It was another fine day. The sun shone through the vestry window of St Michael's church and the birds sang, greeting the morning. The small fluffy creature lying undef a paper hanky duvet stretched its legs, yawned loudly and began to sing.

The small fluffy creature lying under a paper hanky duvet stretched its legs, yawned loudly and began to sing.

Maximus was proud of his garden. It was near the pile of rubbish where all the flowers from the church were thrown after they had died. It had taken a long time and a lot of hard work to dig enough of the ground to plant his seeds. His lettuces were growing well.

Thinking about them, he changed his tune and began to hum the hymn that humans sing about them, 'Let us with a gladsome mind'.

Maximus struggled into a pair of grubby blue jeans which seemed to have shrunk and set off through the church. 

Outside the Sunday School cupboard was a pair of muddy green wellies. They belonged to Patrick who lived in the cupboard with Paula and their children. Maximus decided that Patrick wouldn't mind if he borrowed the wellies whilst he did his digging.

Just outside the church door was the entrance to one of the many burrows which had been dug by Robert and his family of rabbits. Leaning against the entrance was Robert's bright shining spade. Maximus thought that Robert wouldn't mind if he borrowed it whilst he did his digging.

When he turned the corner of the rubbish dump he could see that Herbert the hedgehog had left his wheelbarrow after he had emptied out his dustbin onto the dump. I'm quite sure that Herbert wouldn't mind if  I borrowed his wheelbarrow, thought Maximus.

As Maximus came nearer to his little plot of land, brushing past the dewy grass, he saw his lettuces, of rather where they had been. Now all that was left of the fine row of plants was a few battered stalks with all the leaves gone. Maximus could not believe his eyes and rubbed them with his front paws. There was no mistake — someone had eaten all the leaves. There was not one full leaf left on a single lettuce.

Maximus crept nearer in case the robber was still about. He looked around but there was nobody to be seen. There were no signs of paw prints anywhere — all he could see was a white slimy trail leading off towards the rubbish heap. Slowly and carefully he followed the trail which led higher and higher up the rubbish, past some very ancient chrysanthemums, and on to a prickly rose stalk. There at the top was a large, fat, black, and very slimy, slug.

'Yes?' growled the slug, whose name was Slugger.

'What do you want? Can't you see I'm sunbathing?'

'Well,' said Maximus, father surprised and out of breath. 'You stole my lettuces. I mean they've all gone and I followed your trail up here and you did it, you stole them!' Maximus heard a noise behind him and turned found. There creeping up towards him were four more enormous slugs.

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'Boys,' said Slugger to the others, 'I don't think you've met the nice Mr Maximus who grows those delicious lettuces for us. Let's say thank you to the kind mouse who looks after poor slugs who have nothing to eat. I'm sorry we borrowed your lettuces without asking!'The slugs sniggered nastily.

Maximus was stuck, surrounded by five teasing black slugs. Help arrived in the shape of a blackbird which landed close by and looked hungrily at the slugs. The slugs slid off the stalks very quickly and Maximus headed angrily back to his vegetable garden.

 'They never asked if they could have any of my lettuces — they've eaten them all!' he said out loud. 'They only had to ask and I would have given them one.

Just at that moment he heard voices coming towards him and was surprised to see Herbert, Patrick and Robert all looking a bit cross.

'Can we have a word with you, Maximus, please?' asked Herbert. 'There are one of two things we would like to sort out.'

'Those wouldn't be my wellies you're wearing, would they?' asked Patrick.

'And that's not my spade, is it?' asked Robert.

'Surely I've seen that barrow before!' said Herbert.

'I knew you wouldn't mind,' said Maximus in a rather worried voice. 'I know you all like to share your things.'

'We do,' they said together. 'But we do like to be asked FIRST.'

'O dear,' said Maximus. 'I seem to have heard that before, and not long ago either.'

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Heavenly Father,

Thank you for all the good things you give us. 

Forgive us when we are selfish. 

Help us to share what we have with those people who need it most. Amen.

Uncle Tomouse's Will

Maximus was dreaming in bed one morning when

 he was woken up by a loud knocking on the Vestry

door. He struggled out of his hanky duvet and

scampered over to open the door.

