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Christian Thread

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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??


kandj Report 6 Mar 2014 13:16

Like Cynthia, I also have joined in The Women's World Day of Prayer for many many years. Accept the invitation John you will no doubt feel humbled by the experience. It is not only for women but they usually do outnumber the men present

WWDP dates back to 19C and began when a group of Christian women in USA and Canada aimed to support and share fellowship with Christian women in their home towns and eventually throughout all Countries of the world.

The WWDP is a global, ecumenical service which is organized annually by Christian women and traditionally held on the first Friday in March.

The service sheet is written by different Countries each year and the Country then becomes the focus of the world's prayers.

It is truly awesome taking part in a service which is held throughout the whole wide world and sharing the culture and faith of our Sisters in Christ. For one hour we sing from the same hymn-sheet and feel blessed to be able to freely do so, remembering so many persecuted Christians throughout the world.

The recognized symbol of the WWDP was designed in 1982 for the joint service provided by the women of Northern and Southern Ireland, and was then adopted as the International Logo. The design comprises of arrows converging from four points of the compass, four figures kneeling in prayer, the Celtic cross and a circle representing the world and our unity through all our diversity....... truly amazing!!
This is usually printed on the front of the service sheet given out at the service.

This years WWDP is written by the Christian ladies in Egypt and the sermon is entitled Streams In the Desert. I am looking forward to it and would encourage others to join in and become a part of this traditional WWDP service for just one hour......with usually tea/coffe and "a bun-fight" afterwards with an opportunity to ask questions of the Speaker and share fellowship with other like minded folk on a very special day. will take you to a link with much more information on it.


Cynthia Report 6 Mar 2014 08:56

Good morning.......

There is something very special about an Ash Wednesday service. We too, had a united service with member from 4 churches joining together. When the vicar invited us to be blessed with the ash, he assured us that it was not compulsory and, indeed, a few of the Methodists with us sat firmly in their pews.

The rest of us, however, solemnly received the mark of Christ on our foreheads. I didn't actually check to see whether it was a heavy mark or doesn't matter. Even if it had been an inch thick, I would still have worn it and would have been happy to explain what it meant to anyone who spotted it. I would not be ashamed of being seen with a cross on my forehead for it proclaims my belief in Christ.

There was a cup of tea shared after the service where we all chatted to each other.

As for the Women's World Day of Prayer - it has been going for donkey's years and there is a lot of info on Google.

The prayer this morning comes from the Methodist church......with a short introduction:

"As Christians use the Lent period to prepare themselves for God's great act of self-giving on Calvary, Dr Deidre Homer, a Methodist local preacher in training, reflects on the need for Christians to undertake their own self-giving - responding to God's activity in the world by acting on behalf of those around us:

Lord, as we enter Lent help us to draw near to you in praise, stripping away all that distracts us from worship. Amen"



JustJohn Report 6 Mar 2014 00:40

Thankyou kandj for prayers. Meeting this evening went well and I was ashed in prayer meeting this morning and we each ashed somebody else. No heavy thumbs but I had quite a pronounced black crosse on forehead and tried to wipe it off.

I was chastised and told I should walk through the whole town centre and be proud. So I did - at least for a few hundred yards.

At beginning of meeting tonight we had communion and the Minister said a few words about Ash Wednesday. Including about the 40 days and how people misunderstand that it was not days leading up to crucifixion. Also that Lent was not to do with giving up but TAKING UP.

Women's World Day of Prayer on Friday. I am not a woman, but have been invited to a service in local Sally Army citadel and very much looking forward to it. Hope I'm not only man - but don't suppose it matters.

I know it is an important day, but know nothing about it. Would appreciate any input from anybody who can tell me anything.


kandj Report 5 Mar 2014 22:57

Cynthia, you explained the Ash Wednesday service beautifuly, thank you.

I have been this evening to the Ashing Service. It was held in our church and attended by folk from two other churches in our Mission Partnership Group
I must say it was good to be a part of an almost full church this evening. The service was shared in leadership with Rev Jan and Rev Mary, her curate Sarah (who looked like about 12years old bless her) and Rev Dee, so plenty of Clergy in evidence tonight and lots of Christian folk from the other local churches joining together to begin our Lenten journey together.

I came away with the faintest, tiniest ash cross marked on my forehead. This was done by Sarah who was very genteel...... I am used to Clergy who use a heavy thumb and leave a huge ash cross for me and others to see..... not so this year,
but still very special nevertheless.

Nice to have your kind comments Vera. Thank you.

John, you will have my prayers for your meetings. Important decisions for you all.


JustJohn Report 5 Mar 2014 09:19

A gorgeous start to Ash Wednesday with the sun streaming across the valley. Freezing (literally) cold last night at midnight when we walked up hill from local station, so not too sure of temp yet. We only have Maundy Thursday service and, unlike kandj and Cynthia, cannot remember even attending an Ash Wednesday service. Hope you both have a lovley, uplifting day.

But I am just now tootling down now for midweek prayers at chapel. And important meetings tonight and tomorrow night to attend which will be helped by your prayers. Both about the direction of my group of chapels and how to breathe more life into our evangelism (16 chapels in total).

