#countyourblessings – Holy Week

Day 35

What do you wear when the weather is bad? Wellies? A raincoat? Share a photo.

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Today was sunny and springlike, so my heavy duty raincoat is hanging up on its peg – but the weather forecast suggests I’ll need it again tomorrow.

“After the sun, the rain

After the rain, the sun

This is the way of life,

Till the work be done.”

I am grateful for this familiar pattern in a place where it’s hard to imagine long periods of drought, and pray with Elama for rain in Kenya, and for peace.

 

Day 36

What belongings do you treasure most? Share a photo.

A treasure I would not leave behind if I had to flee my home – this is a very special book of words that my parents chose together and my mother made, filled in and decorated as a birthday gift.  I am grateful for the love they gave in putting it together and for all sorts of things I may have taken for granted at the time – the secure home where I kept it, the education to read and discover the contents. I pray for all those who have to leave their homes and for safety for all.

 

Day 37

What book or passage has changed your life? Share a photo.

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Day 38

Jesus served his disciples by washing their feet. Remember this by sharing a photo of your clean feet!

A photo of my cleanly washed feet for Maundy Thursday – and an apt and amusing meme that I saw just after I found out about the photo prompt!

“Jesus’ last act to the disciples – washing their feet – taught them to give up self-reliance and accept the gifts that others have to offer. Peter is reluctant, just as many of us might be. But see if you can pray today for the gift of that vulnerability.” ~Archbishop Justin Welby

Day 39

‘It is finished.’ Remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us today and share a photo of a cross.

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“The dripping blood our only drink;

The bloody flesh our only food:

In spite of which we like to think

That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood –

Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.”

The cross at St Julian’s Church in Norwich – a place to keep in mind that “all shall be well.”

Underneath are the everlasting arms. 

Day 40

Instead of rushing towards Easter, we pause today in this uncomfortable moment. Remember those who are fearful of the outcomes of their own journey. Remind others by sharing a grey square.

A time to stop and wait, to remember those who did not know the end of the story, and all who fear the outcome of a journey.

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On the Sabbath, Jesus rested.

He was in the grave.

He had finished his work.

To most people’s eyes,

It looked as if it were all over.

He was dead and buried.

But only as a seed dies when it is planted in the earth,

Not to decay,  it to spring to new life.

Teach us to take refuge in you when we are afraid

Teach us that death is not our end

Teach us to hope always in you

And in the Resurrection, the making of all things

New.

 

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Emmanuel

22E5BF39-AE5E-4E93-9F4C-FF64EDED88F7St Paul writes:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

(RSV Corinthians II, Ch. I, verses 3-5)

***

In all our sufferings God is with us,

in all our afflictions He is afflicted.

***

God can use evil in his overall plan, as powerfully as He can use good. It was not in spite of the cross, but through the cross, that the ultimate purpose of God in Christ was achieved.

***

to comfort: from Latin fortis, therefore “to make strong”

***

Taken from a sermon, “The suffering community,” by Rev. Elizabeth G Malloch

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#countyourblessings week 6

 

Day 29

What do you usually have for breakfast? Share a photo.

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Counting the blessings of always having food and home; remembering people who do not have that security; praying for the displaced people of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria to whom Christian Aid distributes emergency food, for the time when:

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.” (Revelation 7, verse 16)

 

Day 30

Share a photo of the person you last visited.

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The last person I visited was a friend who hosts our poetry reading group at her home once a month or so. I haven’t got a photo of Elizabeth to share, so here is one of the poems by Mary Oliver that we read. I feel grateful for the warm welcome we always get when we gather, and the chance to share reflections about our reading over tea and home baking, and thankful too for everyone who opens their homes to people in need.

 

Day 31

Give thanks for your home. Share a photo of your favourite bedcovers.

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This set was new last Easter, when we had a feline visitor who obviously approved 😸 I am grateful for home, and pray that for all it can be a place where “you can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.” (Proverbs 3, verse 24)

Day 32

Today is World Water Day. Share a picture of your freshly washed hands.

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I give thanks for plentiful running water, and think of those for whom water is in short supply.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” (Psalm 42, verse 1)

Day 33

Who did you last welcome into your home? Share a picture of them.

