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Worship Focus


Mark 5.21-34
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’


We saw Jesus’ healing power rejected by the people of Gerasa yesterday. But the miracle that immediately follows it – Jesus’ healing of the woman suffering from haemorrhages – shows us someone determined to receive it.

Selina Stone writes in Tarry Awhile, “this story is as much about this woman’s determination as it is about the power of Jesus. Healing does not fall into her lap; it is passing by, and she has to literally be ready to grab it …

“Was God working in her, to get her to this point, where she was willing to venture beyond the limits of tradition to fight for her own life? Did her healing begin as she began to recognise that her life mattered, and that she deserved to be well? … Her mind and spirit are healed enough, so that her body might also be.”
Tears – whether silent or aloud – flow from the deepest of human experiences. Many of these are tears of heartbreak and despair, tears of the abandoned or forsaken. But tears also convey deep love. We will pay attention to the tears shed by Jesus and those around him during this Holy Week.

Prayer for the Week
We come to you, the One who weeps with us. Through your sorrows, soothe our deepest despair; through your sufferings, draw us into the comfort of your divine embrace. Amen.

Jesus weeps



Luke 19.41-44
As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.’


Chapter 19 is pivotal in Luke’s Gospel narrative. It records Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He rides through the crowds on a donkey, a sign of humility and servanthood. He goes to the temple and turns over the tables of the money changers, declaring that God’s house should be a house of prayer, not a den for thieves and robbers. However, between these two dramatic scenes is a moment where Jesus weeps over the city. He weeps for the judgement and pain which will follow the people’s rejection of him.

Luke’s Jesus is quite the weeper – deeply empathic, and in touch with the pain of those around him. He is the embodiment of a God who is not distant, but deeply weeps for his children. This is perhaps the most powerful image of the Jesus within Black Spirituality: the God who weeps with the forsaken, the broken and the crucified.


Mark 5.1-13
They came to the other side of the lake, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.’ For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us into the swine; let us enter them.’ So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned in the lake.


This healing miracle cannot be understood in full without paying attention to the clues in Mark’s text. The name of the man’s demons – “Legion” – is the name for the largest military unit of the Roman army. There was a Roman colonial outpost near Gerasa (or Gadara as Matthew refers to it). The shackling with iron was a particular Roman military method.

When we peel back the layers of the text we see Jesus encountering a community under occupation – from oppressive earthly and spiritual forces. Mark leaves us to discover that the society in which both the man and the community reside needs healing. The ‘demon’ here is systemic, hidden and deeply rooted.

Systemic evils such as racism, homophobia, misogyny and xenophobia often lie deep and hidden. Jesus offers the kind of healing that operates at the deepest level.


Mark 5.5-8
Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.’ For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’


Bodies are important in this story. The description of the man among the tombs is graphic. He acts like an animal. He bruises himself. He has to be chained with iron. When he is finally delivered, the demons are sent into pigs – another “unclean” and despised animal. Clearly, this man is in need of healing in body, mind and spirit.

But the allusion to bodies being restrained, chained and abused carries deeper significance. Scapegoated people throughout history – those seen as “other” by the majority – become the target of dehumanising violence. For centuries, systems of control and abuse “demonised,” vilified, enslaved and brutalised Black bodies.

Again, this story prompts the question: who is really in need of healing? This man is a victim of a system that is violent and determined not to see his humanity, his value – certainly not as Jesus does.


Mark 5.1-4
They came to the other side of the lake, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him.


We might well prefer to interpret the man “with an unclean spirit” as being mentally and emotionally ill, rather than possessed. Today’s reading describes someone “out of control” who has to be locked away from the community. He is a danger to himself and to others. Curiously, Jesus is the only one who treats the man as a human being. He speaks to him. Addresses him. And, as we will see later this week, asks his name.

Seeing another as a human being is important, especially when considering the treatment of those deemed mentally and emotionally unwell. In the UK, the scandalous fact is that individuals from UKME backgrounds are five times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than white people.


