Prayerways: A time to pray

Praying can be something which we can all feel that we hardly ever do, or something that we always do.  The truth probably lies somewhere between these two extremes.

Choosing a set time to pray can be a way of ensuring that we do pray, and are conscious of doing so. Many folk at St Chrysostom’s chose to pause at 5pm to say prayers – knowing that at that time there will be others in Church saying prayers at that time.

But, other times may be more appropriate.  Some choose to pray on waking up, others after breakfast, maybe at mid-day, or before lunch…Whenever we decide the important thing is to try to always do so.

By having a set time we join with many people of faith who regularly and daily say their prayers – it is a good rule to follow – to have a set time of “checking in” with God.

We can easily

Invoke the TrinityIn the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Adore Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, Amen

Thanksoffer thanks for today’s blessings and for life.

Petitioncollect the “arrow prayers*” of the day, pray for situations in the world, at home, in your own life.

Close with 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 thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory ,for ever and ever.

There are many other resources to help in regular daily prayer. Some are complicated and some can be simply listened to, and joined in as you listen

For a Daily Prayer app or to pray Common Worship

For the Daily Office

To listen to prayers


*by “arrow prayers” I mean those quick prayers offered up during the day as we go about our lives – maybe for a homeless person we have seen, or because an emergency vehicle passes, or for the departed and those mourning if we see a funeral cortege.

Fr Chris

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Jesus speaks to the weeping women

Jesus Speaks to the Weeping Women

We adore you O Christ and we bless you
Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world

“A great number of people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing to him,but Jesus turned to them and said “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me but weep for yourselves and for your children”

The women weep for Jesus as though they are totally immune from pain, and his fate is unrelated to theirs  He reminds them  his fate is also theirs – that all in Jerusalem will suffer.

Remind us Lord that our sin was and is the cause of your pain, at the time of your passion, and today when you suffer in and with your children. With your grace may we recognise you and minister to all whom we meet in need or in distress

(A reflection by Sister Jean Mary CHN)

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Look for the signs

‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf.  Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.’ – a part of the Gospel reading for the Thursday of the Fourth week of Lent (John 5. 31-47)

Mehran is the RE Coordinator at St John’s School in Longsight.   She is a British born Muslim whose family originate in Pakistan with Persian ancestry.  She moved to Manchester from High Wycombe when she was 7 years old.

Mehran shares her reflections:

This passage reminds me greatly of Quranic verses.  The Quran is written from God’s perspective; his voice speaking to us. The early part of this passage sounds like God is saying You cannot see me, but look for the signs around you that I am here.  It’s like some are choosing not to see those signs.

The later part of the passage reminds of the Hadith, which were reports on the Prophet Mohammed’s life and sayings.  In Islam we also have a prophet named John born in the same circumstances. Jesus is a prophet is Islam and much of what Jesus is saying about himself is similar to what was said about Mohammed.   Jesus is saying that even though I am here for you, you do not believe and you are turning a blind eye.

I am very stuck by the similarities of belief, so much of Christian an Islamic faith is about forgiveness.  We believe that we should forgive each other because God forgives us.  God forgives sin we commit against him, like not saying prayers and keeping the fast.  If we have sinned against others we need to go to them and ask their forgiveness. When we make our Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) often we will seek forgiveness from those around us before we go, and asking God’s forgiveness is a very important part of Hajj.

I wasn’t entirely surprised at the familiarity of this passage to the Quran: signs all around them and yet they do not see believe in Jesus, even though he is working hard to bring them into the light.

I would like people to understand the importance of that sort of ‘blind’ faith; we cannot see and yet we believe.  THAT is true faith.  If we have faith like that in God, then it helps us to have faith in each other; in our neighbours, our children and our community.

God our creator, help us to recognise and notice signs of your work in our world and in those around us.  We pray for our sisters and brothers of faith; we give thanks for their insights that help us to see you afresh.  Amen.

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Living with God

In our Lent series of Bible reflections Paul Pritchard, one of our parish ordinands at St Chrysostom’s, reflects on the Gospel for the Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent. Paul answered a few questions on the passage (John 5. 17-30):

“What is the ‘good news’ in this rather complicated passage?”

