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  • Easter Sunday

    I'll come clean... this is advance posted.  Between losing an hour's sleep, needing to be at church bright and early for the breakfast service and then working through until it's all done, posting "on the day" is one thing too much to fit in.


    Christ is Risen - Love Wins!

    I wish all readers a very blessed Easter, filled with resurrection hope and indefatigable joy. 


    As Easter Sunday is Day 19 of 19 "on" I will be catching up some "days off" in the week ahead... so won't be posting unless something really catches my imagination.


    A hymn for Easter Sunday, not one I'll be using, but one of which I am rather fond...


    Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
    The cross stands empty to the sky.
    Let streets and homes with praises ring.
    Love, drowned in death, shall never die.

    Christ is alive! No longer bound
    to distant years in Palestine,
    but saving, healing, here and now,
    and touching every place and time.

    In every insult, rift and war,
    where colour, scorn or wealth divide,
    Christ suffers still, yet loves the more,
    and lives, where even hope has died.

    Women and men, in age and youth,
    can feel the Spirit, hear the call,
    and find the way, the life, the truth,
    revealed in Jesus, freed for all.

    Christ is alive, and comes to bring
    good news to this and every age,
    till earth and sky and ocean ring
    with joy, with justice, love and praise.

    Brian Wren (born 1936) © 1969, 1995 Stainer & Bell Ltd

  • Count Your Blessings: Days 46 and 47


    In 2012, Christian Aid partner Ekta Parishad organised one of the biggest non-violent campaigns the world has ever seen. 60,000 people set off to march over 200km across India to hold the Indian government to its promises to protect the land rights of poor dalit and tribal communities. After 10 days, the march ended when the government agreed to the marchers’ demands. This momentous achievement could lift 400 million landless poor out of poverty in India.

    Give thanks for this wonderful outcome and pray that the Indian government holds true to its promises. Pray for all those in the world who don’t have legal rights to their ancestral land.


    So finally we arrive at Holy Saturday and the last weekend entry from CYB.

    The story from India is encouraging and inspiring; at the same time it serves as one more reminder of the complexity of a disordered world where so many people fail to be treated fairly or justly, where there are no quick fixes or easy answers.  There is something in the bewilderment of Holy Saturday that resonates here - so often our hopes and dreams seem to fall apart; our best endeavours fall short of our aspirations; the metaphorical bucket into which we add our drops of water seems not only enormous, but also leaky.  Of course we must give thanks, but we must also keep in mind that the work goes on, and that we have to be the answers to our own prayers.


    Thank you God for good news -

    Good news of governments repsonding to the heartcries of needy people

    Good news of aid reaching those in the most urgent need

    Good news of hope reborn and life restored

    Good news, that even in the darkest times

    You are there, sharing the heartche, and shaping a brighter future

    If only we have the eyes to see, minds to perceive, and hearts to respond

    Thank you God for the work of Christian Aid

    And, as we count our blessings, one last time,

    Help us live our gratitude day by day



    My pledge

    Today - one prayer

    Total - £43.80, ten prayers, some thoughts and one e-petition signed


    To make the maths easier, I will round up my pledge to £45, and add it to the donations made at our lunch time reflections during Holy Week (and those from Advent which are still in my desk drawer at church!)  Having checked the Christ'an Aid "Present Aid" website, £45 would pay for either an 'agriculture and livestock bundle' or an 'emergency and disaster relief bundle' and still have change left over...


    Count your many blessings, name them one by one; and it will surprise you what the Lord has done...

  • Good Friday

    This morning we have our interactive children's vigil with a brilliant script written by one of our folk.

    There are at least two different  three-hour vigil services i could go to, and I ought to go the evening one, as it's being hosted by a church new to the whole idea of shared Holy Week worship.  I have a 'problem' with Good Friday evening services... Jesus is dead folk, dead and buried, the discpiles have fled... A Tenebrae could be very effective, but woe betide anyone who takes us back before the death or, worse, tries to pre-empt Sunday!

    Enter the pain and bewilderment if you can.  Spare a thought for all those who today will weep for lost loved ones, or who will be recipients of bad news.  Don't rush to resurrection - it needs the empty, aching void of waiting if it is to be real.

  • Count Your Blessings: Day 45


    For the first time since poverty trends began to be monitored, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen in every developing region.

    Give thanks and praise for the progress that is being made on ending poverty, an for everyone who is
    involved in this effort (that includes you!).


    Rejoicing tempered with reality I think... it is indeed excellent news that the number of people living in extreme poverty is reducing, but what about those in less extreme poverty?  As the news reports the latest Eurozone crisis, and as some UK banks continue to need government bail outs, as more high street businesses go under, it is clear that all is not what it might be.

    There has been plenty in the news about changes to benefits, concerns over defence spending, collapses of businesses in the retail sector and so on.  Outside of the IF Campaign there has been almost no mention of the government agreeing to maintain its commitment to overseas aid.  The UK government gets criticised a lot (and I suspect more up here than further south) but it/they have an impossible task to perform.  If I understand correctly, the UK is the only nation still committed to giving 0.7% to overseas aid... so that is something we should be pleased about, whatever our political or personal views.


    Thank you God

    For all efforts to respond to the complex challenges of poverty and its consequences

    Locally, nationally and internationally

    Help us never to forget that whatever we do, or fail to do, for the least of these

    We do, or fail to do, for you



    My pledge

    Today - one prayer

    Total - £43.80, nine prayers, some thoughts and one e-petition signed

  • Maundy Thursday

    No lunch time service of reflection today, instead we will be holding an evening communion-cum-Tenebrae, a service of shadows, in which increasing darkness symbolises the night of Jesus' betrayal in Gethsemane.  I love the growing intensity of the week, in which we are carried inexorably towards the cross, swept along on a tide of events and emotions until we stand, speechless and powerless at the Place of the Skull.

    Lots to do twixt now and then, but it is a privlege to be entrusted with this service.