Notice how mental health is understood and treated in our world.

...and pray

for deeper compassion towards those who suffer me


Jeremiah 38.1-13
Now Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, Thus says the Lord, Those who stay in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but those who go out to the Chaldeans shall live; they shall have their lives as a prize of war, and live. Thus says the Lord, This city shall surely be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon and be taken. Then the officials said to the king, ‘This man ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, and all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.’ King Zedekiah said, ‘Here he is; he is in your hands; for the king is powerless against you.’ So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. Now there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.
Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. The king happened to be sitting at the Benjamin Gate, So Ebed-melech left the king’s house and spoke to the king, ‘My lord king, these men have acted wickedly in all they did to the prophet Jeremiah by throwing him into the cistern to die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.’ Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘Take three men with you from here, and pull the prophet Jeremiah up from the cistern before he dies.’ So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe of the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, ‘Just put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.’ Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up by the ropes and pulled him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.


Jeremiah is the great prophet who experiences the exile into Babylon, and the complexity of life under colonial occupation. He has a word from God that is difficult, and he is faithful in proclaiming it. Those who dislike what he says puts him in a cistern, a place of no escape, to starve and die. Jeremiah – “the weeping prophet” – is made to be quiet through the plotting of his own people.

When the truth you speak is not heard, and attempts are made to silence you, it is heart-breaking. This has been the experience of Black people in racist and xenophobic societies. The silencing often leads to an inner rage. It is not only the mouth that is silenced, but one’s identity, creativity and beauty. Jeremiah’s ordeal offers an image of hope: he continued to speak God’s truth, and time proved his words to be true.


Recall moments when you felt profoundly unheard whilst speaking your truth.

...and pray

for courage to speak the truth in a world too often fashioned by lies.

Jonah in the whale's belly


Jonah 1.1-4,7-17
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up.
The sailors said to one another, ‘Come, let us cast lots, so that we may know on whose account this calamity has come upon us.’ So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, ‘Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?’ ‘I am a Hebrew,’ he replied. ‘I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’ Then the men were even more afraid, and said to him, ‘What is this that you have done!’ For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them so.
Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you, that the sea may quieten down for us?’ For the sea was growing more and more tempestuous. He said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quieten down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you.’ Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them. Then they cried out to the Lord, ‘Please, O Lord, we pray, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life. Do not make us guilty of innocent blood; for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.’ So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.


The Book for Jonah is a very interesting part of the Bible. It tells the intriguing story of a prophet who runs from God only to find himself in the belly of a whale, a quiet place.

While Jonah’s three-day retreat inside the “great fish” is referred to in Matthew Chapter 12 by Jesus to explain his own coming death, burial and resurrection, it is Jonah’s anger that is perhaps the most striking feature of the book as a whole. Jonah is sent to the chief city of a colonising power to declare judgement. He holds on to this long-awaited judgement, but at the last moment God grants mercy!

Jonah’s anger then turns toward God. How dare God grant mercy when justice is needed? This is too often the dilemma facing peoples who have experienced oppression and persecution. Mercy and justice are hard to balance. Jonah remains trapped in his anger – unwilling to accept that mercy has a place alongside justice.


When have you felt most angry against God?

...and pray

for a deeper faith to trust God's silence in the face of injustice.


Job 2.1-10
One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.’ Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.’
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.


The Book of Job is one of the oldest within the Hebrew Bible. It is a rich examination of the enduring question of how an all-loving and all-powerful God can allow undeserved suffering. Job finds himself on a dung hill, scraping his putrid sores. All he has and all that he owns has been taken away, violently and suddenly.

Most of the book is Job’s deep questioning of why such evil and misfortune has befallen him. To make things worse, heaven is quiet. God does not answer him. Job does not know of the bargain over his life and faith God has made with Satan (whose name means “the accuser”). And when God answers Job, there is no justification given.

Black Spirituality has been shaped by experiences of injustice and undeserved suffering affecting whole communities for generation after generation. However, even when heaven is quiet, the faithful still learn to trust the goodness of God.


