WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
Reflections on writings by FIONA STRATT in NB.R.F. NEW DAYLIGHT JANUARY 2021
Fiona Stratt writing for BRF Fellowship, January says this:
‘Electing to praise and worship God in spite of our circumstances lifts our spirits. Fellowship and caring concern of friends warm our aching hearts, cheering our souls. Like a candle flame, gladness shines most brightly in dark situations.’
There is a prayer I say daily that goes like this: Father You can bring Goodness and Blessings even out of suffering if it is offered to You in service.
During these difficult days of the pandemic there is no better time for us to use the situation to bless others and to witness to our faith that helps us to carry on and strengthens us in adversity.
It is a time to bring others, blessings through which they may come to know God for themselves. It is a time for us to turn the darkness into light, to bring good out of a bad situation and to remind us all that Jesus is the Light of the World and nothing can overcome it.
There is joy in the fact that Jesus is with us through it all. Fiona reminds us, and I quote, ‘choosing gladness helps us when we are suffering, because as Christians we hold on to the realities and promises that give us strength keeping our focus on God’s generosity.’
She also refers to the peace this can give us, ‘the Peace that the world cannot give’.
During theses difficult times she encourages us to hold on to the promises of scripture, to elect to praise and worship and to care for our friends bringing them comfort and cheer.
This is the way to bring goodness and blessing out of all the suffering covet brings.
We can remind ourselves of the advice which says:
If we are friendless, then be a friend to someone who has no-
If we are sad, find another person who needs to know they matter, and we care about them.
If we are in pain, listen to someone who is sinking under theirs and help sustain them.
If we are afraid, support someone who has no faith to take away their fear.
I we are scared about tomorrow, find some else who is scared and face it together.
We take our focus off ourselves and point to Jesus.
If we are bereaved comfort others in the same situation and take our broken hearts to Jesus together.
If we find ourselves in financial difficulties learn new skills and share them with others in similar difficulties and pool our resources to help us cope and find ways of support one another.
If you are interested in joining The B.R.F. PLEASE SPEAK, LIZ JOWETT.
Reflections 2 on writings by FIONA STRATTA
in NB.R.F. NEW DAYLIGHT JANUARY 2021
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Fiona writing for the January 2021 B.R.F. New Daylights suggests that no matter what is going on around us, we should. ‘Count our blessings’.
It is difficult to be cheerful and positive during dark times and we will not be very popular if we tell people to, ‘count their blessings!’ in these difficult days of the pandemic.
It is a difficult thing to do in the midst of suffering. However, if we work at cultivating within us a spirit of joy and thankfulness that comes from trusting in our Lord, although difficult at first it can grow and eventually become a part of us.
It can become infectious and others may benefit from it especially if we show them how much they matter and we care about them and share God’s love with them through our actions and support.
Fiona reminds us that as disciples of Jesus, we are called to, ‘fix’ our thoughts and think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise’.
She suggests it is our choice to conform to the ‘cynicism and despair’ in the world, or to let the Holy Spirit transform us into joyful trusting disciples of Jesus Who looks after us always.
She reminds us of the fictional story of ‘Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter. It is set in the early 20th. century and is about a young orphan Pollyanna who transforms the people in her community by playing the ‘glad game’, which she was taught by her father who was a missionary. It encourages people to think of things to be ‘glad’ about.
There is a plaque on my windowsill in the kitchen which says,
‘Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that You and I can’t handle.’
That is a great blessing to be reminded of every day!
Prayer hugs and Blessings, Sister Marian,
Liz Jowett our B.R.F. representative says:
If you would like a copy of the current New Daylight or the next one in May
please let me know on 07968 231192
and I will order for you.
The Last Word Sunday
LAST WORD CHRISTMAS 2020
THE MESSAGE OF THE ANGELS
Some joker once remarked, “The peace of heaven, what are you talking about? Doesn’t the Bible say that the ‘Seraphim and Cherubim continually do cry!” That suggests very noisy angels!
Belief in angels is common to the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.
We all are sometimes referred to as. ‘The People of the book’, and that book is the Bible. The origins of the three Religions are found there.
In the Bible, angels were spiritual beings who assisted God and were His messengers through whom He revealed His will to individuals or to groups. Angels also were mediators between God and man as seen in the stories about Moses and in the book of Job.
It was the angels who gave the message of ‘hope ‘ to the people of Israel and through whom God told them to expect the coming of the Messiah.
There were four Ach-
They had a very important role to play, when Jesus was born. The ‘fairy’ we place on top of some Christmas trees is in fact representing the angels.
It is the angel Gabriel who is involved in the Christmas story.
First we hear of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, and later to her husband Zechariah to tell them that after years of not being able to have children, the older couple would have a son who would be very special.
He would prepare God’s people for the coming of His Messiah.
Then we hear the about the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to give her ‘good news about her special baby’. She would be God’s instrument through which His Son would be born.
He then appeared also to Joseph to tell him to take Mary as his wife even though the baby she would bear was not his.
We have the lovely story about those shepherds watching their sheep on the hillside when an angel appeared to them telling them that Jesus had been born.
That angel was joined by many more who sang praises to God.
Finally, in the Christmas story, an angel warned Joseph that king Herod wanted to get rid of the baby Jesus and he was to take, Mary and Jesus to safety in Egypt.
What I think is often forgotten is that whenever the angels appeared they had one very important ‘commandment’ to give to those to whom they were sent.
I believe that that message is so very relevant to us at this Christmas 2020
and I have made it a central them when preaching through Advent this year.
What is that message?
When the angels appeared, they never failed to say, “Do not be afraid!”
and it happened four times during the events of Jesus' birth.
God does not want us to be afraid and we remember at Christmas that Jesus came to drive out all darkness and fear and because of His sacrifice for us death has been vanquished. Today in the darkness of the pandemic, we need to listen out for the message of the Christmas angels and to pass it on.
Therefore, whatever is happening around us God’s message is,
“Do not be afraid!”
I leave you with my favourite passage from
Isaiah 43. 7
I have called you by name -
When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you:
your troubles will not overwhelm you.
and give you honour.
Do not be afraid-
May the Christ-