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Here is a photo of my most recent visitor Chieko. I am grateful for good friends like her and a home to welcome them and enjoy time together; I give thanks for those like Ayuba in northern Nigeria who readily open their homes to others in an emergency situation, and I pray for them to be able to return to normal.

“Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.” (Genesis 28, verse 4)

Day 34

Share a photo from your last trip. Tell your friends about the welcome you received. 

I’ve just returned from a trip to Melrose with my choir today, to give a devotional performance of John Joubert’s setting of St Mark Passion. We received a warm and friendly welcome from the Rector and congregation in this lovely church and the Trinity Centre next door.

 

 

 

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#countyourblessings -week 5

Day 23

Say a prayer for Sori and her family. Drought forced Sori and her family from their home in northern Kenya. Her husband has to travel with their animals to find pasture and she misses him a lot. She prays her family will be together in the future. 

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Praying for Sori and her family, and all those who are affected by drought in their daily lives – for comfort and strength for today; hope and relief for tomorrow; for their future together

Giving thanks for access to  plentiful, clean and safe water

Day 24

What do you remember from school? Share a photo of you in school uniform

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Not in school uniform, but a school photograph from the first year of primary school – finally getting to attend the new school at the far end of our street, which my mother and I had watched being built on walks together when I was 3 or 4.  I remember (or perhaps just remember being told) how I wasn’t ready to go home at the end of the first day – too busy playing with toys and books that were different from the ones at home! I also remember the “Cuisenaire rods” we used for maths, mainly for their colours!

I am grateful for the fun of learning as a child, and free education all the way to university, and pray that Sori’s children will enjoy and have the chance to learn as much as they can for their future in school.

Day 25

How has education helped you?

Some important ways among many would be: to consider, appreciate, understand and exchange with others; to express ideas; to make my voice heard and participate in decisions; to enable others to do these things.

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In the picture – how to make part of a parliamentary act on education look very pretty (from a banner for the union for educators to which I belong), highlighting how we value “freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom and to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions.”

Day 26

Stand in solidarity with our global neighbours – share a selfie

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Grateful for home, security and a safe place to live; praying for internally displaced persons and all who are forced to flee their homeland

Day 27

Where’s your favourite place in your home? Share a photo.

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A favourite place in my home is the space under this dormer window, like a little room within the living room. In gratitude for home and safety,  I offer prayers for those who must leave their homes behind, and for families who have been divided to be reunited soon.

Day 28

What’s your favourite meal to share with family and friends? Share a photo of you all tucking in!

I don’t usually get to share a meal with these people nowadays, so this college reunion dinner was a special occcasion – here we are back in the dining hall where as students we ate together most evenings during term time. Everyone seemed very impressed with the celebratory menu.

Grateful for friendships from university days, for food and fellowship; thinking of families like Galgallo’s in Kenya and praying for their health and strength

“Quas decet, Deo gratias agamus”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#countyourblessings – week 4

Day 17

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Today we were asked to share a photo of the view from our window at night, to thank God for our safety and to pray for women like Aisha, who fled her hometown after it was attacked by Boko Haram and she witnessed her sister-in-law being killed in front of her eyes.

“I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.” Psalm 61:2

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” ~Desmond Tutu

Day 18

Where have you travelled since Sunday?

I have just travelled across the city from its south side where I live to the north side by the sea shore. I am grateful for the ease and safety of recent short journeys, and think of  those who are displaced and travel to seek out a safe place to be.

 

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

Day 19

How do you unwind? Share a photo of your bedtime routine.

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As I get ready for bed, I am thankful for rest and comfort, and remember those who live in fear.

“Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth: the Lord is his name.” Amos 5:8

Day 20

Happy International Women’s Day! Share a photo of a woman who inspires you.

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This is my grandmother, Kathleen Maud Kynch (1903-1987, nee Wibberley) as a young child.

Day 21

Education changes lives. Share a photo of your bookshelf.

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On the top is a bookshelf in my office, on the bottom, a bookshelf at home.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Day 22

As this weekend we remember everyone who has cared for us, the suggestion was to write a letter of thanks to someone and share a photo of them.

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These are my dearest parents, Elizabeth and Ken, to whom I am grateful for all kinds of care – something I hope I was able to convey well to them while they were still with us. I am grateful too to have discovered a letter from the priest who baptised me, written for my christening and expressing the hope that I might “follow their example of hard work, generosity, complete devotion to duty and utter integrity of character.”