Reflect on how you react when you feel unjustly wronged.

...and pray

for the courage to lay these feelings honestly before God.

Elijah on the mountain


1 Kings 19.1-13
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’


Elijah is the other great prophet who – alongside Moses – makes it into the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, appearing beside Jesus and talking with him.

In today’s reading, Elijah is in deep distress. He is on the run from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel having defeated the many other false prophets who were loyal to them. He is afraid for his life, despite the display of divine power he has just witnessed. We learn from him that victory and defeat walk hand-in-hand in our spiritual lives, and that we often need a place to hear God most deeply, most clearly and most powerfully.

After climbing the mountain, Elijah finally hears God. Not in the fire, nor the earthquake, nor in the wind, but – after waiting (or “tarrying”) till they have passed – in the most profound quiet.

The indewelling spirirt


Acts 2.43-47
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.


The Spirit of God is mighty! Yes, the Spirit is Holy! But there is a deeper revelation about the Holy Spirit played out in the Acts of the Apostles. When we come to the end of Acts Chapter 2, the community of the first believers begin living in the world in a radically alternative way. They hold all things in common. They sell their possessions. They pray and worship together, breaking bread as Jesus taught them. They also were known for signs and wonders. Everyone was in awe of them.

What has made the difference here? It is the fact that this early Christian community is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. People of the Holy Spirit live alternatively, in a way that is distinctive and filled with grace. They seek unity and seek to rebuild where life is most broken. Their hearts are overfilled with love, despite the cold heartlessness of the world.

Abiding with the spirit


John 16.1-15
‘I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


We end the week with words Jesus speaks to his disciples in the Upper Room on the night before his crucifixion and death. Jesus promises that he will send the “Advocate”, the “Spirit of Truth” who will be active in the lives of the disciples and the Christians who will follow them. John’s Gospel generally uses the word “abiding” to speak about relationship with God. Also, when reading the Acts of the Apostles, the entire book details the untameable movement of the Holy Spirit.

This “abiding” or “tarrying” with the Spirit – a key emphasis in Black Pentecostalism – requires us to be open to the unthinkable. For example, during the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906 to 1909, even white pastors came to learn from the Black leadership of the fellowship. Such openness to the Spirit’s guiding is vital to our discipleship today.

Week 4: Quiet

This week we consider moments in the lives of the prophets when – even amidst terrible suffering and oppression – they encounter the divine presence.
Black Spirituality is ancient, and in many ways can be related to the themes and worldviews of the Hebrew prophets we will encounter this week.

Prayer for the Week
God of our wilderness and despair, when our chaos is too loud to hear you, lead us to the quiet place. Open the ears of our hearts to hear you in the deepest of ways. Amen.


Acts 2.37-42
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


In today’s reading we encounter the first converts to Peter’s message. We begin to see that they devote themselves to the teaching of the apostles, a central part of which is that upon repenting of their sins, believing in Jesus, and being baptised, they would receive the Holy Spirit.

This emphasis on the Holy Spirit in these early moments of Christian history is vital for later doctrinal developments. We now stand on centuries of reflection which have rested on the fact that the Holy Spirit is indeed the third person of the Trinity. However, there is more to be done and more to understand about how the Spirit operates in the world. Black Spirituality reminds us that “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4.24).



Acts 2.14-24
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
   and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
   and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
   in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
     and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
   and signs on the earth below,
     blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
   and the moon to blood,
     before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
‘You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.


We are now at the heart of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. We come to a deep truth. The Spirit is none other than that ancient Spirit, the Spirit promised in the Book of the Prophet Joel from which Peter quotes. The plan was always for all to have access to the Spirit of God, without distinction. Most revivals and spiritual outpourings in Christian history have emerged from oppressed and marginalised communities and experiences.

