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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
Nov 17

I Am Creative 1

How creative are you?

Half the group take this ‘test’:  how many uses of a paperclip can you think of in 3 minutes?

The other half try this:  complete a picture using this shape as part of it in 3 minutes.

 

Picture 2

Now, compare your answers.  Who’s the most creative in your group?

These, of course, are only tests of one sort of creativity.  Our Alive characteristic of ‘I Am Creative’ covers this sort of creativity and more. 

 

 

I am at my most creative when I am inspired to produce imaginative work and to find many solutions to the challenges I am set.  Being creative involves:  being imaginative; being inspired; being inspiring; problem-solving; having new ideas; being able to communicate ideas; original thought; exploring new ideas with others.

 

For Christians, being creative is part of what it means to be made ‘in the image of God’, our Creator God, so despite it being late November and not very light for much of the day, please be especially on the look-out for opportunities to use your creativity.

Here is someone using their creativity to explain their faith story. Can you identify with her message or her way of explaining it?

 

 

Prayer:

Lord, today I pray for creativity.

Help me to use my God given talent to do your work. 

May everything I say and do, be a reflection of you.

In Jesus name,

Amen!

 

Tags: Faith
Nov 11

I Can Review 2

RELIGIONES

Read attribution here

 

Today marks the start of Inter Faith week. The aims of the week are to; strengthen good inter faith relations at all levels, increase awareness of the different and faith communities in the UK, and developing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs. How could our school mark it?

Many people argue that religion causes division, and this has and can be the case. However, we have a choice, as individuals and communities, to develop relationships that will create a more unified future. I think these guys, are doing a great job at demonstrating what I mean....



It's always important to focus on what unites us, as there are so many things humans disagree on.  For example, people in America, and all over the world will have reacted differently to last week's election news. In a similar fashion to England's decision to leave the E.U, there is strong disagreement even between close friends and families. How did you respond? What about your friends? Do you think it's possible to work together with people you disagree with?  Could you ever see America or Great Britain, becoming 'United?'

This week Romans 12:17-18 has been on my mind,

 

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone.

 

Do you think THIS is possible?

For me, in this time of uncertainty for many, I want to see the most privileged standing with the most marginalised. I want to listen to and learn from all kinds of people, reserving my judgments, and working with them to fight the present challenges, and I want to continue, with my brothers and sisters from all faiths, to pray for common unity in our world.

Prayer:

God, Today, may I be open to others' ideas and beliefs, respectful of our differences, not threatened by them.

May I grow in understanding of my own motives, knowing that people often act out of their own fears.

May I be a force for replacing fear with insight, helping us all to be patient and kind as we talk. Strength, real strength, can always find compromise, working together, may we find a common ground, enable us to move forward with a shared purpose.

May we see what is truly important and unites us, focusing on that, to banish road blocks of ego and fear, today, may I be open to others' ideas and beliefs.

If you have time, watch this video by America Band Gungor. What do you think their message is?

 

 

If you would like to think more about Interfaith Week, this is the official site, http://www.interfaithweek.org/

 

 

Tags: Faith
Nov 4

I Can Review 1 and Remembrance 2016

 

I Can Review 1

 

Television watching

 

Three questions to think and talk about.

1. What’s your earliest and/or your best TV memory?
2. What’s your favourite TV show today and why?
3. How do you watch TV? Live or through catch-up? On your own or with others? Etc.

 

The top ten most watched shows in the 80 years of regular TV are (not counting Royal events or live sports):

1. Only Fools and Horses (BBC1, 29 December 1996): 24.35 million

2. To The Manor Born (BBC1, 11 November 1979): 23.95 million

3. The Royal Variety Performance (ITV, 29 November 1967): 22.80 million

4. Panorama, Interview with Princess Diana (BBC1, 20 November 1995): 22.77m

5. The Royal Variety Performance (ITV, 14 November 1965): 21.70 million

6. Dallas (BBC1, 22 November 1980): 21.60 million

7. To The Manor Born (BBC1, 9 November 1980): 21.55 million

8. The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show (BBC1, 25 December 1977): 21.40 million

= Coronation Street (ITV, 2 January 1985): 21.40 million

10. Only Fools and Horses (BBC1, 25 December 2001): 21.35 million

 

 

To compare, the recent final of Bake Off got 14m viewers. 80 years ago, there was 1 TV channel, 30 years ago there 4, now there are over 300. It’s a hard job to be a TV reviewer today.

You will be asked soon to reflect on the memorable moments of your life so far. What would those be? Why? If you were able to do some things again and do them differently, what would that look like?

Jesus, in Luke 12, says, 

 

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

 

God takes the time to keep up with how many hairs we have — now that’s a God of detail! God loves us as we are but also wants us to review ourselves and to make changes. Just like sometimes the TV makes us think about our lives, reading the Bible and praying with an open mind can reveal some great truths.

 

Prayer:
Lord, in every way may our lives become more like yours.
Amen.

Music
Here’s a Lecrae song about great change:

 

 

 

 

Remembrance 2016 

 

Bristol cenotaph RSA

By Rob Brewer from Bristol, England (Cenotaph) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Remembrance Day is about an opportunity to review. To review the horror of war, to remember those in every nation who have lost their lives or been disabled in the service of their country, to think about civilians who have been directly and indirectly affected and to be determined that the present and the future will be more peaceful. We especially mark this at 11am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month (this coming Friday) and on the Sunday nearest that day (Sunday 13 November 2016).

This year the Royal British Legion is asking us to review our ideas about remembrance, to ‘rethink remembrance’.


For many people, Remembrance is associated with the fallen of the First and Second World Wars. While we will always remember them, the Legion wants to raise awareness of a new generation of veterans and Service personnel that need peoples’ support.


To support this, there are four short films below. It would be good to watch, say, one a day, leading up to Friday. There's a playlist selector in the top left. No. 1 might be painful for some students, so I would use the others first.

 

 

Prayer:
God, we commit ourselves to work
in penitence and faith
for reconciliation between the nations,
that all people may, together,
live in freedom, justice and peace.

We pray for all who in bereavement, disability
and pain continue to suffer the consequences
of fighting and terror.

We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow
those whose lives, in world wars and conflicts
past and present,
have been given and taken away.
Amen.