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Christian Thread

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


JustJohn Report 11 Mar 2014 09:52

I know from my work days that busy does not equal effective. Often the busiest achieved far less than those who knew what they had to achieve and were single-minded.

I am sure everyone would agree that you are both very effective in your ministry on chat. And it is lovely to see your posts every day.

I love that hymn for lent. I looked at hymnwriter (nosey, see) and it is George Hunt Smyttan (1822-1870). He is descibed as a German rector and this hymn was translated by Francis Pott (sometimes called Samuel Pott) after Smyttan's death.

Have just looked him up on the Cyber Hymnal site

"George Hunt Smyttan (1822-1870) was an English clergyman, born in Bombay (Mumbai) India, son of of Dr. Smyt­tan of the Bom­bay Me­di­cal Board. He was ed­u­cat­ed at Cor­pus Christi Coll­ege, Cam­bridge graduating in 1845. He took Ho­ly Or­ders in 1848, and was appointed Rec­tor of Hawks­worth, Not­ting­ham­shire, Eng­land from 1850 - 1859. He published Thoughts in Verse for the Afflicted, 1849; Mission Songs and Ballads, 1860; and Florum Sacra, n.d.

He died in Frank­furt am Main, Ger­ma­ny and was bur­ied in a pau­per’s grave. "

Hmmmm! Quite a few mysteries there - was he German or English, did he write 40 days in German and why, why did he die a pauper in Germany?


Cynthia Report 11 Mar 2014 09:04

Good morning everyone. :-)

kandj, I have to admit that I am not as busy within the church as I once was. As with everyone, there comes a time when it is time to step aside and let others enjoy the privilege of service. I now do what I can, when I can, whilst I can. :-)

I am sure many churches will be singing this hymn at some stage through Lent. The words are traditional, but the meaning is still very relevant.

Forty Days And Forty Nights

Forty days and forty nights
Thou wast fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted, and yet undefiled.

Sunbeams scorching all the day;
Chilly dew-drops nightly shed;
Prowling beasts about Thy way;
Stones Thy pillow; earth Thy bed.

Should not we Thy sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with Thee to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Jesus, Savior, hear our call!
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fall!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as ministered to Thee.

Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,
Ever constant by Thy side;
That with Thee we may appear
At the eternal Eastertide.

Cx :-)


kandj Report 10 Mar 2014 14:37

What busy souls you both are and definitely blessed to have the energy needed to support Clergy and minister to others so readily. Well done, thou good and faithful servant springs to mind. (Matthew 25 v 21).


JustJohn Report 10 Mar 2014 12:03

Am having a bit of a rest today, Cynthia. Trying to use Mondays to prepare sermon for next week. But never happens and I write it on a scrap of paper at 5am Sunday morning usually. Wish I was as organised as you appear to be.

I was thinking about yesterday evening. I was carried away (not literally) and I could see that several below were quite carried away. The felt presence of the Holy Spirit was in that chapel in abundance. Probably first time for several months I have felt it like that.

I have never taken drugs, except tobacco and alcohol till I was about 32 yo. But I do wonder if a drug-fuelled party gives people the same sort of lift. It must be similar. You are outside yourself, looking in.

And you wake up the following day still feeling nice, relaxed, well loved and pure. And absolutely raring to go and can't wait for next "fix".

"To God be the glory
Great things he has done" :-) :-)


Cynthia Report 10 Mar 2014 08:26

Good morning friends..... :-)

I think John deserves a day of rest after all his exertions of yesterday but it all sounded very worthwhile. :-)

My day was slightly less rushed than that and our morning service was quite quiet and reverential. Our new priest-in-charge preached and I think he is taking all of the service next week, in order to get to know us better.

Afterwards, there were six baptisms taking place so the church was then full to bursting and full of excited chatter. Our P-i-C soon calmed everyone down as he gently went through the points of the service, reiterating what is said at the Baptism Preparation classes.

I feel sorry for the chap - he is being pulled all over the place with his responsibilities, but I think he is coping and we are offering any support we can.

Our Lenten thought for today:

People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

~Found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta

Cx :-)


JustJohn Report 10 Mar 2014 07:53

Today is Commonwealth Day. Big multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen. And many other events. :-)


JustJohn Report 10 Mar 2014 06:24

Yesterday was best start of week for me. The two chapels I attended yesterday were a small, sparsely attended chapel on brink of closure and a large thriving chapel that is most successful cause in a small market town. And of course my own chapel where I had to find our chalice and help the ladies to dress the Lenten tree.

In the first chapel, members have decided to close soon and are deciding where to go in future. You trudge along to that sort of chapel a bit - small congregation, quite elderly. Yet they were full of optimism about their futures, though not sure where they would settle. Some may go to Baptist, some may go to Church in Wales and a couple may join a Methodist chapel about 4 miles down the valley. One lady had been baptised there 80 years ago. But we had a lovely service and the largish chapel looked very smart and well kept.

