Category: Uncategorized

Music

What’s your favourite song? Would you be able to sing all of the words off by heart? I’m not sure if I have a favourite song but I have always loved music – which is possibly why I don’t have a favourite! I will listen to different kinds of music dependent on what I am doing. It might be 80s cheesy music, music from when I was at uni, worship music, or a soundtrack from a favourite film or show.

This week we are looking at the link between Christianity and music, and what a link there is. Our Bible reading for today comes from Colossians, a letter that Paul and Timothy wrote to the early church community in the city of Colossi, in Asia Minor. It says

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

This shows us that music has been an important part of Church community from the beginning of the Church, but what do Paul and Timothy mean when they say to use it to teach and admonish one another? I have grown up going to church and a part of that has always been singing hymns and songs. When I would go in to Church the first thing I would do was look at the hymn board to see what songs we were singing in the service. I would always enjoy the singing part of services, and I think this was because it was something I could be a part of as well.

However, as my faith has developed as I’ve grown older I’ve realised that a lot of my understanding of faith and theology has come from those songs. I will hear something in a sermon, and I’d be ale to link it to a song. Sometimes I am asked a question about God and I’m able to answer because of a piece of music. I know that I can tell you what the fruits of the spirit are because of a song I have sung.

I don’t know ab it you but I can’t remember quotes from books but I can remember lyrics from songs. This is why Paul and Timothy said what they did to the church in Colossus. They recognised the power that songs could have in teaching and growing the early church, and that they still have today. So many of the songs that we sing in worship are based purely on the Bible, and I know that I have learnt so much about the Bible and faith from songs I have sung.

But music itself is powerful as Bono says in our thought for the week

“Music can change the world because it can change people”

There are times when we can not express ourselves in words but music, somehow helps us. Music goes beyond our spoken language and helps break down barriers. There have been times when I’ve been very anxious but sitting down at the piano has helped to get rid of any tension! Even for those who would not consider themselves musical, they will often find that it has a power. If we find that music helps us not only to learn about God but also to break down barriers and help us individually…

Challenge How can we use music to break down barriers in our life but also in the world?

Prayer Father God thank you that we can learn about you and worship you through music. Thank for those who have the gift of writing songs that have helped us all. May we use music more to worship you. Amen

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Literature

If you were asked what your favourite story was what would you say?

How do you feel when a story you know and love is being made into a programme or a film?

I know quite a few people who get quite anxious when that happens. Why? Because one of the reasons they love the stories themselves is because they have already created a certain picture in their imaginations and they worry that the creator of the film or programme will ruin that picture! A friend of mine told me last week that her son has read the first three Harry Potter books and has watched the first two films. Her daughter wants to watch the films, because her friend is allowed to. But my friend won’t let her watch the films until she has read the books, or had the books read to her!

The great thing about books is that we are able to create a picture in our heads, although we may be reading the same book or story as someone else, no one will have the same world in their heads as we will. Therefore no one will be experiencing it the same as we will. How exciting is that!

Throughout the Bible stories are used as a way to help people understand deep, theological truths, and people still use them today. Our Bible verse this week comes from the book of Daniel where it says

“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”

In the same way as when we hear stories we create our own world, we may well create our own meaning as well, or not even realise that there is a meaning in the first place and just hear a story.

When I was 7 I spent 6 weeks in hospital with a fractured arm. Whilst I was there my parents bought me a walk,an and the first two cassettes from the BBC adaptations of the Chronicles of Narnia – the magicians nephew, and the lion the witch and the wardrobe. I listened to them constantly and thus began my obsession with Narnia. It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered that C. S. Lewis wrote this books to share the message of Christianity.

I read all of them again when I was at university, and I felt like I was reading from a completely new light. The magicians nephew was showing the story of Genesis, the lion the witch and the wardrobe showing the story of Jesus, and the last battle a depiction of revelation. It gave me new insight into Narnia and into the Gospel. Does that take away from my reading them in the first place? No! Not at all, it just helped me look from a new perspective. I’m going to finish now with our thought for the week which comes from the last battle and says so much about books but also about our lives.

