Archives July 2013

Knotty Intercessions

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08-rGphFxzY

created for the National Youth Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, 2013

Text:

Image on screen of a pair of hands holding a strip of cloth. The following is slow, reflective and slightly mysterious.

Prayer is so much more than words.

You now have a strip of cloth. Hold it in your hands. Feel its texture. Look at its colour: even a white piece of cloth has variation.

Each of these ragged cloths are different, they each have a different history and a different story to tell, just like you.

In the warp and weft of their making, they are the unique work of an individual, just like you.

Cloth can be used as a bandage, to protect an injury, or a rag to wipe a sweaty, fevered brow. It can be the raw material of a book or a banknote, or used to fasten something which should not be loose.

It was a larger cloth that held the Lord after his death, and was placed aside in the tomb, it was a cloth which wiped his tortured brow.

As you hold this cloth in your hand, pause for a moment in quietness. As you feel the texture in your hand, pass your prayers onto, and into the cloth.

Think about the events happening in the world: war and conflict, famine and inequality, oppression and injustice.

Quietly tie a knot in your strip of cloth as you call them to mind as you remember them.

Think about the places you are from: your home, your family, those in your school.

Quietly tie a knot in your strip of cloth as you call them to mind as you remember them.

Think about those who are sick, those who we love and see no longer.

Quietly tie a knot in your strip of cloth as you call them to mind as you remember them.

Think of those things we have to be thankful for: the many blessings poured out upon us, the people who surround us and make a difference to our lives: may we make a difference to the lives of others.

Quietly tie a knot in your strip of cloth as you call them to mind as you remember them.

We do not pray alone, and our knotted cloths are joined with all those of the angels and saints, Our blessed Lady of Walsingham and each other.

Tie your cloth to another, tie those cloths to those of your group, and quickly yet quietly, let us form a chain of prayer, linked across this whole sacred space: individual yet joined.

As all of our prayers are linked, let us bring them forward to lay them around this holy altar…

The priest then summarises our offerings


School Mass for the end of the year

Gathering Song: All are Welcome by Marty Haugen

Let us build a house
where love can dwell
And all can safely live,
A place where
saints and children tell
How hearts learn to forgive.

Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
Rock of faith and vault of grace;
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
And words are strong and true,
Where all God’s children dare to seek
To dream God’s reign anew.

Here the cross shall stand as witness
And a symbol of God’s grace;
Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:

Let us build a house where love is found
In water, wine and wheat:
A banquet hall on holy ground,
Where peace and justice meet.

Here the love of God, through Jesus,
Is revealed in time and space;
As we share in Christ the feast that frees us:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
All are welcome in this place.

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Penitential Rite (Ba Ba Black Sheep)

Just like lost sheep we have gone astray
Done bad things and run away
So we come to say sorry
Make things better as you see
Loving Jesus make anew
Our lives so we can be like you.

God loves you, God forgives you
God restores you to himself
Through Jesus Christ his Son, our Lord
Amen

Absolution (If you’re happy…)

You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know, so you really ought to show it,
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands

Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so you really ought to show it
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet

If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
When you say that you are sorry, you no longer have to worry
God takes away your sin, so say “Amen”. Amen!

Collect

Let us pray…

God our Father
you have invited us to share in the supper
which your Son gave to the church
to proclaim his death until he comes.
May he nourish us by his presence
and unite us in his love
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Amen

Gospel: John 14: 1, 18, 20-21

John 14

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ

Intercessions (London Bridge is falling down)

We thank you Lord for all we have
All we have, all we have
We thank you Lord for all we have
Which you give us

We pray to you for all our friends,
all our friends, all our friends
And all those who need our prayer
Come and help them

We pray for those who are sick or ill
sick or ill, sick or ill
sad or lonely, stressed or ill
Come and help them

Hail Mary full of grace
full of grace, full of grace
The Lord is with you, pray for us
Now and always

And to you we give our prayers
give our prayers, give our prayers
Hear us Lord and help us on
Now and always

Peace (This old man)

Here we are, one in Christ
Gathered here – ain’t this nice?
So let us share a sign of peace
A kiss or a hug before the feast….

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

Let us offer one another a sign of peace

Pray, my brothers and sisters, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his Church.

