Faith

Jul 7

Prayer

Watch the following without the sound.  What’s happening here?

 

 

Now watch it with the sound.  What does it make you think of?

I think of how prayer can be anywhere and in any form from silence through to formal structure (liturgy) to movement.

Have a look at http://www.justpray.uk/.  There is real strength in praying with others so do pray one of the prayers on the front page and maybe add one as well.

Here’s some of Jesus’ teaching on prayer (next video). There are no words but see if you can tell what’s happening.  Someone in your group will probably know the parable, but you can check it out on https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+18%3A+9-14&version=NIVUK

 


Do pray for each other before your next lesson/activity.

Here’s a prayer of blessing for you now and over the summer. 

 

 

 

Tags: Faith
Jun 30

Sport 2

Monday 27 June 2016 will go down as a night of mixed emotions. When England, competing in their ninth European championship, lost 2-1 to Iceland, competing in their first. Many in the media are calling it a ‘sporting disaster’ for England, whilst Iceland’s win has been celebrated as a ‘ground-breaking triumph’ for the country of roughly 300,000 people.


These were some of the words used by various students at the school:



‘Excited.’ ‘Embarrassed.’ ‘Happy.’ ‘Disappointed.’

 

What one word would you use to describe how you felt about the game?

 

These fans were pretty happy.

 

 

Thursday 23 June 2016 was also a day that will go down in history. Many of you will be aware of the news that the majority vote in the recent referendum was to leave the EU. These were some of the words used by students, when I asked them how they felt about it:



‘Doubtful.’ ‘Optimistic.’ ‘Annoyed.’ ‘Confused.’

‘Don’t care.’ ‘Good.’ ‘Frustrated.’

 

 

How do you feel about it? How do you think we have reacted as a nation? As a school?

The UK's decision to leave the EU has provoked a range of responses in people. Amidst the different feelings of confusion, excitement and disappointment, there has also been a strong sense of fear and hatred from some people. In this time of uncertainty I'm praying that we at SMRT will be genuine peacemakers. People known for their listening. People who are able to empathise and to disagree well. People who believe, like the recently murdered MP Jo Cox, that:

 

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

 

At SMRT, over 50 different first languages are spoken and we represent a range of cultures and nationalities. Students and staff both seem to feel that our learning and living together is enriched not only by the strong sense of diversity but also by equality. How can we continue to celebrate both our similarities and differences?

I would like to finish with the game-changing words of the Lord’s Prayer, with each line echoed in a different first language at SMRT. I genuinely believe that if we live this prayer out, it can change the way we do life. If you have someone in your group who can pronounce the other languages, please say them out loud.

Our Father who art in heaven, holy is your name

Baba yetu uliye mbiguni, jina lako lisifiwe (Swahili)

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Przyjdz krolestwo twoje, badz wola Twoja, jako w niebie tak I na ziemi (Polish)

Give us today our daily bread,

Mā anudināhāramu nēḍu māku roṭṭe ivvaṇḍi (Telugu)

And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us

Pardonne-nous nos offenses, Comme nous pardonnons aussi, A ceux nous ont offenses (French)

Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil

آزمایش میں نہ ہمیں قیادت اور برائی سے بچا (Urdu)
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, For ever and ever,

Amen.


For further viewing, listen to the wisdom of Maya Angelou about being human:

 



For further viewing, this is the Lord's prayer in German from the multicultural community of Taize:

 

 

Tags: Faith
Jun 24

Sport 1

What’s your favourite sport?
Who’s your favourite sportswoman or sportsman?
(I’m sorry if you’re not a sports fan but do read on as this isn’t just about sport)

Wimbledon starts this week and many will enjoy the tennis. Each singles tournament has 128 players so for every 1 winner there are 127 losers! In the tunnel that leads to Wimbledon’s Centre Court, the players pass under two lines of poetry by Rudyard Kipling:

 

If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.

 

The passage is from “If,” a poem that is regularly voted as Britain’s most popular poem. Here are two famous tennis players, Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal reading the poem.

 

 

I guess that’s one definition of sportsmanship, that you can cope with both winning and losing. The Bible gives some good advice: 

 

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.Colossians 3

 

It’s great when people realise their faith matters 24/7 rather than just when at church etc.. If you play sport, how much does your faith affect your sport? One of the Y11s stood out when he played representative sport as his values were obviously very different from others on his team.

A Sporting Prayer:
God, let me play well but fairly. Let competition make me strong but never hostile. Forbid me to rejoice in the adversity of others. See me not when I am cheered, but when I bend to help my opponent up. If I know victory, allow me to be happy; if I am denied, keep me from envy. Remind me that sports are just games. Help me to learn something that matters once the game is over. And if through my sport I set an example, let it be a good one. Amen.

 

Sport can bring out some very strong emotions.  Many of you will have heard the Icelandic commentator from last week (advice, don’t have the volume set too high!).

 

 

Tags: Faith
Jun 16

I Value Justice and Respect 2

Worship image

flickr photo by rikkis_refuge https://flickr.com/photos/rikkis_refuge/16400696138 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

 

What words or situations come to mind when you think of injustice?

For me, there are too many to name.
That’s why this week’s worship is a chance to stop and remember those who have suffered at the hands of injustice.

It is a chance to grieve for those who were killed in the Orlando attack.
It is a chance to grieve for those other places and people whose suffering we know about.
It is a chance to acknowledge the many injustices we have not heard about this week. This year. Or this decade.

Take a moment to think, pray and show solidarity with all those who have suffered. You may want to listen to this song (a reminder of the value ALL humans share) as you reflect:

 



In my grieving at the world, one of the biggest temptations I face is despair and disillusion. The feeling of giving up or giving in. Yet I hope we can hold on to the words of Dr. King:

 

 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

 

How can we at SMRT work for justice? Who do you think needs our help the most?

To finish, I encourage all of us to look inwards and pray this prayer, acknowledging our need for change and healing as the starting place to change and heal the world.

Creator God, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. Amen.

 

For further listening and reflection a song of protest from the 80's:

 

 

Tags: Faith
Jun 9

I Value Justice and Respect 1

Sometimes, you have to do something different to get your message across and/or to change perceptions.

 

 

Sometimes standing up for justice will cost.  Muhammad Ali had to give up a lot when he decided not to be conscripted to fight in the Vietnam War.


I respect those with different opinions from me but I don’t always agree with them.  There is a debate in Parliament on Monday 13 June due to a mass petition (do you know how this works?).  The petitioner wants the UK government to reduce its commitment to spend 0.7% of its income on aid to developing countries.  I have contacted my MP over this as I believe that ‘loving our neighbour’ means that everyone in the world is my neighbour not just the people in my street and that we should have a special concern for those who have a hard time on earth.  Jesus’s first sermon involved him saying that the following was fulfilled:

 

for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.

 

These responsibilities have been passed on to people today.


You may feel as strongly as me about this, but the likelihood is that you have other issues, e.g. the refugee crisis, war in ……, foodbanks being necessary in the UK, and so on.  During this fortnight, do take some action.  As has been said many times, ‘all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.’  A twist on this is the song at the end (I wonder if you know where most of the words for this come from?).


Prayer:
Our Father,

Father of all, …… Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen.

 

 

Tags: Faith