Faith

Jan 6

I Can Plan 2

  

Panthera uncia Shynghyz Tama Zoo 2015-09-20

 

I don’t know about you, but I love a new week, a new term, a new year, as it presents to me a ‘fresh start.’ I know there can be much cynicism towards them, but have any of you got ‘resolutions’ this year?

Some time ago, the legendary Sir David Attenborough had a new year’s resolution. He wanted to make a wildlife series which including footage of snow leopards. That might not be a big deal to you but people told him it couldn’t be done, because they were too rare. Nonetheless he persisted with his vision and his plans, and in Planet Earth 2, we see how the BBC team captured the snow leopard on camera for the first time.

This is a behind the scenes look at the filming:

 

 

This is what they captured:

 

 

Allthough we are taught that much of life involves planning ahead, we still find ourselves forgetting, when watching great pieces of music, sport, or film, that what we witnessed took resilience and hard work. Be like Sir David and whatever people say, don’t give up your dreams! As we go into a new year, let’s pray:

God,
Thank you for this New Year and for all the potential it holds.
Thank you that it’s never too late to start again.
Thank you that we can do things we once thought impossible.
Give us diligence to stick to our goals, to work that bit longer, lift that bit heavier.
Help us to keep dreaming big, to loving strong, and keep laughing hard.
Deliver us from fear that seeks to rob us off life.
Amen.

 

Tags: Faith
Dec 26

I Can Plan 1

 

Image licensed under CCo Unsplash

 

Are you planning a major journey in 2017? January 6 is Epiphany, the festival that remembers the visit of the magi, the wise men, to Jesus. It is probable that the magi came from Persia (modern Iraq/Iran) and so they travelled over one thousand miles.  They could not have set off without some serious planning. So, what are you planning for 2017? Have you made resolutions, and if so, are they expressed positively (something you are going to take up or do more of) or negatively (something you are going to give up or do less of)? If you are serious about your resolutions, then you need to do some planning. Our best plans consist of small steps towards the ultimate goal, rather than relying on one dramatic move. When the wise men had finished their journey, they found that their plans had come to pass as they met Jesus. May all our plans for 2017 become fruitful as we commit them to God.

Jesus said,

 

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7

 

The Adoration of the Magi, with the Nativity and the Presentation in the Temple, Master of 1518, Netherlandish, c. 1520, oil on panel, detail - Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University - DSC01065

  

Prayer: God of all daily journeys, may we know you are always with us even though we can’t see you.  Help us to recognise that sometimes we have to risk getting things wrong or being foolish. Give us the courage sometimes to choose to risk making mistakes for the sake of trying to do something good and worthwhile for you and help us to learn well from all our experiences.

Amen. 

‘Warm up’ for the service by listening to:

 

 

and

 

 

Tags: Faith
Dec 9

I Value Faith 2

 

Nativity tree2011

 

The Christmas story is told each year, and for us many of us it can become rather stale and static, like the picture above. For other people it brings new life and impact each year. Some find it easy to believe that God took on human form whilst for others, it is a sort of fairy story which does not speak well into today’s world.

This video has been made to get us thinking about whether the story is truth vs fairy-tale. What do you make of it?

 


As we head in to the Christmas holidays, whatever you are doing, whatever you believe, I hope you will have some happy memories, some refreshment and I pray you find an increase in faith, hope and love.

Prayer:

And may the joy of the angels

The eagerness of the shepherds

The perseverance of the wise men

The obedience and faith of Joseph and Mary

And the peace of the Christ child

Be ours this Christmas.

Amen.

For further listening, enjoy The wonderful Sufjan Stevens does a great Christmas cover of our school hymn:

 

 

Tags: Faith
Dec 1

I Value Faith 1

Steps image

 

 

Who said what?

 



Some of you have mapped out your faith journey recently, others will get the chance in January.  Whatever your situation, is there a view above that you agree with or one you disagree with?  Would you think from their statements that any of these people have had a deep experience of God?

 

We’re in the season of Advent, the time when we prepare to celebrate that God took on human form (Incarnation is the proper term).  Why did God do that?  What, if anything, does that mean in 2016 to you, to people who go to church just at Christmas, to the most desperate people of the world?

 

Paul writing to the Corinthians understood something of this,

 

you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

 

Prayer  (Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968):

"Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.   

Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.   

Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.   

And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.

Amen.”

Music -  A wonderful Advent hymn played by the wonderful Piano Guys:

 

 

 

Tags: Faith
Nov 24

I Am Creative 2

 

Chance the rapper liveTaken by my pal Jake, at the Brixton Academy on 20/11/16

On Sunday night, I celebrated my birthday at one of the best gigs I’ve ever been too, watching one of the most creative men making music today.  This is the song which he closed Sunday’s show with. Enjoy…

 



Chance loves performing and does so with such unique passion, and joy that people listening can’t help but want to join in. He inspires and provokes people into action. When we are fully ourselves, we can inspire others to be more fully themselves. Who inspires you at the moment? Who do you inspire?

This week happens to be the beginning of Advent, which symbolises a time of preparation and waiting. Let’s take some time to reflect on the coming season, and to think creatively about how we can engage in it.

- How could we be creative about presents and cards?

- How could we be creative in looking out for refugees or the homeless at this time?

- How could we be creative in celebrating the Christmas season here at SMRT?

Whilst you write and talk, enjoy this delightful piece of music that also serves as a meditation on the winter season.

 


My prayer is taken from Exodus 35:31-32: 

Father of all Creation; fill us with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise, create, and develop the talents we have recognising that they are gifts.

Inspire us to bring a creative spark and new possibilities to the world at this advent time, to play our part as a creative force for good.

Amen.

 

Tags: Faith