When considering Black Spirituality, and especially the rise of Pentecostalism across the world that is connected to it, we see the same pattern. Black spiritual traditions are inherently Spirit-oriented (or “pneumatological”). This means that they prioritise the power and presence of the Spirit of God, and as such, they consistently remind us that the Spirit of God is ancient, and not contained by any religion or denomination.

The disrupting spirit:


Acts 2.1-13
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’


The beginning of Acts 2 records a decisive moment in the life of the Early Church. Some affectionately call it the birthday of the Church. But this is perhaps a rather a bland name for a truly dramatic event.

The Spirit comes in power and disrupts everything, fills everything, displaces everything! Disciples locked away in fear become emboldened. Those who could not speak were filled with a new energy, new giftings, and new fire. Peter, the one who had denied Jesus, becomes the first preacher. There is no shame here. There is simply a deep freedom in testifying to the great work of God in Christ Jesus.

Thanks to the disruptive power of the Spirit, those being hunted down by violent oppressors are now not afraid to disrupt the status quo to preach the truth of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Ultimately, the Spirit always disrupts lies, violence and fear.


Genesis 37.12-18
Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, ‘Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’ So he said to him, ‘Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.’ So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.
He came to Shechem, and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, ‘What are you seeking?’ ‘I am seeking my brothers,’ he said; ‘tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.’ The man said, ‘They have gone away, for I heard them say, “Let us go to Dothan.” ’ So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, ‘Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.’ But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, ‘Let us not take his life.’ Reuben said to them, ‘Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him’—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.
Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.’ And his brothers agreed. When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.


The Joseph narratives of Genesis are compelling and profoundly relatable to people who have been oppressed and must wrestle with the deepest of trials and betrayals. Joseph is sold into servitude by his brothers, out of jealousy. The family drama – from his grandfather Isaac through his father Jacob – finds its way into his own life. Joseph endures being betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers, sexually harassed, falsely accused, imprisoned, ignored, and forgotten. In the midst of violence, trauma, and misfortune, he clings to God’s gifts and presence in his life.

Joseph’s faith and his coming to terms with his traumatic past ultimately brings him to a place of exaltation. The one despised becomes the hope for the very ones who betrayed him. Joseph is a powerful symbol for the faith of Black people, who have similarly endured oppression yet remained rooted in God.

Lent - New beginnings and Spring:

Our values are Truth and love:

What word or phrase would describe this painting?

Father Julius has set the children the task of learning the school values off by heart as he is unpicking respect with the children of what it means, how we can show it and demonstrate this throughout everything we do. 

We are amazed with the discussion and reflections are children have shared. 

This has then feed into the next part of the challenge which is to write a prayer for a member of staff. However the prayer is not to be shared with the member of staff it is to be brought into Collective Worship first. It would be lovely to have parent and grandparents input on this as well as we unpick prayer, what it is, why some people do it and how to create our own prayer. 

Big questions - What does prayer mean to you?  What does praying look like to you  is in the traditional view of kneeing hands together eyes closed or something different? 

Our value of RESPECT:

Do upon others as you would have them do upon you. 


Respect: As We Go Now  

Published by Fischy Music

As we go now from this moment,

as we leave behind our time together.

May we walk with one another,

may we help each other on the way.

As we go now from this moment,

as we go into the future together.

May we treasure one another,

may we realize how precious we are.

As we go now from this moment,

as we go into the future together.

May we treasure one another,

may we realize how precious we are.

May we realize how precious we are.

May we realize how precious we are.


Prayer for Forgiveness and Respect

Leader:          Lord, sometimes we are rude and cross.

Please forgive us,

All:              and help us show respect.

Leader:          Lord, sometimes we don’t listen to others.

Please forgive us,

All:              and help us show respect.

Leader:          Lord, sometimes we only think of ourselves.

Please forgive us,

All:              and help us show respect.


Below are some short videos of discussion topics for over Lent. 

Get into training

Tuesday, Week 3


Hebrews 5.11-14

About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.


Although we are indeed sinners, we are sinners beloved of God. Within us dwells God’s Holy Spirit, whose job it is (among other things) daily to make us more like Jesus – or become less sinful.