“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Challenge: think about your favourite story, what do you think the author was trying to say through that?

Prayer: Thank you father that give us the gift to be able to explain things using stories but also the ability to understand the meaning. Help us to be curious and to try and search deeper. Amen

Arts

I got two A grades in art at school – in case you only know the current grading that was the top mark. So in the three years that I had to do art I only ever got two top marks. I still remember them, the first one was for a piece of work I had to do using a compass – therefore not a great amount of my own creativity, just being able to change the size of the compass and make it symmetrical. The second one was for a model of a gargoyle – and of course the purpose of a gargoyle is to be scare people off, and therefore to be ugly. So I think it is fair to say that art is not my strong point.

Similar when it comes to sewing, or performing music, I’m not great at creating my own designs or songs but I can follow a pattern, or a sheet of music. Does that matter though? Does it make a difference? Our thought for the week this week says

“When human beings, as creations of God, create or encounter the creativity of others, something full circle happens.”

This would suggest that the creation itself is what is important, and how we encounter that. It may be that we are the ones creating from scratch, or copying, or just observing and appreciating – but still there is an encounter of the creation. We can create because we were created in the first place, the joy of creation is that no one person will create in the same way, we won’t encounter the creation in the same way. Similarly, as creations we reflect our creator, but we are all different.

Last week our bible verse spoke of the natural world that showed God’s glory, similarly in our verse this week we see God’s wisdom and creativity in the world. Psalm 104:24 says

“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”

For those who believe in a creator God they literally see that creation all around them, and recognise that creativity in themselves. What creativity is in you?

Challenge: where are you normally in the circle of creativity? Could you try something different this week?

Prayer: father God thank you that you created us, and that you made us to be creative. Help us to appreciate your creation and the creation of others Amen.

Science

This term we will be looking at different areas of the curriculum and how they link with faith, starting with science.

“I don’t believe in God. I believe in science” is a sentence I have heard numerous times, and often people think that they are using it as a strong argument, but it really does not convince me at all. Why? I don’t believe in science!

Don’t worry there’s no need to get worried or concerned, it’s a matter of terminology and science isn’t something that we believe in. Science is the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Whereas to believe in something is to accept that something is true, especially without proof.

To say that science is a reason why people don’t believe in God, because it has been able to explain so many things – that I understand – but to say it’s because they believe in Science – not possible!

There are so many people who think that there has to be a conflict between science and faith, when actually they work together so beautifully. The argument from design is one example of this, where there is an acknowledgement of the intricacy in the natural world, that makes it work so perfectly, and then the argument suggests there is design which means there must be a designer which must be God.

The purpose of science is to discover more about the world. I am so grateful for the work of scientists, the discovery of medications, advancement in technology, understanding the world and eco system. Albert Einstein said “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” – he didn’t believe in a personal God but he recognised that there had to be something more. Science helps us to understand more and more about how the world works, when I discover more and the beauty and amazement in the world I find myself more dumbfounded (which is quite amazing). Some have said that science helps us to understand how, and God helps us to understand why – they don’t have to contradict, or be enemies. They can go hand in hand and compliment each other. After all Psalm 111:2 is one of the many verses in the Bible that shows this saying:

“Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them”

Look at the world, discover the world, try to observe the behaviour of it – consider why that is there.

Challenge: think about how science and faith can go hand in hand in your everyday life

Prayer: father God, we thank you that you created this world so intricately, thank you that you have given us the skills to discover more about it and to be able to use it to help others and to help the world. Help us to want to learn more about you through the world you have given us. Amen

Trust

As we come to the end of our characteristics of relationships, we come to possibly the most important one of all – trust. Our thought for the week comes from Stephen Covey who says

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

It sounds quite extreme, but I agree with it. The one characteristic that is essential for all relationships is trust. Whether it’s a friend, a parent, a teacher, a brother or sister trust is essential. What does trust ensure? Trust means that when we are told things we can know that those things are facts, that they are true.