It was the postman.

                                             'I have an important letter for you, Maximus,’

                                             said Albert the octopus.

 

                                             Albert made a good postman because he could

                                             sort out all the letters quickly with his eight

                                             tentacles.

"Oh’ said Maximus who was rather surprised. I don't get many important letters. It can't be the Church Secretary because I've paid the rent.'

the

Maximus said a hurried farewell to Albert and ran with the letter back to bed. He tore open the envelope and pulled out the important looking letter.  It was from Foot, Foot, Foot and Mouth: Solicitors.

 

 

                                                                  On Monday morning Maximus was up                                                                  early and soon found his way to Foot,

                                                              Foot, Foot and Mouth: Solicitors.

                                                                   He was shown into a large room

                                                                       and was pleased to see lots of

                                                                           members of the family that

                                                                              he had not met for a long

                                                                                time. There were dozens

                                                                    of cousins, numbers of nephews,

                                                             several sisters and bags of brothers.

                                   They all went silent when Mr Foot stood up to squeak.

the

"This is the last will and testament of Tomouse, he read. "I, Tomouse, being of sound mind do bequeath to all my nephews cheese for one year, equal portions. " 

the

There were other gifts in Uncle Tomouse's will but Maximus

didn't hear them. He was dreaming of all that lovely cheese

— a whole year's supply. Good old Uncle Tomouse.

the

He said goodbye to all his relations and went back home to the church.

 

The following Sunday Maximus was in church once again for the morning service. Last week he had learned that God was like a father and that his name was holy. He wondered what he would hear today.

 

"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," announced the vicar.

the

"Bless my tail and whiskers," said Maximus. "The vicar is going to read a will. Perhaps we shall all get something."

 

"The kingdom of God can only come when we all do the

will of God," said the vicar.

"To do the will of God is to do what he wants;

to love him and to love everybody we know.

We should be kind and thoughtful and think of

other people before we think about ourselves.

That is the will of God. Those who have finished

their lives here on earth go to heaven if they love God.

In heaven everyone does what God wants because they love him. On earth we have to try every day to do his will. Then we help God to make the kingdom of earth more like the kingdom of heaven. " 

 

Maximus scratched his head with his front paws

and thought about what the vicar had said.

He scuttled away as the people sang the last

hymn. Then he remembered the cheese he had

been left in his uncle's will and made a delicious

cheese sandwich for lunch.

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Heavenly Father,

we know that what you want us to do is best for our lives. 

help us to know your will and give us the courage to do it.

Amen

Candlewax and Cheese Pie

 

Maximus was having an afternoon nap curled up in a  small furry ball. He was lying in a pool of sunshine  which was streaming in through the church window. 

 

He had been very busy that morning

making a new duvet from a nice hanky

which the organist had dropped  at choir

practice. He had to make a new one as he

had  eaten the old one when he woke up

hungry in the night. Just as he was

dreaming of a large pile of hassock and 

cheese sandwiches there was a loud noise.

The noise came from the back of the church. He jumped up, rubbed his eyes with his front paws, and scuttled under a chair.

 

Several people had come into the back of the church with some large pieces of card and strips of metal. Maximus watched as they slotted the strips together and placed the large cards on them. After a while the people went away and Maximus scampered down the church to see what this strange looking thing was. On the cards were large photographs. They showed some very poor people in another county. These people seemed to be very hungry and their clothes were not much more than rags. 

One of the children in a photograph was holding a bowl. Maximus read the words printed at the bottom, 'Give us this day our daily bread.' He stroked his whiskers with his front paws. He had heard the vicar talk about helping others and how the church tried to give money and pray for people who were starving. Maximus  had never seen a photograph of hungry children before  and he felt very sorry for them. 

Just as he was thinking how dreadful it was to be so hungry he heard a strange noise coming from the vestry. As he arrived at the vestry door he saw the front half of another mouse coming through his crack in the plaster.

 

'Stay right there!' shouted Maximus, sounding much braver than he felt. 'What do you think you are doing   coming into my church?'  

 

'Please,' begged the other mouse.

'Please let me in.' 

 

 'All right,' said Maximus. 'Come in, but no funny tricks.' 

