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Darning Socks

Readings for 5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37.1-14,, Romans 8.6-11; and John 11:1-45

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Saturday 1 April 

In Henning Mankell’s novel ‘The fifth Woman’, Linda, Wallander’s daughter, asks her father,   “Why is it so difficult to live in Sweden”. He replies “Sometimes I think it’s because we’ve stopped darning our socks. When I was growing up,  Sweden was still a country where people darned their socks … then suddenly, one day, it was over; socks with holes in them were thrown out, no one bothered to repair them, the whole society changed. Wear it out then toss it was the only rule that applied.

As long as it was just a matter of our socks a change didn’t make much difference, but then it started to spread, until finally it became a kind of invisible moral cold. I think it changed our view of right and wrong, of what you were allowed to do to other people and what you weren’t. More and more people, especially young people feel unwelcome in their own county. How do they react; with aggression and contempt. The most frightening thing is that I think we’re only at the beginning of something that’s going to get a lot worse. A generation is growing up right now …. who are going to react with even greater violence and they have absolutely no memory of a time when we darned our socks. When we didn’t throw everything away, weather it was our woollen socks or human beings.

Question: Did Jesus darn socks? He certainly didn’t throw away  relationships. For him people were children of God, they were the ‘Imago Dei’ of God. So, what has that got to say about how we approach people who would appear different today? What are the consequences of drawing closer to God during this Lenten period, and what does the  approaching Holy Week and Easter story mean for us in today’s world? Should we learn to darn socks?

 

 

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Words and Meaning

Readings for Fourth Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 1:20-end, Ephesians 5:8-14; 13-17 & John 9

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Wednesday 22nd March

As a small child Samuel was given to God:           a small number of words, carrying a lot of meaning : both pain and promise. Just as there was a heavy cost for Hannah, so there was for Samuel too. Samuel grew up with Eli, seeing his parents only once a year and he became, as Hannah had intended a servant of God: assisting Eli in his work and later having a prophetic role in the whole nation. But in the story we read this week, Samuel was a small child removed from the familiar and put down somewhere new with people he had never met. At this point the situation doesn’t look promising.

Thoughts and Prayer: So today take time to pray for children who have been left: separated from parents: for refugees and for children whose parents can’t look after them. And pray also for the Elis: foster carers and others looking after children.

 

Famished

 

Readings for 1st Sunday in Lent

 

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19; and Matthew 4: 1-11

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Thursday 2 March

We are told that Jesus was ‘famished’ after his time alone in the wilderness. Have you ever been ‘famished’ and I don’t mean hungry for a meal.

The account of Jesus in the wilderness is fundamentally about Jesus’ lack of relationship, with other people and with God.

Jesus is then tempted to self sufficiency and testing of his Father’s  love and care. Lent for me is being hungry enough to seek God, to seek forgiveness and through small steps of seeking realise the Father’s love and care.

Prayer: O most approachable Father, through my thoughts, my prayers and study of Jesus and his guidance may I grow ever closer to your love and care in this world. Amen

 

 

Ash Wednesday and Beyond

Readings for 1st Sunday in Lent

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19; and Matthew 4: 1-11

 

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Ash Wednesday 1 March

The observance of a holy Lent as recalled in the Ash Wednesday liturgy: “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy word.”

These are five options to develop our spirituality muscles this Lent. I think the five are linked to prayer and study. Either of the areas is a part of prayer and study or a direct result. So reading this Lenten study, praying before,   during or after. Looking at something else; a film, some music, the News, a single book of the New Testament….. and react within yourself and for others beyond yourself.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, this Lent give me a portion of that grace to be obedient to your Spirit to heed your call and develop to be wiser in my love of you though and into others around me. Amen

 

Self Awareness

Readings for 1st Sunday in Lent

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19; and Matthew 4: 1-11

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Tuesday 28 February

The story of the Garden of Eden apple is interesting on many levels.

Look at it this way, when we take time to consume and digest we are able to grow and become wiser. The ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ symbolises a moment beyond innocence when we begin to be self aware. For humans that is a time when all the food of our earliest years, all the care given to us, all the knowledge and teaching we are invested with, and yes, even our spiritual nurturing, blossom.

So what for the future? What Lenten consumption will draw you closer to God and wiser in your knowledge and understanding of God?

Prayer: Day by day, Dear Lord, three things I pray. To see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly day by day. Amen

 

 

I’m a Lent Martyr.

Readings for 1st Sunday in Lent
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19; and Matthew 4: 1-11

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Monday 27 February

How on earth to get through Lent without bragging or wearing a badge saying ‘I am a Lent martyr!’

Look at the model of Jesus himself.His wilderness experience was focussed at each point on God. Jesus deflects the call to test God or look towards self or something else as divine.

This Lent may you keep focussed on God’s call to salvation now and on into the future.

Prayer: My Lord Jesus, you fasted forty days in the wilderness, you were tempted as we are and you prevailed. This Lent give me a portion of that grace to be obedient to your Spirit. Lord, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save. Amen

New Eyes

eyes

 In the final week before Christmas I reflect back to the recent confirmation service where the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines,  asked the gathered congregation to look afresh at repentance. In fact he told us to see the turning round of repentance was simply look at every situation, and God’s kingdom in a new way.

Christianity has at its foundation a reassessment of the worldly to the extent that we run contrary to the world. Bishop Nick mentioned John the Baptist’s call and Israel’s expectation. Repentance: new eyes revealed not in a conquering king but a helpless baby. Not a winnowing fire, but a breath of a child.

So what will I see with new eyes today?

 Father in this season where we await a birth of something familiar but then something completely radical, help me see with radical eyes: not just those in need, but those who can be aided by me; not just the lonely, but my companion; not just the sick but the beloved by you. And all in Jesus name. Amen.