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The week in focus

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Up-to-the-minute jumping-off points for sermons, linking the reading to the latest news and global issues

Beatitudes in the news

2000 years on, the beatitudes still contain truths for today (Matthew 5:1-12).



Ideas for sermons or interactive talks

  • It is very easy to lock the beatitudes in the past, but really we should be seeking to aspire to them today. Looking through the news we can find scenarios which are not always wholly positive but in which we can find examples of those who would be honoured with God’s blessing.
  • This week the nominees for the Oscars were announced. The film Everything, everywhere, all at once received the most nominations. IMDB sums up the plot thus: ‘A middle-aged Chinese immigrant is swept up into an insane adventure in which she alone can save existence by exploring other universes and connecting with the lives she could have led.’ This very ordinary woman is poor in spirit and yet she achieves something beyond belief.
  • Lyman is a small town in the Donbas region of Ukraine. Four months ago, the Russian occupiers left the town and now people seek to live their ordinary lives despite the lack of safety from Russian missiles which are nearby. These people are meek. They are not seeking to destroy or defeat the Russians. They simply want to get on with the business of living.
  • The Coronation weekend promises to be a time of great celebration and pageantry. The Big Help Out on 8th May will highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities across the nation. In tribute to the King's public service, The Big Help Out will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.


Questions for discussion

  • What did Jesus mean when he said that groups of people were blessed?
  • Who would you say was blessed today and why?
  • Do you aspire to the blessings Jesus spoke about?

Stuart Wild is the Superintendent Minister of the Blackpool and South Fylde Methodist Circuit.



Connecting faith with everyday, real-life issues for young people

January can be a tough month. The excitement of Christmas is over, but the nights and morning are still dark and cold. It’s considered to be a good time for change and personal growth, but it can be hard to have the motivation when the weather is so dark and miserable!

An added difficulty this January has been our country's energy crisis. Has this affected your home? Are you putting less lights on? Are you more conscious of turning up the heating or making a nice warm cup of tea? Are you viewing these times as darker times?

Sorry, I’m focusing in on the negatives, aren’t I? And that is not what our passage this week is about. Yes, its dark outside; yes, we in a time of crisis; yes things can feel very hard - emotionally, financially, spiritually, especially in January for so many. But Jesus tells us that despite all these things, we are all truly blessed.

While the UK seasons change, year on year, from cold, dark winters, to warm, bright summers, that doesn’t mean any season is better or worse; they are just different. The good news is that God is with us always.

How about changing our thinking this week to view the world around us in the here and now and focus on what blessings each season can bring? Staying inside on a cold night could be a fun family games night. Or it could be a chance to reconnect with our Bibles - we can find just as much growth in the darkest of times as we can in the light.

If you are still struggling with the idea that there can be good in the darkest of times, you can also note that the nights are in fact becoming slowly lighter, and spring too is on its way!

Natasia Bullock is Director of The B Tales Theatre company

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