Sunday Worship 17th May
Worship at home with our congregation who have already received this service prepared by Pastor Julie.
If you love me, you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper Opening Prayer In your love we trust, creator God: your love for your world; your love for each one of us; your love that invites us to love others, to love ourselves, and to love you. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, receive our love now, and our thanks. Amen
John 14.15-21; Acts 17.22-31 ; 1 Peter 3.13-22;
Thoughts on the Bible Readings – John 14 This passage follows last week’s. Jesus expands on what he said about following in his way by explaining how we put the idea into action: by loving Jesus and keeping his commandments. This relationship between loving Jesus and keeping his commandments is not a case of ‘prove that you love me!’. Rather, it is Jesus explaining how loving him enables us to keep his commandments - a reminder that Jesus’ commands are all rooted in a loving relationship: loving God and loving others
V15 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ – it sounds like a threat! But it is a promise: loving God (in Jesus), we will begin to see things his way, and we will inevitably (at least try to) adopt a posture of love towards others as he did – thus keeping the other of the great commandments. ‘love one another as I have loved you ‘
Jesus stooped to wash our feet and then told us He had shown us how to behave towards others. We are called to serve, just as Jesus served us. If we love Him then we will serve and love as He did. Jesus then goes on to explain that in our own strength we will fail – But he will not leave us alone – he promises the disciples a Helper (we know now as the Holy Spirit) because He was going to leave them.
Jesus also explains that we are not expected to do this on our own; we have the Holy Spirit as our ‘advocate’. The Greek word literally means the one ‘called to your side’ and could equally be translated as ‘intercessor’, ‘counsellor’ or ‘intermediary’.
Crucially, the term means someone who will never desert us in our hour of need. This then flows on naturally to discussing our relationship with Jesus and with the Father; this is all bound up in that oneness with God that ensures that we are not left on our own.
V16 and 17. What does it feel like ‘being orphaned’? I remember when a friend of mine after losing her brother (mother and her father had died some years earlier) said to me ‘Now I am an orphan’ I remember my heart going out to her. Jesus here is saying that parental care is not being withdrawn; the disciples will still live in relationship with Jesus, even though he is no longer physically present. We start from a different place: we have not known Jesus physically. So, what does this promise mean for us today? Is the experience of ‘spiritual love’ sufficient alone? How can we model the love of Jesus to others? Should this give us a push towards ever greater care for those who are orphaned, deprived, marginalised, vulnerable, powerless – whether that is those in refugee camps or homeless on our streets, or the lonely and elderly just round the corner?
Jesus is always with us, around us and within us, He tells us this and we know this, we feel this. Is it OK to accept all our experiences of calm, comfort, beauty and feeling uplifted as intimations of Jesus’ continued presence with us? On the other hand, do we sometimes undervalue such experiences? Should we be more ready to acknowledge the ‘one beside us’ bringing comfort in need, and the ‘advocate’ helping us in times of worry or distress? How are we to understand the kinds of knowing and seeing that are promised by Jesus in this passage they are to be Jesus’ gift to his disciples and to us too.
Why can’t the world receive the Spirit of truth (v.17)? What does it mean to say that the world does not know the Spirit of truth? Is it that we only see the true reality of God when we accept that Jesus died for us, rose again and is alive forever seated at the right hand of God. Without the resurrection knowledge people will not see the spirit of God released into the world and into the lives of those who believe.
This passage about the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit demonstrates a complex and dynamic relationship with one another and with the disciples in the world, revealed and then hidden, intimate and simultaneously infinite. Does it help to remind ourselves that all relationships are always organic and flexible. They grow, reform and transform, deepen and mature. The disciples never really understood Jesus even after three years of living with Him. How much harder is our task, we, who have never had the experience of seeing Jesus face to face. Our relationship with Jesus will hopefully grow and deepen, never more so at this time when we have the time to sit in His presence.
We are now living in a virtual world – we speak to our family and friends but don’t see them in the flesh, we know they exist and we hear their voice. We can come to know Jesus at this time too, we can not see him face to face – but we can still hear his voice, we can still know He is with us. We can still feel His presence.
1261 Brother sister let me serve you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ufwqwquqY
89 Come down on Love divine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXO4rqBQOAU
445 Lord the light of your love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rce9UHYZwl4
411 let there be love shared among us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mvs6rMJuwc
619 Such Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XRTUk5vbNY
Extra just because ………………
Alabaster Box https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5zIOcBiTGg
He didn’t throw the clay away https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S-umsmE2Xk
With all I am https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ_-5JplSVg
Prayers God of love, we are sorry that at times our love for you falters; that we have wrong priorities, and overlook your guidance. O God, forgive us and renew us. Loving Saviour, we are sorry that we disobey your commandments; that we fail to love, and sometimes walk by on the other side. O God, forgive us and renew us. Spirit of truth, we are sorry that we disregard your presence; that our thoughts and feelings are unrighteous, and that we so quickly follow the world’s way. O God, forgive us and renew us. May your presence abiding in us lead us in the right way, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
How might this image speak of relationship?
How easy is it to balance the commandments in the Bible with the love which Jesus offers?
What sort of things do you regularly do for other people, just because you love them?
A heart of love
Draw a big heart and colour it in red.
Around the edge of this heart – write or draw each day one thing that either you have done to show love, or someone has done for you to show love. At the end of the week you can use this to create a prayer of thanksgiving for all the love that has been shared.
You can then share this (if you use) via the Whatsapp group or email me and I will collate.
Extra just because ……….