Pastoral & Spiritual Support

18th August 2020
Thought for the Week

When you think about young children, you may come to a realisation that they are always on the move, never wanting to stop. They go through each day with more enthusiasm than a grown up can ever imagine and they almost never seem to tire. They coast through their early years often with no real trouble and usually with a smile on their faces.
Children seem to have something about them that we, as grown-ups, lost somewhere along the line. They have the ability to forgive quickly, they don’t really worry about things or get frustrated over things, they just enjoy the simple things in life. They never hold grudges and never hold resentments against someone and if for some strange reason they do, they are usually playing and interacting with them the next day in the playground.
Too many times as adults, we forget how to live our lives and the days seem to slip by. Sometimes people tend to mope around over a variety of things that are outwith their control. Sometimes people live not just one day like this, but many days. They do not know that they cannot get that day or those days back.They repeatedly sob and sulk and unconsciously, they can often bring others to their level.
We are not on this earth to be miserable. We are on it to; take each day and make the best out of it and to face new challenges, even when they seem overwhelming, and grow from them. We and our emotions are contagious to the people that surround us; be it strangers or loved ones. Like the children in the playground, we need to ‘Seize the Day’. We are not on this earth for infinity, but only for a short time.
Today, go back to when you were a child and live without the troublesome melancholy that can seem to swallow you up at times. When you wake in the morning, don’t be grumpy and sad because it is too early. Spring out of that bed (carefully of course) and hit the floor running like the children do. Make your whole day a game of sorts, and when tomorrow comes, play it again but this time, do it better.
Life comes at you very fast and when it does, you have to be ready. I do not know about you, but I always want to have the mental freedom of a child and will try to play this game of life daily. I will reflect back on my losses, but I will seek the knowledge I need to try to deal with them and grow. What will you do tomorrow morning?

12th August 2020
Thought for the Week

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?” The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”
What he had written was: “Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.”

Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?

Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were blessed that they were able to see the day.

Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

Think differently and positively. Invite others towards good with wisdom. Live life with no excuse and love with no regrets.
When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Some say, “Life has to be an incessant process of repair and reconstruction, of discarding difficulties and developing harmony! In the journey of life, if you want to travel without fear, you must have the courage to face it!”

The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling! And even more beautiful, is knowing that you are the reason behind it!

5th August 2020
Thought for the Week

Life events often force us to re-evaluate our lives. In order for things to change or get better, we must continually practice the art of change; train ourselves to seek and welcome change, despite the temporary growing pains that may accompany it.

In the last half of 2019, I decided 2020 was going to be different for me. I was feeling too comfortable and complacent in life thinking to myself: “How much longer is it going to be before I finally get the point, stop floundering around and choose something different?” Suddenly, I felt tired of doing everything the same old way, tired of playing all the games that people play.

As a kid, one thing I learned about moving from place to place was flexibility. If your life isn’t working and the shoe no longer fits – change course. Decide what it is in life you most want and make it happen. Life is not a dress rehearsal! This is IT.

It is easier accepting things as they are; even when change is necessary in order to move forward, to grow and achieve the blessings we might not otherwise discover.

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, it means moving on. It is one of the hardest things a person can do. Starting at birth, we grasp on to anything we can get our hands on and hold on as if we will cease to exist when we let go. We feel that letting go is giving up, quitting, and cowardly.As we grow older, we are forced to change our way of thinking. We are forced to realise that letting go means accepting things that cannot be. It means maturing and moving on, no matter how hard you have to fight yourself to do so.

29th July 2020
Thought for the Week

A man and his small son were out walking through the mountains and at one point, the little boy slipped 30 yards down the mountain side.

Finally he was able to grab onto a tree branch and hold on, then he screamed out, “Help me!” This voice boomed back, “Help me!”

He looked kind of confused and yelled, “Who are you?” The voice boomed back, “Who are you?”

The small boy was aggravated and said, “You are a fool!” The voice came back, “You are a fool!”

He said, “You are a coward!” The voice yelled back, “You are a coward!”

