Friday, 29 May 2020

Friday 29th May 2020

People have been doing remarkable things during these last two months - often via Zoom and other 'platforms' which have enabled groups and families to 'stay' together.

David Keen has kindly sent me this link of the choir that both he and John Fox (who passed away this week) sang with - along with David Watson and Bryan Long.  This group of singers haven't given up during lockdown - they not only meet over the internet but also sing!

This week as their rehearsal drew to a close they 'remembered' John and sang a very beautiful version of the Sanctus, Holy, Holy, Holy 'for him'.  I was moved very much as I listened to it and I hope it will be an encouragement to you too.

It can be accessed at: https://app.box.com/s/i0whhmx54fxcz472bj4ik6txtjrcpce3

Our Pentecost service has now been recorded and is ready for broadcast on Sunday morning!  This week we have two sets of guests taking part:  The Vogel family from Germany and The Revd Colin Pye, one of our Regional Ministers will sing one of his own compositions.

In all you do today and this weekend may you know the blessing and joy of God the Holy Spirit.

Ian

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Thursday 28th May 2020

Today we have published a new Minister's Letter, which also includes an update on some of our church finances, which we hope you will find helpful.

Yesterday AFC had a visit from the organ builder who attended to a loose wire.  This means the instrument is back up and working properly again.

This afternoon we hold the O'Connor family in our thoughts and prayers as Derek's funeral service takes place at Amersham Crematorium at 2.30pm

We also remember the family of Mr John Fox, one of our church members, who passed away earlier this week.

May both Derek and John rest in peace and rise in glory.

May you, today, know God's blessing and peace in all you do.

Ian

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Wednesday 27th May 2020

Some of you are kind enough to send me a 'virtual handshake' in the form of an email after the audio service on a Sunday.

I received one this week with a lovely perceptive comment that perhaps our world has needed a similar '40 days' to that experienced by the disciples between Easter and Ascension.  And that during this time we've been able to do some necessary re-thinking and re-evaluating of what's really important in our lives and community.

Well, in many ways we are still in this period.  We are 'waiting'.....

In this time when we anticipate what life may look like as Lock Down begins to ease we, as a church, are doing some planning.  Yesterday, for example, we tried out a 'webcast' from AFC.  Using the most basic of equipment we were able to see what a service might look like if it were broadcast from the sanctuary direct from camera to home computer.  It wasn't perfect but it was encouraging and might give us some options when the time comes from us to have physical, but limited services in church - yet at the same time fulfilling the need to provide a service for people at home.  It's work in progress as we move from an amber to green light!

Later this morning we'll be having our weekly Zoom Church Officers meeting and as always we appreciate your prayers for patience, wisdom and vision.

May you, in all you do today, know God's blessing and joy.

Ian

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

The Lady with the Lamp

Last autumn we visited the Nightingale Museum, just off of Westminster Bridge , at the back of St Thomas' Hospital.  We learnt a lot about Florence Nightingale, who was born 200 years ago this year, and we also saw the Spanish Flu Pandemic exhibition of 1918/19- little knowing that in just a few months, a hundred years on, the world would be going through it all over once again.

Florence Nightingale believed her 'calling' to nursing was from God but her parents disagreed.  This simply wasn't a profession for respectable ladies from middle class families.  After turning down a number of marriage proposals Nightingale ended up making her mark in the Crimean War bringing hospitals up to better hygiene standards.  Her way of nursing eventually became the international 'benchmark' despite the discouragements heaped upon her by British generals who ridiculed her as an 'interfering bird'.

Once back home Nightingale feel ill, and remained basically bed ridden, from the fever she had encountered overseas.  Undeterred she used this time to collate health statistics that proved the need for change.  She developed something called the 'coxcombe' - a more intricate variation of the pie chart.  I suspect she would have been very much at home with the current Downing Street briefings and their 'slides'!

This remarkable (and I sometimes sense 'difficult'!) woman has been honoured this year in that the emergency centres created to cope with Covid19 have been called 'Nightingale Hospitals'.  I'm just as impressed that she turned her efforts, due to her own bad health, to statistics once she was forced to give up 'nursing'.  An example of someone who simply didn't give up and in the current circumstances she is surely an inspiration to us all.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Monday 25th May 2020

There is a wonderful moment in Downton Abbey when, at dinner in the big house, the family are talking of their plans and one of the younger members talks of the 'weekend'.  The old Dowager Countess chokes on the soup and asks, in that wonderfully imperious way of hers, 'what's a weekend'?! Obviously  a new, and vulgar term, to those for whom every day felt a little like a 'holiday'!

