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Jul 12

Endings

 

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Endings bring up a wide range of feelings and emotions.  Think about and then discuss the following situations and imagine the range of feelings and thoughts that might be going on for those involved:

• End of World Cup Final (winners, losers, spectators)

• Funeral • Someone finishing a marathon race

• A refugee arriving in a new place after a traumatic journey

• The end of a war

• The end of an important exam

• Harry and Meghan’s wedding (weddings represent endings of some aspects of life)

The discussion will hopefully raise the idea that we might experience a wide range of deep and intense emotions when we come to endings.  We should respect that each of us might have different and intense emotions at times of endings, and never do down the feelings being experienced at such times.  So let’s recognise that each person in the room might have a range of mixed feelings as they approach the end of the school year.

In the Christian story, hope is a key aspect when we meet times which might feel like endings.

When Jesus ascended at the end of his earthly life, his disciples faced a major ending.  The man they had grown to love, the one who they really believed had shown them the way to live, the one who had loved beyond what they had ever experienced; this man was leaving.  What would they make of this ending?

But they were encouraged rather than despairing.  Rather than despair over their loss of regular daily life with Jesus, they were encouraged to go on.  Some of the last words Jesus said to them were:

 

Go into all the world and tell the good news to all creation.

Mark 16.15

 

And when they were left gazing into the distance after he had left, they were challenged:

 

Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky?  This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back……

 

Christians believe that Jesus is still working to bring this world to a better place.  This is the hope of the Christian story.  And it tells us that when we face endings, we are also facing beginnings of something new; we are always being called to take what we have learnt and experienced, and let it shape us as we walk into the future.

So spend some time listening to the following song and reflecting on the following question: what lesson (or lessons) do you need to take forward from this last year and carry with you into the future?  What do you hope for as you look ahead?

Good Good Father:

 


Guest contributor and recent visitor to the school: Revd. Chris Parkman to whom we express our thanks.

Have a great summer!

 

Jul 5

I Can Review 2

 

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Where would you find Hawk-Eye, TMO, Video Referee and VAR? If you said ‘sport’, good.  If you knew, Tennis, Rugby Union, Rugby League and Football, even better.  All of these systems help in the review process.  They help referees make correct decisions and they help spectators feel things are fairer.

The writer of Psalm 139 understands that God has full knowledge of human actions and thoughts:

1 You have searched me, Lord,

   and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;    

   you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;  

   you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue   

  you, Lord, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before,   

  and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,   

  too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?   

  Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;  

   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Is this comforting or scary?  Probably a bit of both.  Do I really want God using VAR to show the angels what I’ve been up to?  It does remind us that we can’t earn our way to heaven by being good but also that God loves us so much that he sent his Son to free us from the things that we’ve done wrong and not to put our sins on loop on the big screen in Millennium Square.

Prayer

Dear God, I thank You for looking beyond my faults and for loving me unconditionally.

Forgive me when I fail to love others in the same way.

Give me eyes to see the needs of the challenging people in my life, and show me how to meet those needs in a way that pleases You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen


It’s been a busy year so you might like to play some or all of this visual and aural treat:

 

 

Jun 27

I Can Review 1

 

review

Review by Nick YoungsonCC BY-SA 3.0Alpha Stock Images 

 

As we finish this academic year, I want to provide space to review and reflect. Proverbs 14:15 tells us:'be smart and know where you are headed.' Below are some quotes that should challenge us to think. Divide out the quotes and create an agree / disagree spectrum. Encourage each person to read their quote, explain it, and say where they would put it on the spectrum.

 



Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

 

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your last misfortunes, of which all men have some.Charles Dickens

 

 

 

“Perspective is as simple as answering this question: If I had five months to live would I experience this problem differently?Shannon Alder

 

 

A lot of the conflict you have in your life exists simply because you’re not living in alignment; you’re not being true to yourself.Steve Maraboli

 

 

Know that dreaming is a waste of sleeping time and energy if you don’t wake up to achieve them.Israelmore Ayivor

 

 

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.J.K. Rowling

 

 

To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.Buddha

 

 

The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over.Steve Maraboli

 

After discussing these with each other, spend a moment on your own in quiet using the following prayer exercise and music to reflect personally. The Examen prayer was founded by St Ignatius of Loyola over 400 year ago. It is a way of prayerfully reflecting on the events of the day or year to sense God’s presence and his direction for us.

