Month: January 2019

Social Action

Our school motto is ‘enter to learn, go forth to serve’, the second part of this is a reflection of the Gospel and is shown at Archbishop’s in so many different ways. This week alone there have been cake sales to raise money and collections for food bank. So often people associate Church with a service in a building, when actually the focus should be on the collection of people serving the community.

Our theme this week is social action, and it is easy for us to think that we, individually, can’t really make any difference but as Achim Steiner says in our thought for the week

“Every small action matters because when 7 billion people do that thing it changes the world”

If we all do small things the impact could be huge, we are also more likely to encourage others to do small actions as well if they see us doing them.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus lists actions that will be rewarded, these actions include giving food to the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, inviting in the stranger, giving clothes to those without any, caring for the sick, and visiting those in prison. Although it says we will be rewarded for these things, that isn’t the reason we should do those things, but as if we were doing them for Jesus himself. Jesus said that when we do these things for the least of the people we are doing them for him.

So… how can you make a difference? Where do people need support in your society?

Challenge: do a small action each day to help someone who is struggling, see what effect it has on others

Prayer: thank you God, that you chose to come to earth and live amongst the people, thank you that you helped those who needed it and help us to do the same. Amen

Public Image

I was watching a programme today where a woman, recently widowed, found that her husband had kept all the photos that she had told him to throw out because she didn’t like the way that she looked. This, of course, was in the good old days where took a photo and had to wait for it to be developed, no chance to keep retaking it, and editing it, the only option was to keep it or to throw it away.

As we look this week at public image, there are two things I want to focus on. I’m not going to go into the e-safety stuff… but to think about how we are viewed and how we can have a positive impact.

Our thought for the week comes from Germany Kent who says

“You are responsible for everything you post and everything you post will be a reflection of you”

We are the only ones who have responsibility for the things that are posted either by us, or mentioning us. What does your profile say about you? Are you hiding behind a constant filter, is there a lot of negativity, or is it positive and encouraging?

What impression do you get of other people from their social media profile and posting? What would people say about you? I am aware of people who have deleted friends because of the negativity of their posts… but we also have to remember that so often employers look at our public image as well.

This brings me on to our second point. Our profile is a reflection of us and Christians believe we are a reflection of God. Is this reflected in our public image? When Paul was writing to the Ephesians he wrote

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

How can we use our public image, whether online or in person, to encourage others and build them up? It may be making a choice only to share the positive, or if it is negative then to approach it with care and practicality as opposed to just whinging. But most importantly do not use public places, online or physical, to belittle, or show anger at other people. A lot of the time it is not necessary, and is most definitely not helpful. By all means talk through concerns with others, and speak to the person involved but in a private and safe setting. This verse doesn’t suggest that we have to get along with everyone but that we should approach conflict with care, and use our words wisely.

Challenge: think about your public image, and if there is anything you need to change.

Prayer Father God, thank you that we are able to communicate in so many different ways, and that we are a reflection of You. Help us to communicate so that we are a reflection of the love that you have for us. Amen

Caring for yourself

How are the New Years resolutions going? Did you make a resolution about eating less, doing more exercise, or generally getting healthy? When it comes to getting healthy we tend to focus on one thing, whether that is food, or exercise, or something different but it really does need to be a holistic effort. Our thought for the week comes from the world health organisation, and I love it! It says

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity

All aspects of our lives have an affect on all of the other aspects, and we need to be aware of that if we are to take care of ourselves. When it comes to looking after ourselves we are often our own worst enemies, we can tell other people what they need to do to take care of themselves but often fail to do the same ourselves.

One of the most quoted verses from the Bible (not officially, I’m just guessing) is “love your neighbour as yourself”. People often quote this verse to show how we should care for others, even strangers – after all it is linked with the parable of the Good Samaritan. BUT the assumption is that we love ourselves and treat ourselves with love. But how can we show such love to others if we do not love ourselves? It is not, as is often thought, selfish to take care of ourselves as it means that we can then have the strength to love others. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he says

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies

How do we honour God with our bodies? By taking care of them, so that we, can then take care of others and reflect God’s love to them.

This week I had to take a day off work to rest my voice… I felt guilty but it was necessary to then teach the rest of the week. God rested on the seventh day, and Jesus regularly took breaks to rest and recuperate – perfect examples of looking after themselves to be able to show love to others.

Challenge: do a self check of things you do to show you care for yourself, and things that show care for others – is the balance correct?

Prayer: Father God, thank you that you created us in your image, and that we temples of your Holy Spirit. Help us to take care of ourselves so that we, may take care of others. Amen

Procrastination

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for some time, but somehow other stuff got in the way. However, catching up on TV, or having a snack – nothing seemed to get in the way there!

Procrastination… it’s something we all experience at some time, but I imagine we will all experience procrastination in different ways. We might procrastinate about different things, and we will procrastinate in different ways.

In case you’re not sure what I mean by procrastination the dictionary definition is ‘the action of delaying or postponing something’. So when you have an important task to do, maybe an assignment, or revision, you will find other things to do instead – assuring yourself that you will get round to completing that task at some point. Our thought for the week comes from Mason Cooley who says “procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder” – why do things become harder when we procrastinate? It’s for many reasons but partially because we are adding pressure and time limits to ourselves. I know that I am a last minute person, I argue that this is when I do my best things… it’s more that I’m an expert in procrastinating so always end up doing things at the last minute so I have come to assume it’s a necessity.

In our first two days of the school term we were considering making a fresh start at the beginning of a fresh year, and recognising that the only way we can shape our path and move forward is through our choices. I don’t think there are any cures to procrastination, however if you become aware of it as an issue, and recognise that you are procrastinating that may help you to get back on track and focussed. It is only something we can do though, friends or others telling us to do something is likely to have the opposite affect.

In the book of Ecclesiastes it says ‘whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap’… this is great when we think about procrastination… maybe in my life it should read ‘whoever writes lists will not tick them off’.

Procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be hinderance to our productivity and journey, the only ones who can change that is us.

Challenge: think about when and how you procrastinate and if there are things you can do to get you back on track and focussed.

Prayer: father God, we thank you that you have given us so many things to occupy us, help us stay focused on what we should be doing so that we can be productive, and then relax and fully enjoy everything else. Amen

Making a fresh start

2019-01-02

Once Christmas day was over my social media feed was filled with people explaining regrets from the year gone, and resolutions for the year ahead. There were also a lot of people listing resolutions with the expectation that those resolutions will not be completed, or stating that they were not even going to bother to make resolutions because they knew they wouldn’t fulfil them.

Where do you stand on resolutions? Have you made any? How did you decide?

This term our collective worship is under the heading of “Fresh start… fresh heart” and we are going to be looking at different things that affect our everyday lives, how we might respond to them, and what Christianity teaches.

This week we are simply considering “Making a fresh start”. January is a sensible time to think about our lives and changes we can make, well… I guess you could say each month is a good time, or each week, or even every single day when we wake up. The important bit is that it is US thinking about OUR lives and changes WE can make. We can’t rely on other people, Jokotade, a Nigerian-born artist, gives us our thought for the week saying

“If you desire to move forward your choice must lead the way”

We may seek support from others and will need other people, but it needs to be our choices.

However, in every fresh start and every choice made, Christians believe there is hope and comfort in God. In the book of Isaiah, he is prophesying to the Jews who are being held in captivity and gives this message from God

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Where will 2019 take you? What choices are you going to make? Are you willing to see what pathways are being made by God?

Prayer: Father God, thank you that you give us the opportunity to make fresh starts. May we seek support from you that we may make choices that will help us to move forward. Amen