Prayer over the gifts

Heavenly Father, we thank you for these gifts,
Bread and Wine, fruit of the earth
We pray you will change them
as you change us
by the power of your Holy Spirit

Preface

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give thanks and praise

Lord of all life,
you created the universe,
where all living things reflect your glory.
You give us this great and beautiful earth,
to discover and to cherish.

You give us sun and moon and star-lit sky,
everything that gives us light,
light for our eyes, our hearts, our minds.

You made us all,
each wonderfully different,
to join with the angels
and sing your praise:

Sanctus (Kum By Yah)

Holy, Holy Lord, O Holy God
Our prayers are joined
By the Saints
Blessed is the one
Who comes in peace
Blessed is the Prince of Peace

Eucharistic Prayer 2 for Children

Father, on the night before he died,
Jesus shared a meal with his friends.
He took the bread, and thanked you.
He broke it, and gave it to them, saying:

Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this to remember me.

After the meal, Jesus took the cup of wine.
He thanked you, and gave it to them, saying:

Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood,
the new promise of God’s unfailing love.
Do this to remember me.

Memorial Acclamation (Kum By Yah)

Let us proclaim Of our faith

“Christ has died
And has arisen
Christ will come
To us again
O yes, he will return”

Father, as we offer this bread and wine,
and remember his death and resurrection,
send your +Holy Spirit,
that we who share these gifts
may be fed by Christ’s body and his blood.

Pour your Spirit on us
that we may love one another,
work for the healing of the earth,
and share the good news of Jesus,
as we wait for his coming in glory.

For honour and praise belong to you, Father,
with Jesus your Son, and the Holy Spirit:
one God, for ever and ever.

Great Amen (Kum By Yah)

Amen, Amen
Let it be so,
Amen, Amen
Let it be so,
Amen, Amen
We say this now,
Amen, O yes, Amen!

 

Lord’s Prayer (Pop Goes the Weasel)

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy na-a-ame.
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us all our si-i-ns
As we forgive
all those us who sin
or trespass against us

Let us not be drawn into
Any kind of temptation
Deliver us
from the evil one
Amen, Amen, Amen.

Agnus Dei (3 blind mice)

Lamb of God, Lamb of God
You take away, the sin of the world
Have mercy on us, Lamb of God
Don’t let us stray away from the flock
You take away the sin of the world
So grant us peace

Come and eat, come and drink
You’re welcome here, come quite near
Share in his body and blood with us
It tastes like wine and bread but just
Know that inside it’s not like that
Share the food of God.

Communion Antiphon:

“I will not leave you alone. You are in me and I am in you” John 14

Prayer after Communion:

We say together:

Thank you Lord for your gifts
Thank you Lord for your blessings
Thank you Lord for your love
Amen

Blessing (Sing a Song of Sixpence)

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing

May the Lord now +bless you
And keep you all safe
Send you out from here
In a state of grace
Take what we have learned
About Jesus our King
And do what he has taught us
To make the world a better thing.

Go, the Mass has ended
But our service has begun
We heard it straight from Jesus
What it means to live as one
With him now up in heaven
Looking from above
Blessing us in all our work
Let’s go and share his love.

The Mass is ended.
Go in the Peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God


Liturgy for Admission of Children to Holy Communion

Ordinary 15 with Admission to Holy Communion

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Let us say together the words of the entrance antiphon:

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 34:8)

My dear friends in Christ, today we come together in special joy as we see a new group of young people admitted into the body of Christ and to join us as regular sharers in these most holy, sacred and wonderful mysteries. A warm welcome therefore to you all and especially if you have come to see Erin, Charlotte, Mya, Jasmin, Kitty and Hannah reach the end of this stage of their journey in faith, a journey begun at baptism and which we pray will progress in faith and love to the sacrament of confirmation and beyond.

We pray for them today and as we do so, we pray for the life, work and witness of this parish, that we might foster ever more people in their journey of faith: never too young, never too old.

Invite the young people to join me at the front

Admission to Holy Communion

The candidates and the congregation stand. The priest says to all

In baptism we are made members of Christ’s family. As members of that family, we gather together to share in this meal which he gave us as a continuing sign of his living presence among us. We do this in obedience to Jesus’ command which he gave at this last supper with his friends on the night before he died.

To the candidates the priest says

Today is an important stage in your Christian journey, which began at your baptism. We welcome you as you come to receive Holy Communion for this first time.