This is the process of sanctification, or “becoming more holy”. Sanctification is the ongoing movement – once a person has recognised that they are a sinner and have begun to repent – of the Christian heart towards a greater love of God and more closely living in the ways of God’s kingdom.

And how to do that? The answer is slightly surprising and maybe not a little unpopular in today’s fast-track, short-cut world where we can have anything we want, wherever we want it, immediately. The answer is in what we do with our habits.

So what we need to do is train our desires to be more in tune with the heart of God and his kingdom.


Habits are such an important part of our spiritual discipline. What is one habit you can begin or renew today to be more in tune with the heart of God?

Today's family challenge

Decide on a good habit you would like to get into

It takes regular practice to improve your skills in sport or music. Habits like making a regular time to pray or read the Bible can help us stay closer to God.

From the Church of England and Dust and Glory


Original sin

Wednesday, Week 2


Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
   blot out my transgressions. 
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
   and cleanse me from my sin. 
For I know my transgressions,
   and my sin is ever before me. 
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
   and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
   and blameless when you pass judgement. 
Indeed, I was born guilty,
   a sinner when my mother conceived me. 



Original sin is the belief that sin isn’t just something we do; it is something we are. We are sinners who do sinful things because we are sinners. St Augustine believed that everyone is a sinner from the moment they are born – imagine sin being like a part of our DNA, a fundamental piece of who we are.

So naturally, the question we might ask is this: What does it mean for us, as individuals, if we are part of a system infected with sin at its very core? How can we escape it?

There is some good news to this puzzling conundrum. Even though sin has corrupted all people for all time, as the view goes, so also the grace and redemption of Christ is available for all people for all time. As Paul writes to the Corinthians, “for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15.22).


Spend some time reading and praying through Psalm 51 today.

Today's family challenge

Find the Lord’s Prayer and pray it slowly

The prayer Jesus gave encourages us to say sorry for what we have done wrong and to forgive those who have hurt us.


Romans 3.21-26

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.


Sin is a word and concept that has found its way into popular culture. But instead of referring to the utter depravity of the human condition, it’s associated with eating something you really shouldn’t, or telling a little fib. It’s come to be a word you use in quotation marks with a wink, a fun little phrase that indicates something is naughty but nice.

What happened to sin?

Sin, for Christians, is really about separation from God. It’s about those choices we make and temptations we fall victim to that are contrary to what God wants for us.

Sin is really about ruptured relationships – with God, with one another, with ourselves. Between individuals and communities, in ways small and big, sin is what keeps us isolated, hopeless and suffering.


There are relationships in all of our lives that aren’t as we wish they would be.

Today, try praying for God to bring healing to those relationships.


Ask at least two people you know what they think ‘sin’ means?

Sin is often seen today as doing something ‘naughty but nice’. For Christians, though, sin represents everything that spoils our relationship with God and others.
Church of England Dust and Glory resources.

The fear factor

Thursday, Week 1


Psalm 56

Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;
   all day long foes oppress me; 
my enemies trample on me all day long,
   for many fight against me.
O Most High, when I am afraid,
   I put my trust in you. 
In God, whose word I praise,
   in God I trust; I am not afraid;
   what can flesh do to me? 



The main thing that stops us from trying new things is the fear of getting it wrong. We worry that we’ll be found inadequate, or we’ll be embarrassed.

A healthy amount of fear is a good thing, but sometimes fear of failure is crippling. At its heart is a fear of shame: the belief that we are flawed and unworthy of love, belonging and connection.

That need for self-protection to avoid shame is why we often don’t admit what we’ve got wrong. The worry is that we learn to live lives that are fearful rather than faithful – smaller, rather than expansive, turned in to ourselves rather than out to the world.

God leads us out of fear and into faith. Through faith we are able to try new things, take bold steps and know that it is the attempt, not the outcome, that matters.


What is something you’ve been avoiding out of fear of failure?