Just about that time, his father got to him. The small boy asked his dad, “Who is that?” His dad laughed and said, “Son, that’s called an echo but I suppose we could really call it life. Listen to this!”

The dad hollered out, “You are a winner!” The voice boomed back, “You are a winner!”

“You are talented!” It came back, “You are talented!”
The dad yelled, “You’ve got what it takes!” The voice rang out, “You’ve got what it takes!”

The dad said, “Son, that’s how life is. Whatever you send out always comes back to you. The question is, what are you sending out about yourself?”

Start sending out “I am strong, I am talented, and I am the best. I’ll make it, I am creative, I am prosperous and I am victorious” because what you send out often comes back to you.

Try not to go through life being against yourself.

22nd July 2020
Thought for the Week

I entered Engineering after enjoying top marks at high school. Marks that came relatively easy (once I decided to actually pay attention and do the homework). Then University life came!

I thought that I must have some learning disorder, as it ‘seemed’ that everyone else was absorbing the materials and it was an insurmountable struggle for me. There were never enough hours in the day and weekend to attend the lectures, study the lessons and then do the assignments.

During my darkest hour I called home to speak to my father saying: “Dad, I don’t think I can handle this.” My father then said something, which cut through me like a knife: “There is no returning home. If you quit, then you are on your own!”

I hung up thinking what an awful heartless thing to say. Then, I resolved to somehow stick it out; anyway that I could. There seemed to be no other options available!

Soon thereafter, I noticed a sign posted in a campus common area stating: ‘Study Skills’ with a place & time to meet. It reassured me that there was help available.

I attended that meeting. I soon discovered there were several others in a similar situation and that everyone wanted to help each other get through this challenging first semester.

I soon found a study partner who helped me immeasurably and I am grateful to this day for his kind help. Yes, it was still a very challenging time, but I found the needed strength and support to get through it. Dad’s words gave me the push I needed.

“No man is an island.” We face many challenges in life and so often we try to work through them on our own. We don’t live life in isolation. Why would we try to live through our difficulties in isolation? Seek and you shall find.

15th July 2020
Thought for the Week

Often, achieving what you set out to do is not always the important thing. Let me explain…

Two brothers decided to dig a deep hole behind their house.
As they were working, a couple of older boys stopped to watch. “What are you doing?” asked one of the visitors.

“We plan to dig a hole all the way through the earth!” one of the brothers volunteered excitedly. The older boys began to laugh, telling the younger ones that digging a hole all the way through the earth was impossible.

After a long silence, one of the diggers picked up a jar full of spiders, worms and a wide assortment of insects. He removed the lid and showed the wonderful contents to the scoffing visitors. Then he said quietly and confidently: “Even if we don’t dig all the way through the earth, look at what we found along the way!”

Their goal was far too ambitious, but it did cause them to dig. This is what a goal is for; the motivation to move us in the direction we have chosen; in other words, to set us to digging!

In life, not every goal will be fully achieved. Not every job will end successfully. Not every relationship will endure. Not every hope will come to pass. Not every love will last. Not every endeavour will be completed. Not every dream will be realized.

But when you fall short of your aim, perhaps you can say, “Yes, but look at what I found along the way! Look at the wonderful things which have come into my life because I tried to do something!”

8th July 2020
Thought for the Week

It was a rainy, humid day: the mother of all bad hair days. I was travelling on a bus to go to work. The windows on the bus were covered in condensation so thick you couldn’t see outside. I was wilting.

I was sitting diagonally across from a man in a business suit and didn’t pay much attention until we both got off at the same stop and walked to the same news-stand to get a morning paper.

The man running the stand was obviously having a bad day. He was rude, abrupt and unsmiling. As the business man purchased his paper he caught my eye and smiled. He then proceeded to smile brightly, thank the news-stand proprietor for the paper and for being open on such a miserable morning. In short, he expressed his appreciation for something most of us would take for granted.

