Sunday 14th May, 2023: John 14: 15-21
f you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”
Jesus was trying to tell his disciples what was to happen in this very well-known and comforting passage. We are indeed not on our own, whatever might happen in our lives. The good times, the difficult times, the challenging times – God is there with us ready to listen when we cry out, he supports us and gives us hope. And all this in return for Jesus’ most important commandment. “Love one another, as I have loved you”.
And so today we give thanks for that great promise, as we try in our lives to love those around us – our families, our friends, strangers we meet day by day – trying to treat them as we would want to be treated, as Jesus would treat them himself if he were here.
Sunday 21st May, 2023: John 17: 1-11
When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who You have sent. I have glorified You on earth by accomplishing the work You gave Me to do. ……… Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. For I have given them the words You gave Me, and they have received them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf. I do not ask on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those You have given Me; for they are Yours. …….. Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.
Jesus is praying for his disciples in this moving meaningful prayer – but also for everyone who has accepted Jesus into their lives. God is protecting us at all times – even though there are times when we feel life is unfair and hard. He is still there for us – and as we pray for the people we love, the people we are concerned about, we need to accept and realise that Jesus prayed for us when he was here on earth.
May we give thanks today for the fact that someone – Jesus – loves us so much and wants us to know this as he watches over us in everything we do.
Sunday 28th May: Pentecost: John 7 37-39
On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’ ” He was speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. For the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Jesus had told his disciples that after he had left them, they would receive “an Advocate” – something which would be with them and help them in their life’s work. And today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was so dramatic then, with the disciples being immediately able to speak in other languages, rejoicing in their new-found strength witnessing to God’s love and power.
We might not be receivers of the Holy Spirit in such a dramatic fashion, but the gift is there for us to accept. God’s gift to us – the power to be surrounded by his help in every aspect of our lives. We can’t see it – but it is there, all the time. Thank you God.