Coronavirus - Community updates from the Revd Neil Short - no 52 Wed 6 January 2

ST MICHAEL’S COMMUNITY UPDATE

No 52: 6.1.21

 

INTRODUCTION

  • If you have a friend or neighbour who would like to receive this, please forward their details.
  • I also invite you to send in items, especially humorous ones!
  • For all correspondence please use office@stmbsands.org

 

LOCKDOWN UPDATE

  • We need to lean on one another as much as possible. In the words of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’, could I encourage you all to phone a friend each day. It will probably do you good and will certainly help those who are on their own.
  • All church services have been cancelled until further notice. Every Sunday morning we send out an online service, so you can watch it at home at 10.30am or at any time which is convenient to you.
  • We are having an extra Zoom Quiz Night this Friday at 7.30pm. You don’t have to be an expert; in fact I haven’t won one yet! There will be a prize for those taking part on their own and another for those in a family group.
    If you would like to be involved send an email to Richard Kemp at
    blundellsands@btinternet.com

 

CHRISTMAS COLLECTIONS
Some of the children’s gifts donated at the Toy Service

 

Toy Service for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal       £764
Christingle for the Children’s Society                                 £970
Carol Service for the Salvation Army 
Christmas Appeal   £820

 

We thank God for the privilege of being able to make a real difference in the lives of so many children.

 

TALKS

For those who missed our talks you will find them here:

Christingle: https://youtu.be/-NHFJ9xZztY
Christmas Day: https://youtu.be/dIXf2tNdZFo

Sunday 3rd January: https://youtu.be/wta4TCHMDd0

 

OUTTAKES

It took 4 attempts to film the lighting of the advent candles: watch it here https://youtu.be/17ZG-129VcY   firstly in real time, then speeded up.

This shows that there is often far more work involved to create something than you might at first think. So, a big thank you to everybody who worked extra hard to make Christmas this year as special as possible in difficult circumstances.

 

CHRISTMAS SERVICES

We had some very special services over Christmas. Here are a few memories.

 

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Do not be afraid

A Christmas and New Year reflection from the

Bishop of Liverpool

But the angel said to them: “Do not be afraid”.  (Luke 2:9)


This year has been marked by anxiety, chiefly of course anxiety about the Coronavirus. Will we, or our loved ones, get it badly? For some of course this is not an academic question - you or a member of your family may indeed have suffered from this illness - and for others there has been the deep pain of loss and bereavement, as a loved one has contracted the illness and has died. In such a world, where for months things seem to have been upside down, it is hard not to be afraid. 

And yet over and over again that is exactly what we are told in Scripture: not to be afraid. The phrase is like an echo, repeated over 100 times in the Old Testament, over 40 times in the New. Within the chapters of the Christmas story Joseph, and Mary, and Zechariah, and the shepherds all hear this message of overcoming life - “Do not be afraid”…“Do not be afraid”…“Do not be afraid”… “Fear not”. And in Mary’s song (the Magnificat in Luke 1) we hear the pregnant young woman sing, in the midst of her bewilderment, when perhaps she was suffering over and over again the stigma of being with child outside marriage; still she sings: “…that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve God without fear”. 

To live without fear doesn’t mean that all threat and worry vanishes, or that God will blow the virus away just because we believe in Him. And it’s not a matter of will power, as if you can force yourself not to feel what you feel. Rather it’s to put the landscape of your life in a different frame - a frame that is built by God’s plan and God’s purposes in Jesus Christ. Do not be afraid, even if things go badly; because God is with you. Do not be afraid, because the promises of Jesus are for you. Do not be afraid, because the worst that life can throw at you is as nothing compared with the glory that has been set aside for you forever. Fear not, for (as Elisha said to his servant in 2 Kings 6) “…there are more with us than there are with them”.

In the frame of God’s providence and God’s unfailing love, we can face the cold winds of the world for ourselves - just as Joseph and Mary did in their journey to Bethlehem. And there’s more: by the Spirit of God we can be strengthened to offer hope and love to those around us, who may indeed be lost in fear and who need the joy and the quiet assurance that God truly enables us to give.

May God bless you in this anxious time - with hope for yourself and strength for your loved ones and your neighbours, and with the solid promise of eternal life. And may you indeed hear the repeated echo of Scripture speaking to you - Jesus is born, life will indeed conquer death; do not be afraid.

Happy New Year.

 

IT’S BEEN A STRANGE YEAR

1 T'was a month before Christmas,

And all through the town,

People wore masks,

That covered their frown.

 

2 The frown had begun

Way back in the Spring,

When a global pandemic

Changed everything.

 

3 They called it corona,

But unlike the beer,

It didn’t bring good times,

It didn’t bring cheer.

 

4 Contagious and deadly,

This virus spread fast,

Like a wildfire that starts

When fuelled by gas.

 

5 Airplanes were grounded,

Travel was banned.

Borders were closed

Across air, sea and land.

 

6 As the world entered lockdown

To flatten the curve,

The economy halted,

And folks lost their verve.

 

7 From March to July

We rode the first wave,

People stayed home,

They tried to behave.

 

8 When summer emerged

The lockdown was lifted.

But away from caution,

Many folks drifted.

 

9 Now it’s November

And cases are spiking,

Wave two has arrived,

Much to our disliking.

 

10 Frontline workers,

Doctors and nurses,

Try to save people,

From riding in hearses.

 

11 This virus is awful,

This COVID-19.

There isn’t a cure.

There is no vaccine.

 

12 It’s true that this year

Has had sadness a plenty,

We’ll never forget

The year 2020.

 

13 And just ‘round the corner -

The holiday season,

But why be merry?

Is there even one reason?

 

14 To decorate the house

And put up the tree,

When no one will see it,

No one but me.

 

15 But outside my window

The snow gently falls,

And I think to myself,

Let’s deck the halls!

 

16 So, I gather the ribbon,

The garland and bows,

As I play those old carols,

My happiness grows.

 

17 Christmas is not cancelled

And neither is hope.

If we lean on each other,

I know we can cope.

 

 

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE

 

 

Here are the  top 10 cracker jokes from Christmas:

1. What is Dominic Cummings’ favourite Christmas song? Driving Home for Christmas.

2. Did you hear that production was down at Santa’s workshop? Many of his workers have had to Elf isolate!

3. Why didn’t Mary and Joseph make it to Bethlehem? All Virgin flights were cancelled.

4. Why are Santa’s reindeer allowed to travel on Christmas Eve? They have herd immunity.

5. Why did the pirates have to go into lockdown? Because the “Arrrr!” rate had risen.

6. Why is it best to think of 2020 like a panto? Because eventually, it’s behind you.

7. Why couldn’t Mary and Joseph join their work conference call? Because there was no Zoom at the inn.

8. Why can’t Boris Johnson make his Christmas cake until the last minute? He doesn’t know how many tiers it should have.

9. What do the Trumps do for Christmas dinner? They put on a super spread.

10. Which Christmas film was 30 years ahead of its time? Home Alone.

 

Together we will get through this.
Revd Neil Short

6.1.21


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