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Mar 3

I Am Questioning 1

Watch this video and as it plays ask those key questions.  What? Why? When? Who? How?

 



At the end, share your answers with those around you.  I wonder what you’ve made of it.  I’ve watched it a few times and always see new answers to the questions.

As I’m sure most of you spotted, this is based on Matthew 4, Jesus’ time in the wilderness.

 


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

 

2 After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

 

3 The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’

 

4 Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

 

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the temple.

 

6 ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written:

 

‘“He will command his angels concerning you,

and they will lift you up in their hands, 

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

 

7 Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

 

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.

 

9 ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’

 

10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

 

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

 

The illustrator, Si Smith, has explored more than just the temptations.  He wonders what happened in the first 40 days.  Art/illustrations are good at asking questions as images often speak in more ways than just words.

How’s your Lent going so far?  Are you experiencing temptation as you’ve given up something you like or are you finding it hard to take up the new thing you’re trying? Jesus found strength in the words of his Bible.  Hopefully you can too.  It can be helpful to share Lent with others, so do try Chaplain Joey’s group on Wednesday lunchtimes or at least share your experiences with your friends.

Here are some words from Psalm 91 (after which Room 91 is named) that can act as a prayer/meditation this week:

 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Optional music: Nada Te Turbe (let nothing disturb you), Taizé.

 

 

Remember to visit our Lent Calendar daily: https://smrtlent.wordpress.com/

 

Tags: Faith
Feb 24

Fasting 2

Give up:

For many of us in our western culture of ‘feasting’, the idea of ‘fasting’ or giving up something, may be something alien.

 

What reasons do people give for fasting?

 

Plate and Cutlery CC0 Public Domain

These are some of the reasons I have found to give things up; 

      • • Fasting reveals the thing that controls us.
      • • Fasting reminds us that we are sustained by God.
      • • Fasting helps us keep our balance in life.

        Have you thought about giving something up for 40 hours, or 40 days?

        However, Lent isn’t just about giving up but taking up. One thing you can do is sign up to do 40 generous acts. This video shows the effect it had on people last year. Why not sign up as a tutor group.

 

 

Many Christians see this Lent as a key time to grow in their faith. To try and help people do this in school, I will be leading a series of lunchtime sessions exploring the meaning of Easter starting this Tuesday 28 February at 12.30 in Room 91 for anyone whose interested in pancakes and talking more.

Prayer:

Father God Thank you for the season of Lent.

Help us understand the true meaning of it.

Give us a resilient spirit where we may be giving things up and a generous spirit for things we are taking up.

Lead us forward to become the best people we can be.

Amen

 

For a more in depth, and insightful explanation of the 'three pillars of Lent' check out Father Mike's video:

 

 

 

 

Tags: Faith
Feb 19

Fasting 1

Who in the tutor group has ever fasted?  Perhaps they could speak about the reasons why (everything from medical to religious duty), how easy or difficult it was/is and what the benefits of fasting might be.

One religious writer said,

 

if you have never fasted, you are missing a chance to grow spiritually.

 

I wonder what he was getting at?  It’s always hard to give up something, especially if those around us aren’t giving up the same thing.

Fasting should aid our spiritual lives. As Andrew Bonar said,

 

Fasting is abstaining (ceasing) from anything that hinders prayer.

 

Each of us could find an example of something we could fast from in order to pray more.

Isaiah the Old Testament prophet gives another view of fasting.  He speaks God’s words,

 

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

    and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

    and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry

    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter –

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

    and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness[a] will go before you,

    and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

    you will cry for help, and he will say: here am I. 
Isaiah 58

 

Or as Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv said:

 

During Lent, it is most important to not eat one another.

 

This encourages us to cease from dis-respecting others and actively doing more to support those around us.  It’s really well expressed in the following prayer:

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ within them.

Fast from emphasis on difference; feast on the unity of life.

Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.

Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

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 complaining; feast on appreciation.

Fast from worry; feast on trust in God’s Care.

Fast from unrelenting pressure; feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.

Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.

Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.

Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.

Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

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 discouragements; feast on hope.

(William Arthur Ward)

 

Here’s a really interesting video about ‘Hope’, featuring an Australian Christian artist:

 

 

Optional Music: Rend Collective, Create In Me:

 

 

 

Tags: Faith
Feb 3

I Can Research 2

 

                      Flag-map of Uganda               Ikoba Secondary School badge

 

On Friday 10 February, Jean Miller, myself, Simeon and Jodie (in year 11) will fly out to the Masindi district of Uganda to visit Ikoba, our partnership school of eleven years!

I've never been to Uganda before and have been trying to do some research on the history and culture of the country. Can you help me with these questions? Please pass on the answers as I need them.

1. When did Uganda become independent?

2. What is the Swahili word for hello?

3. Which bird is in the centre of Uganda’s flag?

 

As a music lover, I have been quickly researching some of the sounds coming from Uganda, and particularly enjoyed Eddy Kenzo and his song 'Sitya Loss':

 

 

I challenge you to discover what his message is? There is an English translation of these words.

 

As well as there being much to celebrate in Uganda, like any country, there are challenges. I'd like to finish by asking you to pray for the country, as well as for Ikoba and our trip there. Here are some pointers:

 

Pray for good, moral and effective leaders who steward with wisdom and compassion.

Pray for unity and friendship among Christians of various denominations in Uganda.

Pray for the prospering of Uganda’s infrastructure, and that it is kept safe and secure.

Pray for peace and good relationships between political parties and with neighbouring countries.

Pray for the welfare of staff and students at Ikoba school, for the continued healing of Headteacher Faith, safe travels, good health and connections for those of us travelling, and a Holy Spirit inspired development of the partnership through the visit.

We conclude our prayers by asking that through ordinary humans like us, God would build his kingdom dreams in Bristol, Uganda, and all over the earth.

Amen!

 

Tags: Faith
Jan 26

I Can Research 1

Are these facts true or false? You may have time to research them now so turn the cards when you think you know.

 

 

 

You need curiosity to be a researcher but you need more than that.  You need to have skill, to persevere, to check your sources and not to just follow the crowd to mention just a few.

One of the joys of having a partner school in Uganda and of being part of a diverse school and of a diverse city is that we sometimes have to research why certain actions have particular meaning.

You might like to research Passion Plays, for example.  I also wonder which country reads crime novels and thrillers as part of its Easter celebrations.  Do you know in what tradition the service starts with the phrase, “it is time for the Lord to act”?  You could also research Janani Luwum, a previous Archbishop of Uganda.  Bishop Mike of Bristol is going to Uganda in February to commemorate him.

Wanting to understand our near and far neighbours is an expression of love and an acknowledgment that we are all related to one another as we are all children of God.

Prayer (from the World Council of Churches):

 

Eternal God, whose image lies in the hearts of all people,
Help us to remember

that you love all people

with your great love,

that all religion is an attempt to respond to you,

that the yearnings of other hearts

are much like our own

and are known to you.

Help us to recognize you

in the words of truth,

the things of beauty,

the actions of love about us.

We pray through Christ,

who is a stranger to no one land

more than another,

and to every land

no less than to another.

Amen.

Optional music: A lot of research has gone into this piece, but mainly, it’s just fun!

 

 

Tags: Faith