1. Nicodemus – Somebody’s Love

John 3:1-15 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%203:1-15

Deciding to follow someone or something isn’t a passive thing to do. When we decide to ‘follow’ we enter into a relationship. If that relationship is to be something meaningful and worthwhile it will take time, effort and a certain amount of sacrifice. If, like me, you were to choose to follow a football team who only ever seem to have to a limited amount of success the following can be quite painful at times!

In this song Passenger sets out before us some of the difficulties of being in a relationship and of being on our own. Of course, here the song is talking about a romantic relationship but there are certain echoes that resound with our spiritual relationship. Choosing to follow Christ demands a great deal from us and there is great potential for us to be burned in may ways as a part of that relationship. Christ himself says to Nicodemus we need to be ‘born again’, letting go of our old life and being reborn in the Spirit of God. I believe that being a Christian is not something that is meant to be safe, or easy but I also believe that dwelling within God’s love for us opens our hearts to live a full life in Christ. A life rich with light and colour.

As we journey through the period of Lent we are called to a closer examination of our walk with God. To ensure that we are giving to God the time, effort and sacrifice that his love for us deserves. We also know that however dark and painful our wilderness experiences may be we always have the hope of Easter to look forward to and we always have ‘Somebody’s love to fall into.’

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Oh when the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know you
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
Oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call you
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
To crawl into
Go and get yourself lost
Like you always do
Sail into the blue
With nobody next to you
Oh but when you wanna get yourself found
There may be no one around
You sink without a sound
You know it’s true
Oh when the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know you
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
Oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call you
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
What you’re saying is true
You ain’t no fool you ain’t no liar
You’re never gonna get yourself burnt
If you don’t start no fires
But with no fire there is no light
With no light you’ll never see
All the colors in the world
And all the love that’s inside me
When the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know you
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
Oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call you
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
Oh to crawl into
And oh when the winds they blow
You’re gonna need somebody to know
You’re gonna need somebody’s love to fall into
And oh when the leaves they fall
You’re gonna need somebody to call
You’re gonna need somebody’s arms to crawl into
To crawl into
Songwriters: Michael David Rosenberg
Somebody’s Love lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
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Passenger through Lent

A few Years ago I wrote a series of reflections on songs by The Streets to use at various services through the season of Lent, you can read them here and in the posts that follow that link.

This year I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Passenger. Michael David Rosenberg (read about him here) makes music that connects with me. So I thought that through this years season of Lent I would use some of his songs to help me to reflect on some Lenten themes. His music often touches on the deep things of life and love while maintaining a deeply ironic sense of humour that appeals to me.

I hope you enjoy reflecting on faith and being challenged by God with me this Lent

Waitrose Weekend

St Arnold’s was featured in the Waitrose Weekend magazine this week…

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You can pick up a copy in their stores or download their app

It does seem to have created some interest and quite a few questions!

If you’d like to know more please follow me on twitter @starnolds or email me at starnoldsbradford@gmail.com

Thanks!

The Harvest

I’m very excited about our next #beerandhymns event at Bradford Brewery.

‘The Harvest’ will be our traditional harvest festival where we’ll gather together to sing about God’s goodness to us, drink some cracking beers and make our offerings for Bradford Food Bank.

https://bradfordcentral.foodbank.org.uk has loads of information about the donations that are needed and how they’ll be used.

Please feel free to download the poster in the post and share it with your church/group/family/pets anyone and everyone basically!

If you’d like any more information about this event or the St Arnold’s Pub chaplaincy project please do leave me a message on this post or hop over and see me on twitter @StArnolds

Hope to see lots of you on the 9th October

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Fairies 

Trinity Sunday is one of my favourite Sunday’s to preach on. I know others dread it but I love standing in mystery and trying not to explain something unexplainable. I always feel it deepens my faith…

Shhh I can catch fairies

They sneak out late at night
So I sneak up behind them
I don’t want them to take flight

Shhh I can catch fairies

I take a jar to scoop them up
And a lid to trap them inside
The lids important don’t use a cup!

Shhh I can catch fairies

At least that’s what I tell them all
I like it when they think I’m magic
Even though I’m really not at all

Shhh I can’t really catch fairies

It’s really just all a trick
I use those fluorescent bracelet things
Cut off the bottom of them in a jar and flick

Shhh I can’t really catch fairies

But please don’t tell my kids!

