Thoughts 05.05.20

Thoughts to get you Thinking

Dear Belvoir family,

Our media love to not just record the story but direct the story, don’t they?  As soon as they are weary of one aspect of something, they pursue the next thing, setting the agenda for the nation and its decision-makers, usually by a phone-in and then quoting those calls as if they are the Thoughts to get you thinking - Belvoir Parishnews.  Well, there is one aspect of the agenda that they can’t set nor control.  The inside of my head!  I can mess that up all on my own.

Coming out of lockdown is their latest big story.  How soon can I get a cappuccino and a haircut?
Coming out of lockdown seems to be mostly about how we can keep space between us and do everything just like we did before.   The issue is driven by getting back to normal, whatever we believe that was.  I have written recently about the need to consider going forwards rather than back and how positively different that could be.  

So, the assumption is that Government will give us space guidelines and we will try to set up school, business, church services, waiting areas in A&E, beds in corridors, roads jammed with cars, queues in airports, pumping poisonous gas everywhere, just the way it was before.  Then we will all be happy again (did you detect that hint of disbelief?)

I can’t change anybody or anything very much, but I can at least consider how I might want to be different (the inside of my head), and how we (our church and the inside of our corporate head) might want to be different together.  I know this next thought isn’t in the Bible, but the idea isn’t far from it.  In the last few weeks we have been watching the complete Star Wars trilogy of trilogies.  Yoda is just brilliant.  Like him I would love to talk.  “Young Skywalker, of your thoughts be mindful.”  Is it possible to actually take control of my own attitudes and thoughts?  (There is at least one Bible verse for that.)

Consider a bit of the Bible, Luke 4.  Lockdown for Jesus.  “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.”  The word for “led by” has a number of meanings that are all very similar.  The primary meaning is its use with regard to animals – the leading of an animal to pasture or to work, something like that.  Some translations use words like “driven by the Holy Spirit” or “compelled by the Holy Spirit”.  There is no suggestion that Jesus was resistant, but clearly this was not going to be a holiday experience.  This was immediately after his very public baptism and the announcement by John the Baptist that he was the one.  Jesus could be excused for imagining that some sort of celebration or opening ceremony could have been organised, rather than being “driven into the wilderness”.  None of us would have chosen this present wilderness either.

The experience of wilderness for Jesus is captured in a very few short verses.  He was isolated.  He did not need to measure two metres from anyone.  There may have been several miles between him and the next person.  So alone was he that Matthew’s version (4:11) tells us that angels came and attended him.  How could we ever know (and don’t start making it up for your next post) how many people may have had the comfort of angels in their isolation?  Then Luke tells us that for forty days – six weeks – he ate nothing and that he was hungry.  Have you ever fasted?  Goodness, we send apologies about not attending an event/meeting because we haven’t had our dinner.  We’re a hardy lot, aren’t we?  The most explicit description of these isolated days was the attack by Satan on him personally.  Don’t imagine these “temptations” were momentary thoughts during a quiet afternoon sitting at the pool-side.  These were day after day, night after night, while hiding from wild animals, starving, weary, cold, sweltered, alone, wondering…wondering…wondering…

  1. Starving…I could make bread from rocks, I am God after all…what if I tried and couldn’t…maybe I am not god after all…who am I…can I be sure…what is this all about…
  2. Purpose…take over the world…how… and who…me, a carpenter’s son from Galilee…the kingdoms of the world…Roman Empire, seriously…does it matter how I achieve it, so long as we get the job done…who would ever know if the dark side and I play along together out here in the wilderness?
  3. The means…everyone else rules by might and status and power…why can’t I…I have the power…I could make it work…a bit of drama like Moses…a miracle or two, give them time to get their phones out…a procession through the streets on a white horse…a few well-orchestrated rallies…publicity, popularity, media attention, a good management team… Alone? Hated? Rejected? A donkey? Despised? Tortured? Crucified? Unknown? I can choose, can’t I?

Look at the result.  Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit (before wilderness) becomes Luke 4:14 Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

How much I yearn to not just be filled with the Holy Spirit but to live and move in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Now, just in case you imagine I mean a miracle-working-celebrity-preacher, I actually mean the same changes as those that Jesus went through in his wilderness – discovering more fully who I am (my identity as child of God), discovering my purpose in being here (it seriously can’t be about cappuccinos and haircuts), and having genuine Godly attitudes to how I achieve that purpose (humility, servant-heart, sacrifice, no interest in popularity, free from pressure to be successful…the Jesus stuff).  He was one in a million, wasn’t he?

In fact, his hope was to be the first one in many millions…so

We have a few weeks more of lockdown or at least a few weeks of graduated unlocking.  Could we spend some time in this wilderness considering (before and perhaps instead of getting all caught up with spacing ourselves in restaurants, cinemas and churches) –

  • What sort of a person do I want to be?  UP
  • What sort of faith community do we want to be?  IN
  • How do we want to serve and influence the surrounding community (locally) and the environment (globally)?  OUT
  • How do we address the still-unsolved issues of our society and world?   OF

Lots of love,


Huddles meet online via Zoom. Would you like to join one?

Contact for further info.

Virtual Sunday School

Join us for our very first Sunday Club Scattered starting this Sunday at 12pm !! 🥳

We will be having Virtual Sunday Club for primary-aged children. And the 11-14’s are having their own gathering too. All on Zoom. You don’t need to download anything you just to make sure that you have sent an email to giving parental consent and contact details, then you’ll receive instructions of how to join the Zoom meeting.

