Lenten Study Group on Prayer

At the beginning of Lent, we started a Study Group on Prayer. In spite of not being able to meet physically for the last three weeks, over 20 people have continued to receive the Study Group Materials for use at home.

For those that haven’t been part of that group, but who might wish to delve into the materials, they are now available via the Web Site – here.

The materials for each session are in two forms:

  • A PDF file with sequential A4 pages
  • A PDF file with pages arranged so that if your printer can print double-sided with a short-edge binding (and you know what that all means:-) you can print it and fold it to resemble the ‘booklets’ that I was handing out for early sessions when we could meet.

If in doubt, the first format will produce something readable. If you have problems, either ask a friend or get in touch with James.

For each session, there is the session booklet and often further booklet of bits and pieces.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any of the material, get in touch with James.

 

Churches Now Closed

Following the directive from Boris Johnson this evening (23rd March) and updated guidance from the College of Bishops, our Churches will no longer be open to the public for either services or private prayer.  So from now on we must all pray at home.

Two prayers from the Scottish Prayer Book

In the time of any common Plague or Sickness.

O ALMIGHTY and merciful God, with whom are the issues of life and death: Grant us, we beseech thee, help and deliverance in this time of grievous sickness and mortality, and sanctify to us this affliction, that in our sore distress we may turn our hearts unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

For Hospitals and Infirmaries.

ALMIGHTY God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ went about doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people: Continue, we beseech thee, his gracious work among us in all hospitals and infirmaries; console and heal the sufferers; grant to the physicians, surgeons, and nurses, wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience; prosper their work, O Lord, with thy continual blessing; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A smile is contagious

Sunday is Mothering Sunday and I’ve spent the last two days distributing Mothering Sunday Posies, and you know it would have been worth it for just one of the smiles returned by those who received one, but I’ve had dozens of smiles and feel so blessed.

For the fit and healthy, there are posies in St Andrew’s, Tain and St Finnbarr’s, Dornoch, so please feel free to drop by at some time on Sunday (between 10am and 4pm), to offer a prayer and pick one up (whilst stocks last:-)

Must rush as I have to go out round and about again, no handshakes, no cups of coffee, just a brief chat and a beaming smile at the door – God Bless.

Arise, take up your mat and walk

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World Day of Prayer services in Brora, Dornoch, Lairg and Tain on Friday.  Wonderful ecumenical gatherings that engaged creatively with the material prepared by the Christian Women of Zimbabwe. Prayerful, reflective, thoughful, joyous and uplifting are all words that could be applied to the three services that I was at.  Not to mention the food and fellowship that was shared after each of the services.  A huge thanks to all those who organised the services, took part in them and most of all to the Christian Woman of Zimbabwe.

Food for the Body and the Mind

Lent has now begun. However, in anticipation of Lent, last night we had a splendid pancake feast, with a challenging quiz to keep us amused, perplexed and stretched between pancakes: Patron Saints, pancake facts, knots, geology and pancakes around the world – no-one was an expert in all of these.

Thanks to the quiz setters, the batter mixers, cooks and all who brought goodies to share.

 

Lights in the World

This week there have been lots of candles:

Firstly there have been single candles, signifying Christ – Light of the World, reminding us of who’s we are and who we serve.

At the Hub service we meditated on Light, surrounded by many candles and were each individually blessed with a candle to take as a symbol of our calling to be a light in the world and to share Christ’s light.


At Candlemas services today in Lairg, Dornoch, Tain and Brora we reflected on the same theme, blessed the candles that we will use this year and were each blessed as we held our own individual candle and then took it home a Light to dispel darkness and fear from our lives, a light to enlighten our minds, a light to brighten dull days and show each of us the path we must travel.

(NB – if these candles arranged on the floor at the Hub resemble the flag of any group of nations, it’s entirely unintended)

 

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18th-25th January).  The theme this year is “Unusual Kindness” which comes from a verse in the Acts of the Apostles:

After we had reached safety, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us round it.”  Acts 28:1-2

We are invited in this year’s Week Of Prayer for Christian Unity materials to see God working through people and places which offer unusual kindness. To demonstrate unusual kindness is to give without counting the cost, and to allow ourselves receive without questioning worth. As we reflect upon, and pray for, Christian unity, we acknowledge the injury that disunity has caused, the pain that we carry, the baggage that we must jettison. We pray for Christian unity as the place from which we can move onward in faith and in hope for the redemption of the world and the restoration of creation.

May they all be one. Father, may they be one in
us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the
world may believe that it was you who sent me.

John 17: 20 – 21

On Sunday, the Easter Ross Inter-Church Group (ERICG) held a lovely service in St Josephs, Invergordon at which there wer folk from a number of different Churches celebrating the wonderful things that we as Christians share in common.  Splendid refreshments afterward too – an act of generosity and kindness by our hosts!!