May 2022

Sunday 1st May:  Easter 3:  John 21 1-14

Later, by the Sea of Tiberias, Jesus again revealed Himself to the disciples. He made Himself known in this way:  Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.  Simon Peter told them, “I am going fishing.” “We will go with you,” they said. So they went out and got into the boat, but caught nothing that night. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not recognize that it was Jesus.  So He called out to them, “Children, do you have any fish? “No,” they answered. He told them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it there, and they were unable to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it) and jumped into the sea.  The other disciples came ashore in the boat. They dragged in the net full of fish, for they were not far from land, only about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a charcoal fire there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus told them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”  So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many, the net was not torn.  “Come, have breakfast,” Jesus said to them. None of the disciples dared to ask Him, “Who are You?” They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.

The disciples were still feeling the effects of the past few weeks and days – their teacher, their friend, their inspiration had been cruelly put to death on a cross, and yet had risen again and spoken to them.  Although he had told them this would happen, they hadn’t really understood or believed it – and so, they were uncertain as to what they should do next.  So they returned to what they knew best – they went fishing, and amazingly caught nothing until Jesus called to them from the beach, telling them to have one more try.  Then they recognised him and were able to join him for a shared meal with great joy and dawning understanding.

Jesus comes to us too when we are doing the things which fill our lives, things which  we need to do, things we are good at, want to do.  He is there in our everyday living as well as in our ‘mountain-top’ experiences, drawing alongside us and giving us renewed faith and hope. Can we recognise him as we meet him each day?  He can make such a difference in our humdrum lives if we can just welcome him in.

 

Sunday 8th May:  Easter 4:  John 10 22-30

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple courts in Solomon’s Colonnade.  So the Jews gathered around Him and demanded, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  “I already told you,” Jesus replied, “but you did not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify on My behalf.  But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe.  My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.  My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

Jesus was being challenged by the synagogue leaders who were trying to get him to declare he was the Messiah, the long-awaited one who would rescue the Jews from oppression – and had he done so they could then have arrested him.  Instead he told them that his own followers who listened to him and learnt from him would be granted eternal life – they would receive all God’s blessings.  How wonderful is this!  We are safe in God’s hands, whatever may happen, whatever challenges we face in our lives, wherever we are.  Once we have asked Jesus into our life, he is with us forever.

In the present uncertain situation in the world with the pandemic and its results still affecting lives, wars and threats of wars continuing, and the heartbreak of seeing so many people having to flee from their homes in terror -  Jesus is still with us all.  We may not understand, we may ask ‘Where is God in all this’ – but He is here beside us individually at all times.  May we take renewed comfort and joy from this as we try to share this love and reassurance with those we meet.

 

Sunday 15th May:  Easter 5:  John 3  31-35

The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The One who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony.  Whoever accepts His testimony has certified that God is truthful.  For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in His hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever rejects the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him.”

Jesus wanted his followers, and us, to know that believing in Him means believing in God – the God who made us, who loves us, who is with us throughout our lives whether we acknowledge him or not.  But when we do accept him into our lives, then we are filled with his spirit – we know and feel his presence guiding us and leading us, sharing our joys and our sorrows.

Sometimes it is difficult to accept this – when things are sad, when they are going wrong, when we are worried or stressed out.  It isn’t always easy to feel secure and loved and cared for when this happens.  But if we can just hold on to God’s word – be ‘strong’ in our faith – knowing he is there even when we can’t feel his presence – this can be our greatest strength and support.

Sunday 22nd May:  Easter 6: John 3 23-29

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me. All this I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. You heard Me say, ‘I am going away, and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe.

Jesus was trying to reassure his followers that although he wouldn’t always be with them, his teaching, his words, would remain with them and would bring them help and peace.  Peace is something we all crave in our lives – more than the lack of stress, the lack of worry, peace is a deep inner knowledge and acceptance that all will be well in our lives.

Can we rest on this great promise Jesus gives us?  Whatever happens to us – the joys, the sorrows, the uncertainties, the moments of great gladness – God is with us sharing these moments.  We may not always feel him – but we can always enjoy the peace that only God can give.

 

Sunday 29th May:  Sunday after Ascencion:  John 17 20-26

I am not asking on behalf of them alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message,  that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me. Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, I know You, and they know that You sent Me.  And I have made Your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love You have for Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 Jesus’ great prayer to his Father God makes such amazing reassuring reading for us.  He knew he would be leaving his disciples – leaving them to carry on what he had started, trying to spread the knowledge of God’s love for everyone throughout the world.  And over 2,000 years later that knowledge is still being spread by all who hear and believe; by you and by me.  So that everyone can know they are loved – they have a choice to accept all God offers and let him into their lives.

Do we share this knowledge with others?  Do our lives acknowledge God’s place in our lives – do others realise we are God’s children, accepted and loved by him?  Can we this week make sure that at least one person is encouraged by our belief – a smile, time taken to listen, an unshakeable serenity despite whatever is happening in our lives?  Thank you God for all your great gifts.

 

 

 

 




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