The strange mouse pulled himself through the hole in the plaster and dropped down onto the floor of the vestry.

 

'Is that candlewax and cheese pie I can smell?' he asked. 

 

Maximus saw how cold and wet and hungry he looked. Instead of being frightened of this stranger he began to feel very sorry for him. Maximus soon discovered that his new friend was called Patrick. Patrick  had been living in a very old house just down the road.  It was owned by an elderly lady but she had gone into a special home when she could no longer look after herself. The council had come along and knocked down her house to build a new road. Patrick and his family had nowhere to live and had lost all their clothes and furniture and food.

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Patrick explained "I left my wife and mouselings under a hedge, because it was raining so hard. I promised I would find them something to eat and a new home." Maximus quickly warmed up some candlewax and cheese pie. Patrick ate it noisily, wiping his whiskers with his paws, and soon finished a very large helping.

 

Maximus and Patrick then had a long chat about how to help the family. 

"I think the best thing to do," suggested Maximus, "would be to move you all into the church. Let me show you." Patrick had never been in a church before. It was very big, but then his family was growing.

"This is the Sunday School cupboard," said Maximus.

"I think you could all be very comfortable in here."  

"There are lots of things for the mouselings

to do as well," said Patrick. "Paper for them

to draw on, books to read, and wax crayons

to eat." Patrick went back through the hole

in the vestry wall to get the family. Soon

they were all safely settled in the cupboard.

 

 

 

 

 

The next Sunday Maximus was pleased to see that Patrick, his wife Paula, and the mouselings were all in church for the service. The vicar said she was going to speak about another part of the Lord's Prayer.

 

' "Give us this day our daily bread." Most of us,' she  said,

'don't have to think about our daily bread. We  take it

for granted that we will have more than enough  to eat.

At the end of the day we expect to go to bed full and

not hungry. In many parts of the world where people

are hungry these words are really a prayer asking God

to give food. It is our duty as Christians to care about

those who do not have enough to eat. We must give our

prayers and our money to help. Sometimes we can care for those who live near us by making friends with them and doing practical things to help.'

 

Maximus rubbed his eyes and nearly shouted out, 'That's what I've done. I helped Patrick and his family.' Just in time he remembered to whisper it to himself. He cooked a very special meal that evening of hymnbook hotpot. Then he took it over to Patrick and his family.

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Father God,

Thank you for all the good things you give us:

our health, our homes, our food and our friends.

We are sorry that so often we take them all for granted. 

Help us to understand what it is to need these things  

and give us the love to provide them for others.

Amen

Maximus loves music. He could sit and eat it for  hours. Sometimes he fried it, sometimes he baked it and sometimes he just ate it raw. He also liked to listen to music. When the organist came into the church to practice, Maximus would happily sit and listen to the hymns for the coming Sunday. Sometimes Maximus would join in, with the organist, on his mouseorgan.

Dis-Organ-ised - Forgiving and Forgiven

The organ in the church was very old. From time to time it made very strange noises in the middle of hymns. A special organ repairman came to look at it. After he had checked it out and listened once or twice he spoke to the organist and the vicar.

 

"I'm sorry but there is nothing I can do. It’s just too old to repair. You will have to buy a new one. "

Several months later the new organ was brought into the church and fitted carefully in place. The organist played some hymns and he and the vicar agreed that it sounded much better than the old one. There were no strange noises any more. The organist was really looking forward to playing the new organ the following Sunday.

the

The next night Maximus decided to explore the new organ. He could see quite well because the moon shone in through the church windows.

Maximus climbed the north face of the keyboard  and soon found a mouse-sized hole. Inside, the organ was very different from the old one. Everything was electronic. There were hundreds of  brightly covered wires. Maximus scampered all over it — sliding down one wire, nibbling through another  one, and even swapping some over. It was much  more exciting than the old organ. He enjoyed himself so much that he couldn't wait to come again another night. He scampered back to the vestry and  was soon fast asleep under his handkerchief duvet after the busy night. 

Just as Maximus was dreaming about showing Patrick and the mouselings round the new organ, he was woken by the sound of voices. The vicar and the choirboys came into the vestry to get ready for the morning service. Maximus heard them talking about the new organ and how nice it would be singing to it rather than waiting for the funny noises to come. 