Well, I'm beginning to have similar feelings myself in that a friend asked me on Friday what I'd be up to today, on the Bank Holiday?  I confess it had completely passed me by that it was a Bank Holiday as the days seem to be 'morphing' into each other at the moment.  I regularly find myself asking Rachel what day of the week it is!  Anyway - Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

Let me just share with you a couple of things that have come my way;

Celia mentioned to me the plans that St Paul's have for a national memorial (sponsored by The Prince of Wales) for all who have died in the Pandemic.  It is both a physical and a virtual tribute and she writes:

 It is the first British Memorial to all the precious people who have died from Covid.  There will be  a memorial plus an On Line Book where you can leave a message and put on a photo.  It is called ‘Remember Me’ and you can find it on rememberme2020.uk. 
 
Prince Charles is quoted as saying the lockdown had made the loss of a loved one ‘all the more agonising painful’ and ‘For too many among us, this has brought tragedy and heartbreak.’

Whilst one of our Elders, Hazel, has reminded us that during these days of Lock Down when it's difficult for us to give to the Chiltern Food Bank there is a 'donate' button on their website that will help them buy food for others on our behalf:
https://chiltern.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/

I hope, on this Bank Holiday, that you will know the blessing and joy of God in all you do.

Ian 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Friday 22nd May 2020

I'm delighted that Heather has given us such a thought provoking and encouraging Prayer and Reflection piece on today's website - her story about John Donne, Dean of St Paul's is very poignant, moving and appropriate for us today.

Thanks to everyone who helped make part of Peggy's 100th Birthday so very special yesterday afternoon.  It was super to be together and sing in the street! 

Here are some photos of a lovely occasion for a very special lady.


And after that it was straight back to The Manse to record the sermon for Sunday!

In all you do today and this weekend may you know the blessing and joy of God.

Ian


Thursday 21st May 2020

Happy Ascension Day!

I'm delighted that today's Minister's Letter has been written by Erna and is now on the website and making its way to your email in boxes or home letter boxes. 

The Church Officers' Meeting this week is being held tomorrow morning.

In more usual times many church choirs would have climbed up their towers and greeted this morning's dawn with an anthem or two.  Today we'll just have to be content with a service on Radio 4 in which a great chorus of voices from around the country joins together in the Hallelujah Chorus!  We'll be marking The Ascensionand taking it as our theme in our audio service this Sunday - which is being recorded this afternoon and put together tomorrow.

However, today is also a special day for another reason - it's the 100th birthday of our church member Mrs Peggy Babbington.  We wish Peggy a very Happy Birthday.

This afternoon a small from of us, physically distanced, will stand outside of Peggy's bungalow and sing to her.  We'll also leave her some flowers and cake as we pull some party poppers.

Peggy's smile and sense of humour brightens up every coffee time we hold after morning service and we wish her God's richest blessing on her special day.

May God's blessing be yours in all you do this day,

Ian

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Wednesday 20th May 2020

This week's Church Officers' Meeting has been moved to Friday morning because there is a URC Local Area Group Ministers' Meeting at 10.30am via Zoom!

However, there will still be a Minister's Letter published this week, written by Erna.

You might remember that in the early week's of this year we really thought that the Moderator of the Central Baptist Association, The Revd Carol Murray, was at the end of her life.  She has experienced a remarkable recovery, for which we are truly grateful and the letter below is from her; it was  published in the CBA round robin this weekend.

May God's blessing and joy be yours in all you do today.

Dear friends,
 
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your love, support and care since January. Now that I am home I am having time to reflect on what has happened and all your prayers, thoughts, cards, messages and visits.  They have all been fantastic. Thank you again.
 
Among the many messages and prayers has been the reminder of God's holding and faithfulness which has been so important to me to cling onto, and that continues in these very strange times we all find ourselves in.
 
As I continue to improve I am also pondering about the future and what is in store. I don't know as yet but I want to assure you of my desire to continue to serve you as your Moderator to the best of my ability.
 
Thank you once again and may God bless you and keep you in the palm of God's hands.
 
Carol

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

All Change?!

Danny Dorling, an Oxford professor says in his book: Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration that:

            It can take a couple of human generations, around fifty years or more, to fully adapt after it becomes obvious that we need to change.