The priest addresses the children by name:

Erin, Charlotte, Mya, Jasmin, Kitty and Hannah: Do you wish to be admitted to Holy Communion and to share regularly in this sacred meal?

The children reply together:

Yes.

The priest addresses the parents:

Will you help these children to grow in faith and come to confirmation?

The parents reply together:

We will.

The priest addresses the congregation

Will you welcome these children as communicant members of Christ’s family and support them with your friendship and your prayers?

The congregation replies:

We will.

The priest prays for the children:

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray for these children
who today receive bread and wine for the first time in your name.
Give them such a sense of the mystery
of your body and blood,
that day by day
they may grow to be more like you.
Amen.

and says:

In the name of John, Bishop of Plymouth, I welcome you to the sacrament of Holy Communion. May God bless you as you continue with us on your journey of faith.

Penitential Rite

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

Dear God,
you made me,
you love me,
I’m sorry when I’m angry
or I hurt other people.
Thank you for taking care of me.
Amen.

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world:have mercy on us; You are seated at the right hand of the Father: Receive our prayer.

For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, In the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The Collect

Let us pray

Father,
your Son, Lord Jesus,
gave us the Eucharist as a memorial of his suffering and death.
May we, who share in the one bread and drink of the one cup,
be filled with thankfulness.
We ask this through the same Jesus Christ our Lord
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Proverbs 3:1-6

A reading from the book of Proverbs

My child, do not forget my teaching but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you; that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said “This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me. In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.” Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

JOHN 6:51-57

Hear the Holy Gospel according to John.
Glory to You, Lord.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ

Homily

Baptismal Creed

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess our common faith in Jesus Christ.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
I believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Peace

We are the body of Christ, regardless of our age
by the one Spirit
we were baptized into one body
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace
and builds up the common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

Let us offer one another a sign of peace

Offertory

Pray, my brothers and sisters, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his Church.

Prayer over the gifts

Heavenly Father, we thank you for these gifts,
Bread and Wine, fruit of the earth
We pray you will change them
as you change us
by the power of your Holy Spirit
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord. Amen

Preface

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give thanks and praise

Lord of all life,
you created the universe,
where all living things reflect your glory.
You give us this great and beautiful earth,
to discover and to cherish.

You give us happy times
and things to celebrate.
In these we taste your kingdom,
a feast for all your children.

You made us all,
each wonderfully different,
to join with the angels
and sing your praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Eucharistic Prayer 2 for Children

Father, on the night before he died,

Jesus shared a meal with his friends.
He took the bread, and thanked you.
He broke it, and gave it to them, saying:

Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this to remember me.

After the meal, Jesus took the cup of wine.
He thanked you, and gave it to them, saying:

Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood,
the new promise of God’s unfailing love.
Do this to remember me.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again

Father, as we offer this bread and wine,
and remember his death and resurrection,
send your +Holy Spirit,
that we who share these gifts
may be fed by Christ’s body and his blood.

Pour your Spirit on us
that we may love one another,
work for the healing of the earth,
and share the good news of Jesus,
as we wait for his coming in glory.

For honour and praise belong to you, Father,
with Jesus your Son, and the Holy Spirit:
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

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. Amen.

We break this bread
to share in the body of Christ
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share the one bread

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace

Come not because you are strong,
but because you are weak.
Come not because any goodness of your own
but because you need mercy and help.
Come because you love the Lord a little
and would like to love him more.
Come because he loves you
and gave his life for you.

This is the lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
Blesséd are those who are called to his supper
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Prayer after Communion

Lord, you give us your body and blood in the Eucharist as a sign that even now we share your life. Draw us closer to you and help us to recognise you in all we meet. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Lord. Amen

Notices

Blessing

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing

God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in every truth and peace;

and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

The mass is ended. Go in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.


Sending Texts from your Tablet – DinamoTxt

This Android App is the main reason why I now have a smaller, cheaper smartphone (Sony Xperia U) linked to my (now) usual interface with the world: a Google Nexus 7 Tablet. As I’m getting older, I like having more space and size and typing on a smartphone, even the huge sized Galaxy SIII for example isn’t that easy for me, so the advantage of keeping my phone in the pocket and using my Tablet is really attractive.