Maximus followed them all into church. The vicar announced the first hymn. The organist put his fingers on the keys. 

 

There was the most DREADFUL noise. It was nothing at all like a hymn tune. It was then that Maximus realised what he had done. He had changed the wires around so much inside the organ that it could not be used. The poor Vicar had to get a repair man from the organ firm to come and put it right. 

Back in the vestry after the service, which had been rather spoiled without the new organ,  Maximus decided to go back to bed again. After all he had been up all night. He went over to the corner where he kept his little duvet rolled up. IT WASN'T THERE.  He searched everywhere for it. He looked in the cupboards, under the carpet, even in the waste bin in case the Vicar had thrown it away. He couldn't see it anywhere. 

 

"I'll go and ask Patrick if he knows where it is," said Maximus to himself. 

As he reached the Sunday School cupboard he saw Patrick unrolling a duvet.

"That's my duvet!" Maximus said angrily. "You've stolen my bed."

"I didn't think you'd mind," said Patrick. "You see, Paula is not very well. I need it to keep her  warm. "

"Well, you might have asked, but since you need it I will forgive you. Next time ask if you want anything.

On Monday, a repairman came from the organ firm. 

"Looks like something small and furry's been in here," said the repairman.

The next Sunday morning the vicar continued

her talks about the Lord's Prayer.

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them

that trespass against us," she said. "Trespass

is an old word meaning sin or the things that

we do that are wrong. For example, last Sunday,

we had a problem with our new organ. It seems

that someone small, like our church mouse, got

inside it and re-arranged the wires. That was

a wrong thing to do and it has caused us a lot

of trouble. But we forgive him for doing this,

providing he never does it again."

 

Maximus was very ashamed at hearing this. He  was really sorry for what he had done. Then he thought about Patrick and the duvet. He was glad he had forgiven Patrick for taking it but he was even happier that he had been forgiven for spoiling the new organ. He sat and enjoyed listening to the organ. This time everyone joined in the hymns without any funny noises.

Heavenly Father, 

We so often ask you for forgiveness but we are not good at forgiving those that hurt us. Help us to forgive others and to know that you will always forgive us when we are really sorry. Amen

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And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil

But Maximus is not the only one who likes his food. I have to tell you that the vicar of St Michael's Church is also very fond of certain things to eat. Mr Vicar gets very cross with the vicar and tells her that she must lose weight or she will not get into her cassock. The cassock is the long black sort of dressing gown which vicars wear so that people  can't see their knees knocking when they are nervous.

 

Mr Vicar had told his wife that she must not eat any more sweets. The vicar loved sweets but her special treat was fudge. She adored fudge: fudge with nuts, fudge with ginger, fudge with rum and raisins,  chocolate fudge, in fact any sort of fudge.

You may have guessed by now that Maximus is a  rather greedy mouse. You have heard quite a lot about what he eats. Candlewax and cheese sandwiches, wax waffles and music muesli are all favourite items on his menu.

One Christmas, the church organist, who knew how much the vicar liked it, gave her a large box of  nut and ginger fudge. The vicar was afraid that Mr  Vicar would find it and give it to the choirboys. Instead of taking it home she put it in the drawer in the vestry where she kept all her special things. Sometimes, before a service, the vicar would secretly take out a piece of fudge and chew it when she thought no one was watching.

One Sunday morning Maximus was snuggled  down in his duvet wondering if the music of 'Fight  the good fight', which he had eaten for breakfast, would give him tummy ache. He happened to look up just as the vicar took a bite of ginger fudge. Maximus made a note to remember what he had seen and went back to sleep again.

Later that morning, after all the choirboys and the vicar had gone home, Maximus searched the drawers for the fudge. Mice are very good at finding food that has a strong smell. He knew exactly where  he would find it. He pushed aside two old hymnbooks, a stack of out of date notices and one half of a pair of red woolly gloves that had been left  in church. The end of the box was open and  Maximus took a mouse-watering bite of ginger fudge. 

