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Margaret's Blog

Pentecost John 20: 19 - 23

In our reading from John's gospel, Jesus stands up at the Jewish festival of Tabernacles. This is a festival of thanksgiving for God's provision, similar to our harvest festival, but also reminding the Jews of their history of the Exodus out of Egypt and slavery and their journey through the wilderness.

When I was in the Holy Land in October 1992, the festival of Tabernacles was being celebrated, many of the Jewish households built a makeshift shelter made from palm and other tree branches. Then the family would live in these shelters for the legth of the festival, to remind them of their nomadic history, whilst praising and thanking God for his guiding and provision then and now.

On the last day of this festival, we read, Jesus stood up and addressed the Jews, telling them that, "yes," God has been good to you in the past, but now God is doing a new thing through me, Jesus." Anyone who is thirsty," in other words, has needs,worries, concerns, etc, "come to me, believe in me and I will give you the Holy Spirit, We remember what the Holy Spirit did for the disciples, It broke their fear and gave them confidence to speak out the wonders of God. Everyone listening heard and understood what was being said, even though there were people from many different nations.

Jesus likens the result of the giving of the Holy Spirit to streams of living water. If you think of streams of fast running water particularly in mountainous areas, the water falls are very powerful, the streams are pure, clean, clear water. Jesus says: "this is what will flow from us when we receive the Holy Spirit. Although the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in a particularly dramatic and powerful way on that day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is still around and available, with power but also a gentle, comforter and guide, now.

Just recently Lovell has had fibre optic wire laid round the whole village even to the out lying farms, to bring super-fast broadband and although it's been laid sometime ago, it's useless, due to the pandemic, until each household is connected to the fibre in the ground. This is similar to the Holy Spirit, it's available and ready especially since Jesus left the earth, but each person has to believe in Jesus and come to Him with their needs, worries and concerns, as well as their joys and thanks and we will receive the Holy Spirit. It may be in a powerful, dramatic way or it may be in a gentle, comforting or guiding way, alaying our fears, purifying, cooling refreshing us, giving us confidence to do right things and to speak to others about God. We may not feel confident but just do it and see how the Holy Spirit helps us and them.

 

Words of reflection

Words of reflection on Luke 24: 13 – 35.

A number of people recently have asked: “ Where is God ?” “ Why are our churches closed”? Indeed they are questions I have asked, myself. Perhaps our reading from Luke’s gospel can help us find some answers to these and other questions.

Two disciples after witnessing the events in Jerusalem, of unrest, brutality, and crucifictions, especially of their friend and teacher Jesus. Their hopes were dashed, they had hoped Jesus was going to restore Israel, bring peace and freedom. They were bewildered, disillusioned and grieving.

We can often find ourselves bewildered, disillusioned, anxious and maybe grieving. Feeling someone or something has let us down. This may be especially true in the circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment with lockdown, isolation and the fear of getting the Corona Virus.

Jesus comes and walks beside them, helping them to think through and recall what was written in scripture and spoken by Jesus . Not recognising hat it was the risen Jesus walking and talking with them.

At the end of Matthew’s gospel, the risen Jesus says; “ all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me; therefore go and make disiples of all nations; baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age”. This was Jesus promise to his disciples and to us. As we think through the situation we find ourselves in and seek answers to our questions; God is walking beside us in the form of the Holy Spirit now, helping us to understand a little more as we read scripture and discuss with others.

When the disciple reached their home they invited Jesus for supper. This was the point that they recognised the risen Lord and they couldn’t wait to rush back the 7miles they had travelled to tell their fellow disciples. We all have free will and can choose to invite Jesus into our lives, ( this is not as difficult as trying to download skype or zoom, as I have been trying to do recently, ) No we just talk to him anywhere as if he is a neighbour or a friend, invite him in and communicate by reading and praying. We may not recognise Him at first, but he is there, especially in difficult times. He can be a guest in anyone’s home not just in church.

In Such An Hour by Fay Inchfawn

Sometimes, when everything goes  wrong:

When days are short, and nights are long;

When wash-day brings so dull a sky

That not a single thing will dry.

And when the kitchen chimney smokes,

And when there's naught so "queer" as  folks!

When friends deplore my faded youth,

And when the baby cuts a tooth.

While John, the baby last but one,

Clings round my skirts till day is done;

When fat, good-tempered Jane is glum,

And butcher's man forgets to come.

Sometimes, I say, on days like these,

I get a sudden gleam of bliss.

"Not on some sunny day of ease,

He'll come . . but on a day like this!"

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, 590 MP.

Wow! I've made it.

I was reading this hymn earlier this week, when at last I had decided even I had to lockdown, and it lead me to know the only place to look, in this mess we find ourselves in, was to God. The second verse says: "Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Psalm 121 says:" I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." Yes I have questions, why is this happening? looking for reasons etc, and yes, God encourages us to ask and seek. Although my questions and looking for reasons have not clearly been answered, I have found comfort and confidence in what I have read to know God is aware and remains the maker and redeemer of heaven and earth. Can I encourage you also to: first, seek the Kingdom of God, second, to read His word and third pray.

Cast all your care upon Christ our Redeemer, and trust in His promise to be by your side.

His love will uphold you, His arms will enfold you, let Him be your Saviour, your shepherd and guide.

Fret not nor fear, for whatever befalls you, remember for love of you Jesus was slain.

In dying for us, He shared our human sorrow and bore on His shoulders the weight of your pain.

Though life be fraught with all maner of sorrows the stresses and strains that beset us each day.

Be firm in your faith for the Lord will be with you, and be by your side as your strength and your stay.

( Rev John Davey, Nottingham City Mothers' Union Branch,uk )

 

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