DinamoTxt is coming along in leaps and bounds from when I first started to use it: now it links via Google+ and has a web interface as well as a Tablet interface. It now runs on all kinds of Android devices (like my JoyTab) besides the Nexus 7 it was originally only for and, well, it works. You can connect by Bluetooth, WiFi, and over Mobile Internet  (which as I have my Phone on as a hotspot almost continuously and it’s how my WiFi only tablet connects to the world) and if you ignore the cutesy animations, it is a really efficient little app. I paid 99cents to remove the ads, but that’s nothing really.

 

Dinamotxt Web and Tablet SMS - Android Apps on Google Play

 

Things I’d like to see:

  • The ability to send a group text: this would revolutionise the way I generate the Blessed Lent texts and prayers. I would be prepared to pay a bit more than 99 cents for this option, but I recognise that it might be open to misuse. Then again, so many other Text apps let you do a message to a whole Google Group (like the excellent Pansi SMS. for example) with no real outbreak of abuse. At the moment I have to cut and paste a text within my phone and it’s fiddly. To be able to do this from within the Tablet or even better a Web App would be fabulous.
  • A monitor widget on the phone so I knew DinamoTxt was running and what it’s current connection status was

However, I highly recommend this largely free app to you.


Laminated cards for the Divine Office

These sheets are printed double-sided and laminated. They provide a useful aide-memoire for those new or unfamiliar with the Divine (Roman) Office which is our spiritual disciple here in Roborough. I have experimented with many Daily Offices, but it is this to which I return.

I hope this helps

Download Mattins (pdf)

Download Evensong (pdf)

Both files feature the Marian Devotions on the back

Mattins
Evensong
Marian Devotions


Cloud Storage and Backup – a reflection

You only have to lose one important essay, sermon or video for backup to move from something that never mattered to THE most important thing you have ever done. In my time, I have lost so much material, misplaced or overwritten stuff that I sometimes feel like weeping over the genius insights which have been lost to the world forever – I know you might not believe me on that, but to be sure as you will never know, I must assure you that every insight was like a fine pearl…

I have countless CDs and DVDs burned with material, and now about a dozen external drives of varying sizes and purposes, and believe me, when they fail, things are really catastrophic, as a Tb of data goes west. It was not so long ago that the drive with all my video work on it failed. Luckily I had a backup of that backup (paranoid, you see and not without reason) and I only lost some stuff made in the previous couple of months. It still hurt, and the replacement drive still cost a hundred quid to replace.

The other problem is that external drives are still limited in size, the 500mb which was more than adequate is now useful for little more than transferring data, the 1Tb is almost full and I am starting to eye 2Tb drives. This is amazing when I think that my first hard disk was 10mb – goodness me, you can hardly do a PowerPoint presentation in 10Mb these days.

So, with the increasing availability of broadband and a fast connection at home, I have begun to use Cloud storage more and more. This coincides with the use of collaborative file sharing in my (parish) administration.

For such collaborative work, the backbone of our operation is Dropbox which can be a free account of 2Gb. Folders are shared with various colleagues and it has been excellent in the moving of data from one PC to another. Elsewhere I have documented a workflow to deliver liturgy from PC to tablet via Dropbox so you can lead from the Tablet. It is a sync service, so replicates the files from one place to another, and has effectively replaced the ‘My Documents’ folder on each PC (in the PC properties you can direct Windows to look in the Dropbox folder as a default as My Documents). This is the best cloud solution available.

However, with many folders being both live and collaborative, they are at risk of being deleted by accident or design. I lost some early files that way at the hands of others. My solution was to write a little robocopy script to copy the contents of my Dropbox to the network, and as it just overwrites and updates,

This is the spell you need:

robocopy /R:0 /E /W:5 /FFT /COPY:DT /XO /XD $RECYCLE.BIN “#RECYCLE BIN” .dropbox.cache

I have this as a scheduled task each night.

However, the paranoia remains, so recently I have tried and taken up CrashPlan which provides continuous offline backup. There is a free service, but for $6 a month I have taken up CrashPlan+ which will backup a single PC with unlimited storage and unlimited versions. This means that if I want to restore the version of a document I saved over, I can retrieve the exact version I want from the backup. Their tech support is excellent, but a feature of their system is that if you do a system refresh of Windows, it will create a new backup set, which I had to get their Excellent tech team to merge for me. I really like this solution and the media integrity is no longer a problem. As I back up the whole user folder, this means that everything in my Dropbox folder is backed up continually. I highly recommend this.