Just as he was thinking of moving onto a slice of nut fudge the door burst open and in came the vicar. She had forgotten her diary. Fortunately she didn't see Maximus who was lying very still pretending to be a furry glove. Maximus was so frightened that as soon as the vicar left he jumped down out of the drawer. He ran, as fast as his little paws could manage, to hide under the old carpet in the corner. He decided against eating any more fudge for lunch and was very glad not to have been caught.

The following Sunday morning the vicar told the people that she had come to the words 'lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,' in the Lord's Prayer. 

" 'Lead us not into temptation' is an asking prayer," he said. "We are asking God that we are

not tempted to do something wrong. Sometimes we want to do things, which we know are wrong — this wanting is what we call temptation. We are asking God to help us not to give in to this wanting.

" 'Deliver us from evil' is also an asking prayer. We ask God to stop anything bad from happening  to us. These two parts of the Lord's Prayer are  prayers for ourselves — that we don't do wrong things and that wrong things don't happen to us. " '

Maximus, who had been listening, suddenly thought of what had happened last Sunday morning. He had been tempted to eat the vicar's fudge and had nearly been caught doing so.'I think that prayer is the right one for me," said Maximus to himself. "Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil. I must leave the fudge for the vicar, but I hope Mr Vicar doesn't find out!"

Father God,

Help us to know what is wrong and to do what right so that we may be true friends of yours. Amen.

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For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,

forever and ever. Amen

Maximus hated official looking forms. They always gave him a headache. Every now and then the postmouse would deliver another brown envelope. Maximus always sat and looked at them and hoped they would go away. Sooner or later, though, he had to fill them in and it always took him ages.

One morning, as Maximus was lying in bed, he heard a letter flop onto the floor of the vestry. He fought his way out of his duvet and then groaned when he saw the colour of the envelope. It was light brown. Maximus knew light brown envelopes always had forms in them.

"It's not going to be a good day," moaned Maximus to the vestry wall.

"In fact, it's going to be a really boring day. I hate forms."

Maximus threw the brown envelope down on the floor and went off to find some breakfast. He banged the vestry door behind him and scampered around the church hoping to find a nice piece of music to eat. After a long search he found an old hymnbook near the organ and helped himself to numbers 475 to 483. There was no sign of Patrick in the church so Maximus went over to the Sunday School cupboard to find him. When he opened the  cupboard door he could see that Patrick was writing.

"Sorry, I can't come out just at the moment,"

said  Patrick. "I've got this census form to fill in." 

 

"Oh, I had one of those horrid things," said  Maximus.

"I'm not going to waste my time filling it in. "

"But you've got to," replied Patrick, "it's come

from the Mouse of Commons. Every mouse must

fill  one in and send it back. They need to know all  about you. Tell you what. If you like, when I've  finished mine, I'll come and help you."

Later that morning Patrick explained to Maximus  that every few years every mouse in the country had to fill in a census form. The Mouse of Commons  needed to know all about everyone — when they were born, where they lived, what work they did, and lots more. Between them they soon managed to answer all the questions on the form.

"Now they will know as much about me as I know about myself," said Maximus. 

 

The two friends folded up the forms and took them to the post box. Maximus felt very pleased that he had got the job finished and thanked Patrick for his help.

The following Sunday morning Maximus was up early. He was anxious not to miss the vicar's talk. It was the last one about the Lord's Prayer. He found a warm place near one of the radiators, he joined in the hymns, and settled down to listen to the vicar.

"We have come to the last part of the Lord's Prayer

today," she said. '"For thine is the kingdom, the power

and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.' At the beginning

of this prayer we learned about God being our father.

At the end we learn even more about him. The kingdom

that matters is God's kingdom in which everyone does what God wants. God is all-powerful — he made us and he made the world. He is wonderful and we praise and thank him for what he is when we say he is glorious. God is so much greater than we can imagine.

"There has never been a time without God and there never will be — he is forever and ever. And then finally we say Amen. Amen means 'so be it'. Whenever we use the word 'Amen' we are saying we agree with whatever the prayer says." 

the

Maximus thought about the census form that he had filled in.

the

"It's a bit like that. I've written down a lot about myself so someone now knows a lot about me. Jesus gave his friends the Lord's Prayer to use and now we know a lot more about God. I must go and tell Patrick all about it."

