November 2018

Sunday 4th November: 4 before Advent: Mark 12: 28-34

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”  “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.  To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

The man was asking Jesus what was the most important commandment, and Jesus’ reply was uncompromisingly straightforward – we are to love God with everything we have, and we are to love our neighbour – our families, people we know, people we meet – anyone and everyone – as we love ourselves.  So easy to say, yet often so difficult to do.  Do we honour God with everything we have? – do we share our income, large or small, with him?  Is every aspect of our lives open to his love?  Are there parts of it we would prefer to keep to ourselves? Are there people we struggle to understand because they are of a different faith or country or way of life?

God will help us meet these challenges – are you feeling that perhaps you need to do better?  Ask God to help you and show you the way forward, and you will discover his love and support melts away what you found to be difficult.

 

Sunday 11th November: Remembrance Sunday: Mark 1: 14-26

…. Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.  Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach.  The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.  ………

Jesus began his ministry by calling men to follow him and become his disciples, and having done this, he went to the synagogue and spoke and taught.  His time had come and, having prayed, he set about doing what his Father had sent him into the world to do.  The disciples who were called showed immense courage and faith – they left their jobs, their security, their families, and responded to the call, and with what amazing results.

On this Remembrance Sunday when we think about the many people who have given up their lives in service of their country, we give thanks to God that, when the time came, they responded without hesitation, following the call to arms.  God still calls us as individuals to be part of His Kingdom – to follow him and let him be part of our lives.  Can we too respond with enthusiasm and give our lives to God?  We just need to say ‘Yes’ to his invitation and he will do the rest.

 

Sunday, 18th November: 2 before Advent: Mark13: 1-8

As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately,  “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.  When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

We often want to know what will happen in the future – will our lives remain the same?  Will they remain secure?  Will our families be all right?  Yet God calls us to trust in the knowledge that whatever happens, he will be right there beside us.  This surely is more reassuring than just knowing what will happen – we will have him with us supporting us, helping us, encouraging us, regardless of what we are facing.

Are you facing a challenging time at the moment?  Are you anxious and concerned about the outcome?  No matter how demanding, how difficult or how immense it is, God is there, waiting and wanting to be with you and help you face it.  Just ask him, and trust – he may not resolve the problem in the way you think is right, but he will never let you down.

 

Sunday, 25th November: Christ the King: John 18: 33-37

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus was challenged by Pilate to say if he was a king – to incriminate himself in the eyes of the chief priests who would consider this to be a sin.  Yet Jesus responded with his customary show of faith and courage – explaining that his kingdom was a heavenly one, not a temporary earthly kingdom.  Pilate then says that, in that case, Jesus is a king.

He is indeed our king – he wants to rule in our lives, in our community, in the world.  He wants his people to work together, to achieve great things in his name, to empower those we live with, those we meet, those who are seeking answers to problems and challenges in their lives.  This wonderful God of ours – he is a king of the universe, with us, beside us, supporting and loving us at all times.  Praise the Lord! – thank you God!




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