Really enjoyed London yesterday. It wasn't with "groups" incidentally. It was via trainline and "groupon" offers. With groupon you buy an advance meal voucher worth £50 at a participating restaurant for, say £22. So you can order £50 worth on menu for an almost affordable price. Also spent ages in V & A and quick visits to Harrods and Fortnums - just so we had little carrier bags to use when we shop at Farm Foods and Lidl :-D

Of course, I met two chapel friends in London. One from Aberdare, one from Dowlais Top. Had no idea they were in London - but how strange in all those faces you should see two friends from home. Often happens to me in London :-) :-S Must be a smaller place than we think :-) :-)


Cynthia Report 5 Mar 2014 08:34

Good morning and it was good to hear from you Vera.... :-)

Tonight I am hoping to go to the Ash Wednesday service. We will kneel at the altar and have ash (made from the burning of last year's palm crosses), placed on our foreheads in the sign of the cross.

The signing will be accompanied by the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ". It will be a privilege to bear the sign of Christ on my forehead.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

All that is not of God must die

All that is crushed will be restored

All that is lost will be made new

God may we repent of ways that do not serve you

And admit to the tensions that tell us where we need to change

Christ is coming walking towards the cross

God may we see him clearly

Pouring out love

Pouring out mercy

Pouring out peace

May we kneel before him in humble adoration

May we take up our cross and follow

And walk with Christ into the ways of life.




SuffolkVera Report 4 Mar 2014 17:22

Just popped on to say thank you to all you regular posters and let you know that your posts are appreciated.

As someone who is neither an atheist nor a totally committed Christian your words on here often really make me think.

Thank you


kandj Report 4 Mar 2014 10:49

ooooppps! Forgot to tell you that my chosen reading for Lent this year is the Rick Warren book entitled The Purpose Driven Life. It has 40 chapters and I will read a chapter every day throughout Lent....... well, that is my plan. I remember using this same book about 5 years ago for a Lent Course and I found it to be challenging yet helpful and inspiring too. I look forward to reading this thought provoking book again.

John, I hope you will have a good time in London and meeting up with a group at not one but two restaurants....... eat plenty and enjoy yourself today. Safe journey home.


kandj Report 4 Mar 2014 10:24

Amen indeed Cynthia,
Shrove Tuesday a time to empty the shelves of goodies and eat well before the preparation of Ash Wednesday the beginning of fasting and abstinence for Lent, when we can focus and reflect on the 40 days Jesus was tempted in the wilderness,

Every year I take up the challenge and I personally feel a need to prepare myself and be still in my body, mind and soul for some little time each day during Lent.

This is no easy task, but it is doable, and so I aim to do my very best and be as disciplined as I can be during this special event in the church calendar and use my time in meditation and prayerful reflective mode.

LEISURE written by William Henry Davies (1871-1940).

What is this life, if full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare?
no time to stand beneath the boughs,
and stare as long as sheep and cows:
no time to see, when woods we pass,
where squirrels hide their nuts in grass;
no time to see, in broad daylight,
streams full of stars, like stars at night.
no time to turn at Beauty's glance,
and watch her feet, how they can dance;
no time to wait till her mouth can
enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
we have no time to stand and stare.

My plan for the next 40 days is to embrace the Christian season of Lent in all its wonder and find the time to stop and stare, to pray, to meditate, to focus and to reflect and prepare and walk the way of the Cross.........God willing of course.


Cynthia Report 4 Mar 2014 09:10

Good morning everyone... :-)

I am so 'at one' with kandj and her thoughts on Lent, and I too, will be TAKING up rather than GIVING up and it will probably be in the form of some online faith reading.

So here we are, Shrove Tuesday - the day when pancakes were made to use up all the bits and bobs in the pantry in order to prepare for the fasting of Lent.

This is the time when Christians observe Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days before His teaching ministry began.

During Lent, we recall the events leading up to His crucifixion and, many churches, including my own, will use the purple altar frontals and vestments to denote His pain and suffering on the cross.

Purple is also the colour associated with royalty and denotes His sovereignty over the world.

A short prayer for today:

Jesus, you prayed and fasted. As your disciple teach me about spiritual discipline in my relationship with you. Amen



JustJohn Report 4 Mar 2014 08:03

Have a happy Shrove Tuesday with lots of shriving and shroving. Because tomorrow we fast and coat our faces with ashes. Mine are always still burning hot from raking the fire :-0 :-0

Then 40 days of eating hardly anything in Godly penitence. Good job my mermory is so bad that I will forget my task :-D :-S ;-)

Realised no pancakes today, but good reason. Off to London for a day out and have booked lunch and tea with a groupon in an Italian and a Persian restaurant. So no room for anything else.

"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
The name of first is Pison, which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
The second is Gihon, which compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
The third in Hiddekel, which goeth toward the east of Assyria.
And the fourth is Euphrates.

Note the rivers Hiddekel and Euphrates are both rivers of Babylon, which we remember in Psalm 137. It was by these rivers that the captive Jews wept, when they sat down and remembered Sion.