Father God,

You are greater than we can possibly understand yet your love for us is that of a father for his children. Help us to show, by the way we live, that we are members of your kingdom here on earth. Amen

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Real Mice are Grey

 "The trouble with foreigners, said Maximus to Patrick, "is that they squeak foreign.

 The two mice had been discussing holidays.  Maximus had never been abroad for his holidays. He stayed with various friends and family from time to time, but unlike Patrick and his family, had never  left England.

 

"Of course they do," laughed Patrick. "To them  you squeak foreign too! Just because a mouse doesn't squeak the same language as you, or eat the same food...

 

"Yes, that's another thing," interrupted Maximus. "

All that horrible smelly cheese — blue with little

worms crawling in and out of it. Or what's that

other one — all full of holes. Why pay for  cheese

with holes in it? It only goes to show what foreign mice are like." 

 

"Maximus, you are so wrong," argued Patrick.  "If only you would go and see for yourself. We had  a really fantastic holiday last year in Miceland. The weather was hot, the food was good, and most of all the mice were really friendly. Most of them squeak  English. Just as well, since so few English mice  squeak any foreign languages at all." 

 "No, it's just not right," said Maximus. "As far as I'm

concerned we grey mice are different from those 

foreign white mice. They should all learn to squeak

proper English and eat decent food. We should keep 

ourselves to ourselves. All those foreign mice are 

coming over here and taking our jobs. I expect if you

went to some of our churches you would find a  white

mouse as mouse-keeper. Those white mice are  getting

everywhere. " 

 

"But they're exactly the same as us!" exploded Patrick. "They may be a different colour and squeak  another language but they are the same as you and me.“

 

"Sorry, Patrick, but I think you're wrong," said Maximus. And he turned away from his friend  and scampered off to look for some lunch. He muttered to himself as he went. "White mice  indeed — it's just not natural. Proper mice are grey — not white. "

 

It was not the first time that Maximus and Patrick had argued over grey and white mice. Patrick had tried hard to make Maximus understand that white mice were the same as grey mice. But Maximus's mind was made up and he wouldn't listen to anyone else.

 

Just as Patrick was going back to have lunch with his family in the Sunday School cupboard he heard a loud bang. This was followed by a shout. Patrick scampered, as fast as his paws could manage, towards the noise.

 

By the pulpit he saw something very odd.

There was a large book lying on the  ground.

The book was moving slowly up and down. 

Every time it went down a groan came from underneath it. 

Patrick, rather nervously, went up to the book. He lifted one corner as it rose in the air. Underneath  he saw a very unhappy looking Maximus. 

"Get this off me," moaned Maximus. "I think I've broken my leg! " 

the

"Whatever happened? " asked Patrick as he gently lifted the book.

 "I climbed the pulpit to get the vicar's sermon  notes for lunch. Fresh sermon notes are really good for you. But I overbalanced on the top and fell down. Then the vicar's hymnbook fell on top of me.

the

"I've been mugged by a hymnbook!"

the

Patrick took a close look at his friend. Maximus' leg was beginning to go a very strange colour.

"I'm going to phone for the doctor. He'll decide what to do about your leg. I'm afraid that you may have to go to hospital."

 

A quarter of an hour later the church door opened

and in came a mouse carrying a big black bag.

Patrick, who had been waiting at the back of the

church, gave a loud gasp. The doctor was a white

mouse. Their usual doctor was a grey mouse like 

them. Patrick took him to Maximus.

"Now what seems to be the trouble?"

asked the doctor in perfect English.

"It's Mr Maximus, isn't?"

"Yes," stuttered Maximus, looking at the doctor.

"I fell from the pulpit and I think I've broken my leg.”

 

The doctor felt his leg very gently. He asked Maximus to bend it and then to wiggle it about.

"No," said the doctor with a smile. "You have been very lucky this time. It is badly bruised and you will have to rest it for several days — but it isn't broken. Now perhaps between us we can get you to bed.”

 

Patrick stayed with Maximus after the doctor had left. He looked at Maximus with a smile.

"There you are," he said, "you are a real fraud. You didn't mind a white mouse doctor helping you when you needed it, did you?”

 

"No, you're right Patrick. He was very kind. I  expect all white mice are really like that — just the same as us.”

