Fifth Sunday of Easter Message
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ
VE Day reminds us that there is hope even in the darkest times. As we look forward into next week, we do so with hope and in expectation. But we need to ground this hope and expectation not in human actions or decisions, but through a clear and constant attention to what God directs us to do and to be. And we know what that is. God calls and expects us to be caring and mindful of the good of others. We know that we must be careful that we do not put our own desires ahead of the needs, the care of others. This is both our sacrifice and our joy. So, while we look forward to some relaxation of the restrictions on our movement we must be ever mindful that it is not our convenience, our pleasure that is important here, as nice as this will be to enjoy. We must be mindful of caring and protecting others. This has always been our call, but in this time we are required to keep this uppermost in our minds. We continue to live in a very fragile situation, and we must do our best to live joyously in the Love of God and to serve God’s loving purpose in our communities. God is always there to sustain us in this, and we must ever call upon God’s Love, through our Lord Jesus and in the strength given to us in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I find this passage from Romans to be helpful at all times, and especially now:
Romans 13.12-14: You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day…putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
And this concept of light which displaces the darkness should be our constant theme. Each act of goodness is filled with holy light, and as St John tells, us the darkness can never overcome the Light of God.
I also came across this prayer by Pete Greig for the Sabbath, and I think it is a good one to begin this new week, this new phase of our life in the present time:
In the silence of this moment I express my deep gratitude
for the church
Father God thank you for your beautiful multi-cultural intergenerational family
Gathering on line or in person today in so many countries
Revive and sanctify us I pray, make us a house of prayer for all nations
And set our hearts on fire again for the good news of your gospel.
I take a moment to earth this big prayer locally, by naming members of my church
And friends who are finding life particularly tough
I dedicate the coming week to Jesus
Thank you, God for loving me, as a mother loves her child,
with all your heart with all your soul and all your mind
Inspire me this week to love you with all of mine.
Thank you Jesus for your faithful and sacrificial friendship
Help me this week to be a faithful and sacrificial friend like you
Thank you Holy Spirit for listen to my many thoughts and words and dreams
Still my soul this week to listen much more carefully to yours
May this day bring sabbath rest to my heart and my home
May God’s image in me be restored
And my imagination in God be ‘re’ storied
May the gravity of material things be lightened
And the relativity of time slow down
May I know Grace to embrace my own finite smallness
In the arms of God’s infinite greatness
And may God’s word feed me and God’s spirit lead me
Into the week and into the life to come
[Peter Greig, in Lectio 365]
This Sunday, worship on BBC One at 10.45 will be led by the bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who leads the service for VE Day from Hereford Cathedral.
Here are links to live streamed services in the Leeds Diocese including services from parishes in our area:
Thank you for all the love and care you are giving to each other, your neighbors, your family, and strangers during this time. I know we are all getting a little weary, but now is the time to strengthen ourselves with prayer, and get on with continuing to care for others, and also for ourselves. Ask for help if you need it, or are just feeling like you need a little support. If you are feeling lonely take the initiative and call someone, odds are they are feeling the same way. Continue to be faithful in prayer and this will sustain you.
God’s blessings pour upon you and those you love, sustaining you with God’s light and power during this time,
Revd Jessica Malay