Pilgrimage…

wordle.jpgWelcome to d-church. Pull up a pew & make yourself at home. Feel free to comment/like/share the posts. Our theme tonight is ‘pilgrimage’.

An opening question… Take a moment to think about why…

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A Question…

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Have a look at this video clip produced by a Catholic movement. What are your thoughts?

Reflect on these quotes…

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Heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch this clip… What burdens are you carrying, reflect on your feelings and as you leave your ‘burden’ here… 

 

How do these images speak into your journey of pilgrimage? Pilgrimage .001.jpeg
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Think about the people that have had an influence on your journey in thankfulness remember them…
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As we close tonight, here is a prayer to send us on our way… we hope that you have found tonight helpful.
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Change…

is my voodoo working?Hi folks! I hope you have had a good week.
 
I have been pondering this week on the theme of change, Dylan in 1964 put it best… ‘The Times They Are A Changin’ wherever we look change is all around and we seem to be forever trying to navigate it… either politically, socially and yes the church! Karen and i watched Hidden Figures the other night… really good film by the way… three black ladies trying to make their way in a difficult world, not just because of the colour of their skin, but also their sex and society’s expectations… What i did notice though was that while the societal challenges and changes were coming thick and fast that the depiction of the church was much the same as it had been in the 1940’s and 50’ and so may argue that this is still the case today!
 
Change often tastes very bitter in the church and we have been incredibly reluctant to face it. And while i’m encouraged by the signs of change that are happening, i’m still wondering if all that we are doing is moving the deck chairs around while the ship is sinking fast… Randall Prior says: “The form of the church which evolved in the era of Christendom and which served us well in that period is no longer sustainable. It is dying. It will die.” Strong words!
 
If we are in these changing times what does it mean for the church? Brian McLaren says: You see, if we have a new world, we will need a new church. We don’t need a new religion per se, but a new framework for our theology. Not a new Spirit, or denomination, but a new kind of church … The point is … you have to have a new spirituality. Not a new Christ, but a new kind of Christian. Not a new world.
 
So where am i going with this… i have found myself in various circumstances over the last few months that seem to be battling with some of these ideas and a couple of questions/ideas… one is around a political reaction driven from a place of faith… or not… and the other is a challenge to try to understand a sense of spirituality/connectedness to God, that so many inherited forms of church seem to struggle with… often so consumed by either history, pomp, or trying to keep the show on the road!
 
So some things for us to think about…
 
In what ways do you relate to this?
 
Do we need ‘A new kind of church’? ‘A new kind of Christian’… and if so what do they look like…
 
In what ways are you struggling/trying to understand your faith in this political climate? And in what ways is your faith challenging your political view.
 
In what ways are you struggling with identifying your spirituality in this changing world?
 
How is what we are currently doing trying to re-determine some of this?
 
Peace, Rob

Oneing…

IMG_8590.jpgHi folks, i hope you are doing ok… I came across some of this when i read Richard Rohr’s daily meditation earlier this week… and it got me wondering…

The place which Jesus takes in our soul he will nevermore vacate, for in us is his home of homes, and it is the greatest delight for him to dwell there. . . . And the soul who thus contemplates is made like [the one] who is contemplated. —Julian of Norwich

This strikes deeper for me, in that even if you are not a follower of Jesus… Gods spirit is within all his creation, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not… But this offers something different…

We see some of this in the bible ‘On that day, you will know that you are in me and I am in you’. —John 14:20

Rohr goes on to say… “That day” John refers to has been a long time in coming, yet it has been the enduring message of every great religion in history. It is the Perennial Tradition. Divine and thus universal union is still the core message and promise—the whole goal and the entire point of all religion.

Lady Julian of Norwich uses the idea of “oneing” to describe divine union. She writes:

The soul is preciously knitted to him in its making, by a knot so subtle and so mighty that it is oned into God. In this oneing, it is made endlessly holy. Furthermore, he wants us to know that all the souls which are one day to be saved in heaven without end are knit in this same knot and oned in this oneing, and made holy in this one identical holiness.

So some things to think about…

How does this make you feel?

How do you react to this idea of ‘oneing’?

In what ways do you sense or not this idea of ‘oneing’ with God the Father?

In what ways can we help ourselves to discover more of this ‘oneing’ within us?   

How does this idea of ‘oneing’ affect how we view others?

Peace, Rob

The Power of Words

Welcome to d-church. Pull up a pew & make yourself at home. Feel free to get involved and share the posts. Our theme tonight is ‘the power of words’.