The man running the news-stand responded only with a grunt and a sour expression. The businessman then cheerfully wished him a pleasant day. As we turned away, I asked this man why he had continued to be pleasant to the newsman when he obviously didn’t respond to his expression of appreciation and friendliness. The businessman grinned at me and said, “Why would I let someone else control what I say and what I feel or what kind of day I’m going to have?”

I never saw that man again, even though I looked for him on the bus on other days. He appeared briefly in my life and disappeared just as quickly. But I’ve never forgotten the words he said or the way his smile seemed like a shaft of light on a gloomy day.

We touch the lives of others in ways we often never know. People sometimes come into our personal world for fleeting moments and can leave us forever changed.

We have more power to create or to destroy than we can imagine. We can leave things or individuals better or worse than we found them.

A look, a word, a gesture, can have a tremendous impact on others, yet frequently we stumble along through our existence unaware of the mighty power that our communication wields. So….. What would you say today?

1st July 2020
Thought for the Week

There was a girl sitting on the ground by herself in the park. Everyone passed by her and never stopped to see why she looked so sad. Dressed in a worn floral dress, barefoot and dirty, the girl just sat and watched the people go by. She never tried to speak. She never said a word.

The next day, I decided to go back to the park in curiosity to see if the girl would still be there. Yes, she was there, right in the very spot where she was yesterday, and still with the same sad look in her eyes. Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the girl.
As I got closer, I could see the back of the girl’s dress was grotesquely shaped. I figured that was the reason people just passed by and made no effort to speak to her. Heaven forbid if you make a step toward assisting someone who is different.
As I got closer, the girl lowered her eyes slightly to avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the shape of her back more clearly. She was humped over. I smiled to let her know it was OK; I was there to help, to talk.
I sat down beside her and opened with a simple, “Hello.” The girl acted shocked, and stammered a “Hi,” after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back. We talked until darkness fell and the park was completely empty. I asked the girl why she was so sad. The girl looked at me with a sad face and said, “Because, I’m different.
I immediately said, “That you are!” and smiled. The little girl acted even sadder and said, “I know.” Then I said, “You remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent.” She looked at me and smiled, and then slowly she got to her feet and said, “Really?”
“Yes, you’re like a Guardian Angel sent to watch over all those people walking by.” She nodded her head yes, and smiled. With that she opened the back of her pink dress and allowed her wings to spread, and then she said with a twinkle in her eye “I am. I’m your Guardian Angel”.
I was speechless – sure I was seeing things. She said, “For once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is done.”
I got to my feet and said, “Wait, why did no one stop to help an angel?” She looked at me, smiled, and said, “You’re the only one that could see me” and then she was gone. And with that, my life was changed dramatically.
At times in our lives, we can get caught up in ourselves and fail to see the difficulties that others face or indeed their sadness. Maybe we can be that angel for someone just by taking the time to listen. Not every angel needs to have wings.

24th June 2020
Thought for the Week

I hired a joiner to help me restore an old farmhouse. He had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tyre made him lose an hour of work, the electric saw gave up and now his ancient car refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterwards he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”

“Funny thing is,” he smiled; “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there isn’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before”.

17th June 2020
Thought for the Week

Many living things need each other to survive. If you have ever seen a Colorado aspen tree, you may have noticed that it does not grow alone. Aspens are found in clusters, or groves.

The reason is that the aspen sends up new shoots from the roots. In a small grove, all of the trees may actually be connected by their roots!

Giant California redwood trees may tower 300 feet into the sky. It would seem that they would require extremely deep roots to anchor them against strong winds. But we’re told that their roots are actually quite shallow — in order to capture as much surface water as possible. And they spread in all directions, intertwining with other redwoods.

Locked together in this way, all the trees support each other in wind and storms. Like the aspen, they never stand-alone. They need one another to survive.

People, too, are connected by a system of roots. We are born to family and learn early to make friends. We are not meant to survive long without others.

And like the redwood, we need to hold one another up. When pounded by the sometimes vicious storms of life, we need others to support and sustain us.

Have you been going it alone?