Adam's paradise was their prison.


kandj Report 3 Mar 2014 10:07

I can take your meaning on board John and wish you luck with that one. I find church folk don't take easily to change but you can only give it a try so you won't have lost the opportunity. Nothing ventured, nothing gained springs to mind. It will be interesting to hear how you get on. Please keep us posted.

I agree fully with your thoughts Cynthia. If I am not in church on a Sunday, then my week days are all mixed up, and something is very definitely missing from my soul.

I LOVE LENT and the journey through the weeks leading to Good Friday and the Resurrection and glorious and Holy Easter Sunday. It is an opportunity for me to add something to my already busy day. To become focused and committed and reflect on my own personal Christian belief and association with Jesus.

Long gone are the days of giving up sweets/chocolate/cake/bread. Hard though that was it pales in comparison to now add something and not give up something for Lent. Time is so very precious and most find there aren't enough hours in the day to do what we need to do for ourselves and others who rely on us for so much.

I plan to spend this year's Lent by reading a little more each day. Easier said than done, but not impossible. I will just have to use my time more effectively for next 6 weeks. I have several Christian books, some I have read previously and others are new and gathering dust.
I need to look through and see which book will "speak to me" at so special a time.
The Holy Spirit guides us into knowledge and spiritual growth and what better time than Lent to accept so blessed a gift.


JustJohn Report 3 Mar 2014 09:10

I went to bed in a very bad mood last night (see other thread about "last night").

But awake full of joys, and loving words this morning and ready to do my bit - which is only helping with housework today but how I enjoy it (never thought I would say that :-D)

The hymn by Tersteegen that we had yesterday in chapel was only 4 verses in our Methodist hymn book, but Minister said it was originally ten verses. I think it is excellent, and so typical of that wealth of early hymnology in the German language that Wesley so ably translated.

No, we did not know either words or tune, but did our best and a few of us took words to heart.

Cynthia, have moved my position quite a bit in last 15 years. I quite disliked modern hymns and even found Victorian hymns very emotional rather than Bible based like Wesley and Watts. But the language and the tunes are just not encouraging young people.

Whilst we have to hold hard to our doctrine (which is waving about like a reed in a hurricane in some churches now), and we must read our Bible and pray, singing can be a release and should be fun.

When Watts wrote his hymns about 300 years ago, most churchmen and churchwomen were horrified. Up till then, they had only chanted the psalms and the idea of modern words and modern music was an anathema to them.


Cynthia Report 3 Mar 2014 08:37

Good morning... :-)

I've always found that not going to church on a Sunday feels really odd and throws the week out completely. Hope the car is soon fixed kandj, and then normal service will be resumed. :-)

I like a good mixture of hymns John. Whilst I agree that some of the old ones can be heavy and 'dirge like', I also find some of the more modern ones don't actually 'say' much. If that makes sense.

Lent is rapidly approaching - the season of repentence, moderation and reflecting on the suffering of Christ as we build up towards Easter Day.

Whilst we have read these words before, I thought they were rather fitting for today:

How often we wish for another chance
to make a fresh beginning.
A chance to blot out our mistakes
And change failure into winning.

It does not take a new day
To make a brand new start,
It only takes a deep desire
To try with all our heart.

To live a little better
And to always be forgiving
And to add a little sunshine
To the world in which we're living.

So never give up in despair
And think that you are through,
For there's always a tomorrow
And the hope of starting new.

- Helen Steiner Rice.

Cx :-)


JustJohn Report 2 Mar 2014 20:31

So sorry to hear about car, kandj. Hope it is not too expensive to mend.

Have just watched the St Davids Day service on Dechrau Canu, Dechrau Canmol (start singing, start praising) on S4C. It was from St Mary's Collegiate in centre of Swansea.

A large church absolutely packed to the gunnels with people singing and praying in Welsh.

The hymns were not well known to many, all old ones that I heard and a bit dirgy. And loads of teenagers were in congregation. Now I know that many were there because their mam had told them that the cameras would be there. But it was an opportunity lost, I feel. Modern Welsh hymnology can be as bouncy and youthful as English is now with writers like Graham Kendrick.

It has given me a grain of an idea. Young people love speaking and singing in Welsh (it is becoming cool). And old Welsh independent chapels (like the couple I occasionally preach in) are lovely warm Christian and potentially nurturing places - but with sparse and elderly congregations. Will 2+2=4. Idea worth pursuing possibly.


kandj Report 2 Mar 2014 18:26

Didn't make it to church this morning. My car failed to start yesterday and now is in the village was collected by our garage mechanic and I will await a phone call tomorrow to see what the problem is. Having paid almost £300 last week, I am hoping that this will be less harsh on my purse strings!!
Hubby had a bad night and so we overslept this morning and I didn't have the half an hour it takes to walk to church today. Now I will be all out of sorts until I go to the Ash Wednesday service to begin our journey in Lent.

Thank you for the collect for today Cynthia and John, that is a completely new hymn to me. Don't recall singing the words ever. Was the tune a familiar one at all?