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week 31 letter: Fred Ireland

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Dear Friends

Week thirty one. To be honest, a few weeks ago was thinking how to end these weekly letters as we had returned to church, things felt like they were getting back to "normal" and suddenly all that has changed. Today we'll be back under lockdown and for a month (at least) churches will be closed and we're all encouraged to stay home. It is difficult to plan for Christmas either for us as families or as faith communities. Early exchanges of emails suggest some churches do not expect to resumes services until the new year. It will feel very odd holding a Zoom service on Christmas morning!

It's all about getting the R number down, reducing the transmission of the virus and thus protecting the NHS. And we all have a roll to play. Please keep safe and keep well.

As winter approaches and the nights are cold and dark the month ahead may be challenging. We are concerned about both our physical and mental health. For the latter, please try to keep in touch with one another to offer our love, support and encouragement to one another. We have Zoom, Facebook, Twitter (other social media are available), Facetime, email and good old fashioned phone calls to keep in touch. I'd encourage everyone to do so. I'm aware that some are struggling with the thought of another period of isolation and all the frustrations that entails. Let us pray that this will an effective month and that come 2nd December things will improve for us all. Until then, let us all support one another.

There will be opportunities to join Zoom services in the morning and evenings throughout November; various people will be leading them and I'd encourage you to attend which ever suits you best.

And now Rishi Sunak has announced that the Furlough scheme will be extended to the end of March 2021. Does this indicate we still have some way to go with the lockdown? Time will tell!

With kindest Regards.

Fred

This week's Devotional

Read: Matthew 5: 1-12 (remembrance Reading)
Read: StF 593

Beauty for brokenness
Hope for despair
Lord, in the suffering
This is our prayer
Bread for the children
Justice, joy, peace
Sunrise to sunset
Your kingdom increase!

Shelter for fragile lives
Cures for their ills
Work for the craftsman
Trade for their skills
Land for the dispossessed
Rights for the weak
Voices to plead the cause
Of those who can't speak

God of the poor
Friend of the weak
Give us compassion we pray
Melt our cold hearts
Let tears fall like rain
Come, change our love
From a spark to a flame

Refuge from cruel wars
Havens from fear
Cities for sanctuary
Freedoms to share
Peace to the killing-fields
Scorched earth to green
Christ for the bitterness
His cross for the pain

Rest for the ravaged earth
Oceans and streams
Plundered and poisoned
Our future, our dreams
Lord, end our madness
Carelessness, greed
Make us content with
The things that we need

Refrain

Lighten our darkness
Breathe on this flame
Until your justice
Burns brightly again
Until the nations
Learn of your ways
Seek your salvation
And bring you their praise

Refrain

Graham Kendrick

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kVHKuldZyw


Pray:

 

For those who have died

Almighty and eternal God,
from whose love in Christ we cannot be parted,
either by death or life:
hear our prayers and thanksgivings
for all whom we remember this day;
fulfil in them the purpose of your love;
and bring us all, with them, to your eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

For those who have died on active service

O God of truth and justice,
we hold before you those men and women
who have died in active service:
in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
As we honour their courage and cherish their memory,
may we put our faith in your future;
for you are the source of life and hope,
now and for ever.
Amen.

At a bereavement

Father,
you know our hearts and share our sorrows.
We are hurt by our parting from those whom we loved:
when we are angry at the loss we have sustained,
when we long for words of comfort,
yet find them hard to hear,
turn our grief to truer living,
our affliction to firmer hope
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Lord, have mercy
on those who mourn
who feel numb and crushed
and are filled with the pain of grief,
whose strength has given up
You know all our sighing and longings:
be near to us and teach us to fix our hope on you
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Lord, do not abandon us in our desolation.
Keep us safe in the midst of trouble,
and complete your purpose for us
through your steadfast love and faithfulness,
in Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Amen.

Our eyes, Lord, are wasted with grief;
you know we are weary with groaning.
As we remember our death
in the dark emptiness of the night,
have mercy on us and heal us;
forgive us and take away our fear
through the dying and rising of Jesus your Son.
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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