Maybe it’s time to let someone else help hold you up for a while. Or perhaps someone needs to hang on to you. Perhaps we can look forward to forming that “Support Bubble” in the coming days?

10th June 2020
Thought for the Week

A young couple move into a new house in a new estate. On their first morning, while they are eating breakfast, the young wife looks out of the window and sees her new neighbour hang her washing outside.

“That washing is not very clean!” she said to her husband. “That woman doesn’t know how to wash clothes correctly. Perhaps she needs better soap powder.”

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

As time went on and every time her neighbour hung her washing out to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the young woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on her neighbour’s line and said to her husband; “Look! She has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her how to do this?”

The husband looked out the window and said to his wife: “actually, I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows!”

What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the windows through which we look.

Can you see how it might be a good idea to check first, to see if our windows are clean before we give any criticism? It might be a good idea to check our state of mind and ask ourselves if we are ready to see the good in someone rather than just look for something wrong in the people we encounter.

3rd June 2020
Thought for the Week

So many of us get caught up in the past; past issues, past relationships, past mistakes, etc… We tend to give away our thoughts and energy of today, to days and events that no longer exist.

An unfortunate reality of this type of thinking is that we tend to lose sight of our true power and purpose even in difficult times. And we lose sight of the truth that we are free to change – to refine, adapt, improve, or enhance ourselves at any moment.

The value of a moment is immeasurable. The power of just ONE moment can propel you to success and happiness or chain you to failure and misery.

What if you could break free from the shackles of self blame, criticism, and disempowered limiting thought?

We all make mistakes, have struggles and difficulties, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.

Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration and leave the ghost of yesterday behind, why not you?

Even although Today greets you with some rules or conditions. The only requirement to see all it has to offer is to live it to the full, even amidst trials and tribulations. Each day brings immeasurable blessings and opportunities for happiness and success. Like a gift, beautifully wrapped at the foot of your bed each morning, today asks that you open it and enjoy everything inside.

Exhaust yourself with all it has to offer! Laugh, cry, say “I love you”, say “I’m sorry”, truly LIVE the day. When was the last time you did this? Squeeze all the juices the day has to offer, then, at the end of the day, go to sleep knowing that tomorrow morning, another gift will be waiting.

It’s when we continue to look into the box of yesterday or last year or ten years ago that we feel down, trapped, and defeated. But the good news is that if you just open your eyes and look, you would see today’s box, today’s gift is waiting. Let go of yesterday, forget it. It’s already forgotten you. Embrace the only day in which you have any power. Today!

Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by the past. Instead, shake things up today! Live through today. Don’t just exist through it – LIVE through it! Have a plan for success and make sure your actions reflect that plan.

Your dream is a reality that is waiting for you to materialize. Today is a new day! Don’t let history interfere with your destiny! Learn from the past so that it can empower your present and propel you to greatness.

26th May 2020
Thought for the Week

One day not too long ago, the employees of a large company in Glasgow returned from their lunch break and were greeted with a sign on the front door. The sign said: “Yesterday, the person who has been hindering your growth in this company died. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the company gym.”

At first everyone was sad to hear that one of their colleagues had died, but after a while they started getting curious about who this person might be.

As the employees arrived at the company gym to pay their last respects, everyone wondered: “Who is this person who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he’s no longer here!”

One by one the employees got closer to the coffin and when they looked inside it, they suddenly became speechless. They stood over the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul.

There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: “There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth: it is YOU.

You are the only person who can revolutionize your life. You are the only person who can influence your happiness, your realization and your success. You are the only person who can help yourself.

Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your partner changes, when your company changes. Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs, when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.

“The most important relationship you can have is the one you have with yourself.”