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As children we may have recited these words…but is it true? What do you think?

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The poet’s last line in this clip is ‘whoever said that sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me, is an idiot’.

In the bible Matthew 5:18 reminds us that words come from deeply held convictions.

‘But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing.’

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Not a week goes by without us hearing hateful things reported in the news.

We pause to pray, in particular for escalating wars of words.

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Words in themselves are powerful. But so are the way we speak them and our actions that accompany our words. With that in mind, watch this clip – it reminds us that we sometimes ‘hear’ things that aren’t actually being said. Do our actions ever belie our words?

A prayer for ourselves (based on Psalm 19:14). Add your Amen in the comments box.

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Proverbs 16:24  says ‘Gracious words are like a honeycomb,sweetness to the soul and health to the body.’ We set a d-church challenge tonight…tomorrow let us all take every opportunity to use kind & gracious words either in person or on social media.

We hope you have found d-church helpful tonight. May God bless you and may you be a blessing to others.

Psalm 100

Welcome to d-church tonight…

Please feel free to ‘like’ ‘share’ and ‘comment’ on any of the posts.

Tonight we are going to think about Psalm 100, let’s start with a satirical look at worship…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJp98hoqy5I

Check out the NIV version… what strikes you as you read it?

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We hope you enjoy this cute version of the Psalm… I wonder what are you thankful for?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuGv3sIQwtY

As you watch this version of the Psalm, how do you experience God?

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We come now to our prayers…

Based on verse 1 of our Psalm who do you hope will be able to shout for joy to God… 

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Based on verse 2 who do you pray will be able to worship God, with gladness and come before God with joyful songs… 

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Based on verse 3 who do you pray will know that they are one of God’s people, one of the sheep of God’s pasture… 

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Based on verse 5 who do you pray for tonight that they may know that God is good and that Gods love endures forever… 

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Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,

in the name of Christ. Amen.

Context… Spirituality… Love…

Love Pocket Seam Jeans Cord Affection Heart BlueI’ve been thinking a lot about context this week in preparation for something that i’m leading, and I’ve been pondering on how our spirituality affects or not our context… So when i talk about context i mean the places we inhabit… work, college, school, church, online… etc. As someone that works in multiple Fresh Expressions to try to start them and then ground them in their context it is always something that i’m looking to understand… the question I ask is… What would/does a faith community look like here? What parts of the context do you embrace and what parts of the context do you challenge and what parts of the context do you try to steer clear of?

And when I talk about spirituality i’m talking about my values as a follower of Jesus… so for me one of the things on the top of the agenda is what does love look like in this context? How does it feel to love in this context? There are of course other things as well… but for me it starts with love and then unfurls from there.

I think this goes beyond FX and is actually an imperative for people that follow Jesus in every part of life… and thats why i think that FX could be raised in many places… if that is, love was our imperative… not just being nice… but love that costs us… the kind of love that Jesus showed.

So some questions…

What contexts do you operate in that you find it difficult to be follower of Jesus?

What does love look like in the contexts you are in?

Think about the places that you inhabit which of them do you find opportunities to express love more freely?

Could any of these places be a starting point for a new FX community?

Peace, Rob

Respect

 

respectWelcome to d-church. Before the events of these last couple of weeks we had already chosen the theme for tonight as ‘Respect’.

Turn the volume up & have a listen to the iconic Aretha Franklin singing R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Remember the context of this song….1967 – the war in Vietnam was escalating, there were race riots, the civil rights movement of the 1950s & 1960s was beginning to fragment in response to government crackdowns & growing frustration, women were agitating for rights & recognition.  In the midst of this comes a strong black woman demanding respect (“just a little bit”)

In many ways not much has changed since 1967….lot of troubles stem from an inherent lack of respect. Offer a prayer of lament as you think about the places and people where respect isn’t readily seen.

You have to give respect to get respect Check out this clip… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZRwJ0oHDDk

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Respect – Poem by David Harris

If we can not respect another
How can we expect them to respect us
If we can not respect someone’s beliefs
How can we expect them to respect ours
If we can not respect another’s race
How can we expect that race to respect us
If we can not respect others
How can we expect respect in return

Everyone expects respect
No matter who they are
The only way to gain it 
Is to start treating everyone
As a friend, a brother, a sister
As part of our extended family
No matter what colour or creed they are
Only then you will start to get
The respect you so dearly crave

As we ponder on the candle Offer your prayers with respect for all humanity

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Check out this clip about Carter the basketball coach What do you think?

