have to keep reminding myself, God not only has a beautiful plan for my life but has given me so much to be grateful for.

gods-beautiful-plan-for-my-lif 

And I end with a prayer by Sister Christine Koelhoffer:
 
Loving God, Your desire is for our wholeness and wellbeing.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbours, standing before an uncertain future.
We pray: may love, not fear, go viral.
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon.
Amen
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
 
Kate



 

Monday 22 June

The second Big Church Sing organised by the Methodist Church took place on 7th June in aid of All We Can and was broadcast not just in this country but across the world on YouTube.
 
The theme was Hope and a range of people including those currently being helped by All We Can were asked firstly ‘what is bringing you hope today?’ and then ‘ what do you hope for tomorrow?”. 
 
Here are some of the answers given to the second question:
  • I am needing hope for the future so that my children and my grandchildren can live in a listening, loving and healthier world.
  • I hope we can grow into a better future where we recognise how much we all need each other.
  • I want to see hope expressed in truth and integrity across the whole world.
  • I want to live in a world where all have equal opportunities.          
  • I hope for a world that is stronger, fairer and greener than before.
  • I hope that Covid-19 will come to an end and we will go back to a fairer world.
  • I hope that we can learn to listen to one another so the world can be better for everyone.
  • The hope that I need tomorrow is that the lives that have been lost to racial injustice, poverty and Covid-19 won’t be in vain and there will be hope for a brighter tomorrow.
  • I hope we will be kinder to each other and kind to God’s world.
 What do you hope for tomorrow?
 
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I would like to finish with the song Everlasting Arms (Lean Hard) which was sung at the end of the Big Sing by Lou Fellingham, who wrote it, and singers across the country who joined in via zoom.
 
He lavishes grace as our burdens grow greater
He sends us more strength as our labours increase
To added afflictions He offers more mercy
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace
 
When we have exhausted our store of endurance
When our strength has failed and the day is half done
When we've reached the end of our earthly resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun
Our Father's full giving is only begun
 
So lean hard
Lean hard
Lean on the everlasting arms
So lean hard
Lean hard
Lean on the everlasting arms
Lean on the everlasting arms
 
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure
His power has no boundary that's known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again
He giveth and giveth and giveth again
 
You lead me beside still waters
Your goodness restores my soul
I know that you'll never leave me
I know that you won't let go
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 

Sunday 21 June

Rather than focusing my reflection on today’s lectionary reading,  I have chosen to focus on the same book of the bible but reflect on Matthew chapter 20 verses 1 to 16, the parable of the workers in the vineyard and I would like to start with an illustration.
 
It’s getting dark and nervously she paces in her modest home.  She is worried.  Nervously, she sweeps the dirt floor from one side to the next.  She stares into the darkness.  It is late and she begins to pray, “O God, O God, where is my James?  Where is he, Lord?  It is getting late and I know he didn’t find work today.  I went to the market place and I saw him still standing there late in the afternoon.  O Lord, where is he?  Has something happened to him, or is he too ashamed to come home again empty handed?”
 
Her prayer is broken by a tug on her dress. It’s her five year old daughter Elizabeth.  Elizabeth asks, “Mummy, where is Daddy?  Why has Daddy not come home yet?  Is he bringing us something to eat? Mummy, I’m hungry.”
 
And with that the door burst open and he says, “Hello, Elizabeth!  Hello, Rebecca!  Prepare the table, we have a feast!  Look!  I have bread, I have cheese, I have figs and a little bit of honey!”
 
“James, where did you get all of this? I know you didn’t work, I went by the market place and I saw you standing there late in the day.”
 
He said, “The most amazing, the most marvellous thing happened to me today.  I was standing in the market place waiting for someone to come by and hire me.  The day was getting late and many had given up.  Others had gone to work and just a few of us were standing there.  I just couldn’t come home empty handed again.  I couldn’t stand another night just lying in bed when sleep would not come.  The growling of my empty stomach could not drown out her words, ‘Daddy, I’m hungry.’
 