Stairs

I’m 

      Not

            Going 

                       Down

                                  There 

                                             It’s dark

It’s ok, my boy, I’m right here and mummy is downstairs waiting. Just walk between us.

No! 

I’m 

      Not 

             Going 

                         Down 

                                    There

                                              It’s dark

You’ll be fine, I promise. Trust me, nothing will get you. You’re safe.

No!

I’m 

     Not

           Going

                     Down

                               There

                                          It’s dark

Ok, I’ll go down with you. Take my hand and we’ll go together. 

But

      When

                We

                     Go

                         Down

                                    It

                                        Will

                                                Still be dark

Yes, but I’ll be beside you

Yes

I’m glad my father doesn’t ask me to go into the darkness alone. I’m always braver when I know he’s next to me.

The Wind

I love the idea of prevenient grace. A grace that goes before us, that has always been in the world, seeking us out. There are several occasions within The Bible where Gods Spirit is referred to as ‘wind’ or ‘breath’. It’s an image of power, you only need to see how crazy kids get on a windy day to understand that!

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A Poppy

We exist in a constant cycle, renewed by God and his grace to each of us through the resurrection. Life continues because of the life he grants to us…

For my daughter

A Poppy

Mia picked a poppy
She liked its bright red bloom
She brought it in
And took it up, to brighten up her room

As days went past
The petals dropped, red upon the sill
but Mia smiled, she never stopped
It held a secret still

The flower dead
It’s beauty gone, a seed stands in its place
So life endures, it carries on
Like the smile on Mia’s face

When my petals long have dropped
And time is on its way
My smile will stay upon my face
In her, my life will stay

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Climbing trees

Conversations about God with young children can be tricky. Tonight I was chatting to our 3 year old about how he might talk to God and what he might ask him. The converstation inspired me so much that I wrote a short poem…

A prince indeed, called Owen
Trying to climb a tree
A prince, indeed, called Owen
To see if he could see

A place to sit and stay awhile
A place to watch and be
A place to listen carefully
For the one his dad calls ‘He’

And if our prince can find a branch
High up in the sky
A branch where he feels close enough
So God can hear his question why?

He’d ask his question bold and strong
He’d ask it loud and clear
He’d shout it out, as children do,
Without a hint of fear…

God, why aren’t you called John?

St Arnold’s and Sabbaticals

This year marks a significant milestone in my ministry.

I have now been stationed as a Methodist Minister for 10 years. In that time I have served in three different circuits (Keswick and Cockermouth, Leeds North East and Bradford South), I have had some responsibility for at least 19 different churches and I’ve also managed to get get married and have two children.

Such a lot has happened. There have been incredible highs and crushing lows as I’ve been invited to be a part of peoples lives. I feel incredibly privileged (most of the time!) to occupy the role which I do.

This year the Methodist church has given me a gift. When a minister reaches 10 years ‘of travel’ we are granted a three month Sabbatical. This is time set aside to step out of the regular work of the appointment you are serving in and take a different focus. For me that means a chance to write some children’s stories, something i’ve hoped to do for quite a while but I never seem to have been able to find the time.

It does mean that I will be taking a break from running St Arnold’s from June-August so there’ll be no #TheVicarsInn or #BeerandHymns over the summer (although I will still be about enjoying Bradford and it’s events such as The Drunken Film Festival)

After that break i will very much be back to working with St Arnold’s. Actually i’ll be spending far more time within the City centre as the Circuit (group of Methodist Churches) I’m stationed in have decided that from September my role will change. Instead of St Arnold’s being something that I do around all my other Circuit responsibilities I am, with support from the wider Methodist church, The West Yorkshire Methodist District and our neighbouring circuit in Bradford North, being released to work ‘half-time’ as a City Centre Chaplain. This means i’ll have lots more time to come up with crazy ideas for #BeerandHymn events, more time to support local businesses and most importantly more time to talk with people about the things in their lives which matter to them.

I can’t wait!

It’s a brilliantly exciting project to be part of and a real stepping out in faith for the church.

Hopefully i’ll see lots of you before I begin my Sabbatical, remember it’s #BeerandHymns Songs From The Terraces on Sunday 1st May at the new “Made of Bradford’ bar on Ivegate. #TheVicarsInn will also still be happening every Monday night through the rest of April and May.

If i don’t get to see you, have a wonderful summer and I’ll see you in September!