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Shared Thoughts

This page exists to allow us to share our thoughts, prayers, reflections and stories, particularly in the current difficult times, in the hope that by doing so we may inspire, comfort, challenge, encourage or cheer others in our church community, and even beyond it.

Please feel free to send any contributions you may have to me by email, and I will add them to this page. In case you're shy, I won't identify the source, unless you particularly want me to.

Contributions are shown newest first, so that you can come back to this page whenever you like, and always see any new contributions first.


An Acrostic Prayer for Lockdown
Reproduced by kind permission of the Salvation Army

Let go and let God.
Obey His word and His teachings.
Call on Jesus’ name and be calm.
Know that God has a purpose for all this.
Dwell in His presence. Do not panic.
Offer a prayer for everyone’s safety.
Wait on the Lord and be patient. This too shall pass.
Nurture our personal relationship with God.


From Lisa Foster: Rainbows - A sign that God is with us (pdf)


From Chris and Linda Berry:

Dear All,

I thought with the Easter weekend looming up I would just like to send a greeting from our family to you and yours.  It will be a somewhat different Easter experience this year with the social distancing and closure of the church building... however, although the church is closed, and we will not be able to celebrate together over the Easter-tide, the church is very much evident as we seek to support those who are vulnerable, lonely and in need of contact although from a 2 metre distance, it is odd that even though we are disconnected, in some ways we are more connected than usual as we are all so much aware of the need of others - more so than usual.  It has been lovely to speak with some of you and hear of some of the links and connections that you have been making and continue to make.

It's odd, all this minimal contact, social isolating, not touching, keeping distance and keeping clean... everything feels upside down and back to front, what was normal and encouraged is somehow 'unacceptable'.  Thankfully, our faith is our cornerstone and our connection and through prayer we can still be in touch with the One who sees the bigger picture and understands all our anxieties, concern and confusion.  When we are able to be together again and share, I pray that this distancing will bring us all closer together and more importantly, closer to our Living, Risen, Lord and that we will be encouraged to worship him and celebrate Easter, the Risen Christ, in whatever ways we can... 

Love never fails, Coronavirus impacts us all... but love unites us all.  ❤

I love this prayer from Christian Aid - 

        A prayer for the church
        May your love that never fails
        strengthen the weak
        encourage the fearful
        calm the anxious
        heal the sick
        through your church –
        your washed hands
        and feet on earth –
        distant but still present
        virtual but still connected
        apart but still helping.
        God in your mercy,
        hear our prayer.

        Amen


Another thought for sharing... Looking forward, did you know that The Churches Together in England are encouraging Christians to all sing and join in a national sing resurrection on Easter Sunday 12th April at 10.00 am?  The two songs they suggest are: Christ is Risen Today and Thine Be The Glory...for more details, if you are able, look at    https://ctbi.org.uk/sing-resurrection/  

This is something you can do 'virtually' alongside other friends from the Square....  I enclose the words in case you don't have them!!  .... and you can sing like no-one's listening...... because they probably aren't!!! Feel free to bellow out!!!! .... knowing that God will hear!!!!

    Jesus Christ is Risen Today

    1 Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia,
    our triumphant holy day; alleluia,
    who did once upon the cross; alleluia,
    suffer to redeem our loss; alleluia!

    2 Hymns of praise then let us sing; Alleluia,
    unto Christ our heavenly king; alleluia,
    who endured the cross and grave; alleluia,
    sinners to redeem and save: alleluia!

    3 But the pains which he endured; Alleluia,
    our salvation have procured; alleluia,
    now above the sky he’s King; alleluia,
    where the angels ever sing: alleluia!

    4 Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
    Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
    Praise him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
    Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!


     Thine Be The Glory

    1 Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
    endless is the vict’ry Thou o’er death hast won.
    Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
    kept the folded grave-clothes where Thy body lay.

    Refrain:

    Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
    endless is the vict’ry Thou o’er death hast won.

    2 Lo, Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb.
    Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
    let His church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
    for the Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting. [Refrain]

    3 No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life!!
    Life is nought without Thee; aid us in our strife;
    make us more than conqu’rors, through Thy deathless love;
    bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above. [Refrain]



I have also sent this through to Jan, so it may be included in notice sheet.

I know I have fast-forwarded through Easter with this message, but I know lots of people do not look regularly at their emails and I wanted to share this link with you. 