Can you take a step towards it today


Be kind to someone who is having a difficult time

Things don’t always go to plan for any of us. Who do you know who could do with an encouraging word or a smile today?
Church of England / Dust and Glory. 

Collective Worship led by Fr. Julius introducing the beginning of Lent and Ash Wednesday. The children had the chance to take part in having an ash cross placed on their forehead if they wished as a mark of the start of Lent and to remind is we are human and dust. 

Our worship table is ready for the beginning of Advent. There is a Christmas wreath, four gifts to open for the start of each week to the lead up to Christmas. 

Each class has a Random Act of Kindness advent calendar for children to participate in Advent if they wish. 

Our Collective Worship was lead by our Yr6 team and Fr Julius which focused on dedication by looking at, Usain Bolt, St. Andrew and Queen Elizabeth II.  All children were active parts in Collective Worship through reading readings as well as, offering their thoughts and reflections. 

The Yr6 Worship team led a standing prayer to end Collective Worship.  

We have our poppy wreath ahead of remembrance. 

Our theme for Autumn 2 Perserverance and dedication. 

We had a lovely visit from Rev Ingrid yesterday who led our Collective Worship on Liturgical colours and there importance within Church. 

Our school Collective Worship table:


Lyrics for share the light of Jesus

Our Collective Worship notice board:

Monday's Collective Worship:

On a Monday we celebrate children's achievements inside and outside of school. 

Tuesday  Collective Worship:

On a Tuesday we look at what has been happening in the News together and discuss it 

Wednesday Collective Worship:

On  a Wednesday we worship through song and music. 

Thursday Collective Worship:

On a Thursday we look at the teachings of Jesus from the Bible based on our focus. 

Friday Collective Worship:

On a Friday we have class worship to develop our class identity. 


The 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.

Collective Worship table:

Candle – Represents Jesus the light of the world and the Holy trinity “In the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirt”.

Cross – Represents Jesus (Christ) and what he did for us as well as our faith as Christians.

Table Cloth – Represents different events in the Church calendar.

Stanley Owl –  Represents each and everyone of our Stanley family.

Bible – The word and teachings of God.

The passing of Prince Philip on the 9th April:

Below  are some great resources to discuss with your child who Prince Philip was and his role within society. 

Spring 2 week 2 Friday:

Celebration Collective Worship what are you proudest of during learning from home this can be anything and why. 

Spring 2 week 2 Thursday:

 Take some time to reflect on your time learning from home and set yourself some goals for when we return to school. These goals can be anything such as helping the adults at home more.

Spring 2 week 2 Wednesday:

Spring 2 week 2 Monday:

Please watch week 1 and 2 of the lent videos see link below. 

Tour of Church:

Rev Gill has created a tour of our local Church for us to watch.

Robin class winners of the Easter competition. Well done!

Spring 2 week 1 Friday:

Celebration Collective Worship – Celebrate your successes and reflect upon the activities that may not have gone to plan this week and why that may be.  

Spring 2 week 1 Thursday:

Jesus served his Disciples by washing their feet. How could you serve a family member? Complete the act of service and then reflect on why Jesus completed this.

How did it make you feel? 

How did it make the other person feel?

Who were Jesus' Disciples?

How many were there?

What does Disciple mean? 

Spring 2 week 1 Wednesday: 

Beginning of Lent -  Construct a simple cross and decide where you will put it in your home – it should be somewhere visible and crucial to your daily routine. It’s up to you how you make the cross, and what it is made out of. While you are making your cross, take some time to think or talk about the people, situations and issues that you care about.  Make a list, poster or pin-board of all these people, adding pictures or photos if you would like to and decide where you will put your prayer list/poster/board that you can come back to it throughout Lent. (It’s up to you how often you decide to do this, it could be before supper each day, or once a week, but try to fit it in with the routine of your home so it’s easy to build in over the next few weeks.)

Spring 2 week 1 Tuesday:

Look through the PowerPoint to find out a little more about Shrove Tuesday. Then reflect on what you would like to change / give up during Lent . 