However, not everything I want backed up is on a single PC, what about the stuff on the Network? – I use a Network Attached Storage Device with 3Tb of data on it, with another Tb (that’s 1000Gb or 10000Mb roughly) and so the only solution was until recently to keep buying more external drives.

But now I have discovered Bitcasa – this provides effectively a cloud-based external drive. It does not replicate files between systems like Dropbox, but keeps them in the cloud, so you can download them as you need them. For $10 a month (that’s about £7) you have unlimited storage – and they mean unlimited – terabytes, petabytes even with they claim versioning as well! Now this is not something which happens automatically, so I have redirected my robocopy script to update not to the network but to the Bitcasa drive as an additional backup to CrashPlan. I am currently transferring the 5Tb or so of data, which will take time but provide much peace of mind.

If you want to try bitcasa for free (10gb which is very generous), then try this link:  http://l.bitcasa.com/Rd6204jc which will benefit me (thank you)

I have been impressed by the speed and response of the system, but have so far found the Android client to be prone to crashing on my Nexus – hardly an underpowered tablet.

There are times when having two backups is the sensible option: and I still use memory sticks and Microsoft Skydrive for backing up as well. I still email documents to myself so there is a copy on Gmail. You can never be too careful…


Collective Worship "My Lord & My God"

 

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Thomas: drawn by Emma Rundell

 

=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhj8cnk1_OM

Slide31

from Creative Ideas for Frontline Evangelism with Young People

Of all of his followers, I suppose I was the most literal-minded, which was a bit of an issue between me and him, I suppose. He always spoke in metaphors and images and loved to compare the things of God to things we could get a grasp on. I suppose it was my architect’s mind at work here – you can’t build buildings on metaphors, they quickly crumble and fall.

Well, my commitments had taken me away from the rest of the group that day, I needed to get over the blow of his terrible loss to us, and as we all deal with grief in different ways, I threw myself into work, as many do. So when I returned to the community that night they were buzzing with excitement: the stories were true, and he was alive! They had seen him in this very room, and he had appeared to them.

Yeah, right, was my response. Delusion, that is what I thought. Yes, Jesus was amazing, yes I saw some amazing things, miracles possibly, but back from the dead? No, surely not. My brothers and sisters were most adamant that they had actually seen him. Listen, I’m not going to believe it unless I see it for myself. Unless I can place my fingers into the holes in his hands, put my hand into that wound in his side, I’m not going to believe. Like many, I need proof!

So, it was about a week later when we were all together, redoing what he told us to, sharing bread and wine to bring him into our presence, and then he was … really was!

The doors were locked, and he didn’t sneak in, but this was no ghost. I don’t know how he got in, because we had locked all the doors, but standing in front of me was the very man I’d denied earlier in the week. ‘Come,’ he gently said to me, and he grasped my hand, leading it to his side. And I did. I put my hand into that sacred wound: I did something that if I pause to think about it was quite disgusting, but at the time seemed so special, so significant, so intimate; as though he wanted me to become linked with him. I examined the holes those nails made in his hands, saw the damage on his brow made by that cruel crown of thorns. It was real.

All I could do was fall to my feet before him, in awe, in adoration, in worship, because for the first time, after these three years of following him, after all the things I’d witnessed, only now did the reality finally dawn on me …
‘My Lord, and my God,’ I exclaimed. It was all I could say. It was the truth. ‘Tom, you are blessed because you have finally seen what was in front of you, but there will be even greater blessings for those who believe without seeing.’

It’s true, not everyone will get to see what I have seen, not everyone will get to experience Jesus in such an up-close and personal way, and yet this story is far too important for us to keep to ourselves. I need to tell others, to get John to write it down for me, and to ensure others don’t fall into the same cynical trap I fell into: first-hand experience is good, but it doesn’t mean that the truth, the real truth, isn’t also out there, just beyond our senses; and God’s truth often goes beyond those senses. Blessed are those who believe without seeing … do you believe?

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Recessional: How Great is Our God (preview for our Reflection Day)
=http://youtu.be/SophsKj-QcQ
Download the powerpoint and videos from here