That suggests that often we change quite slowly.  We gradually accept and embrace new ideas and make them our own.

Yet, isn’t it also true that change is sometimes thrust upon us and requires a quicker response.  Perhaps that’s been our experience over these last couple of months.  None of us probably expected the amount of change we have had to cope with since the Prime Minister’s announcement of Lock Down on Monday March 23rd.

We regularly hear people now talk of the ‘new normal’; a phrase that somehow predicts a different sort of future to the one we were expecting.  Whether or not some of these predictions of changed behaviour stick around once ‘Start Up’ is with us is something we’ll just have to wait and see. 

Many ministers of my generation have seen one of their raison d’etre as being that of ‘change makers’ in Baptist churches.  I’m not sure I’m a paid up member of that group, but it’s certainly true that over the last thirty years, since my ordination, the worship life of Baptist Union congregations has changed almost beyond recognition (excepting AFC perhaps – Hallelujah for that, and thank God for the URC!).

Recently another, and I think more balanced, way of thinking has emerged and is called (because everything has to have a snappy name these days) ‘Ancient-Future Worship’.  I think this is, potentially, a much healthier way forward for The Church; one that values and recognises both traditional and contemporary worship styles rather than seeing them as mutually exclusive.  Indeed in 2018 the Bishops of the Church of England advocated this Ancient -Future approach and wrote: There is a role for both traditional forms in all dioceses and in most areas.

As I contemplate the future, after the Virus, I find myself wanting to return to life pretty much as it was before.  I think most of what we were about was authentic and valuable.  I’ve no doubt that we have discovered new ways of being and some of this can be included into our future.  But basically, I believe what we came from is something I would willingly return to.  Perhaps the point is that, in the meantime, I will have changed.  Living through Coronavirus will have changed us all and, pray God, reminded us again of the value of that which we have appreciated for a long time, and surprised us with the new treasures that could potentially enhance all our tomorrows.  We can all be Ancient-Future people!

Monday, 18 May 2020

Monday 18th May 2020

Over recent weeks it's been good to read stories that inspire and one that has come my way is from Reform, the URC monthly magazine.  It focuses on Bob Weighton, the oldest man in the world who recently celebrated his 112th birthday!

Bob is a URC Christian who still writes the monthly 'Eco-Corner' for his local church magazine.

He was born in Hull where his father was a veterinary surgeon, looking after the 400 horses employed to pull vans from the railway goods yard.

Bob gratuated as an engineer and, inspired by the hymn The Day Thou Gavest  and the verse that that talks of the 'voice of prayer' never being silent as it passes everyday from one continent to another, he served as a missionary with the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.  After the war he lived and worked in North America before returning to the UK to lecture at City University, London from which he retired in 1973.  His son is now 81!

It was a fascinating article about a wonderful man who has now reached this remarkable milestone.  The last question Reform asked him was: Congratulations again on your 112th birthday.  What do you attribute your longevity to?  His answer made me smile, he said: I just haven't died.

May you know God's blessing and joy in all you do today.

Ian

Friday, 15 May 2020

Friday 15th May 2020

Today we are putting the audio service together and this week there will also be a new communion service.

I know you can do all sorts of things with statistics - but in our curent situation sometimes numbers are all we have to go on.  So it's been interesting seeing the number of people who have tuned into the audio service, the website and the blog over these last few weeks.  Here are some figures - they are taken from the 'platforms' we use - and I suppose they are open to all sorts of interpretations:

WEBSITE measured in number of webpages viewed
April 2020: 91,657 pages viewed  (In June 2019 it was 45,383)
Average daily view in May so far 2,986 per day
So, website viewing has doubled during the Crisis.

BLOG measured in number of views
April 2020: 1,533 (last year the monthly average was around 800 per month)
So, blog viewing also appears to have doubled during the Crisis.

AUDIO SERVICE measured in number of hits on SoundCloud
Averaging 125 per week for the main service and 65 per week for the communion service plus we distribute about a dozen CDs of the service each week to folk without internet
(Before LockDown our average morning congregation numbered 92 - so, could it be argued that actually now more people join us for worship than before?)

For the time being we will continue to put much of our effort as a church into these helpful ways of communicating.

A significant question we'll have to consider in due course is how many of these platforms will we continue to use and develop once things return to more 'in-person church'.  Answers on a postcard....!!!!

