Through the Window in Lent: Week Two: Birds

During the first lockdown we put birdfeeders in our tree. We were, and are amazed at how many birds come to the tree: greenfinches goldfinches, great tits, chaffinches, bullfinches, robins. Then collared doves, dunnocks and pigeons come to feed on the ground under the tree where seed has been dropped by the greenfinches (messy eaters!).


The birds have become quite precious to us. We feel a responsibility for them – making sure there is always food. We see how they live alongside one another including different types. There is an occasional scrap but it’s quite rare. Different types will feed together on the same feeder They will cue up on the branches waiting for their turn on the feeders.
I can’t help remembering that Jesus is reported as saying that God’s dream for us all is like a tree where all the birds of the air make their home in its branches.

Something to think about...

Can you see anything from your window that means a lot to you?

Can you see anything from your window to encourage you about our human relationships?

What keeps your hope for a better world alive?


Through the Window

Many of us have spent a lot of time looking through windows over this past year. The restrictions on our freedom have encouraged us all to spend more time being attentive to the natural world. And many of us have found that our sense of being more attuned to the natural world has nourished and sustained us.
Each week during Lent, Margaret and Chris Goddard, who have been shielding since last February, share some of the things that they have noticed through their window and how it has helped and continues to help sustain them.

We, Chris and Margaret, have been shielding since the beginning of March last year. Apart from driving to a ‘safe place’ to walk a couple of times a week, when we are able to, we spend some of our time walking in the garden or enjoying it through the window. We are fortunate to have two small trees in both front and back gardens, some shrubs, flowering plants, and a bird box. We find we are valuing much more highly the wealth of plant and wildlife that we can see through our window. These five reflections give something of our experiencing of shielding.

Week one: Trees
If you have a tree outside your window stand or sit and look. If there is not one where you can see it, you can use the picture at the top, or any other picture you can find, or imagine a tree that you know.
We have a magnolia tree in our garden. In spring it produces white star-like flowers. It does not look much at the moment, but it is covered in buds.


Our tree gives me hope: hope on three counts.
Hope because, in time, the buds will cast their protective silky cases and burst out into beautiful flowers, giving us real pleasure.
Hope because the coronavirus appears to be being brought under control, and so meeting with family and friends and enjoying their company, in the flesh, becomes much more likely.
Hope because the season of Spring points us to the new life when the whole of creation, and relationships within it, will become good, just as God intended.

Something to think about…

What do you hope for in the near future?
What do you hope society will be like a few years from now?
What/who do you place your hopes in?


Baking through Lent: Palm Sunday

It seems strange to think of it these days…but can you imagine standing in a crowd…packed tight up against the people all around you…a bit like being in a football stadium at a football match…everyone cheering and singing…That’s just what it was like on Palm Sunday; crowds lined the streets on the way into Jerusalem. Why? Because Jesus was coming into Jerusalem riding on a donkey: this was the man they’d heard about. The man who made sick people well; who gave hungry people food; who stuck up for those who were looked down upon; they said he’d even brought people back from the dead. This was someone everyone wanted to see. And so they gathered as if to welcome a King; someone they hoped would make a difference to everyone’s lives…
Who would you line up on a street to see?
Why do you think the people were so excited to see Jesus?
Thinking of all those people made me think of Gingerbread people…have a look at some of the gingerbread people that I have made.
Why not have a go yourself and see if you can make some gingerbread people for our Palm Sunday crowd.
Follow this link for the recipe and to find out a bit more about what happened on the first Palm Sunday.

Gingerbread People

350g flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon 100 g butter
175g brown sugar 1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp golden syrup
Icing and decorations (optional)

First set the temperature for your oven to 180°C and prepare a baking sheet with baking paper.
o Cut up the butter and melt in a saucepan over a low heat.
o Add the brown sugar and golden syrup and stir into the butter until the mixture is smooth.
o Remove from heat to cool.
o In a large bowl, sift the flour and add the ginger, cinnamon and baking soda. I like my gingerbread people really gingery so I add 4 tsps!!!
o Stir in the beaten egg to the dry mix.
o Add in the buttery mixture and stir until combined.
o Knead it gently until it forms a dough.
o Roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut out the gingerbread people with a cookie cutter and place on the prepared baking sheets.
o Bake for 8-12 minutes.
o Allow to cool thoroughly (they harden as they cool) before adding any decorations.

A Palm Sunday Story By Linda Sue Pochodzay Edwards

The dusty roads leading into Jerusalem were anything but quiet. A buzz of excitement filled the air as preparations for Passover, the biggest holiday of the year, were being made. It seemed that everyone from everywhere was trying to get to Jerusalem to celebrate. But it wasn’t only people . . .
The roads were crowded with donkeys and camels which was the common form of transportation, and not only that, most people also brought other animals with them. The bleating of sheep, the mooing of cows and the cooing of doves could all be heard, as well as the laughing and singing of children. The mood was boisterous and joyous as people greeted old friends and family members they hadn’t seen since the previous year.
In a field on the outskirts of Jerusalem there was a donkey and it’s colt. Two of Jesus disciples went to see the owner.
“The Lord needs these animals,”they said and without a fuss the owner didn’t ask any questions but let the two men take the animals.
Just outside the town, the friends of Jesus found their master. They took off their overcoats and laid them on the little colt. And then Jesus got up on the colt and started riding it into town.
“How can he do that?” someone from the crowd asked. “How can he get on and ride a little colt that has never been trained?”

As Jesus rode towards the town, a strange thing happened, the people watching took their cloaks off and laid them on the ground
Most of the people in the crowd recognized the man who was riding the little colt. They had heard his teachings, and many had seen at least one miracle. “It’s Jesus! It’s Jesus!” they loudly proclaimed. Other people had brought palm branches on their trip to fan themselves, and they laid those on the ground. Some of them used their palm branch fans to wave in the air, causing a breeze to keep Jesus cool and comfortable.
Even the children joined in! They made a long carpet out of clothing and palm branches, reaching all the way down the road and into town for the donkey and the colt carrying Jesus to walk on. All the while they were laying garments and palm branches on the ground, they were waving and shouting, “HOSANNA! HOSANNA! Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord! BLESSED BE THE KING! HOSANNA!”
The people in the crowd had recognized that day that JESUS is the KING of all the earth. They recognized Him as their Messiah who would one day rule over everything. But there were a few people that were not happy about all this. Some of the Pharisees (teachers in the temple) told Jesus to tell the people to stop shouting and to stop calling Him the King, and to stop worshipping Him.
Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to tell the people to stop shouting and to stop calling Him the King. Jesus responded to the Pharisees saying: “If these people were to be quiet and not worship Me as their King, then the rocks would cry out in worship.” Jesus and the donkey, and the colt continued on their way into the city of Jerusalem, as the shouts of the people continued. “HOSANNA! HOSANNA! Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord! BLESSED BE THE KING! HOSANNA!”
And so Jesus entered Jerusalem…and the people wondered…what was going to happen next?