How might we follow this example…

Albert Einstein

Our closing blessing comes from Frog Orr-Ewing who prayed as the last fire engines left Grenfell Tower.

#respect #respectyourself #respectothers #respectful #respectall #respectforall #giverespect #giverespectgetrespect

One Love

One Love .jpegHi Folks, I’m writing this between the Manchester concert and the election… I’m writing it purposely now rather than after the result of the election as I don’t want to be tainted by it. I was very much aware after the last election and the referendum result that many were left in a state of shock and were bereft. Society is reeling once again in the aftermath of the events in Manchester and London… and if we are honest, whatever the result of the election this week these problems are not going away any time soon. We are also seeing the threat of terrorism is very much at the forefront of governments across the globe. As I write there have been gun attacks and a suicide bomb in Tehran. No country or people are safe.

A few years back I came across the One Love Peace Concert that Bob Marley and two war lords initiated in 1978 in Jamaica. Whilst singing ‘Jammin’ he invited the two leaders of the different political parties Michael Manley and Edward Seaga to come on stage with him, they had been in a political civil war with each other with lots of violence. Bob Marley persuaded the two leaders to join hands. As an event it did not stop the violence and in fact the two guys that helped Marley with the concert were both killed within two years.

Peace takes time… peace takes brave actions… peace takes mediators… Bob Marley was one of those people that stood in the gap… I wonder if throughout these horrific terrorist events we will see people rise up and stand in the gap… The Manchester concert was a triumph in many ways, especially for the amazing people that returned to Manchester and particularly for Ariana Grande… I wonder if we as followers of Jesus should be those people who, if we are able, should stand in the gap… to bring people together…

There will be events beyond the election where there will need to be people who stand in the gap… to bring people together, to enable healing, to bring about peace. As a follower of the way of Jesus I would love to be such a person… if I have the courage!

Peace Rob

Jesus is my homeboy!

wpid-dlc_jesus_homeboy_lastsupper_lachapellestudio0Hi folks, this weeks is a guest post from Ben… I have changed it slightly and added a picture of a contemporary scene of Jesus and the disciples at the last supper.

Jesus in many ways lived the life of a servant… serving those by the grace of God and I am always wondering…. if Jesus was alive today instead of 2000 years ago what job, role or skill would he have done or held down?… and what jobs would the disciples have had?
It conjures up a funny image in my head that instead of the last supper as it is… Jesus has a McDonalds uniform on and the disciples all have a various coffee shops supermarkets and other similar job role uniforms…

Now Jesus had his haters as do I in my job. We’ve all had that really rude customer who thinks they know best. Tell you what the problem is (usually nothing to do with what the actual problem is) don’t want you in the house yet thats part of the job, they are really rude and treat you like crap and just look down their nose at you as you are just a lowly tech guy and you are only there to fix what is essential to their way of life…

I see my attitude changing with them. I’m sarcastic and probably rude back. I know i shouldn’t be and after every time i’m like ‘that isn’t what i should have done…’

So few questions to consider….

Firstly a fun one… what jobs and roles do you see Jesus and the gang doing in our modern world?

Secondly can Jesus’s example of humility of treating everyone equally and with the same amount of respect be managed in this “i want everything and i want it done yesterday” way of life?

And thirdly do you put your faith into action before reacting or do you react and then think about your faith and think about what you should or have done?

Fourthly… what do you think of the picture?

Picture by David LaChapelle’s “Jesus is my Homeboy”http://davidlachapelle.com/series/jesus-is-my-homeboy/

Peace, Rob

Bubblewrap! 

This week at the Holy Biscuit, as part of the fresh expression ‘Mixing Bowl’, we took down an art exhibition by Dave Tweedy. We reflected on the process as we did so. We used bubble wrap and this helped us to think about some of the filters that we apply to our own lives when thinking about the past and the future. We are sometimes guilty of looking back or forward with ‘rose tinted glasses’ or with the sense that everything is/has conspired against us. We misinterpret things that happen to back up our ‘theories’. So have a think about the filters you apply to your past, future and even your present. Are they rose tinted, dark and gloomy or more like bubblewrap? What does the bible have to say about this? What do you find helps you to develop a more positive view of your past, present and future (bearing in mind that this is mental health awareness week)?
Peace, Rob with a little help from Karen!