I was almost ready to give up when around the eleventh hour the most unusual thing happened. A fellow came up and he yelled to us and asked us why we weren’t working. We said, “No one has hired us.” He said, “I’ll hire you! Come on and work!”
 
“It was late in the day but a few pennies were better than nothing at all, so I went and worked in the vineyard. There were people there who had been working a long time. You could tell they were tired and hot and dusty.
 
We worked for only an hour.  Then the land owner gathered us together to pay us, and would you believe he paid us first, the ones who had only worked an hour, not those who had worked three hours or six hours or nine hours or twelve hours, and would you believe he gave us wages for an entire day?  We worked one single hour and we were paid for an entire day!  I was so happy!  I was so joyous!  I ran to the market place and bought all of this food.  Doesn’t it look good?  Isn’t it wonderful?  We shall have a feast tonight.”
 
“As I was in the market place, I heard some of the workers who had worked longer than I had grumbling.  They were just down right mad.  I didn’t say anything, I just came on home.  I just couldn’t wait to get home and spread this feast before your eyes.  Let us gather around table and thank God for the favour He has bestowed upon us.”
 
“James, may I ask you something? I’m curious, why are there just three loaves instead of the customary four? And are my eyes deceiving me, it looks like someone has cut off half of the cheese.”
 
“Well, you’re right. I hope it’s okay but on the way home I thought of the widow Sarah and I stopped by her house and gave her some of the bread and cheese. And wiping moisture from her eyes, Rebecca says, “Oh my dear James, my kind and generous James you know that it is more than alright. Let’s bow and thank God.”
 
If we were to hear the story of one of the first workers who was employed, I expect the story would be very different – full of moaning and grumbling that although they worked their socks off all day, they were paid the same as someone who only did an hours work.
 
The amount the landowner gave was not based on the amount of work that was done but by what he wanted to give.  He tells the workers when they are hired that the wage will be right but up to his discretion.  We can see that the landowner was very generous and the workers were obviously not impressed although the landowner did what he saw as right.
 
A similar thing happened to the disciples.  All of them gave up something to be with Jesus.  Those that were fisherman put down their nets and left their families, others gave up their money and possessions. They gave up everything yet in the Kingdom of Heaven they are equal with everyone even the thief who was on the cross with Jesus.
 
God has been generous to all of us whether Christians for a long time or Christians for a short time and whatever we have done in our pasts.  God sent his Son to die on the cross for us, because of Jesus’ love and grace, we have been promised eternal life.  Because of this grace that we have been shown, we need to be gracious to others and be grateful for all we have received.  If we are not grateful and are more concerned with grumbling and complaining about others, we do not experience God’s full grace.  James, in the story, was so gracious for what he received and in turn spread that gratitude by giving some of the food to the widow.
 
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And I end with a prayer taken from Roots:
 
God of the first and the last,
and all those in between,
Your grace reaches out to all of us—
life-long believers or newcomers alike.
You call us to live as citizens of heaven,
to work together with one mind and one purpose,
to reach out in love to those in need.
Strengthen us so that we might live in a manner worthy
of the Good News we have received,
offering our lives to the building up of Your upside-down kingdom,
where the last are first, and the first are last,
and there is grace enough for all.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate

 

Saturday 20 June

For some reason this did not save at 6.30 this morning so apologies for the late entry:

As I am still receiving positive feedback, I thought I would share another Pooh and Piglet story written by Kathryn Wallace and taken from the ‘I know I need to stop talking’ Facebook page.
 
Despite the blueness of the sky, and the birds that Pooh could hear singing in the trees, he felt almost despairing, as he made his way through the Hundred Acre Woods to meet with Piglet.
 
"Oh Pooh," said Piglet, immediately taking in the expression on his friend's face.  Whatever's the matter?"
 
"So much hate," blurted out Pooh, who hadn't been able to tear himself away from the news in recent weeks, and had been appalled by what he had seen.  "So much hate.  So much anger.  So much intolerance.  It scares me Piglet, it really scares me, because I don't know what we can do about it.  Is this really what we are becoming?"
 
