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Week 35 Fred Ireland letter

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Dear Friends

Week thirty five. So no apology required from me as my prediction turned out to be spot on. Public sector i.e. KEY WORKERS will have a pay freeze. Not only that, but overseas aid to be cut from .7% of GDP to .5%. I struggle with the priorities of politicians at times.

But the bad news goes on. The Arcadia Group of retail outlets and yesterday the news that Debenhams (the 242 year old retailer with 124 stores) in real trouble that means that up to 25,000 people across the two companies may lose their jobs is heartbreaking news and an indication of what may lie ahead for other businesses.

But the good news that took me by surprise today is that a vaccine has been approved and will be rolled out next week. This is very good news and this is hopefully the first glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. We're nearly there!

Over the next few days I will be meeting (virtually) with my churches to discuss how we will respond to the ending of the lock down on 2nd December. A reminder that the church is very much in the midst of the struggle to respond to the impact that Coronavirus has had on all sections of society.

So it was with a need to find some much needed relief from all the challenges of this time that I stumbled on a Shilton Park Resident Association Facebook page (that's where I live) the following post by Jake Teagle that made me LOL:

I have just done my good deed for the day. I've just come back from the Co-op where I was behind an old lady in the queue. Her bill came to £56.83, but when she counted out all her change, she only had £40.

I thought she was most likely someone's nan and I'd like to think that someone would have helped my nan in that situation. She didn't want me to help her, but I insisted and in no time at all we had all her shopping back on the shelves....

I'm sure I've read that somewhere before but it lifted my mood so much as I think humour is the antidote to so much.

And personally, I am pleased to report that following my Covid19 test at prison last week, it came back negative.

Keep smiling!

With kindest Regards.

Fred
This week's devotional for the second Sunday of Advent

Read: Mark 1:1-8 (Lectionary Reading)
Read StF 173

Into the darkness of this world
Into the shadows of the night;
Into the loveless places you came,
Lightened our burdens, eased our pain,
And made these hearts your home.
Into the darkness once again -
O come, Lord Jesus, come.

Come with your love
To make us whole,
Come with your light to lead us on,
Driving the darkness far from our souls:
O come, Lord Jesus, come.

Into the longing of our souls,
Into these heavy hearts of stone,
Shine on us now your piercing light,
Order our lives and souls aright,
By grace and love unknown,
Until in you our hearts unite -
O come, Lord Jesus, come.

Come with your love
To make us whole,
Come with your light to lead us on,
Driving the darkness far from our souls:
O come, Lord Jesus, come.

O Holy Child Emmanuel,
Hope of the ages, God with us,
Visit again this broken place,
Till all the earth declares your praise
And your great mercies own.
Now let your love be born in us,
O come, Lord Jesus, come.

Come in your glory,
Take your place,
Jesus, the name above all names,
We long to see you face to face,
O come, Lord Jesus, come.
Maggi Dawn (b. 1959)

Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh89fzSEXbE

Pray:

Eternal God,
Ruler over space and time,
Lord of history,
Before all, in all, and beyond all,
We worship and acknowledge you,
Recognizing afresh that your ways are not our ways,
Nor your thoughts our thoughts.

Forgive us for sometimes losing sight of that fact,
Presuming we know better than you,
Even expecting you to do our bidding
Rather than we do yours

Teach us that you are beyond our greatest imagining,
Higher than our loftiest dreams;
And that you do things in your own way and time,
Expecting us to wait patiently,
Trusting in your wisdom and purpose.

Teach us that it is often times such as the present
We need to believe in you and your timing.
Give us grace to accept our part in your scheme of things
And leave the rest to you.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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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