It is the promise of life to come. We will be judged on goodness. It is not about being judged as Christians, or Muslims, but about our goodness. Jesus stripped away the shackles of the confinement of human nature here. It is about “not my will, but God’s will”.

“Jesus’ words sound a bit threatening here, what do you think?”

We have a responsibility to be good, not in a trite way though, we are called to be the image of God, to be kind to each other. There will be consequence if we choose another way. There has to be a consequence. One can make the wrong decisions, but so long as one approaches that with true contrition, then one can still change, and be forgiven. I must say this does not conflict with the idea of a loving God, it is the incarnate nature of God, just as a parent make it clear that there will be consequences if we choose to err.

“Jesus talked about life and condemnation in this passage, what is ‘life’ to you?”

It is a mystery. It is a mystery that requires faith — a promise of eternal life. It [our afterlife] may be floating around in clouds , or a new heaven and new earth. It’s about a promise predicated on trust. i think Jesus is making a promise here, that there is going to be eternal life if you believe.

True life is about living with God, however that looks in an eternal sense. I think our life on earth is a test for us, it is about how we live with each other here, and trust that at the end, it is worth it.

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Healing on the Sabbath: Disobedience and the tradition

Jesus heals on the Sabbath in our Gospel. Sarah, a member of our congregation is a Masters student studying Electroacoustic composition at the University of Manchester. Here she reflects on the Gospel for the Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent (John 5. 1-3, 5-16)

What strikes me the most is that. the rule about sabbath doesn’t serve the purpose of God’s love at that very moment [when the Jews condemned Jesus]. The rule doesn’t matter because after all the man was healed.

“What does that say about disobedience and tradition?” 

If the rule, or tradition, doesn’t serve God’s purpose of love or mine, I would reconsider to follow the rule or not. I think sometimes people get too fixated on tradition and rule, and forget about God’s love.

“In our conversations in the past we have talked about feminism, what do you think about the complete absence of women in this passage?” 

I think the Gospels were about spreading the good news, and I don’t doubt that Jesus did as much for women as for men. And it is filled with important women. I think that in the writing of the Gospels they had to focus more on men if they were to be taken seriously. It would definitely go against God’s love if I were to think that Jesus did more for men.

“Lastly, the sick man said ‘while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me,’ Jesus didn’t address the inequality in the situation, but the man was healed nonetheless, do you think it is important that when we offer healing and consolation, we also address the inequality and injustice involved?”

He didn’t address the inequality or unfairness, but I suppose you can’t fight the entire system at once. There is so much unfairness, and to fight all of them at once just won’t work. Jesus founded the foundation of fighting inequality, and he also healed a lot of people on the way.

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Doubt and Faith: Healing and miracles

A  doctor offers us thoughts today on a Gospel story of a healing miracle, and the  questions it raises. The passage is the Gospel reading for the Monday of the Fourth week of Lent. (John 4. 43-end).

Hannah Merrill who has worshipped at St Chrysostom’s for many years both as a medical student, and now as a doctor working in Manchester Hospitals. Hannah offers these thoughts:

Is there significance in the child being an Official’s Child, and as such part of the occupying force, and this resonating with a “prophet has no honour in his own country”.

The parents are in a desperate situation, what were their thoughts and feelings? It seems that their faith sees the child restored to health, but, would the child have died if the parents did not believe? The passage contains the words “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe” and the tone of voice in this phrase is important – is it in exasperation, or a simple statement?

We are told that the man went on his way back home, and Hannah asked what was going on in his mind. Did the father think that all would be well, or was there doubt? Whilst he journeys home he is told that his child lives and then we are told he had belief.

It is a story of doubt and faith, and one which many doctors encounter in their work. There is always the difficulty of believing in the power of God, and also accepting inevitable consequences of illness. There is the issue of helping people come to terms with a difficult diagnosis, and balancing that with the God who in this passage heals and restores.

