This week's theme
The lonely city (Lamentations)
Pray for those whose trust has been betrayed by community or political leaders, or by family members.
For further thought
Continue to make your collage of images of devastation.
Continue to pray, asking God to bless those we know who are shepherds of the flock, recognising their human faults, respecting their task and naming them with love.
What are the names of those who form your Christian community? This includes not only your local congregation and/or neighbours, but those in the past or at a distance. Say those names aloud as though lighting a candle for each.
Think of positive examples of good leadership, on a large or small scale. Thank God for these people, by name. How can you support them? Why not write about something that needs changing, to someone who has the power to do so?
Sharing questions and sharing meals are ways of sharing our faith, as well as preaching. Write down (or draw) what works for you.
Reflect on the way that the fellowship of the Church is where hospitality can be both given and received: between human beings and between us and God.
Think of someone you would describe as a person of integrity. Does it take courage? What enables them? If possible, ask them.
What has helped you get through times of discouragement in the past?
Have you ever taken a decision without seeking out the advice of those you trust? What did you learn from the experience?
When does leadership require breaking the rules? What, then, do you make of this story?
God has no stereotype when it comes to leaders. How do Gods choices compare to the choices of major corporations near you in their choosing of executives?
Each of us is called to work wherever we live. How would you describe your call?
Why do you think God punished Moses and Aaron in the way that he did? The Bible has several answers but not, seemingly, a clear one; see also Deuteronomy 32:5052, Psalm 106:3233 and Numbers 27:14.
What are the things weve added to the faith out of habit or prejudice? What gets in the way of Jesus?
Are we just so grateful when people want to help at church that we overlook serious character flaws that should be lovingly challenged?
Do we expect the wrong things of our ministers? How high up on their job specification are prayer and spirituality?
Do I think and talk about the things of faith rather than actually doing anything about them? What are my works of service?
Shakespeare talked about desiring this mans art, and that mans scope. Am I jealous of other peoples talents and skills?
How do I form my opinion of other people? Do I look at their status, or their character and godliness?
Who are the trusted advisors around you, whom you can seek out for advice?
We cannot change things through prayer, but we can pray for courage to do and become something more than we thought we could be.
Seek out ways to alleviate the suffering of victims of war through charity and supporting organisations that reach out to the most vulnerable.
Even when Gods love feels remote from us, let us feel and reciprocate the love of those dear to us.
Listening for the underlying meaning of those who speak in riddles or confusion can help us discern what their fears and hopes might be.
Seeking out those who do not have the same privileges as we do is a way of offering friendship and giving immediacy to their stories.
After a long day, what aching part of your body would Jesus seek to touch and wash?
How can this passage broaden and challenge what Eucharist or the Lords Supper (with its shared cup, as in verse 23) and baptism mean to you?
What traditional ways do people use to stay close to the land where you live?
Take game-playing seriously, especially with the youngsters you know. Teach them, by example and because you love them, that playing honestly and well is the only way to go.
In what practical ways might you roll back the blame culture and replace it with attitudes of understanding, generosity and forgiveness?
'For many of our readers IBRA notes have become a habit. There are using them for years. The notes cover the Old and New Testaments in a balanced way. The little stories and simple method of exposition are attractive.'
This week's writer
Lynne Frith loves playing with words whether writing poems or prayers, playing Scrabble or messaging friends and has a secret longing to write on walls with a spray can. The rest of the time she is a Methodist Presbyter in Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zeal
Celebrating 135 years!
Join us in celebrating 135 years of the work of IBRA!
To mark this auspicious occasion we have a special celebration edition available.
Read about our rich history and the origins of our founder Charles Waters, bank manager and Sunday School teacher – not a scholar, preacher, or public speaker – who had a gift for organisation and a vision for making the Bible accessible to all.
Our reading today is Lamentations 1:1-11