Advent 2016: Nº2

In today’s post I’d like to reflect on the angel visiting Mary. I own up to the fact that I am not very good at taking myself off for some quiet time to be with God — I find that just to sit and try and stop thinking about everything-that-is-going-on-in-my-head is really quite hard. I’m much better when somebody else gives me some structure and some ideas to think about! So, here is a little structure, and some things to think about. With love, Gus x


Prepare Yourself

If you can, find a quite place. And if you find things like focusing on your breathing for a while are helpful to you, then do so.


Read the story

Mary and the Angel (Luke 1: 26-38)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.


Use your Imagination – Involve yourself in the story

  • Imagine Nazareth and Mary’s home.
  • Think about Mary: what is she like? She is so unimportant: young, unmarried, childless, female, poor, living in the back of beyond! What goes on in her mind and heart?
  • Imagine the angel Gabriel coming. What day is it, and what time? Think of the first moments of their meeting.
  • The angel is clear about the task they have to do. Imagine talking with the angel: ‘Who gave you that task? Why? Why choose this girl?’
  • Now talk with Mary: “How much did you understand when the angel spoke?
  • What made you say ‘YES’ at this life-changing moment?
  • Imagine saying to her: ‘You were so open and trusting!’ How does she respond? A blush, a smile, a bowing of her head?
  • Reflect on her attitude: she seems so open to all possibilities. She does not insist on controlling her future. She trusts in God’s goodness to carry her through all difficulties.


Reflect – Think about your own life

  • How would I be if the angel visited me?
  • What proposal might the angel have for me?
  • Have I ever been visited by a messenger of God, someone who was trying to help me to realise what God wanted me to do?
  • How did I respond then? Did I respond at all?
  • How would I respond now if the angel came?
  • Do I control my life as if it were mine alone and not given me by God?
  • How much do I trust my future to divine protection and guidance?


(Source: Sacred Space,

Advent 2016: Nº1

Well I don’t know about you but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the thought of everything that is to be done over the next few weeks. I have lists coming out of my ears, and vague thoughts whizzing into my brain (“must remember to get extra cake ingredients for all the baking…”) that frustratingly are gone a moment later leaving me with with the unsettling feeling most of the time that I need to do something – but what I don’t know. The kids have numerous Christmas parties to attend; and they keep coming up with yet more presents they want to add to their Christmas present list. I still don’t know what to get for several friends and family. It all makes me feel tired and wishing it was all over already. I came across this poem below though – hope it’s as helpful to you as it was to me. With love, Vidge x

An anxious note to baby Jesus – Peter Thurston

Dear Lord,

I feel tired before it’s even started.
The cards (should I bother?)
The presents (who to buy for?)
The decorations (real or artificial?)
The family… (enough said)
The crowds, the hassle, the weather –
Wake me up when it’s all over.

I know I shouldn’t feel this way
but if I’m honest,
Advent –
it makes me weary just thinking about it.

Which makes me wonder,
how was it for you?
Were you weary too?
Just thinking about it?
The call, the life-long challenge, to
hear God,
listen to God,
follow God?
For those with ears to hear
and eyes to see,
to be God?

All begun in makeshift circumstances.
(Sorry, Lord, we were not better prepared –
some things don’t change.)
A sign of things to come,
of an uphill struggle
to make your voice heard.
Uphill towards Jerusalem.
Uphill to the Mount of Olives.
Uphill to the hill of execution.

Hoping we would follow.

Hoping we would understand you,
respond to you,
welcome you then,
welcome you now.

Lord, were you tired before it even started?
Or was your love your inner energy,
the love you received your support,
the love you gave a light in the darkness,
the love you give the strength I need?

Will you help me through Advent, dear Lord,
little one?

Give me the grace to greet you
without suppressed sighs of weariness.
Give me the generosity to invite you home
without thought to the inconvenience.
Give me the will to rise to your demands,
to share your love and to receive it.

It’s not so much to ask, I know,
when you have faced it all –
the Advent task, the Christmas hope –
two thousand times before.

(Source: The Methodist Church in Britain Website


Advent 2016: You’ve got mail …

So we are a good few days into the period of Advent. The time of year when Christians look forward to the coming of Christ both as a baby and His second coming. So, how’s that looking forward and waiting working out for you?


About  four years ago we tried something in advent to connect with one another during the period.  We had a series of posts on the website through advent to encourage us to reflect and engage with advent.


I think it would be good to replay those posts so we can think again, and perhaps there will be some thinking back for those who read them first time round! If you subscribe to the TH website (which you can do at the bottom of the website) then you will receive an email every time there is a new post.

But we don’t want to this just to be you reading the posts, we encourage you to join in, and add your own comments to the posts. Thus though we may be individuals celebrating advent, we can in a sense be celebrating together. The initial post provoking comments, and possibly those comments going on to encourage further thoughts and further comments.

If you do leave a comment, you can elect to receive an email whenever somebody else contributes on that post.

We aren’t exactly sure how this will work, but we want to give it a try and see if this could be another way to let God into our lives.

(And if you are wondering if you will be signing up to receive emails from the TH website for the rest of your life, you can unsubscribe whenever you want.)

Sunday Podcast: Prayer – Three

 A podcast of Sunday’s service is available for download.  In this podcast Gill continues talking about prayer.  You might have noticed there was no ‘Prayer – Two’ recording.  That was due to technical issues last time.  We hope you enjoy discussing this idea more in small groups over the coming days.

Living Below the Line: Day 5


Just preparing my final meal; eating has not been a pleasure but a necessity this week. The lack of choice was very boring, it was hard to plan and fit in around work, the hunger, the headaches, the vagueness of thought have been a challenge. My own awareness of the challenge of hunger has been acute, a very spiritual journey for me, one that I’m glad I have made. Tomorrow I’ll be back to normal, but that won’t be the case for all those people in the world, including the UK and defiantly here in Lenton, who will continue to battle with hunger. We should never tire of seek justice for those living below the line. Do what you can to help.


Living Below the Line: Day 3


Drinking Water
Potato with beans tomato and cucumber

Plus some porridge for a treat!

Feel at lot better today, although a bit distant and slow to respond and yes a tad tetchy! Church meeting tonight, just saying!
This is the hardest thing, trying to carry on as normal when your body is hungry. At least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let us remember today the 48 million people displace from their homes because of the conflict in Syria and The Democratic Republic of Congo, give them some light at the end of the tunnel too. Let’s engage with Christian Aid and make a difference.

Living Below the Line: Day 1


Baked Potato 19p Makro
Tin of Beans 24p (Aldi)
Two Slices of Tomato (Tomatoes 2 for 5 day 20p
Four Slices of cucumber (half a cucumber 22p Aldi)

A ‘not fair’ day to begin ‘Living Below the Line’ on a £1 a day. The same day I offer to cook bacon butties for the builders working on Lenton flats! oh that wonderful smell of cooking bacon! Not to mention the 20 baked potatoes I cooked for the local community! I only had 4 glasses of water!

A not fair day maybe, but then somehow that sum’s it all up, it’s ‘not fair’ all the time for most people in our the world, who live below the line, still servicing the needs in the rich west.


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