19th May 2020
Thought for the Week

The Scottish village of Lost is to change its name. Lost is the Celtic word for Inn but an Inn’s traditional welcome is not what’s offered to the souvenir hunters who keep stealing its road signs. Seven have gone in the last five years.
“It’s not just the cost of replacing the signs…” said the local councillor, “…deliveries get lost because they’ve got no idea where Lost is, and it’s very confusing.” Without the signs, it appears, people get to Lost without even knowing they’ve found it.
Being lost is confusing and unpleasant, emotionally as well as literally. Most of us have had the experience, in relation to something specific or just generally in life, that we don’t know which way to turn. Sometimes it’s a struggle we keep to ourselves but often the only way out is to seek help from someone who does know where they are. It is not always easy to recognise that we are lost and seek that kind of help. The tendency is to keep going round in circles on the assumption that we will eventually find our own way out of the problem.
When all the signs are that we’ve reached ‘lost’, we would do well to acknowledge it sooner rather than later. Then we can seek the support we need. We may well find the response to our request is more like the welcome and warmth conjured up by the Celtic meaning of ‘Lost’ than the anxiety and isolation with which we associate the word today.
It’s okay to feel “lost” especially in today’s circumstances. However, it’s important to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings and share them with another human being. It may surprise you to discover how many of us are feeling a little lost at the present time.

12th May 2020
Thought for the Week

On the first day of school, our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?” I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.
“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked. She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.”
“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.
After class, we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk non-stop. I was always mesmerized listening to this ‘time machine’ as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester, we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us.
She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry, I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whisky is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”
As we laughed, she cleared her throat and began: “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success…
“You have to laugh and find humour every day. “You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!”
“There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change.”
“Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do.”
She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.” She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.
At the year’s end, Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation, Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

6th May 2020
Thought for the Week

A mother, wishing to encourage her son’s progress at the piano, bought tickets to a performance by the great Polish pianist Karl Paderewski.

When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway piano waiting on the stage. Soon, the mother found a friend to talk to but, unbeknownst to her, the boy quietly slipped away.

At eight o’clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on, and only then did they notice the boy up on the piano bench, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” His mother gasped in shock and embarrassment but, before she could retrieve her son, the master himself appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard.

He whispered gently to the boy, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon, his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerised with their blended and beautiful music.

In all our lives, we receive helping hands – some we notice, some we don’t. Equally, we ourselves have countless opportunities to provide helping hands – sometimes we would like our assistance to be noticed, sometimes we don’t.

Little of what we achieve is without learning from others or without support from others, and what we receive we should hand out.

29th April 2020
Thought for the Week

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.

The race began. Honestly, no-one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You heard statements such as:
“Oh, WAY too difficult!!”
“They will NEVER make it to the top”.
“Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!”

The tiny frogs began collapsing one by one, except for those who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher.

The crowd continued to yell; “It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!”
More tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But ONE continued higher and higher and higher… This one wouldn’t give up!

At the end, everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog, who after a big effort was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? A contestant asked the tiny frog how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal.

The tiny frog explained with gestures and a smile that he was deaf! He thought the crowd had been encouraging him the entire time!

Words expressed and opinions given can have a big effect on other people’s lives. Struggles in life are inevitable, but destruction is optional. Each life has seasons of illness, financial issues, relationship stress, loss of loved ones and other ongoing events. In the grand scheme of things, a stressful morning doesn’t impact life all that much, but in this longer season of lockdown, the stress and frustration can seem overwhelming.

If you really want to accomplish something, you can always choose to become deaf, especially when the people around you say negative or discouraging things. Trusting in our inner self more can help us achieve the things that others deem impossible.

22nd April 2020
Thought for the Week

A water bearer in India had two large pots; each hung on either end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws and difficulties. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, even with our flaws and difficulties, we can still bring deep joy to those around us during the lockdown, sometimes without our knowledge. #StayHomeSaveLives

14th April 2020
Thought for the Week

I awoke early, as I often did, just before sunrise to walk by the ocean’s edge and greet the new day. As I moved through the misty dawn, I focused on a faint, far away motion. I saw a young man, bending and reaching and flailing his arms, dancing on the beach I thought, no doubt in celebration of the day soon to begin.