Piglet thought for a while, as the two friends sat down together on either end of a fallen tree, Piglet's little legs swinging back and forth as they spoke.
 
"It is frightening," he agreed.  "Which is why it's so important for all of us who don't feel that way - and I do still believe that love is far more prevalent than hate, for the vast majority of us - to stand up and speak out.  To choose love, not hate."
 
"Do I need to go and make a placard, then?" asked Pooh, tentatively.
 
"Not at all - unless you want to, that is," confirmed Piglet. "It's the small choices we make every day which make the real difference."
 
"What sort of choices?"
 
"Well, almost every interaction we have with someone else has the potential to make a small change for the better.  Kindness, always.  Genuinely caring about one another. Celebrating and embracing our differences, not using them to divide us.  Calling out behaviour which hurts, belittles or endangers someone else.  Educating ourselves, and those around us.  Understanding the responsibility we all have: to be a force for good in the world, to play our own little part in improving things for the better."
 
"Will that really help?" asked Pooh, wondering how he and Piglet between them could ever right the wrongs of the world.
 
"We're on a journey," said Piglet, simply.  "It will take time, and there will be moments along that journey when we feel despair, because all we can see is the bad.
 
"But if you and me," continued the little pig, "and the vast majority of others out there, who I believe also want a world that is kind and fair, if we continue to act as a force for good...then yes, Pooh: I genuinely believe we have hope, that we can make our world a better place."
 
"Kindness, always," said Pooh, a determined look upon his face, despite the tears still welling in his eyes.
 
"That's right," agreed Piglet.  "Kindness, always."
 
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And I finish with a prayer called One Human Family from the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
God of Heaven and Earth,
you created the one human family
and endowed each person with great dignity.
 
Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism.
Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight
from our hearts, our communities,
our social and civil institutions.
 
Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbour
so that we may work with you
in healing our land from racial injustice.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 



Friday 19 June

A question that I have been asking people to help facilitate discussion at our zoom coffee morning and also our youth meeting, is: “name one thing that you have achieved this week”.  A few times the answer has come back: “nothing” to which I have replied “have you got out of bed this week” and when they replied “yes”, I said “see you have achieved something.”
 
It can be hard to get motivated to get out of bed and face the day but we have to have faith and trust that God will be with us, encouraging and helping us.  We also have to be proud of ourselves for what we do achieve each day, even if it is just getting out of bed.
 
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And I end with a prayer of trust written by Esther Simpson
 
God, our God,
King over all, including this chaos.
You are always enthroned on high;
You are always king.
You alone are sovereign over this world you have made.
In a time when we groan with uncertainty, when we are overwhelmed by the invisible flood of pandemic and panic,
Be king.
Be king over nations, and governments.
Be king over sickness and death.
Be king over communities and families.
Be king over me.
Be king over the floods around me and the floods in me.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
 
Stay safe, strong and secure in God’s love
Kate
 


Thursday 18 June

I join in with morning prayers from Cliff College when I can.  The Principal always leads on Monday using a psalm.  Psalms allow the writer to bring their experience to God.  This morning he shared the Lockdown Psalm, written by Catherine Clarke.
 
I have dwelt long in the house of lockdown: I have enclosed myself in the habitation of Netflix and groaning.
They have set me my bounds which I shall not pass: I keep the statutes and observe the laws.
I entered into the supermarket, but it was barren: its plenty was turned into empty shelves, and there was no toilet paper in it.
Neither were there delivery slots by day nor by night: verily, not even from Ocado.
 
Deliver us from the wilderness of delivery: and deliver our deliveries unto us.
I am become a stranger unto the pub, and unto the office: even an alien unto Pizza Express.
The sun ariseth, and I go forth to work and to my labour: even in my pyjamas until the evening.
I am weary of Zoom, my throat is dry: it melteth away like wax as my broadband vanisheth.
Yet they gape upon me with their mouths and say: thy toddler sitteth lurking in the corner of
the screen, and lo he imagineth mischief.