We would love to see your pancakes!

Welcoming of Spring and new life:

Mrs Gresswell is giving up fizzy pop drinks during Lent. 

Mrs Fryer is giving up crisp during Lent. 

Miss Price is giving up chocolate during Lent.

Mrs Davies is giving up ice cream during Lent.

Sam is giving up pancakes during Lent. 

What are you giving up during Lent? 

Lent challenge:

Lent starts on the Ash Wednesday 17th February 2021 and ends on the 3rd April 2021. 

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities

What are you going to give up for Lent? Chocolate, white bread, games console etc... 

Don't forget to send images of your Lent box and/or information about what you are giving up for Lent. Please send this to the robins class email address:

Collective Worship week 6 - Friday

Celebration Collective Worship – We would like you to reflect on this half term and discuss what has gone well and what could have gone better. What are you going to change moving forwards? Have a look through our value certificates and decide who you believe should receive one it can be anyone Mum, Dad, Grandma, Grandad, Auntie, uncle, Brother, Sister, Dance teacher etc... 

What's in the news is always a great Collective Worship with the children that allows big questions to be reflected upon and discussed together. This allows for great debates and exploration of British values within real subjects that are being discussed throughout the world. 

Collective Worship week 6 - Wednesday

Collective Worship week 6 - Tuesday

Collective Worship week 6 - Monday:

Collective Worship week 5 Friday:

Celebration Collective worship – what have you done this week you are proud of. What would you like to achieve next week. 

Collective Worship week 5 - Thursday 

Please take a look at our school values and discuss how you can uphold them. Please pick one and action that value. Please take photos and send to: 

An example could be the value of love so I could write a postcard to a family member or friend to ensure they know that even though we can't see them at the moment that they are still loved. 

Collective Worship week 5 - Wednesday

Collective Worship week 5 - Tuesday 

Bob Hartman - Little man up in a tree.

Collective Worship week 5 - Monday

Collective Worship week 4 Friday:

Celebration Collective worship – what have you done this week you are proud of. What would you like to achieve next week. 

Collective Worship week 4 Thursday:

Using your reflections from yesterday can you create a prayer based on community. Please send your completed prayer to if you wish for it to be posted on the Collective Worship impact and input page. 

Collective Worship week 4 Wednesday:

Collective Worship week 4 Tuesday:

Bob Hartman Someone is calling my name.

Watch the video of Bob Hartman and then use the What's in the news resources to discuss leadership and democracy. 

Collective Worship week 4 Monday:

Collective Worship Week 4 

Collective Worship week 3 Friday:

Celebration Collective worship – what have you done this week you are proud of. What would you like to achieve next week. 

Collective Worship week 3 Thursday:

Collective Worship week 3 - Wednesday: 

 Look at the words respect and dignity what do they mean?

Can you create a wordall – lots of words that mean the same thing or explain what the words mean.

Collective Worship week 3 -  Tuesday:

Bob Hartman's poem on When my fears are giant sized. 

Collective Worship focus - Dignity week 3 Monday: 
Collective Worship week 3 

Collective Worship  focus week 2 Friday:

Celebration of all the hard work and children/adults trying their best can you create and present a certificate to someone in your household who has tried their best this week. Then take a look at the below documents to explore what's been going on in the new this week and spend some time to reflect upon the events. 

Collective Worship focus week 2 Thursday:

Collective Worship focus week 2 Wednesday: Bob Hartman

Click on the video resource link below to access the video. 
Collective Worship week 2
Developing our spirituality and the art of reflection. 

Collective Worship Spring 1:

Celebrating hope for the New Year!
Collective Worship week 1

Our Remembrance service outside and socially distanced. 

"We will remember them"

Collective Worship Autumn 2:

Collective Worship Autumn 1 2020:

Please look through these resources and have a go at taking part in home Collective Worship once a day as a school we hold our Collective Worship at 1pm until 1;25pm. 

Flight to Egypt Tissot: