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MCT PRAYERS week beginning 21.09.20

Hello Everyone

‘Christ be near at either hand’. Let me make these simple words my prayer today.                                                                                                Let me know Christ’s presence in my life, Christ’s closeness to me in every moment of this day and let me welcome that presence with an open heart.

St Paul often seems over-confident, but his confidence in God is not something he has created.  It was his gift from God at the time of his conversion.

As you read this reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, put yourself with Paul in this gesture of faith and availability.  

No matter what, we are the Lord’s… Romans 14:7-9      We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

We hear a lot these days about self-help. Bookshops are filled with guides to achieve this or that target. People in the media claim that they are self-made successes. There are countless memes, (a meme is typically a photo or video) about ‘doing it for yourself’. Motivational speakers encourage us to be self-aware, to be filled with self-esteem. Perhaps you have engaged with a self-help programme? Did it satisfy or leave you wanting something more…? Perhaps it left you desiring God to step in… Of course, taking care of yourself is a compassionate, mature, adult thing to do. But self-help is not easy. There is a phrase, ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. Have you heard this phrase? What do you think it means for you? Where might you be filled again? As Christians, we are vessels, like those made by Jeremiah’s potter. Gathered and shaped, spoiled and made over by an attentive, loving God.  Our life, and our death, are grace filled by the Father’s hands, given over by his Son’s death and resurrection. In all that we are, we are the Lord’s.

Ponder on the Questions asking do they resonate with your own experience.  

Keep your thoughts in mind and re-read the reading from Romans 14 again…

In thirty-six years in Ordained Ministry Romans 14:7-9 must be the scripture I have leaned on most. It has been most helpful with the bereaved whether it was used in the funeral service or not. For me personally it gave me confidence simply to know that I belong to the Lord and it has been a comfort and assurance to those I have shared that knowledge with.

Some months ago, In a rare bout of feeling down and struggling with confidence, a number of faithful Christians were a great support and help to me. I was given a book on mindfulness. I would probably say that the visit of the giver was more of a tonic than the book itself. I must say that it’s a good book, and I read it, but it made hard work of regaining confidence. I ought to have remembered that the answer to my problems lay waiting for me in Romans 14. And like the pot in the potter’s hand I needed to be reshaped and refilled with Gods Holy Spirit.

PRAY
‘Christ be near at either hand’. Let me make these simple words my prayer today. Let me know Christ’s presence in my life,

Christ’s closeness to me in every moment of this day and let me welcome that presence with an open heart.

You alone, O God, are infinite in love. You alone can speak to our condition.

You alone can search the mind and purify the heart. You alone can flow over our darkness with the ocean of eternal light George Fox 1624 -1691

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

KEEP SAFE – KEEP PRAYING         Peter

MCT PRAYERS

Hello everyone

On Sunday 22 March CHURCH leaders in Britain and Ireland urged Christians to take part in a National Day of Prayer and Action about the problems caused by coronavirus. People were asked to light a candle in their window at 7 p.m. that evening “as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ”.

A chance conversation between Judith Powell and Liz Noble sparked off the idea to set a time in the day to join with others to pray.

The Churches Together in Meltham welcomed the idea and 11-00am was adopted as a time we might pray knowing that others who could manage the time would be praying alongside each other. Others may wish to join in solidarity at a time more suitable 

 for them. This week’s Prayer sheet is our twenty-eighth.

Our first Prayer in March was as follows: —

Dear God,

I need your peace now.

Silence my thoughts of confusion.

Silence my thoughts of anxiety.

Silence my thoughts of grief or despair.

Silence my thoughts of hurt or anger.

When there is chaos and turmoil surrounding me, shelter and protect me with your peace and loving, powerful presence.

As I take this time to stop and pray, fill me with your peaceful presence.

With each breath I take, I breathe in your peace that surpasses all understanding.

Help me to focus on peace instead of unrest.