 

 

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#countyourblessings – week 3

Day 11

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Share a photo of your most recent fair trade purchase

Like the kitty on my mug, I also did some weekend baking on Saturday with fair trade bananas – Outreach Committee and friends made some special goodies to go with our coffee after the Sunday morning service, to raise awareness of Fair Trade Fortnight 2018.

Day 12

What’s your weather like? Share a photo of the skyline.

In the morning I shared the above photo of the cold, bright weather, with just a sprinkling of snow on the higher ground, snow showers forecast for later – feeling grateful to live somewhere so beautiful in all weathers and for this view. On closer reading of the prompt, I realised that we were asked for a photo on our way home in the evening, whatever the weather, so here is take 2:

God of all,

open our eyes to see you in all that you have created.

As we think of how great you are,

move us to help our brothers and sisters and care for the earth that we share.

Amen.

Day 13

What’s your favourite treat? Share a photo of a treat you’ve enjoyed today.

Hot buttered toast and honey was a warming treat on a cold day, even for someone who hadn’t ventured outside. I am thankful for food, warmth and home, and remembering people who do not have these things. In the second photo is information about who to contact if you come across anyone sleeping out in Edinburgh and Glasgow in the very cold weather.

Dear Lord,

As you provide us with daily needs,

such as shelter, a warm bed, and plenty of food,

may we  be reminded of the others outside in the cold,

who need love, warmth, compassion and help.

We pray for the homeless who are too old or sick to get to a shelter,

or for those who have no place to go.

May you wrap them in your warmth and love, and keep them safe these next few days.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

Day 14

How do you get to work? Take a photo, whether it’s on four wheels or your own two feet.

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Because of the “red alert” we were referred to the adverse weather policy and asked to work at home, so fortunately I only had to use these to make a brief trip to the local shops for supplies!

Day 15

How do you take your tea? Share a picture of your perfect cuppa.

Here is one of genmaicha – green tea with roasted brown rice – enjoyed with cake during the festival this summer.

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…May this food restore our strength, giving new energy to tired limbs, new thoughts to  weary minds; may this drink restore our souls, giving new vision to dry spirits, new warmth to cold hearts. And once refreshed, may we give new pleasure to you, who gives to all…

Day 16

Do you know if your money is always used ethically? Share a picture of your purse or wallet.

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I was glad to learn today that one step I can take towards this is to contact my bank and ask them to make the Big Shift away from damaging fossil fuels and into clean energy.

 

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#countyourblessings – week 2

Day 5

How many times have you gone through your front door today?

I had been just once out and back in again, giving thanks for home and a safe place to be…

God of all refuge,
Protect all those who are on our streets.
God of all shelter,
Provide for all who are homeless in our city.
God of all rest,
Give sleep to all who are cold or who are keeping one eye open in fear of trouble.
God of all peace,
Calm troubled minds, and protect those who feel hunted.
God of all comfort,
Strengthen weak knees, and heal broken hearts.
God of all power,
Transform lives so that they may be free in your freedom.
We ask these things in the name of your son Jesus Christ.
Amen.

From The Sanctuary, where world and worship meet

Day 6

Prayers for all those who face persecution

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Day 7

How many shoes do you own? Share a photo of your favourite pair.

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The LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Day 8

Share a photo of a candle. Pray for people fleeing violence.

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God of protection, whose Son fled violence from his own home with Joseph and Mary and sought refuge in a foreign land, hear the cries of all who suffer because of hatred, war, violence, greed, and famine. Help us to peacefully mend our divisions, that all you have created in this world may be whole.

From Episcopal Migration Ministries: Prayers of the People: praying for refugees and displaced people worldwide

Day 9

Do you have a favourite dinner plate? Share a picture of an empty plate in solidarity with all who are hungry.

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This one is from the set I use every day.

“You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. This is how prayer works.” ~ Pope Francis

Let us pray for the hungry and the fed.

Day 10

How do you want to grow personally this Lent? Reflect on your journey so far.

From the garden at Emmaus House, where I was grateful to spend a Quiet Day to reflect on the journey and ways to grow – in gratitude, love, reality,  courage, conviction, and making space for God.

 

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