 

And Maximus thought a lot more about it as his leg got better.

 

He thought to himself "We need to get to know people before we make up our minds about them."

Heavenly Father,

We often think wrong things about people we don't  really know. Forgive us and help us to understand that we can learn a great deal from each other.

Amen 

Batman and Patrick the Mouse Wonder

It was not a good day for Maximus. First of all,

he had not slept very well. He had found an old

hymnbook behind the organ which must have

been there for years. He had seven hymns for

supper and then had tummy ache all night.

But there had been another problem as well.

For the past few nights he had been nibbling

away at his paper hanky duvet. This meant holes. And where there are holes there  are paws to fill them. He had woken up with very cold feet.

Maximus was expecting a letter from his cousin Chrismus. He was hoping to stay with Chrismus for a short holiday but no invitation had arrived. Maximus was still feeling rather ill from the seven hymns and he didn't want any breakfast. The truth was that Maximus was very cross with the world.

"I'm fed up, fed up, fed up!" he shouted as he stumped down the aisle of the church. "Nobody cares about me. Nobody cares that I've got tummy ache," he grumbled. "I spend all my time looking after the church, but does anyone look after me? No, of course they don't. I might as well go and find a proper mousehole of my own."

                                                  At that moment Barnabas, the church bat

                                                  who lives in the belfry, came swooping

                                                  down. He was flapping his wings and

                                                  causing quite a wind.

                                                  "Go away, you beastly bat," shouted

                                                  Maximus. "Can't you see I've got tummy                                                     ache? All you bats do is frighten                                                                 respectable mice by your low flying. Don't                                                   you know there is a law against low flying                                                     bats in churches?"

                                                  "A rodent with resentment, a moody                                                           mouse," said Barnabas. "A creature                                                             without composure." 

Patrick heard all the noise going on in the church

and scampered out to see what was happening.

He skidded on the newly polished church floor

and crashed straight into Maximus. 

"Can't you mind out where you're going?"

shouted Maximus angrily.

"Here I am minding my own tummy ache, not

disturbing anyone. First I'm attacked by a dive-bombing

bat and then by a crazy mouse that thinks he's a Formula One driver.

thought that churches were supposed to be places of peace and quiet. Fat chance of finding any here with you two about." 

Maximus turned round and tried to look very fierce as he walked slowly back to the vestry. He could hear Barnabas and Patrick talking to each other. 

"Our mutual friend appears to be irrationally irritated," said Barnabas. "He is in an unhappy  humour. "

"Yes, I think we'll have to do something to cheer him up," said Patrick. "I've got an idea." 

The mouse and the bat went to the back of the church and whispered to each other. Moments later  Barnabas flew back to the belfry and Patrick  disappeared into the Sunday School cupboard. 

Maximus, who had fallen asleep in the vestry, was woken by a loud knocking on the door. He tumbled out of bed and grumpily opened the door.

"What is it now?" he started to say, and then  stopped in surprise. Standing at the door were two  of the strangest looking beings he had ever seen. Barnabas's face was covered with a mask and a cloak hung over his wings. Patrick was dressed in a  cloak made from an old tissue and also wore a  mask.

"Enter Batman and Patrick the Mouse Wonder! "  said Barnabas. 

"We've come to cheer you up," said Patrick. "We  fight all the things that make mice bad tempered! "

By this time Maximus was laughing so much

he couldn't squeak. They both looked so funny. 

Barnabas' wings were sticking through his cloak and Patrick's whiskers were caught in his mask making him sneeze. Maximus lay down on the floor and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Later, after a special tea party, Maximus thanked his two friends for making him happy again. He told them he was sorry for being such a bad tempered mouse.

Maximus realised that being bad tempered can spoil lots of things. It's good to have friends who help to change our moods.

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Loving Father,

Forgive us when we are bad tempered and selfish. Help us to remember how much you have given us and to be thankful. Amen 

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The Dassett Magna Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit:

fill the hearts of your faithful people

and kindle in us the fire of your love.

Strengthen your church here in Dassett Magna:

deepen our faith

and pour out your love, through us,

on our communities.

We ask these things in Jesus' name.

Amen.

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The Reverend Nicki Chatterton

Tel. 07769871237

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