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Jun 7

I Value Forgiveness 2

To understand something, it sometimes works to think of the opposite.  So what would a family, a school, a community be like if nobody ever forgave anybody else?  Discuss with those around you.  My guess is that the image below would be the way many of you are thinking.

antagonism 1940188 640There are people who can’t or won’t forgive, sometimes quite understandably.  You may have seen recently about how Lee Rigby’s Mum can’t forgive his killer even if he is repentant now 5 years on.

Here’s a true story.

Don Richardson spent several frustrating years among the Sawi tribe in New Guinea. He had come from America as an anthropologist/missionary, hoping to bring the Christian message to a nearly stone-age tribe. But his message kept colliding with the tribe’s unusual beliefs.  Christian values of love and forgiveness had no appeal to the Sawi, for they held up deceit as the highest virtue. They saw no reason to change their patterns of cruelty and cannibalism. In fact, when Richardson told them the story of Jesus, only one incident sparked their interest: the story of Judas’s betrayal! To the Sawi, Judas was a genuine hero; he had shrewdly penetrated the trusted inner circle of disciples before turning against Jesus.

Every time Richardson tried to share Christ with the Sawi, the attempt miscarried. Finally, after watching the fourteenth bloody battle fought outside his home, Richardson reached the end of his patience. How could he ever break through to such violent people? He decided to leave New Guinea, despite the Sawi’s pleas that he stay.

Just before Richardson left, the Sawi and their deadly enemies, the Haenam tribe, staged an elaborate ceremony in front of his home.  It was their final effort to convince the missionary to stay.  The entire village gathered to watch the event.  All were silent except the Sawi chief’s wife. She screamed loudly as the chief seized their six-month-old baby from her arms and held him high in the air. The chief then carried his son to the enemy chief and gave him to his enemies. A member of the tribe explained to Richardson that the Haenam tribe would rename the baby and rear him as one of its own.

Richardson knew that no Sawi could be fully trusted, since any action might be part of an elaborate deception. But that memorable day he learned of the one great exception: the peace child. A chief’s giving his own son to his enemies—that profound, painful act would overcome all suspicion. By mutual agreement, as long as the peace child lived, no wars could be fought between the two tribes.

Something clicked in Don Richardson’s mind as he watched the spectacle.  At last he had found an analogy—a parallel story—built into the Sawi’s culture that could convey the message of a forgiving God. He gathered members of the tribe around him and, with a pounding heart and dry throat, told them of God’s peace child. God had sent his own Son, Jesus, to live among enemies, to make peace with humankind.

Can you think of a story in the Gospels where Jesus’ forgiveness brings peace? (I immediately thought of Zacchaeus, the Lost Son and the thief on the cross) We could all do with more peace in our lives, so let’s be more forgiving and see where that takes us.

Prayer:

O God, who created us,

Fill our hearts with courage to take risks for and with You.

May we always find joy in your hope for us.

O God, who forgives us, lives in us, and calls us to do the same,

May we find peace in your forgiveness,

and may we share forgiveness with others.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Song Forgiveness by Matthew West:

 

 

May 25

I Value Forgiveness 1

 

 forgiveness 1767432 640

 

If you read the news, you see that there are many stories of unforgiveness, hatred and disunity.

Sometimes this is all you hear about the Church!

Christians are called to live a different story. 2Corinthians 5:18 says,

 

God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace.

 

These American church leaders feel the need to challenge the Church to wake up and act differently. Watch this video called Reclaiming Jesus:

 

 

 

What do you think of their words? What could the church do more?
How could you contribute to bring more forgiveness, peace and unity in the world? 


Prayer:

Father, You forgive humans, every time we mess up.

Help us today to forgive others who have wronged us.
Give us peace in our hearts so that we make peace with ourselves, others and world we live in.
Amen.

This time last year, Kesha made this song. The lyrics are really powerful. Which words stand out most to you? 

 

 

 

May 17

I Am Creative 2

 

hildesheim germany 673419 640
The image above is quite hard to figure about.  Can you see what it is and can you name any other symbols for the Holy Spirit?

 

You might have come up with: hover here  

 

One of my favourites is that of the creative Holy Spirit as a ‘wild goose’,  

 

Wild Goose image

 

Wild geese are not easily tamed and go where the seasons tell them.  The Holy Spirit can be a comforter but can also challenge us.  The fearful disciples became bold witnesses on the first Day of Pentecost.  St Francis was led by the Holy Spirit to abandon wealth and helps others out of poverty.

 

Wild geese though also don’t fly alone.  It’s estimated that their well-known flight formations mean they go 71% further than if they flew solo.  The Holy Spirit wants to empower groups, churches and dare I say schools to achieve more together than individuals could possibly do.

Today or in church, will you dare pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you, wherever that may mean?

 

‘I pray in the strength of Your Spirit, God, that I may learn to say, "Thy will be done - no matter what the cost",

and the courage to accept Your will for my life.

I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, 

Amen.’

Here’s a song recommended by one of our students.  Hope you like and appreciate it.

 

 

May 9

I Am Creative 1

 

Creativity flickr photo by deichgnu shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

 

Is everyone creative? Can everyone create?

 

Your challenge (if you wish to accept it), is to write a different name from your tutor group under every category. It may surprise you what you learn about people, and what they learn about you.

 

Table

 

I think we are all created with creativity, and should never ‘box’ people as creative or not. Every one of those categories and people demonstrates some degree of creativity. Maybe the creative work out mathematical equations, or they have the skills to play fortnite or an instrument (not me).

 

Kanye West has consistently and often controversially tried to stay creative and push boundaries. What do you think about him? This interesting video explores his use of the human voice in music.

 

 

I want to pray the words of Exodus 31:2, that God would fill us in wisdom, understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, that we may know we are creative and would keep pushing boundaries.
Amen.

 

May 3

I Am Questioning 2

Please start by playing a quick round of the Yes/No challenge with a partner.  If you don’t know how to play it, I’m sure someone in your group can help.

It’s not easy is it and, I’m guessing, it would be even harder if I had asked you to do it in your second language.  Here’s the Austrian footballer, Christian Fuchs doing the game in English. Only watch for a bit (spoiler alert, he doesn’t say Yes or No for 3 minutes).

 


Jesus asked some pretty direct questions.  Here are 15 from Luke’s Gospel:

1. Why were you searching for me? (Luke 2:49)

2. Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? (Luke 5:23)

3. Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

4. Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25)

5. What is written in the Law? How do you read it? (Luke 10:26)

6. Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? (Luke 10:36)

7. Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? (Luke 11:40)

8. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Luke 12:25)

9. Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? (Luke 12:57)

10. Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? (Luke 15:4)

11. Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? (Luke 15:8)

12. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? (Luke 16:11)

13. Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? (Luke 17:17)

14. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? (Luke 18:7)

15. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

How would you cope if you were asked these?  In general, asking and answering questions make relationships deeper.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please do ask me searching questions and allow me to ask you questions in return. 

May I rest in your love. 

Amen.

Bonus video: a classic sketch (there are a few ‘old’ references but you’ll get the general idea pretty quickly).

 



#ThyKingdomCome

This is a national prayer initiative for the time between Ascension (Thursday May 10th) and Pentecost (for us, Tuesday May 22nd). We’re going to encourage special prayer during this time. Do join in in school and by using this hashtag on social media.  It’s great to feel part of a bigger group. 

There’s a theme song this year.  Have a look/listen.