⭐️ Sunday Club will be talking about Paul and Silas; why don’t you watch this video and find out more about them.

🌈 Keep sending in the painted pictures, we still have loads of church windows to fill! Perhaps this week we can do some A4/A3 paintings on the theme of Love (Philios and Agape). ❤️
📸 Feel free to upload a photo of the artwork to this post as well or post it in our Belvoir Parish Church Family.


Worship and Prayer

Join us for an informal time set aside for worship and prayer on the last Sunday of each month. This is a space to engage in whatever way works for you with some gentle leading in a flow of worship and prayer. All welcome. Come as you are. You’ll be able to join in here.

Reaching Out

R E A C H I N G   O U T
Even though our doors are closed we continue our mission to bring help and support to our local Belvoir and surrounding communities with three focused practical activities.
Shopping and messages support to the elderly and vulnerable.
This is when we receive a call from someone who asks for help to get essential groceries or prescriptions while they are self-isolating.
Food package deliveries.
This is when we receive a call from someone who does not h
ave the funds for food for themselves/family. We will help by providing and food package that has been put together by the South Belfast Foodbank.
The Larder Foodbank
We are continuing to support The Larder at St Christopher’s Mersey Street. During Covid-19 there has been a significant rise in the demand for food support. Although there is good food stock currently, this stock will quickly be depleted. You can help by continuing to drop your food donations to church so that we can move on to the Larder when needed.
Although the Church is closed we have made temporary provision for your food drop off by opening up the front porch area from the hrs 10am to 5pm Mon through Sat. There is also provision for drop off outside these times by leaving your food into a new brown bin located at the rear of the church building beside the office.
Current need:
▪️ Tinned Meals
▪️ Tinned Meat
▪️ Tinned Fish
▪️ Tinned Fruit
▪️ Tinned Potatoes
▪️ Tinned Deserts
▪️ Tinned Vegetables

Feel free to send us your paintings and artwork(A4 or A3) for our church windows – to brighten up and give hope and life through the church building. We have lots and lots of windows to fill !! They can be also be posted into the church through the gap in the front doors while out shopping. ❤️
B I G  T H A N K  Y O U to Carson Bell who is organising the Food Bank and deliveries !!
#foodbank #outreach #community #local #belvoirparish


🌈 Keep sending in the painted pictures, we still have loads of church windows to fill! ❤️
📸 Feel free to upload a photo of the artwork to this post as well or post it in our Belvoir Parish Church Family.

Holy Week

Each day of Holy Week has a theme to it. We will be interacting on our Facebook page throughout the week.

Daily schedule
9am Photo challenge – upload your photos to the post
6pm Daily Candle (possibly featuring your photos)
9pm Daily reading (on Facebook)

The videos will also be uploaded to our Youtube channel.

Youtube Channel

Did you know we have a YouTube channel now?

You’ll find Sunday Scattered and The Daily Candle there. Great for sharing with friends who don’t have Facebook.

Scattered Together

Scattered TogetherIntroduction to the situation – Why we are online only?

Last Wednesday (18th March) we received instructions form Church of Ireland Head Office, complying with the stuff we are all hearing from national government, that:
– All services and church meetings are to be suspended until further notice.
– Face to face conversations should only happen with “social distance”.
– Work from home if at all possible.
– Adhere to all publicised hygiene and health practices.
No matter how inconvenient all of this may be to any of us, it is always good to think of the people we may be protecting. Do it for them. We already live by such a principle – loving our neighbour. Now we get to do it all the time.
On Sunday we are going to try to connect together online. Not everyone will be able to do this, so we are also trying to get something through the letterbox of everyone who could read a written version of what we are doing. Janice and I will broadcast from the church at 11am. If I start to sing, you have to join in!!!!
To note:
▶️ Sundays at 11am will be live at – the notes, chat and prayer will be available at the link. (It will be also be live streamed to our Facebook page too)
▶️ Each week the Prayer team will be available to pray with you. You can access this by clicking on the ‘Live Prayer’ button at during the live stream.
▶️ The recording will be available after Sunday morning on both our website and Facebook. Feel free to share it.
▶️ Feel free to visit the live webpage before Sundays to have a wee nosy and ensure you can access it okay. We have a test video on the page.
▶️ Facebook and our website will continue to be updated on a regular bases.
▶️ More up to date info will be posted to our Facebook page and join our ‘Private’ Facebook Church Family Group


Here in Belvoir Church we are trying to…

RETHINK – what does it mean to be church since we can no longer gather in large groups and maybe not even in small groups.

REPLACE – we have decided not to cancel anything.  Rather we are going to try to replace what we did before, and even what we had planned, with other things that we can do.  I have already had a choir practice and a prayer meeting on my phone.  Mothering Sunday flowers will come to you rather than you come to them.  Wait till you see what we are doing on Sunday!

REVIEW – We have already seen the situation changing and arrangements for life having to be changed.  Let’s agree now that change is here to stay.  Let’s respond and adapt as we go along.

RENEW – one day things will be improving, and we will want to embrace what we have learned and become, rather than simply return to the way we were.  I may never go back to watching paint drying on my TV screen, now that I have realised how much I don’t need to watch it.

Anyway, let’s see how God works with us through these challenging days to create a new church and maybe even a new nation and world.