Sunday Worship 10th May
John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one goes to the Father except by Me
Dear Lord, as we gather in your name,listen to us and bring us peace;
be our rock and our refuge, that we may be made strong;
let your face shine upon us, that we may show your love.
1 Peter 2.2-10;
Thoughts on the readings:
This week’s Gospel passage is perhaps best known for its use at funerals. But Jesus’ words offer more than the promise of a place prepared for the future. He also promises that he will remain with the disciples, even when he is physically gone from them.
This passage written when Jesus was with the disciples during the Last Supper –He was preparing them for the days and weeks ahead of life without Him. He would return at Pentecost but the 7 week wait would be hard without Him –this is what He was preparing them for.
Ironically we too have so far had 7 weeks of lockdown, another three on the way –imagine how the disciples felt in the upper room. They were afraid to go out –not to catch a virus –but because they would be recognised as a follower of Jesus and killed for it.
The disciples used the time to focus on the words of Jesus and maybe this time for us is a time to focus on the words of Jesus to us. We can be strengthened and upheld as we read His word and all His promises to us. The best –that He will never leave us or desert us. He is always there showing us the way.
In his unique writing style, John illustrates the complex relationship between God present now as trinity and the (not-yet) promise of the kingdom to come. The relationship is close -whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father. This is why Jesus can assure the disciples that they will not be left abandoned, and that He himself is both the way that they need to travel and the means.
I was very dubious about getting a SatNav for the car –it was Tony’s idea –he was frustrated with my inability to know the difference between left and right –not good when map reading and giving him directions –we often went the wrong way. This is what happens when humans try to control the way they want to go –we get lost. Following the SatNav has got us where we need to be. Following the voice of Jesus –following you heart we will go the way that Jesus wants for us. Like the sheep –we need to listen to His voice and He will guide us.
There is a theme within these readings of being joined to God in an unbreakable relationship.. Jesus assures his disciples that they will be united in and with him. The Gospel passage ends with a command and a promise (v.12): ‘the one who believes in me will also to the works that I do’. Through a life lived in ‘the way’, we are commissioned to follow Jesus’ example: feeding the poor, caring for those who are hurting, and sharing God’s love.
1 Peter speaks about believers being built together like living stones, that is what we are living stones. Since the lockdown I have been to the church and without you in it, it is but an empty shell. It is quiet, it has no real atmosphere, it is a building that comes alive when we meet together. We are the Church –we are the living stones that make it up. Without us there is no church. We are spiritual temples –bodies that house the very presence of God –The Holy Spirit.. Jesus lives in us and shows us ‘the way’.
You need a way to live your life –Jesus is the way; he shows us the way to live. You need to know what is true and good, and what isn’t –Jesus is the truth; learn from his teaching. You want to live a good fulfilling life? Jesus is the life. Abundant fulfilling life is what he came to bring; we learn about life from what he did.
Something to think about :
What do you use to help you find the way?
How does it feel that Jesus has prepared a way and a place for each of us?
When are the most difficult times to recognise Jesus as the way?
Pictures of Encouragement
Seven shapes on an A4 sheet of paper, as follows : a smiley face, a heart, an arrow, a plate, a tree, a thought bubble, a speech bubble.
At the end of each day, write one thing that shows Jesus being with you in different ways, connected to one of the shapes you have drawn:
day 1) something that made you happy;
day 2) a person you love;
day 3) somewhere you went;
day 4) something you ate;
day 5) something beautiful in nature;
day 6) something that made you think;
day 7) something someone said.
As the week progresses, your sheet will become full of signs that Jesus is with us.
Active prayer walk
Develop a prayer walk in your home, using different spaces to pray for particular people, such as:
• Kitchen –those who grow, make or prepare our food.
• Lounge/living room –those we meet in other places: school, work, clubs.
• Stairs, hall, landing –people who are far away.
• Bedroom –people who are close to us.
• Bathroom –people who care for others.
As you move through your home, pray for the people connected with each space
In the world at this time there is so much fear,many have had their lives and livelihoods destroyed;
many grieve for loved ones who have died;
many are still sick -or fear becoming so:
that they may all know your strength and peace, loving God -be for them a rock and a stronghold.
In a world where industries and infrastructures have failed,
where means of transport and delivery struggle to survive,