I surrender my unrest to you so that I may receive peace. Help me to be a spark that ignites peace in others.    Amen

By week seven Nick Fawcett’s book of prayers ‘For a time such as this’ proved well. Nick Fawcett served as a Baptist minister for thirteen years, and as a chaplain with the national charity Toc H for three, before deciding to focus on a writing ministry. His book of prayers touches almost every aspect of praying in the face of the Pandemic that we are living through. His book contains 52 prayers “one for every week of the year”. Quick off the mark getting his book published. His words are almost prophetic.

Here are a few of his headings for prayer:- ‘When you are struggling to know what to pray fo’r – ‘For Those struck down by coronavirus’ –‘When our prayers seem so inadequate’ – ‘For scientists seeking a vaccine’ – ‘ Trusting that God is with us however it seems otherwise’ –‘When it seems there’s  no end to the crisis’.

From the list of his prayers I have chosen today:-

Learning from this crisis.

LEARNING FROM THIS CRISIS –Nick Fawcett

We thought we were in control,

But find we are not.

We thought we were strong,

But find we are weak.

We thought we had all the answers,

But find ourselves now beset by questions.

We thought we were ready,

but find ourselves unprepared.

We thought we had life mapped out,

But find instead that the future is uncertain.

We thought that we could deal with anything,

But we find ourselves struggling to cope.

Lord, we are confronted by awkward                                                                                                                                           uncomfortable truths.

And we do not like to face them,

but face them we must.

Help us to pause and take stock,

to reflect and through adversity

to learn and to grow. Amen

Recently we have also been using John Bells book “Living with the Psalms”. John is part of Wild Goose and Iona Community. He is a musician and song writer and an authority on the Psalms.

Almost half of the Psalms deal with life gone wrong. The Psalms are a testimony of a people who seek God in every aspect of daily living.

The Psalms are a wonderful resource for us to use in our prayer times. They can help us join in the symphony of Praise to our creator God and they also contain joy and lamentations, hope, and salvation.

This Monday we enter the ”rule of six.”  We have observed Government guidelines including Lockdown. People overall have been creative in adjusting their lives and helping both the community and their neighbours.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that we are entering a new academic year a time of renewal of purpose and vision. The past year has held unimaginable moments for many during the pandemic. As Christians we need to be steadfast in prayer as we see the potential for things to get worse if we don’t follow the government guide lines.                                                                                                                

Psalm 5 Teaches us how to pray.

PSALM 5 v1—3

O Lord, hear me as I pray;
    pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my Lord and my God,
    for I pray to no one but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
    Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

KEEP SAFE – KEEP PRAYING    

Peter

MCT 11am Prayer (or any alternative time) 7 September

Hello everyone

The Shape of things to come      –      The Potter and the Clay

Jeremiah 18:1-6

 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 

As a child, our family did not own a television set.  So, on Saturdays we visited my aunt and uncle along with some of their friends for our entertainment watching TV.  Supper was made and served during the Interlude.  No Social distancing!  During the interlude there were large Angel fish swimming back and forth, or a potter’s hands shaping the clay.

To watch a potter at work, it can look almost like magic.  A lump of wet clay turns swiftly into a shapely vessel.  In your mind’s eye take a moment to watch that happening.                                                                    

But if the clay if off-centre, the vessel will quickly collapse. The potter can only start again.

Watch that happening too, in your imagination.

This, Jeremiah is told, is how God works with us.  Each of us is moulded and re-shaped by God. Where do you recognise that pattern in your own life?

Read the Jeremiah passage slowly a couple of times and ask yourself what God is saying to you by showing Jeremiah the Potter at work.                                                                                                                                                                      

Respond in your own words to the Lord who is shaping your own life into something beautiful for God.

Prayer of St Ignatius of Loyola

A wonderful Prayer of surrender to God

You have given all to me. 

To you Lord, I return it.  

Everything is yours, do with it what you will. 

