June 8th-13th, 2020

Monday June 8th: A thought from Colin McConkey

It’s wonderful how some memories just stick with you and some don’t.  Perhaps that first kiss or buying your first car.  The memory that I’m highlighting today is a little more serious and happened over 20 years ago when I was a student at NTC. Like most conscientious students I attended most of the Tuesday chapel services, sadly most of them I don’t remember.  But two of them still stick in my mind to this very day.  

At one particular chapel service one of the students was preaching on the passage:

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.   (1 Peter 2:12)

This really struck me that day and often comes to mind still.  Especially the phrase ‘Live such good lives’ an exhortation to live a holy life if ever there was one.  What an awesome responsibility we have as Christians.

Tuesday June 9th: A thought from Sandra Brower

‘O Breath of life, come sweeping through us’ – the first line of one of my most favourite hymns – has been ringing in my ears since the death of George Floyd. So has Steve Wright’s sermon from the Word and Table Pentecost service, celebrated less than a week after Floyd’s death. Steve set out the stark contrast between the re-creating action of God, breathing the Spirit of life into humanity, and the destructive action of another, literally kneeling the life-breath out of Floyd, one of God’s creations. The life-giving breath of Pentecost was about unity in diversity. The life-taking action of Derek Chauvin has been the catalyst for a global uprising in protest of the grave disunity caused by racism and injustice. We chart and follow the Christian Calendar to remind us of the Story that shapes and re-shapes our stories. But this coincidental (mis)alignment is perhaps one of the sharpest. ‘O Wind of God, come bend us, break us, till humbly we confess our need; then in your tenderness remake us, revive, restore, for this we plead.’

Wednesday June 10th: A thought from David McCulloch

I don’t know about you, but there’s only so much news broadcasting and social media I can take in one day. Did I really subscribe to the BBC News Updates on my phone? I’m not only alerted to the newest event but also news about upcoming news – that which hasn’t even happened yet!

In his book, A Spring Within Us, Richard Rohr reminds us that ‘for our spirituality to be authentic we must experience things from the inside out instead of just the outside in. This means that instead of being defined only by events, we need draw on our own deep wells too. Wells dug in the context of community and experience as we walk with God.

Thursday June 11th: A thought from Nicole McConkey

Maybe it is because of lockdown, that when I looked through some photographs, I suddenly realised how much my being aches and longs for other places: What would I give for a stroll through my home town, or a walk along the river. I can nearly smell the Rhine as I write these words!

In Psalm 84 the Psalmist uses similar words “My soul yearns, even faints for the court of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

Yes, I do miss travelling, I do miss so many cherished places and wonder when or if we will return there. But ultimately, I realise my being really aches for the presence of God. And thankfully this pandemic puts no halt to the Spirit of God dwelling in and around us.

“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.”

Friday June 12th: A thought from Andrew Graystone

A couple of years ago, when I was preaching at Longsight, I asked why it was that all of our regular preachers are white. Where were the black, Asian and minority ethnic preachers? It was gently pointed out to me that both Josh and Diego have Latin American heritage.

Both Josh and Diego have now moved on to other ministries, and I am left with the same question. I’m not pointing the finger at anyone else here. I’m trying to search my own heart in the light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests. I like to tell myself that I am colour-blind. We all want to say that we are an inclusive church. But in this season, I’m finding that I need to look in the mirror again, and ask God to search my heart and re-programme my soul.

Search me, O God, and know my heart:
Test me, and know my thoughts;
See if there be any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:23, 24)

Saturday June 13th: A thought from Nicole McConkey

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Over a year ago a friend gave us some of their dried starter to make sourdough bread. Before our move to England, I made sure to dry some as well and bring it with me. It took several months for us to be settled enough to even attempt making the starter again. But as I was kneading the wholemeal sourdough loaf that had been left over night to grow and expand, I cannot help but be amazed at the life within this dough. All I do is add some ingredients to the starter and be patient! There is something life-giving about making your own bread – although flour is still not as readily available as it used to be.

Thank you, Lord, for providing for us so well, for the mystery and beauty of bread and your handwriting, creator of all things, being all over it. Your name be praised!

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