 

1. Ask for perspective - We want to start with God’s eyes, not just our own.

2. Give thanks – What things am you grateful for? What went well?

3. Review – Allow space to look back. What has stood out to you, for good or bad reasons?

4. Face your flaws – what didn’t go as well? What could be improved on?

5. Face the future – where do you need help or change in the days to come?

Use this song for reflection and remember you’re beautiful:

 

 

 

 

Jun 20

We Are Interdependent 2

Play at least the first 90 seconds of this video as an intro: 


We’re at the end of Refugee Week.  Talk to the person next to you about any refugee stories in the news that you are aware of. (I’ll be surprised if Trump, children and boats have not cropped up).

We have chosen the Alive theme ’I am interdependent’ as our theme for this fortnight.  We shouldn’t really be too comfortable in our homes when we know that some people in our world have no homes.  We shouldn’t really be too comfortable with our food when there are some people in our world who will go to bed hungry today.  Here’s an older poem which puts some of these thoughts into words and which helps us think about God’s reaction as well.

On Another's Sorrow

Can I see another's woe

And not be in sorrow too.

Can I see another's grief

And not seek for kind relief.

Can I see a falling tear,

And not feel my sorrows share,

Can a father see his child,

Weep, nor be with sorrow filled.

Can a mother sit and hear,

An infant groan an infant fear-

No no never can it be.

Never never can it be.

And can he who smiles on all

Hear the wren with sorrows small,

Hear the small birds grief & care

Hear the woes that infants bear-

And not sit beside the nest

Pouring pity on their breast,

And not sit the cradle near

Weeping tear on infant's tear. . .

He doth give his joy to all.

He becomes an infant small.

He becomes a man of woe

He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not, thou canst sigh a sigh,

And thy maker is not by.

Think not, thou canst weep a tear,

And thy maker is not near.

O! he gives to us his joy,

That our grief he may destroy

Till our grief is fled & gone

He doth sit by us and moan.

 

William Blake 1757-1827

Here’s a thought from the Bible:

 

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it

Hebrews 13:2

 

So, how hospitable, how welcoming are we?  In our homes, in our places of worship, in our school?  Share any good ideas with each other.

Here’s a fairly grown-up prayer.  Read it slowly and work at understanding what the writer means:

Wondrous and holy God, creator of the universe, you make all people in your own image, you live and work in our midst. You bless us with an immense variety of cultures and ways of responding to you. You show us new patterns of living and loving in Jesus. You give us strength by your Holy Spirit.

We bless and thank you.

Forgive all among us who put boundaries around your presence, love and work; who use diversity to divide people - to demonise some and accord privileged status to others; who seek to dominate or destroy those who are different.

Have mercy on us all.

Show us all how to live and work with others; to receive diversity as a gift and not a threat; to move beyond tolerance of those who are different to mutual respect and trust. Show us the art of listening with respect to one another. Grant us the help of your Spirit that in humility we may share with others our faith and story.

In the name of Christ. Amen

'Unlocking the Doors' by Inderjit Bhogal

Music to finish. Again, rather grown-up but the words of it are really challenging:

 

 

Jun 15

We Are Interdependent 1

 

www.maxpixel.net World Cup 2018 Football Russia World Championship 3374668

 

*Warning* This worship reflects on the power of the world.

 

It has started. How are you feeling? Do you care? What do you think about Russia as a host?

I'm always optimistic about England's chances. Check out this this new 'World Cup anthem' by comedy duo Harry and Chris. Maybe it sums up how some of you feel!

 

 


Can you have a go at writing your own World Cup song or poem? Either celebrating the beautiful game or the beautiful mix of cultures? A prize for the best one!

 

The only way any team will do well at this World Cup is through teamwork and interdependence. It’s obvious.


But we can apply that to any area of our life.

 


Individual commitment to a group effort: That is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

Vince Lombardi

 

My prayer for England, and for us here at SMRT, is based on Philippians 2:2:

 

May we have the same love, be full accord and of one mind.

May we play our part and rely on others.

May we fulfil our potential as individuals and as a community.

Amen.

 

For extra fun, take this quiz to see which team you should really support: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44201661