Give me only your love and your grace,

that is enough for me.    Amen

The Prophet Jeremiah was aware of Gods design to reshape the house of Israel, they were to be like clay in His hands.  St Augustine, in his Prayer, is responding to the love, mercy and grace of God after living a wildlife.  As an individual he was placing himself into the hands of God to be reshaped.

In the case of Jeremiah and the house of Israel, God is seen taking the initiative.  St Augustine on the other hand was responding to God and was willing to be reshaped by placing himself into the hands of God.

On a worldwide scale, humanity has had a wake-up call due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.  2020 will be recorded in world History in every language and has been dubbed as the “New Norm”.   As Christians we would hope for more than that as our Creator God takes us in His hands and reworks us like the clay that is off centre and collapsed on the wheel.

We look to and pray to the One who can re-centre and re-shape us as individuals and as nations.

KEEP SAFE – KEEP PRAYING      

Peter                                                                                        

MCT 11 am PRAYERS (or any alternative time)

Hello Everyone,

‘Creation is the forum through which humanity can find proportion and wonder                                                          

 This is best articulated by Psalm 8, in which the author is overawed by the splendour of creation around him and is amazed that God should allow fallible humanity to have guardianship of the planet.’           J Bell    LIVING WITH THE PSALMS

Psalm 8.3–5 When I look up at your heavens, the work of your fingers, at the moon and the stars you have set in place, what is a frail mortal, that you should be mindful of him, a human being, that you should take notice of him? Yet you have made him a little less than a god, crowning his head with glory and honour.                                                                                                                                        ‘We are not the masters of the universe, nor are our human minds and bodies the only objects of fascination. All around us creation in its beauty and terror calls us to have a sense of proportion.’

Psalm 65.8 The dwellers at the ends of the earth are overawed by your signs.                                                                                                ‘Awe and wonder are evoked when we take long enough to be addressed by that which we are admiring. There is a poem, which used to be committed to memory by children, that begins; What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.’     We along with all the other nations of our world have had more time to observe, reflect and to be aware of those around us as we entered the Coronavirus Pandemic at the start of the new year.

‘To see the natural order as a potentially hostile or a limiting entity that we have to dominate until it bends to our will is not living in harmony with creation; it is living in enmity. But the Psalms also give a clue as to how that sense of proportion can be secured and maintained. It is by continually being drawn into wonder at the world that surrounds us, such that we behave in ways that will show we respect the integrity of the world God has made.’

‘The simplicity of the language of Psalms should impress the truth upon us that when we are solely concerned with what we do, what we own, who we are and how we feel, this self-absorption will be detrimental to our life. We need, from time to time, to be taken out of ourselves, confronted and blessed by being fascinated by the natural world of which we are not in control. For some people this experience is what they find through hill walking or mountain climbing; for others it is in rearing a pet that has its own individuality; for yet others it is in tending to a garden, admiring wildlife, stargazing or standing on the shore and watching the sea.  These are not romantic pursuits for those with time on their hands: they are the means by which we affirm our connectedness with all living things and are nurtured and even moved by a beauty not of our making’.  Never has there been such need for our connectedness with people and the natural world around us due to the pandemic lockdown.

Let us continue to use the psalms as a real resource for our prayers and let us spend time reflecting on how we and the those around us have been seeking our connectedness within our community.                                                                                                                                                                               

Psalm 145.10 All your creatures praise you, Lord, and your loyal servants bless you

Also this week let us focus our prayers on the return of our children to school and all that entails especially their safety and the safety of teachers and all ancillary staff.

KEEP SAFE – KEEP PRAYING       Peter                                                                                        

Parish Magazine for September 2020

Welcome to the September edition of the #Meltham Parish Magazine. Enjoy reading all the latest news/updates and about all the hard work people have been doing across our Parish. The Church buildings are now open on Sunday mornings and services are taking place! You can read about various peoples’ experiences and thoughts/ideas about it. We intend to have the magazines printed again starting this month, so that those unable to view it online can have their copy delivered like it used to be. Whoop!