The second chapel is very well attended, singing and music are fantastic (really fantastic). It is growing with loads of young people and a lot of community work. It was first week of Lent, so like in many chapels out came their chalice and we sang a few verses and read a few verses specific to this first week.

Both times I threw most of sermon notes away and just "flew". It is a wonderful feeling, friends. One lady said "that was a good service". I replied "was it? I wasn't here"

And that was exactly how I felt. She understood. I got some praise, they are very loving and nice people in both causes. Like many, I do enjoy an occasional pat on back. But truthfully I deserved none at all. :-) :-) And I am always so intrigued why certain of us seem to be continually blessed, because it doesn't always seem to be those who deserve much blessing :-S

Hope all have a lovely day and prayerful week. :-) :-)


kandj Report 9 Mar 2014 16:22

Last week we had 6 baptisms in our church. One in the morning service. One afterwards (a poorly baby) and 4 little ones were baptized at 12.30pm and so lots of comings and goings in church then. The norm is to have a baptism service fortnightly.

This morning Rev Jan explained about the Wednesday evening Lent Course that begins this week.( All very exciting!). We will be joined again by the two other churches in our Mission Partnership so praying for a good response to Jan's offer.

I am still reading daily chapters from The Purpose Driven Life written by Rick Warren as my extra take-up for this years Lenten period. I embrace the whole experience.

Lent is a very special time in the church's year, because it helps us to remember our need to draw closer to God - our need to give Him close attention. When we can do that, He never fails to meet us just where we are at.


JustJohn Report 9 Mar 2014 09:46

Thanks Cynthia. Am out twice today and steward in a third service. So busy, busy and have been up half the night because I decided to change one of my sermons at last minute.

So few posts till tomorrow. Did I hear "hurray"? :-D :-D

Hope everyone has a lovely day, whether at church, or watching Songs of Praise or simply taking a few moments to meditate on the Collect and think about what Jesus achieved for you personally. :-) :-)


Cynthia Report 9 Mar 2014 08:23

Good morning everyone............ :-)

Before I go and 'gird up my loins' ready to welcome 5 Baptism parties at church, I will leave you with the Collect for today....:

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever.

Cx :-)


JustJohn Report 8 Mar 2014 10:50

Have got service in front of me, kandj. Loved the imagary of the Nile (blue cloth) and the other cloths and the items placed on these cloths.

And having been a few times to India, I could really understand these Egyptian women. Kerala similarly has about 12% Christian and is predominantly Muslim. But that 12% (compared to 93% "Christian" in South Wales) is so active and dutiful. None of this "I can worship Jesus at home, plenty of others to do things at my local church, they don't need my love and support". The women just get stuck in. In every Christian shop, they say "God bless you" as you leave - and really mean it.

My only criticism would have been final hymn. I think it is traditional - "The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended" by John Ellerton. It was 3pm and sun was streaming through all the citadel's windows and folk were cupping their hands round their eyes to see the words.

I would have chosen "Guide me o thou great Jehovah" because that talks of desert (anialdir in Welsh) in second line of Pantycelyn's greatest hymn.

As an aside (and the opposite of dry deserts), have just been watching villagers in a place called Fordgate in Somerset on Sky news. They are returning to their flooded homes and the pictures are absolutely heartbreaking. We must remember them and ask for strength for them in the coming weeks and months.


kandj Report 8 Mar 2014 10:03

Amen to that Cynthia and thank you for leading us in our Lenten journey in faith.

I love the Ecumenical service like yesterday and the WWDP, where Methodist, Catholic, Church of England, Baptist people make up the congregation in one building and share the love of our living Lord and their testimonies together.

We were told of a spiritual drought and the need to share Christian belief with one another. These words in the service were all written by the Christian ladies in Egypt.

On reflection I have experienced a spiritual drought in my own village for several years. Our previous Rector was not a spiritual man. Unbelievable given his title, but nevertheless sadly very true.
A young priest left the village and so my Catholic friends had visiting priests to provide the Mass for them, but no Catholic Father to hand 24x7.
Our Methodist chapel was pulled down and now has new apartments built on this site. The few elderly chapel folk are taken to a Methodist meetings in local chapel. It was a crying shame to be a witness during the very last fellowship service, with folk in their 80/90's before they closed the doors and the builders moved in.

Our village has gone through a spiritual drought. I have experienced this and as a Christian it's not good for the body, mind or soul. It was a time of testing and I feel us faithful few have now been rewarded and we feel spiritually fed and cared for and the village parish church at least has survived this low experience and are all smiles and on a high as we are now truly blessed to have Rev Jan as our guide and mentor.
Praise God, for his goodness to us all.

