I was going to write about something completely different this week until I read my UCB notes for today (Wednesday). It seemed so appropriate that I’m copying it out in full, with apologies to regular UCB readers who will have seen it already.
Realise that rough times won’t last forever. As surely as God created spring to follow winter, ‘He changes times and seasons...He gives wisdom’. The season of adversity you’re in will end. And when it does, you’ll glean from it the wisdom to build a better future.
Sometimes your greatest blessings come from your most negative circumstances. Paul writes, ‘Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!’ (2 Corinthians 4:17). Tough times won’t last, but tough people do! Out of your greatest tests come your greatest testimonies.
Don’t make major decisions during a storm. Thoughts and feelings often run wild in the midst of a crisis; those are times when you need to be careful about making decisions. Remain calm, discipline yourself to focus on what you can do, and trust God to do what you can’t. Just as a pilot error can cause a plane to divert from its intended destination, or have to make a dangerous emergency landing, a bad decision can divert or delay you from reaching your destiny. Let your emotions subside – before you decide. You may not always have that option, but as much as possible, put significant decisions on hold until your storm passes. Just as the wind blows about wildly during a storm, your thoughts can become wild and frantic, and that’s not the best time to make crucial assessments.
What should you do? Paul answers, ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and... His peace will guard your hearts and minds’ (Philippians 4: 6-7).
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Words that offer us much hope and comfort in what is fast becoming an uncertain situation. This week we were advised that we could return to work if we couldn’t work from home. It seems certain that for many this may be a mixed blessing. Whilst it will mean that families will be getting an income once again there are numerous concerns about transport, childcare, job security and not least personal safety.
Please hold in your prayers all those who are faced with difficult choices and the anxiety that this is causing. Please pray also that the new “Stay Alert” message will become clearer over the next few days as people struggle to work out just what this means for them as individuals. For us (Liz and Angela) it will mean that very little will change and we suspect that is the case for many of us. It is a most challenging time and as the previous passage reminds us, we need to pray and keep on praying.
On the subject of praying we are all urged to join in with Thy Kingdom Come which this year begins on Ascension Day (21st May) and runs until Pentecost (31st May). Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer resources linked to Thy Kingdom Come 2020 which you can find here: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/about-us#taking-part
Ali will lead an act of Worship for Ascension Day on the website at 10am on Thursday 21st May:
This is where you will also find the all the Sunday services too. If anyone is still struggling to access these please do let one of us know and we will do our best to help you.
Gay Riley sent us a link to CSW to join in with prayers for Leah. Gay had told her small group the story of Leah and has been praying for her for some time.
Leah Sharibu refused to renounce her faith. She paid the price with her freedom. Leah was one of 110 girls abducted from their school in Dapchi, Nigeria by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) an offshoot of Boko Haram in February 2018. The next month, following negotiations by the government, the girls were put into vehicles to go home.
However, Leah wasn’t among them. She wasn’t released because she refused to convert in exchange for her freedom.
CSW are marking Leah’s 17th birthday on 14 May by praying for Leah, her family, and the wider crisis in Nigeria. Follow the link to find out more: https://www.csw.org.uk/prayforleah
Gill Holding became a national celebrity when her photograph and memories of VE day in Sheffield were published in the Daily Mirror!
Sadly, our VE day commemorations and party had to be cancelled, although we did hear about numerous “socially distanced” street parties.
Neil and Liz took afternoon tea on the front lawn and chatted to neighbours and Green Oak Road had a similar event. Perhaps where you live similar events took place?
Gay reports “The only notable things I noticed/took part in this week was the street party here on the Quadrant. A group from along from our house and down the road and then a separate group at the bottom gathered outside with tables, chairs and their tea and scones, or similar, (glass of wine,) and socialised for a couple of hours. It was nice to sit in the sun and see and chat to neighbours. There was bunting from upstairs windows and along hedges, and it was quite festive. There were not any of the old songs, but I did enjoy a hearing a recording of Albert and the Lion! It really took me back! Our heart rehab gym class were asked on line to share any war time memories. I did remember the air raid sirens of London, though not going into the cellar. And I did remember the thrill of bananas arriving in the country following the war, and the end of rationing, having only recently thrown away my ration book!! Hardly good news just now, except to remind us of how fortunate we are with the variety and quantity of food we all have available.”
There seems to be a great community spirit as people come out on a Thursday evening to salute the NHS and other key workers all of whom are doing a wonderful job in really difficult circumstances.
Locally, we are really fortunate to have businesses and services that have worked incredibly hard and have seen a huge increase in custom. You may have seen the recent article in the Sheffield Telegraph where Taj (the pharmacist) is reminding people to “use it or lose it”.
We hope that this support will continue long into the future. We are also greatly encouraged by the number of people who support their friends and neighbours. Even a cheery wave through the window is appreciated.
Amy Wrigglesworth has sent a short message to let us know what she has been up to these last few days
Today we went walking in Gillfield Wood to have a look at the
bluebells. It was lovely to be walking in God’s lovely creation. The new gates are a lot easier to use than the stiles. There were a lot of sheep in the field. As soon as we got to the gate, we could smell the bluebells. It was lovely and still in the wood. Be still and know that I am God.
In you Oh Lord we put our trust.
Take care and God Bless, from Amy.
Chris Musther shared an image that spoke to him as we continue to be away from our church buildings:
A larger version of the image is here.
Made by Lisa Holland, curate in the Parish of Duston & Upton
We’re really missing seeing our young people in church every week and we wondered if we could ask them a favour? So, here’s a big SHOUT OUT to Emma and Megan, Isobel and Jemimah, George and Jessica, Phoebe and Sam, Emma, David, James, Peter, Jonathan and Richard, Moriah, Kharis and Morgan, Charles and Alexander, Jasmine, Ezra and Fenella, Kalle, Alex and Annabelle.
What books have you been reading and enjoying over the last few weeks?
Would you let us know about your favourite one, please and perhaps write a few sentences about it; or tell us which games you’ve been playing on line or outside. We’d love to hear from you and we’ll put your replies into the newsletters as we get them.
Attached is another quiz to keep your brain active.
And just in case we are all getting a little too comfortable with the freedom of worship in our own homes, here is a cautionary reminder for the first post – lockdown service!
With Love, Angela and Liz.