In closing the conversation Hannah quoted from Ecclesiasticus and asks whether we should pray for miracles or to accept the best treatment and care that we can.

May the One who blessed our ancestors be present to those who provide help for the ill and troubled among us. May they be filled with fortitude and courage, endowed with sympathy and compassion, as they give strength to those at their sude. May they fight against despair, and continue to find within themsdelves the will to reach out to those in need. And in their love of others, may they know the belssing of community, and the blessing of renewed faith. (Rabbi Marcia Plumb)

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Revd Peter Timms nominated for bishop!

Today let’s promote this inspiring nomination of a kind and generous hearted man to be a Bishop in the Church of England.

Revd Peter Timms of Greendale

Revd Peter Timms of Greendale

Peter Timms – ‘Revd Timms’ – has been the Incumbent of Greendale, near Pencaster, in Cumbria for over thirty years – taking up the post in 1981. During this time he has served his parish and community cheerfully and outstandingly. There is no doubt that he has achieved nationwide popularity especially among the young.

Peter Timms is above all a kind and sensitive priest, who has time for others and pastoral care is at the heart of his ministry. He gets out among people, he takes an interest in them, their families and their communities and shows a love and care for all. He is even mannered, has a good sense of humour and is clearly loved by many –  all key qualities for a good shepherd of the flock.

The nomination from Greendale is supported, as follows, by the nine criteria for selection for ministry of the Church of England. (Identified in bold)

Moving beyond the church

Moving beyond the church

Peter Timms has a thorough knowledge of  Ministry within the Church of England and in his time at Greendale has, without doubt, displayed a holistic commitment to his vocation. He is a priest for all, and looks beyond internal church issues and committees. From the amount of time Peter spends in prayer, his style of ministry, and the personal care he gives to the church and its grounds, it is clear he has a deep sense of Anglican Spirituality. He has a wide and inclusive understanding of mission and evangelism, although he never uses the word ‘mission’ he has displayed an innovative awareness of the ‘five marks of mission.’ He regularly supports, and is at the centre of community events, for example in ensuring the church has a central role in the Greendale Midsummer Market, and in leading the celebrations at the re-opening of Pencaster Town Hall.

Always among the people

Always among the people

Peter Timms has depth of personality and character.  His caring extends beyond individuals to the whole community. When severe weather conditions affected travel in Greendale he immediately put the church at the service of the community. Within church life and within the wider community he is fully inclusive in approach. He involves others in his work and so shows an open, gentle and guileless attitude to Leadership and Collaboration, which is rooted in his personality and capability and he has never been known to use such terms such as ‘management’ or ‘administration.’ He speaks his mind gently and with sincerity and is prepared to speak out his personal views with integrity.

He is a sincere and friendly man who has strong supporting relationships in his ministry. His family support him. Although Elsie, his sister, lives in Australia they visit one another, and the local postman, Pat Clifton, gives evidence of regular letters and postcards. He has cousins (Jill and Sylvia) who live near Greendale.

Peter Timms usually travels by bicycle - evidence of his ecological sensitivity

Peter Timms usually travels by bicycle – evidence of his ecological sensitivity

Peter Timms’ ability to relate his faith to the complex demands of contemporary society is attested by his commitment to to pastoral care, church life and outreach, and by the encouraging use of Bible quotations which he freely offers at many different occasions to a wide variety of people.

He has appropriate self awareness and is willing to admit his mistakes and vulnerabilities. For example, he talks of the time when he inadvertently let the brake off the local train – the Greendale Rocket. ‘Revd Timms’ is articulate and sensitive to the setting in which he speaks, showing an aptitude and Quality of Mind suitable to the episcopate.

The nomination of Revd Peter Timms for a bishop in the Church of England is both realistic and informed. Without doubt he is a strong candidate for the next vacant see in the Church of England.

We invite you to support the nomination – share on Twitter, Facebook etc. Thank you.

Don’t forget some earlier nominees have yet to become bishops. They too need your support, for example, remember, Alan Franks was nominated in 2016, and Paul Brown in 2018 and  Jack Callahan in 2017

1st April 2019

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