If you’re family, or if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been in hospital for the last 3 and a bit weeks. I’d had stomach pains for a couple of weeks when it got so bad that I went to A&E.
I was convinced they were going to send me home with indigestion tablets and tell me off for wasting their time, but it turns out I had acute pancreatitis! After two weeks in hospital attached to numerous drips and doped up on morphine, I was well enough to have my gall bladder removed, and I then had to stay in hospital for another week for further tests.
I was so happy to be free, that I managed to get out of the house at the weekend to spend a couple of hours with Cameron’s Auntie Julie and Uncle David on Saturday, and a couple of hours with my Aunty Ann today. Definitely in need of the painkillers that I’m currently relying on, I can’t believe how tired and in pain I am right now!
As we had half a day off work to go and see Chicago at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford, since Cameron bought me tickets for Christmas, we decided to take Cameron’s mum and Auntie Julie out for a nice lunch at The Tetley in Leeds. And delicious it was too, just as good as last time we went there!
So at the end of the Alpha Course when the Vicar said he’d be running weekly sessions at the Vicarage to prepare for Confirmation, I knew this was the right time. Since the beginning of January, I’ve been going to these classes with a small group of people, and tonight the Bishop of Richmond, Paul Slater, came to conduct the service, which started with our confirmation and then we all took Communion together, which was absolutely great.
Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all had a day as fun as mine!
Christmas for me started off opening presents yesterday evening as I spent today at Cameron’s house and my mum wanted us to all open our presents together still. Christmas Eve finished with Midnight communion at Church with my Mum and Auntie Ann. Then up this morning for some breakfast (chocolate of course), before back up to the Church for the morning service. I’ve never been to Church on Christmas Day before, but it was fantastic. Starting off Christmas Day celebrating the real meaning of Christmas with the loveliest people. It was a great service as always; you know it’s going to be fun when it starts with ‘A long time ago, in a Galilee far, far away’.
After leaving Church, we came back to Cameron’s house to open presents. It’s the first time I’ve ever not been at home for Christmas Day, and it was a massive change of pace to go from 12+ people to only 4. But it was really nice having a quieter house for a change, and I received some lovely and thoughtful presents. The next few hours were spent watching Cameron assemble his new Lego train set, before a huge and delicious Christmas dinner prepared by Cameron’s Mum.
After dinner, there were 4 hours of watching the glee on Cameron’s face as he set the train set up on the dining table and drove it round and round and through obstacles and causing crashes (some deliberate, some definitely not!). A perfect day, I love seeing other people so happy!
I’m about to finish off the day with some quiet reading and contemplation before a well deserved rest. I hope you all had a great time filled with family and fun too!
Our Church service on Sunday was about how we shouldn’t just turn to God as a last resort, he should be our first port of call. And not just when we’re in trouble or need help, but when things are going good and we’re happy too. So rather than saying ‘God, I’ve tried everything else and I really need your help’, we should be saying ‘God, thank you for the things that are going well right now’.
So it was quite good timing to see this in my instagram feed today, perfectly aligned with the message of the sermon.
(You can click through the image to see it on Instagram)
When I previously went to a Methodist Church, the services never followed a particular plan, and we never really did prayers or recited text as a whole church, except for the Lord’s Prayer.
But since going to Pudsey Parish, it’s been quite different. One of the things that is said nearly every week is the Nicene Creed. I’d never even heard it two months ago, but I love the practice of saying it, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can say it without the paper in front of me.
We believe in One God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
I’ve also been listening to a lot more Christian music while I’m at work, which I find very uplifting. It keeps me happy while I’m working and keeps part of my thoughts on God even when I’m concentrating on other things. One song I’ve heard that I find myself singing all the time; when I wake up, when I’m in the shower, just anywhere, is This I Believe (The Creed), by Hillsong Worship. It’s based on the Nicene Creed, and when you listen to it, you just can’t help but sing along, it’s a powerful song:
“I believe in God our Father I believe in Christ the Son I believe in the Holy Spirit Our God is three in one I believe in the resurrection That we will rise again For I believe in the name of Jesus”
At the weekend, I went to an event at Pudsey Parish Church called Walk Through The Bible. This particular one was the Old Testament version, but they also run a New Testament version too.
Ever since I started going back to Church last month, I’ve been feeling so much happier in myself. Apart from being in contact with God again and feeling my spirit renewed, I’ve met so many wonderfully friendly people – not a service goes by where I don’t meet someone knew, it’s been absolutely fantastic. I’ve joined a Cell group which meets on a Tuesday night for 2 hours for prayers, Bible study and discussion, and we even had the Vicar round for a cuppa last night for an introductory chat.
But coming back to Church, I realised how much I don’t know about the Bible, and how much has been forgotten during my time away, so when I heard about Walk Through the Bible, it sounded perfect. I couldn’t manage to persuade anyone to come along with me, so it was a bit daunting going along. I’m generally a very solitary person and not good at talking to new people, so it was a bit scary walking into a room full of people I didn’t know, but I was feeling at ease very quickly thanks to the wonderful people I mentioned earlier.
After a cup of tea, it was time for the event to start, and within the first few minutes it became clear that the day was going to involve a lot of actions; pointing and making shapes with our hands. That’s usually not my kind of thing, I always feel really self conscious doing them, but I quickly realised that the actions were vital to remembering my way through so much.
By the end of the day, we had a string of 77 actions taking us all the way from Creation to Christ. It was amazing how you could remember them all, I’d never have remembered without them!!
The instructor who was leading our course was fantastic. Totally charismatic and full of jokes and stories to make the day fun. I had initially thought that 8 hours of bible study would be draining, but apart from a slight post-lunch too-much-tea induced lag, the day flew by.
The event was so popular (I think there were about 40 people there) that the Vicar has asked them to come back and do the New Testament version too. I’ll be first on the list to sign up for it when it does, it was the best thing I’ve done in ages!! If there’s one in your area, I’d highly recommend it, so much fun!!
Started my day with a walk around Yeadon Tarn, with a stop half way around for a rest to enjoy the view and read. Perfect way to thank God for the beauty of nature and that we get to enjoy it so freely.
Verse of the day:
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 5:13, KJV)