May 2020

Sunday 10th May: Easter 5:   John 14: 1-14

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God;  believe in Me as well.  In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”  “Lord,” said Thomas, “we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” …… Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me for anything in My name, I will do it.

This well-known passage, often read at funerals, sets out clearly Jesus’ message of hope for each and every one of us. We are not alone; we are not left to go through life in doubt and despair; Jesus promises to be with us at all times, and, even more importantly, to go ahead of us when our time on earth comes to an end, leading us on to a life with him.  In these surreal and difficult times, these words must give us fresh hope – hope in the expertise and dedication of the NHS; hope in our leaders trying to balance the country’s health with its economy; hope in those researching for a vaccine; hope in all those key workers working so hard to keep life going as much as possible.

Are you overwhelmed with worry and concern at the moment? Are you struggling with life in lockdown and an uncertain future?  Let us all take hope from Jesus’ promise –  He is with us, and will see us through even this worrying time. 

 

Sunday 17th May: Easter 6: John 14: 15-21

If 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 continues his reassuring promises as he prepared his disciples for when they will be on their own.  He promises they will always have someone with them to help them – as we do now.  Even though we cannot see him, Jesus is with us at all times and in all difficulties – “if we keep his commandments” – which are to love each other as to love God.  At the moment we are seeing many instances of unselfish love poured out on our behalf and those of people in need;  our hard-working NHS workers; those working long hours to keep supermarkets stocked; the carers visiting people who need help; the Care Home workers looking after and encouraging the residents; those giving up time in the community to help people who cannot go out.  The list is endless

Can you show some act of kindness today – a smile? An exchanged greeting on a walk? A phone call to someone on their own?  We can be Jesus’ messengers on earth while we can, knowing that he is with us in all of this.

 

Sunday 24th May: Sunday after Ascension Day: 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 humanity, 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, whom You have sent.  I have glorified You on earth by accomplishing the work You gave Me to do.  …………  I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.

Jesus prayed for his disciples, and all those who would come to know and love him through their spreading of the Christian message; he knew that although he wouldn’t be with them in person, God would surround them with his love and blessing so that they would feel his power and know he was leading them where he wanted them to go.   He wanted to leave behind him a certainty and hope in an uncertain world, and this did indeed empower his disciples.  They went out in God’s strength, not their own, and began the spread of the good news throughout the world. 

Are you worried or concerned about anyone in particular?  At the moment, perhaps about the whole world as it struggles to overcome coronavirus and move forward to normality?  About problems you yourself are facing?  Give them to God in prayer.  He is there for you and those you love, and will give you the courage and strength to face the future with confidence.

 

Sunday 31st May: Whit Sunday: John 20: 19-23

It was the first day of the week, and that very evening, while the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you!” He said to them.  After He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so also I am sending you.”  When He had said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

Jesus returned after his death to his disciples, to show them he was alive, to promise them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and to send them out to share this glorious knowledge with other people.  We too are to go out and share our faith with those we meet;  not necessarily in spoken testimonies, but often in practical and caring ways as we meet with people who perhaps have never felt that Jesus could be part of their lives.  Sometimes just by being with other people, listening to them, sharing their joys and their fears – this is God’s work and our work. 

We don’t need to do this in our own strength fortunately.  Can you take advantage of any opportunities which might come this week to listen to and encourage someone else?  By phone? By email? By letter?  Often these seemingly unexpected opportunities are prompted by God.




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