Week 30: Fred Ireland

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Dear Friends
Week thirty. Today is Tuesday 27th October 2020 and a day of deep joy for yours truly: today I met Willow and held her and her sister Fleur for the first time. Although they were born a month ago, Willow needed extra care being only 3lb when born. During her time in hospital no visitors were allowed so it was a significant moment this morning to hold her for the first time. She came home yesterday. Identical twins (apart from their size!) I can tell I'm going to struggle one day to know who's who!

So, through these challenging months I have been blessed with three more Grandchildren! And thanks to the staff at the JR and Stoke Mandeville Hospitals for the wonderful care they have shown to Fleur, Willow and Toby.

Some say I look at bit out of my depth in this photo. Guilty as charged! I've never held such little ones and felt a little uneasy at first. But what beautiful girls they are. Obviously got their Grandads genes!

I feel so blessed and It's nice to be able to share some good news with you amidst the gloom of Covid19.

And now we have changed the clocks and we're heading into winter. Speculation is circulating about what Christmas will be like. Will we be able to be with our families or will we be directed not to be together this year? Time will tell, I guess. Church will feel different too — no singing our favourite carols. Humming "O Little town of Bethlehem" doesn't quite work, does it?

None the less, whatever and however we meet as church or as families at home no virus should dimmish our joy of the birth of our Saviour all those years ago without all the modern medical support available today. A humble birth and laid not in an incubator but a manger. A newborn — weak and vulnerable — who grew to enable us to become God's precious children and whose death and resurrection opened the Kingdom to all who believe in Him. And, though faith in Him, we know that whatever the world throws at us, there is nothing in life or death that can separate us from his loving care. That is the good news awaiting to bless Fleur and Willow and extends right to you too. So be of good cheer: Emmanuel: God is with us!

With kindest Regards.

This week's Devotional

Read: Matthew 23: 1-12 (Lectionary reading)

Read: StF 563

O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me,
My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide.

Oh, let me feel Thee near me;
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.

Oh, let me hear Thee speaking,
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self-will;
Oh, speak to reassure me,
To hasten, or control;
Oh, speak, and make me listen,
Thou Guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, Thou hast promised
To all who follow Thee
That where Thou art in glory
There shall Thy servant be;
And Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Oh, give me grace to follow,
My Master and my Friend.

John Ernest Bode 1816-1874

You can listen to this here:

Pray: This is a meditation by Rev David Clowes

A glimpse of God.

I didn't know you were there, Lord.
It seemed from all that I had heard that you were just a name;
A heavenly being; a prop for the weak; a figment of human imagination.
When I said my prayers I never really expected you to answer;
How could you, if you were not really there?

But now — now it's all different.
Just the other day it was as if I had actually caught a glimpse of you!
And now the God I didn't know I meet everywhere.
I see you in the sunrise and in the sunset.
I meet you in the kindness of friends and in the compassion of strangers.
I recognize your face in the nameless multitude
Who rush to respond to the latest appeal for the hungry and starving.

I hear your voice when I read your Word
And find you near when I turn to prayer;
When I am alone and have lost my way
I rediscover your presence, even in the darkness;
When the bottom drops out of my world
And all that mattered seems to slip through my fingers
Your peace and your joy hold me in your grace;
When I have more questions than I have answers
And my heart and mind are in turmoil
I catch a glimpse of you in the face of Jesus, who comes
And promises to hold my hand, now and for all eternity.

For now, I must be satisfied with a glimpse of you -
One day, by grace, I shall see you face to face. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thing is the Kingdom,
The power and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

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