One of the organisations that many people support at Christmas time is the Children’s Society, children are often the hub of the family at Christmas and they bring great enjoyment, particularly to their grandparents. Sometimes children and young people, and their families need a little bit of help and support and the Children’s Society aims to do that, to bring some light into what should be the most wonderful time of the year.
But what about the rest of the year? I found the following reflection, part of material produced by the Society for Easter. I thought it was very meaningful. I hope that you find it stimulating too.
Rev Michelle Ireland
A reflection for Easter
Sometimes it doesn’t work out as you expect.
Sometimes even though you know
the game is up,
even though you know the inevitable outcome,
even sometimes when you have given up yourself…
…it doesn’t work out as you expect.
There are those days when the child,
who has been running away for years,
every week, without fail,
The day when the disabled child,
is finally accepted for who they are.
When the traveller,
for so long the outsider,
suddenly becomes a friend.
There are those days when,
in the face of despair,
for some unexpected and
our long dead hopes
are brought back to life.
There are those days
we suddenly realise
the stone has been moved…
… and the tomb is empty.
You may well be reading this a number of weeks before Easter, however I think that is no bad thing! Think how early we talk and plan for Christmas!
Are you planning for Easter (Easter Sunday is 5th April) will it mean something special to you?
Over the days before Easter Day, Good Friday to Sunday, Christians experience the depths and heights of human emotions. For the disciples and friends of Jesus, Good Friday was anything but good. This was the day when Christ was crucified on the cross. Their master, friend, teacher was dead and all seemed lost and they hid themselves away – they were broken people. Sunday is the day of joy and some confusion. Jesus is no longer dead but alive. The chains of death have been broken once and for all and Christ has won for all of us who believe in him eternal life.
What does Easter actually mean for us today ??? Well, I believe that although life on this earth may often be difficult, and extremely challenging and there are times when we don’t know which way to turn, we can be sure that we have Jesus walking alongside us through that earthly life. The first disciples were amazed but also confused over this miraculous happening, this resurrection, and it took a number of appearances afterwards by Jesus, to convince them that he really was risen from the dead.
If you still find it difficult to believe in Jesus Christ and have a relationship with him, and some do, then I encourage you to pray, you don’t have to have a great knowledge or study of prayer behind you, prayer is talking with God. When we talk with people we often get to know them better, the same goes for God. Another thing to do is to pick up a Bible, yes it was written a long time ago, but the Bible can speak to all generations, it can have something to say to all of us, it can have something to say to you and me. I encourage you also to pop along to a church service over this time, to meet with other people who have the same struggles and joys as we all have, and share the journey of faith together.
I hope above all that whatever you do from now to Easter, through Holy Week itself and the Easter weekend – that you will be able to pause and think about Jesus Christ our Saviour during this great time of passion and rejoicing.
Rev Michelle Ireland
The time of Lent will soon be upon us with all the traditional days such as Shrove Tuesday (17th February) and Ash Wednesday (18th February). Some of us may make pancakes, investigating various recipes, feasting well, however fewer people I imagine will do anything special the following day. The discipline of Fasting is practiced less. Perhaps there is a way that we could all join in that, but using a different format. I found the following reflection, which I thought very inspiring. The reflection encourages us to leave behind, to fast from those things which are negative and damaging and to concentrate upon, feast upon those things which are positive , build up, and bring good. I hope that you find it inspiring too.
Fasting and Feasting
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling within them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Rev Michelle Ireland
It is the time of year when resolutions are made. I found the following poem and prayer and they got me thinking….. I hope you enjoy them..
Rev Michelle Ireland
Christian New Year’s Resolutions
How can I use the New Year
To better serve my Lord?
I’ll read my Bible every day,
And be more in accord.
I’ll find new ways to serve others;
I’ll love my neighbour, too.
I’ll focus on "give" instead of "get"
In everything I do.
I’ll forgive the people I’m mad at;
Angry feelings I’ll discard;
I’ll try to love my enemies,
Even though it’s hard.
In the new year, I’ll lift people up,
Instead of putting them down.
I’ll fill my heart with love and joy,
And never wear a frown.
I’ll let go of my worries;
I’ll put it all in His hands;
I’ll repent and try to sin less,
And obey all His commands.
These new year’s resolutions
Are difficult, at best,
But there’s something I can do each day
That will put my soul at rest:
I’ll love my Lord with all my heart,
With all my mind and soul,
And if I do that essential thing,
All the rest will be in control.
New Year’s Prayer
In the new year, we pray
that You will guide us each new day
in paths that are pleasing to You.
Lord, the new year gives us another chance
to rededicate our lives to You,
to study Your Word
so that we know right from wrong
and to act in accordance with Your commands.
Thank You for the sense of
direction, purpose and peace we get
from aligning our lives with Your Holy will.
We pray for the strength and the will to obey You
each and every day of the new year,
and when we fail, we pray for Your mercy,
Your compassion, Your grace and Your love.
Help us in the new year to be Your faithful servants.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.