As I approached, I sadly realized that the youth was not dancing to welcome the day, but rather bending to sift through the debris left by the night’s tide, stopping now and then to pick up a starfish and then standing, to heave it back into the sea. I asked the young man the purpose of his effort. “The tide has washed the starfish onto the beach and they cannot return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun rises, they will die, unless I throw them back to the sea.”

 As the youth explained, I surveyed the vast expanse of beach, stretching in both directions beyond my sight. Starfish littered the shore in numbers beyond calculation.

The hopelessness of the youth’s plan became clear to me and I countered, “But there are more starfish on this beach than you can ever save before the sun is up. Surely you cannot expect to make a difference.”

 The youth paused briefly to consider my words, bent to pick up a starfish and threw it as far as possible. Turning to me he simply said, “I made a difference to that one.”

 I left the boy and went home, deep in thought of what the boy had said. I returned to the beach and spent the rest of the day helping the boy throw starfish in to the sea.

No matter how hopeless a situation may seem, all of us have the ability to make a difference. We may not change the world, but every good act will have a positive effect on someone or something not very far from us.

3rd April 2020
How to celebrate Holy Week & Easter during “Stay at Home”

As many of you are aware, The Church isn’t a building; it’s a community of faith, the people of God that exist outwith the walls of the building. While we may prefer to gather together for worship and prayer, the church building doesn’t define us as Christians.

Below are some ideas to help you celebrate Holy Week during this period of “Stay at Home”.

Many churches are offering online experiences and worship opportunities to help people during this time of crisis.

Live Stream Services
Now is the time to get active on Social Media and YouTube. Even if you haven’t been in the habit of using social media in the past, I encourage you to get connected now.

Churches, musicians, teachers, and other organisations are moving to online streaming as a way to serve you. Services, worship music, and inspirational thoughts are being offered online across Facebook and YouTube.

Look for what your church is offering, but this is also a great opportunity to explore what others may be offering. Now, more than ever, we need to explore technology to stay connected and maintain relationships with others – even if it’s through a computer screen.

Holy week begins with Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday – 5th April 2020.

If you are unable to connect with online resources you might want to construct your own personal prayer, reflection and devotion. Here are some ideas that may inspire you.

Palm Sunday: Read and pray through Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-11)
Monday: Begin reading the account of Jesus’ final week in John. Today, read and pray through Jesus’ anointing at Bethany, when Mary pours perfume on his head (John 12:1-11)
Tuesday: Read and pray through Jesus’ prediction of his death (John 12:20-36)
Wednesday: Read and pray through Jesus’ prediction of his betrayal (John 13:21-30)
Thursday: Read and pray through the Last Supper (John 13:1-17, 31-35) and Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-45)
Friday: Read and pray through Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion (John 18:28-19:37)
Saturday: Read and pray through the burial of Jesus (Matthew 27:57-66)
Sunday: Read and pray through the resurrection of Jesus (John 20:1-18)

On Good Friday, we will share with you our reflection on the Passion of Christ: Man of the Cross. To watch, download the PowerPoint, open the file, click ‘Slideshow’ and then ‘From Beginning’.

I wish you every blessing and a peaceful Holy Week. Stay home! Stay Safe! Stay well!

George Beuken
Head of Pastoral Care & Education

27th March 2020
Thought for the Week

“Once upon a time a young woman complained to her dad that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her dad, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the boiled eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. ‘Daughter, what do you see?’

‘Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,’ she hastily replied.

‘Look closer,’ he said, ‘and touch the potatoes.’ She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

‘Dad, what does this mean?’ she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

‘Which are you,’ he asked his daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?’

In these uncertain and difficult times, we may be finding it difficult to understand or come to terms with the changes that have become a reality in our lives. How do we choose to respond to our ‘self-isolation’ or ‘social distancing?’

One thing we need to remember is that, no matter how we react to the many changes we have experienced these last few weeks and more so these last few days, not only does it have an effect on us personally but also on those we love. As we look for ways to cope with our ‘new’ way of living ask yourself, are you a potato, an egg or a coffee bean?