Thoughts for the Week: Try Something New

Many years ago, the Methodist Church produced a card called Peace Builders’ 20 ways to Build World Peace. I haven’t sufficient faith to believe that by doing twenty good things on my own the world would be at peace, but we all have to start somewhere. While I was giving it some thought I heard someone say during the week “You can’t do it all but you must do something.” Jesus began His mission saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He anointed me to release the oppressed.” I’ll come back to those two statements but will begin with the first suggestion on the card: ‘Take your share of responsibility for the world.’ As we continue to live in what seems a very strange place because of COVID-19 we are given more and more rules to help us to overcome the virus.
There is on BBC News at the present time a short session when children ask questions to David Attenborough about things that are important to them in the world. During my time of ministry, I was often heard to say to people, ‘listen to the children.’ This week one small child said, “David, what one thing can I do to help climate change?” David simply said, “don’t waste anything.”
Going back to the 20 suggestions about world peace, another one was, ‘Live simply so that others can live.’ As I go through the other statements on the card I would add that we should remember that the Holy Spirit has power to help us with anything that we find difficult and that takes us to Jesus saying, “I have come to release the oppressed.” And going once again to the morning news programme, there are quite often stories of people who have become oppressed during lockdown because of their situations; for instance, young people with disabilities and their parents who can’t get the kind of help they need. There are elderly people who are lonely and people who are normally full of life who find the lockdown making them oppressed and sometimes afraid.
Once more to the card I have, ‘Smile at people when you walk by.’ That’s good unless you are wearing a mask. Any movement inside the mask makes it fall off especially if you also wear a hearing aid and spectacles, then everything falls off. That’s no excuse but how do people know we are smiling? I promise you that the eyes have it and a smile can help more than we realise. I take two more from the card to make us think, 1st ‘learn new ways’ and 2nd ‘be peaceful inside ourselves.’
As we come to a time of prayer, I noticed that although the card was made by and for Christians it didn’t mention Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit or prayer. Our faith might not build peace on its own but put all our thoughts together and pass them to the Three in One – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and we might move a mountain of change.


Loving Father, our first prayers today are about children who so often ask the simple questions that as adults we are too proud to ask. The child who spoke to David Attenborough was concerned about the loss of wild animals, and David, a man of great knowledge and clever words, simply answered in a way, not only that the child could understand but that all people might realise that he spoke to a world of wastefulness. The wisdom of the one who produced that short programme may not have realised its importance.
Lord Jesus, You said to the priests, “from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise”. Let that be a lesson to us when we are with our own children or our grandchildren or in our time of prayer. Amen
Caring Lord, We pray also today for the young people, the teenagers who need help as there are so many changes happening in their lives at a time of life that is difficult for them as they are growing up. We pray for those who are carers of sick parents and for those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. We pray too for teachers and leaders of young people’s clubs that they will find ways to comfort, care and listen to those children and young people. Amen.
Lord Holy Spirit, Jesus said he came to release the oppressed and when He ascended, He passed His work on to You. Lord, because the lockdown has gone on so long there are many adults who have found that their ways of life which was to bring joy to others have begun to change, so that they need to be lifted up themselves. Lord, You have the power to heal, we have the prayers. AMEN

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