May you know God's blessing and joy in all you do today and this weekend.

Ian

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Wednesday 13th May 2020

Yesterday members of Sara Autton's family gathered at the Crematorium for the funeral service of her mother, Helen. 

Helen took part in our very first audio-service for Mothering Sunday by reading the gospel - a lovely memory for us to hold.  It was good to be with Sara's folk and share with them in thanksgiving for a much loved and respected parent and grandmother.  May Helen rest in peace and rise in glory.

Today the Church Officers have a Zoom Team Meeting.  We'll be reflecting on the provisional 'time table' the Prime Minister set out to the country on Sunday evening.  We'll keep you posted of our discussions in the Minister's Letter which will be published tomorrow after the Elders have received and commented on the notes of the Team Meeting later today.

I'm delighted that one of our former members, Dr Bob Bradnock, has written today's Thought from Glasgow.  It's lovely to hear from Bob again and we wish him and Roma God's blessing, with fond memories of our fellowship in former days.

And may you know that same blessing, from the God who travels with us, in all you do this day.

Ian

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Saying it as it is...

I read recently that William Tyndale’s translation of the Bible, published in 1526, was colloquial and down to earth in style.  For example, in Genesis, he writes: So, the Lord was with Joseph, and Joseph was a lucky fellow. I love that!  Rowan Williams calls it ‘salty medieval vernacular!

The Authorised King James’ version of 1611 was rather more retrained and used loftier phrases, often more ‘detached’ and in contrast to the ‘grounded’ vocabulary of the earlier Tyndale.

Of course, all organisations use ‘in’ words and their own language.  The government, in recent days, has re-introduced the word ‘furlough’ back into our common parlance, whereas I grew up using that phrase to describe the ‘home-assignment’ time missionaries had every three or four years.

In one of the churches in which I’ve served there was a tradition to announce someone’s death saying something like: Mrs Jones received her home call this week. Most, but not everyone, knew what was being talked about.  Indeed, one newer worshipper told me she was confused why the Church Secretary announced the minister’s visits like this – and why we only paid home pastoral calls about six times a year!

‘Saying it as it is’ has never been something the Church is particularly good at.  The Authorised Version of the Bible, alongside Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer introduced a type of stately and florid language which seems to have stuck.  Of course, it’s often very beautiful yet it can make faith out to be ‘other’ worldly and somewhat detached from this life.  It becomes ‘spiritual’ language.

So, three cheers for Tyndale’s salty vocabulary.

I wonder how we speak of God, faith and prayer today?  Perhaps many of us would say that poetry rather than prose is the most useful.

Yet it brings a dilemma and a challenge – but not one we should shy away from.  In our hymns can we value both Charles Wesley and John Campbell, in our scripture both The King James’ Bible and The Message and in our prayers, both Cranmer’s BCP and Iona’s Wee Worship Book?!

It’s a worthy cause; to keep working at the language, and I’ll be spurred on in the future remembering that, the Lord was with Joseph, and Joseph was a lucky fellow.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Monday 11th May 2020

I hope your weekend went well and thank you to everyone who has written in with encouragements for all who took part in yesterday's audio service.

During the week there will be an article and some pictures on the EcoChurch section of the church website on being a 'Wild Christian' - someone who is interested in wild life and doing what we can to encourage it.  Do have a look.

We recently heard from our Link Church in North London - here is The Revd Edwin Quildan's email:


By God’s Grace, our Church family are all well. We have not lost anyone.

We keep in touch by phone plus I aim to produce a service every other week on CD ( for those without computer or smart phone) and also the service is posted on YouTube. On the other weeks for those with computers there is the Provincal services that is shared. The feedback has been good.
We have continued our Bible Study using WhatsApp.

Please pass our greetings to your congregation.

Every blessing 

Regards 
Edwin


We heard this morning that our good friend and church member, Mr Derek O'Connor has passed away at Rayner's Care Home.  Derek has not been in good health for some time and died with members of his family present.  We think of Tricia, his wife, herself in resdiential care.  Recently we heard Derek's fine voice in a reading from one of our early audio services.  May he rest in oeace and rise in glory.

May you know God's blessing and joy in all you do today,

Ian

Friday, 8 May 2020

Friday 8th May 2020

It's been good this week to hear news from our Link Missionaries - here is their latest prayer letter to us.

May you know God's blessing and joy this weekend in all you do.