Trust is the foundation of faith as well, because from that foundation can the remainder of your faith grow. In Paul’s letter to the Romans he says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Here Paul is suggesting it is from a place of trust that we can be filled with hope and peace from God.

Think about all of your relationships, which ones can you trust the most? Why can you trust them? What is it that grows out of those relationships?

Prayer: father God thank you that you want to be in relationship with us. Help us to reflect you in our relationships and to be trusting to our friends Amen

Loyalty

What do you do when things get tough?

Do you persevere, which is one of our school values that we encourage, or do you hide away?

What about when things are getting tough for another person? Do you stick by them or do you walk away?

Our Bible story for this week comes form the book of Ruth. Naomi had two sons who were both married, Naomi’s husband and sons all died. They had had to move away from their home land. Naomi spoke to her two daughter-in-laws and told them to go back to their homes, where they would be able to marry again and have children. Ruth, was one of the daughter-in-laws and this was her response to Naomi’s direction

“Ruth answered, “Please don’t tell me to leave you and return home! I will go where you go, I will live where you live; your people will be my people, your God will be my God. I will die where you die and be buried beside you. May the Lord punish me if we are ever separated, even by death!”

Ruth had been given a get out of jail free card, an opportunity to escape, but she showed true loyalty to Naomi, and this continues, even when Ruth does marry again.

As we have looked at relationships we considered different characteristics including, friendliness, respect, vulnerability, communication and forgiveness… but I think that loyalty can be a starting point for so many of these, but also a resulting factor.

Why did Ruth show the loyalty that she did to Naomi? I think it was partially because of the character of Ruth in the first place, but also because of the kindness that Naomi had shown to Ruth by welcoming her into the family. BUT through Ruth choosing to stay with Naomi, choosing to stay loyal to her that relationship with have grown and developed with all of the other characteristics we have spoken about so far.

We can say that we will be loyal to our friends, but as Martin Luther said

Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved

We can never really know until those tough times come. Think about what you would want from your friends when you were in a tough situation. Would you be willing to do that other people? Have you built strong enough relationships to be able to rely on friends when things are too much for you?

Challenge: list the things you would expect a friend to do for you, and whether you would be willing to do those for other people

Prayer: father God we thank you that you are faithful to us, and that you give us examples of loyalty. Help us to be loyal to you and to our friends. Amen

Forgiveness

If I were to ask you for an example of a person who has hurt you in the past would you be able to give me one?

How about if I were to ask for an example of when you hurt someone?

And what about when you’ve hurt yourself?

We are all likely to be able to give examples for both categories, why, because it’s what we do. A lot of the time we don’t mean to but we hurt each other and we hurt ourselves. This can then result in broken or damaged relationships.

So how do we respond? Our automatic response is often to retaliate, whether that be in our words or our actions, but what does that achieve? It tends to achieve more hurt, more brokenness, more damage.

Martin Luther King Junior lived in the United States of America at a time when there was segregation between the races, and a lot of hatred was being shown through actions and words. It would have been so easy for Martin Luther King and those in his congregation to respond in retaliation and hatred but knowing the damage it did to them, he encouraged them to not retaliate. This is one of my favourite quotes from Martin Luther King:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

Christianity is not a load of rules, Christianity is a relationship with God. Why are we able to have a relationship with God? Because God has forgiven us, all of the things that we have done to separate us from God and bring darkness into our relationship, were wiped away when Jesus died in our place, and rose again.

God brings light into our lives through forgiveness, and we are called to do the same.

It’s not easy, it doesn’t mean that we forget, but it does mean that we can move forward.

Challenge: is there something that you or someone else has done that you are holding on to? Write it on a piece of paper, and give it over to God.

Prayer: father God, thank you that you want to be in relationship with us. Thank you that you choose to forgive us, no matter what we do. Fill us with your spirit to help us forgive each other and ourselves when we get hurt. Amen