WWDP Egypt's theme was Streams in the Desert, and drinking from the spiritual well. Many years ago I attended a monthly Christian meeting for ladies only and we often sang these words (chorus only) as I have forgotten the many long verses.

I'm drinking from the well of living water
Happy and alive
My soul is satisfied
I'm drinking from the well of living water
A wonderful and bountiful supply.
Oh, I'm drinking, drinking from the well
Drinking, drinking from the well.
Drinking from the well of joy
I'm drinking from the well of joy...................... Amen for that!


Cynthia Report 8 Mar 2014 08:28

Good morning........everyone... :-)

I get the impression that John had a really good time at the service yesterday........ :-)

Some words as we continue our Lenten journey :

Prayer of Confession

Forgive us Lord for our apathy,
for our lack of courage to speak out.
Forgive us when we walk past and don't offer help.
Forgive us when we get it wrong.

We confess that we are afraid -
we don't want to overcome our hidden doubts and prejudices
in order to be alongside those who are different from ourselves.
We ask that you would lead us into action:
give us strength to be a voice crying for justice and peace.
Help us to step into another person's shoes,
or if they have no shoes
then not to be afraid to take off our own,

peel off our preconceptions and assumptions,
uncurl and spread out our toes, and
tread in their footprints.

May we be a liberating presence
and offer love, compassion and whatever is needed
to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

- Dr. Deirdre Homer.

Cx :-)


kandj Report 7 Mar 2014 21:00

I thought that you would enjoy the experience John.

I just find that the WWDP service is always a very humbling experience. A good opportunity for me to learn and pray together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. For a short while we are all joined in praise and fellowship with other Christian people all around the world. It's surprising just how quickly this annual service comes around

It is traditionally always held on the first Friday in March...... make a note John and go along and be blessed again next year..


JustJohn Report 7 Mar 2014 16:15

Well, kandj. Have just got back from Women's World Day of Prayer at my local Salvation Army city dell. It was one of best services I have attended for many a day.

What I loved most was that it was prepared by a group of Christian women in Egypt and we saw the great significance of Egypt in the Bible story. And their service was presumably delivered to loads andf loads of women (and several men) across the world today. The women in our village (Church in Wales, Salvation Army, Methodist and Independent) did us credit. And the lady Major in charge is both young, gifted and wore black.

I would not normally have attended because of "Women" in title, but there were 6 men (about 10%) in service in my village. And tea and lovely cakes after. Loved it all. :-D :-D


kandj Report 7 Mar 2014 10:21

Perhaps another God-incidence Cynthia they keep cropping up don't they?

WWDP today, how quickly this annual event seems to come around.
I hope that John takes up the invitation to join the S.A. celebrate this special service, they are sure to warmly welcome him today.

Lent is a time for meditation and reflection (imho) As we begin to think of our journey in Lent, and prepare for a time of silence and seek the Lord with the words of this Taize chant:-

"Wait for the Lord, whose day is near,
Wait for the Lord, keep watch, take heart".


Cynthia Report 7 Mar 2014 08:30

Good morning all......kandj and I are doing well at echoing each other's thoughts :-)

A Lenten Prayer

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Permit me not to be separated from you
From the wicked foe, defend me
At the hour of my death call me home
And bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever, Amen

–St. Ignatius of Loyola


kandj Report 6 Mar 2014 18:36

I have never minded being seen in the street or the village shops with a black ash cross on my forehead following on from the Ash Wednesday service. In the past I have often forgotten that it is there but I have always been more than happy to explain the significance of this Christian symbol when questioned. Village folk are used to seeing me regularly attending church and I would certainly never hide my Christian belief.

We are all very different John. I certainly would not be comfortable to preach as you do. Perhaps on the ash cross issue, we ought to agree to disagree.


JustJohn Report 6 Mar 2014 15:14

kandj :-) Not quite sure about answer to your question. We all had crosses on our foreheads and I am quite happy to do extraordinary things with Christian friends. And I felt it was a good thing to do within a safe and loving church environment.

But I didn't want people in street staring at my dirty forehead. I doubt any would have stopped me and said "your face is dirty. Why is it dirty?" They would just have thought I had a dirty face - scruffbag.

And I am naturally shy. Ladies in my old church used to get a donkey and parade it round town - on Palm Sunday, I suppose. I know they felt they were making a statement - but people within the church and without felt sorry for the donkey and just thought it a gimmick.

On the other hand, I love being part of fairly public pilgrimages, praying round the housing estates with a couple of friends and singing carols in open air before Christmas. And, of course, I preach which is certainly a test of shyness.


kandj Report 6 Mar 2014 13:25

Just a thought but wondering why John would accept the ash cross on his forehead and then feel the need to rub it off??? I just don't understand that.... explanation John please??