Ian

Dear all,

First we would like to apologise for being less regular with these prayer updates. Everything has been a bit irregular and up the air over the last few months, as you all know well, so we didn’t get round to sending this. You have all been in our thoughts and prayers over the last few months. It is strange to think about how Covid-19 has brought much of the world to a standstill but here, even though we have some restrictions in place, we are not in lockdown and so have a little more freedom than you do, although we are still taking care of ourselves and others.

The schools here closed at the same time as in the UK even though there were still no official cases of the virus. We currently have 80 official cases in the country, though I’m not sure we will ever really know how far it has spread due to a lack of tests available, and people not going for testing. Also there is are a lot of deaths here and most of the time the reason for dying is unknown. The president has said we will continue as we are until the end of May, with schools, Churches, entertainment venues closed. Shops shut early and masks must be worn when in public places. If you want to learn more, go to our blog at https://lsvilela.wordpress.com and you can see some photos too.

Sergio is continuing to coordinate and monitor the rebuilding of the PEPEs during this time and Liz has been involved in a BMS project of giving out soap and teaching how to hand wash properly to the PEPE teachers, who then have been distributing it to the parents. It’s one of the ways we felt we could help at this time. We have other projects that could be happening soon and we will let you know about them.

Chloe and Joshua are doing school at home. It’s funny to be back doing home school when I thought those days were done, but it’s a bit more helpful this time to have some work sent home from the school to keep Chloe busy. They strangely appear to be enjoying being at home, to be honest there isn’t a lot to do here even if we could, but we do like to have a walk on the beach each day. There are some trees that had fallen from the cyclone that are good for climbing and some rocks, so we have a good natural playground for the children to play.

We are unsure what the next few months will look like here so we are not planning too much or expectant but prepared for anything to happen.

It seems strange to ask for your prayers at this time as the UK is in a more difficult situation than us right now, but we will continue to pray for you and hope that the virus spread will begin to slow and people will be safer. Please pray for us, that the virus doesn’t spread and take a hold of Mozambique. The numbers are going up very slowly so hopefully they won’t rise very high. Pray for wisdom for BMS and us while we sort out other projects to help the people here. Even though Covid-19 isn’t directly affecting people here right now, lots of people are out of jobs due to a decrease in the number of people who can work at any one time. We are glad there is no lockdown as people wouldn’t be able to survive without going out to the streets and making money, but others are still being affected. Please pray for them.

We hope you have been able to have a read of our recent prayer letter, and please look at our blog, and we have a video that we made that you can access too, I think on the BMS website.

Take care, God bless, and stay safe.

Love Liz, Sergio, Chloe and Joshua

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Thursday 7th May 2020

One of the things I've really enjoyed during these 'odd' days of The Virus is working on the Website.  It's been lovely that so many people have made a contribution in their own style by writing various articles.  Over these last six weeks 21 folk have helped write for the website and 19 have made recordings of readings or prayers which we have been able to include in the audio-service.

The audio service works like this: on the previous weekend I send the 'reading' to Michael.  He and Sara then go through the archives selecting three hymns, a choir anthem, some prayers by Erna and a reader.  These are sent over to the Manse early in the week.  I then 'commission' various people to make recordings of prayers and readings in their own homes and as the week progresses they send these in via the internet.  On Thursday evening Matthew records my talk and the 'introductions', he also 'modifies' the hymns and other recordings so they all sound the same 'level'.  During the week he'll have arranged a song which he then records. These are then sent through to Michael who 'sews' the whole thing together.  The finished article is then sent back to me for a 'proof' listen - and once that's done we send a copy off to Peter who burns the CDs.  On Saturday evening Matthew uploads the service onto SoundCloud and on Sunday...well, that bit is over to you!  Then we start the whole process all over again!

Hazel wrote to me this week and said a recent survey has revealed that 1 in 5 people in the UK have listened in, or watched an online service over the last six weeks.  This has actually been a wonderful opportunity for the Church to have a different 'shop window'.

David and Elizabeth sent in the cartoon - I hope you like it!!!

In all you do today, may you know the joy and blessing of God.

Ian

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Wednesday 6th May 2020

Today we hold the funeral service for Mr Jim Collins in the Milton Chapel of The Chilterns Crematorium, Amersham at 4.00pm.

