The Second Sunday of Epiphany.
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Father who gave us the perfect gift of love, in Your son, we thank You that Your love is renewed every day. Let Jesus light brighten the dark places of our minds and of this world. In His light, show us how to build Your kingdom of peace and justice for everyone of all faiths or none and that hope becomes action toward that goal.
You called Samual as a child, yet he did not know who was calling him. Like Eli enlightened Samuel to Your call, show each of us how in our own way, and in the most appropriate way for people we encounter we can enlighten those who do not hear, or do not know who is calling them.
We pray for those who died at sea on the Sanchi oil tanker, when it collided with a cargo vessel. May they find peace with You Father and their families and those who loved them feel your comforting support and from it draw strength. We pray too for the environment, that oil the Sanchi was carrying does not cause pollution to the sea and contamination of the environment.
For America, we pray for the families of the dead in the mudslides in California. God above give comfort the their families, strength to the aid workers, healing to the injured, wisdom to the medics treating them and generosity to communities helping those now without homes.
We pray for all homeless wherever they may be and whatever the cause of their homelessness. May they be found warmth and shelter especially at this cold time of year. Help too those struggling to find work or relying on food banks.
We pray for everyone of faith wherever they may be. Where they are small in number, oppressed or persecuted, give them strength and encouragement. Where there is doubt, help them find certainty and where there is danger, help them find courage.
We pray for the injured and unwell, distressed and anxious, those coping with poor mental health and the bereaved that they may find healing and relief. Guide medical staff of hospitals and care homes. Bless carers whose love and compassion brings Your blessing to those in their care. We pray for those awaiting treatment and we bring to You those in need of Your support, comfort and healing known and unknown to us.
Almighty God and Father, let us live by Your justice and may Your light show us the way and lead us when it is hard to see.
Merciful Father Accept this prayer for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
What does Sunday mean to you?
Let me begin by saying what it means to me. It will be no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am Christian, so Sunday for me is distinct from the other days of the week. I attend church, though I’m not hidebound about it. I don’t generally do big shopping though I will pick up basics, if I run out. I deliberately didn’t say necessities.
Maybe it’s also worth saying that I’m retired. That means I could do the same things every day if I chose to. Sunday is still a different kind of day.
A lot of people in the United Kingdom are of no faith and do not attend church. Some who call themselves, at least nominally, Christian don’t attend either. Don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking either of these groups for this.
I recently read a news article, from a reputable source, about a dispute concerning pay for Sunday working. The question arose in my mind, why should people who treat every day like any other, for whom Sunday hold no special significance, be paid more to work on Sunday?
When anything that can be done, bought, attended, visited on any other day of the week can be done on Sunday, why should Sunday continue to be thought special and attract premium payment. Shopping hours are still slightly restricted on Sunday but anything else is possible. If you’re working on a day when shopping is a little more restricted, then you have greater freedom to shop on other days of the week when hours are not restricted by employment.
I wonder how much the people who expect extra pay for Sundays consider the people who work to serve their needs and more often wants, on Sundays when they are not working?
The Keep Sunday Special website says “Sunday is a special day, allowing families and communities to spend time together”. However, and this is just a personal opinion for which I have no objective evidence, The families and communities that spend the most time together on Sundays is the Christians for which the religion is not just a nominal title.
Ruining the argument.
How many blogs, social media posts, news media websites or other websites do you encounter some form of profanity on? It seems to me that the number is growing.
There might be occasions when there is a good reason, such as making a direct quote. On the whole I see little reason, and even less benefit in using profane, insulting language.
When such language is used, it not only detracts from reasoned argument but in written word it puts some people off reading what might follow and otherwise be perhaps a good persuasive piece of writing.
Far from emphasising a point, the point gets lost because attention is focussed in the wrong place.
To people who regularly use profanity themselves, reading it will make no difference and will not change a point of view. Unfortunately, some of those people will also be those who use profanity in place of reasoned debate.
To people who do not use or are offended by profanity, it might harden their opposition to what might be an otherwise worthwhile position or convincing argument, if they bother to read past the profanity and don’t go and read something else instead.
Reporter: Lastly I found the guide Esme suggested I might talk with.
Welcome Shimon. You are a travel guide available for hire, and you have been taken on to lead the astrologer’s caravan?
Shimon: I take work where I can get it. I travel a lot so acting as a guide is one of my lines of work.
Reporter: But I understand you were taken on locally, you have not travelled with them before.
Shimon: Yes that’s right.
Reporter: Do you know why the astrologers hired a guide after arriving at their destination? It’s more usual to have a guide to get to a place.
Shimon: I can’t be sure why but they want a different route out of Israel to the way they came. They have specifically said that they want to avoid Herod’s palace. I was told they stopped there on the way to Bethlehem.
Reporter: And you’ve no idea why they wish to find a different way to return to their home?
Shimon: You must have heard the rumours around here, that Herod is looking for a child. Word has it that the child could take Herod’s throne when he grows. So I’m guessing that the astrologers know something of the child that they don’t want to tell Herod.
Reporter: Thank you for your time, Shimon.
I wasn’t able to track down the couple with their child, Jesus. The last snippet of information I was able to pick up is that the parents may have taken him out of Israel, possibly making their way to Egypt, lending credence to the story Herod my be searching for them.
If anything new comes to light, we’ll bring it to you first. For now, goodbye.