Hopefully we can all use the time we have to have a thoughtful journey through the Easter story: today - Maundy Thursday; tomorrow - Good Friday; Saturday - Low Saturday and then Sunday - Easter Sunday... Alleluia!

God Bless, stay safe, stay home..... 

Linda and Chris 



WHen a Sparrow Falls +


In Christ Alone

If you need an uplifting experience, there's a beautiful A Capella version of In Christ Alone, sung by a Virtual Choir, here on YouTube.





I think that when the dust settles, we will realise how very little we need, how very much we already have, and the true value of human connection.


Lord, in days gone by, in times of crisis, churches were always places of refuge, welcome and support. Today they all stand empty. We understand how contagious Covid-19 is, but it's not just the virus that is the danger, but the isolation and dispersal of so many Christians who should be standing together giving comfort and hope. Not everyone is skilled in the technology which keeps people in touch. Help us to find ways of sharing and being that convey the gospel even though the doors of our churches are locked and bolted when most we need them.

Amen


Churches are not being closed.
Buildings are being closed.
You are the Church!
You are to remain open.


An Unexpected Encounter

Please read John Chapter 4 verses 1-26.   

It was 29th August 1984 just a normal day, I sat on a beach in Sandown Isle of Wight.    Next to me there was a large group of children being entertained by people in red T-shirts, one of whom came up to me and asked “Are you on holiday?” I was 20 then and would have found it most uncool to be approached like this by a stranger, but I was intrigued by what he wanted.  “Yes” I replied…

For a certain Samaritan woman 2000 years ago at the well it was just another usual day, sadly she was unpopular so she chose to collect her water at noon the hottest part of the day so she could be alone, but this time she wasn’t.   Opposite her was a stranger, and he requested “Give me a drink”   I don’t know about uncool, for the woman this situation was just unacceptable, for Jews and Samaritans did not socialise, especially men and women, however that aside, the woman obliged.

“Are you on holiday?” and “Give me a drink” two friendly, unassuming ice-breakers, to which both recipients chose to respond to and not ignore. From the passage we learn how Jesus gently coaxes the conversation to eventually reveal that he is the Messiah, and in so doing, sends the woman away completely changed.

So back to the beach, the young man was a beach missionary, who also was able to very patiently coax the conversation to share his faith.   I had never heard someone’s testimony before, so was moved to hear how Jesus had saved him from a drug habit.  After reading a tract he gave me I decided I too needed Jesus and from there on, like the Samaritan woman my life was completely changed. 

Not cool?  Unacceptable? no time? All excuses we make to deny those unexpected encounters, but  perhaps there could be something awaiting us that might just surprise us.


A conversation between Society and God

Society says:

God replies:

What about my plans?!

My plans for you are always better than your own. Don't worry. I'm going to work this all out for your good.

We're not going to get anything done!

That's the point. You know how you keep spinning your wheels—always working, moving, doing—but never feeling satisfied? I've given you permission to stop. I've cleared your calendars for you! Your worth isn't tied to busyness or accomplishment. All you have to do is take care of each other.

What does this all mean?

It means I'm in control. It means you are human and I am God. It means I've given you a wonderful opportunity to be the light in a dark world. It means you are going to learn to rely on me.

What are we supposed to do when we can't leave our homes?

You are always so busy and overwhelmed, crying out to me weary and exhausted. Can't you use a break from your fast-paced and over-scheduled lives? Go ahead and rest. Pray. Love your families. Be still and spend time with me.

You mean we're supposed to stay home with our kids all day, every day?

Yes. And you're going to be just fine. This time together is a rare gift. The rush of daily life has come to a halt. Play games. Bake cookies. Work on projects you've never had the time for. Teach them kindness and grace. Show them how to endure difficult circumstances and steer them toward me.

We better start hoarding anything we can get our hands on!

Prevention, yes. Precaution, yes. Preparedness, yes. But after that, it's time to put the needs of others before your own. When you see someone in need, help them. Offer up what you have. Do not worry about tomorrow! Haven't I always taken care of you? Now, go take care of someone else.

Why is this happening?

To remind you that I'm in control. To bring your attention back to me. I'm bringing you together as families and neighbours. I'm showing you patience and perseverance. I'm reminding you of your purpose and priorities. Now is the time to learn and teach your children what this life is really about.

We don't know who to believe.

Believe in me. Trust me. Ask me for wisdom and I will surely give it.

We're scared!

I've got this and I'm with you.