Jim joined AFC in 1949 and was our longest serving member.  He, and his wife Jean, were tireless workers and much loved in our Fellowship.  Jim served as Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member, Deacon and Treasurer.  His funeral will be small (in accordance with current government guidelines) but his family hope to hold a Thanksgiving Service at an appropriate time in the future.

The webcast for the service can be accessed as follows:
https://www.wesleymedia.co.uk/webcast-view Login/Order ID: 26205 Password: fpshdszk

We are conscious that not everyone in our community has internet, so here's a recommendation that comes from Janet, our church secretary.  It may be something you'd like to pass on. 

May you know God's blessing and joy in all you do today.

She write:

If you telephone 0800 8048044 (free number) you listen to 'Daily Hope'.
You can press 'star' and listen to Justin Whelby and '1' to listen to a well known hymn and then a talk about that hymn, finishing with 2 prayers. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Praying for an 'Abiding Peace'


People entering Westminster Abbey for one of the many services
held on 8th May 1945, VE Day
On Friday our nation will be recalling the end of World War Two seventy five years ago on May 8th 1945.  I think the Queen is making a broadcast at 9pm, the same time her father spoke to the nation on that day of celebration.

London saw over a million people on the streets, cheering and rejoicing at the end of so many years of struggle and sorrow.  I suspect this Friday London will be far emptier than seventy five years ago.

Winston Churchill made his historic broadcast, announcing VE Day, at 3pm on May 8th.  Yet, this news had been widely expected and Westminster Abbey already had service sheets printed.  It was decided to hold ‘rolling services’ at the Abbey that Friday from 9am to 10pm and no less than 25,000 attended throughout the day; including the Lord Chancellor and the entire House of Lords at 3pm.  Churchill led the House of Commons to a service of thanksgiving, held at the Parliamentary Church of St Margaret’s next to the Abbey.

I’m just struck, and rather thrilled, with the idea that so many people wanted to attend one of those services on such a day.

I’m equally impressed by one of the prayers printed on that Abbey service sheet.  It talks of offering, ‘high praise and thanksgiving to God…for the skills of our leaders and valour and steadfastness of sailors, soldiers and airman…for the hope that we are about to enter upon a righteous and abiding peace’.

Social scientists and commentators still debate whether the so called ‘Long Peace’ that has ensued since the end of WWII really does constitute a trend away from war.  However, whatever has happened since VE Day doesnt take away from the horrors of the first half of the 20th Century with some witnessing not one, but two World Wars.

This weekend we are giving thanks for the end of a brutal conflict, and like those before us, our prayer and hope is for an ‘abiding peace’.

May God’s blessing and joy be yours today in all you do.

Ian




Monday, 4 May 2020

Monday 4th May 2020

Norma tells me that she has been in contact with one of our former Time for God Volunteers, Christine.  Christine told her that church services are now being re-opened in Germany, all be it with social distancing in place, face masks and no singing!  Christine's wedding has also been postponed, but she is 'settled' and 'fine' about this.

My own neice's wedding was due to have taen plave on Saturday and is now re-arranged for Secember - hopefully, but who knows?  That meant that the Green family 'zoomed' twice over the weekend just to give support and encouragement to the now delayed bride and groom.  Yesterday we participated in a lunchtime quiz, drawing in family members from: Amersham, Southampton, London, Spain, Australia and China.  Yet we just took it forgranted that, although far flung, we could chat and play a quiz for an hour!

Hazel has sent me this great little piece about travelling with God.

May you know God's blessing and joy in all you do today.

Ian

Bicycling with God


At first I used to see God as my observer, my judge, keeping an eye on me, tracking all the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell. He was out there sort of like the prime minister, or a president. I recognised his picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know him.


Later on, when I first met Christ, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back seat helping me to pedal.


I don't know just when it was that he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was always the shortest distance between two points.


But when he took the lead he knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places, at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!


I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer.And I started to learn to trust.


I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared," he'd lean back and touch my hand.


He took me to people with gifts that I needed - gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey – our journey, Christ’s and mine. And then we were off again.

He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did - I gave them to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received. And still our burden was light.

I did not trust him, at first, in control of my life. I thought he'd wreck it. But he knows bike secrets,knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks,knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.


And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places,and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face, with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.


And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore,he just smiles and says..."Pedal!"

Living in the story

A friend of mine recommended a new author for me to read during Lockdown: C.J.Sansom.  He writes Tudor Whodunits!  So, over the last few w...