Letter from the clergy - Sunday 10 May 2020

First published on: 9th May 2020

Dear Friends,

Last week we heard how Jesus the good shepherd goes ahead of us, calling us to life in all its fullness, that he has a particular call for each of us, and he is also the gate, the only way to that good life. This week’s reading from John 14 is even more specific, Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ and just as he said he was going ahead of his disciples to prepare the way for them, he goes ahead of us in our lives, and accompanies us through the challenges of the world today. Death is real, as our first reading from Acts 7 and as Covid-19 is making clear, but Jesus is more powerful than death.

When you read John 14.1-14 it is striking how Jesus speaks of the close relationship between himself and his Father, and the importance of prayer in his name. He urges his disciples to trust in him, to believe his words, and to pray, as he prepares them for testing times when he wouldn’t be there in person, but he is also giving them reasons for hope, as he reassures them, and goes on to promise the gift of the Holy Spirit. These promises are for us also, and it’s good to hold on to these promises, as we find new ways of sustaining our faith in our current situation. Why not read the Gospel of John all the way through, see if you can find all seven of the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus, meditate on them, and ask God to give you a deeper level of faith and understanding, as you live out your Christian life in Lockdown?

Much of the advice on Christian wellbeing that we have been given involves establishing a good pattern of prayer for each day. Building spiritually healthy patterns with the things that we can control, like prayer, reading the Bible, and watching services on TV or our St John’s services online, and trying to let go of the things we can’t control (like when we’ll be able to meet for Christian fellowship or worship God in church), paying attention to our feelings when we feel stressed, being kind to ourselves, and spending time doing things that feed and resource us.

In our mid-week Communion service this week Shirley came up with a really helpful mnemonic: PEACE.

  • P = prayer
  • E = exercise
  • A = admin
  • C = chores and
  • E = whatever we enjoy!

Note how prayer is first, the foundation for everything else. I commend this pattern of PEACE for each day, which I believe will give us a rich sense of wholeness and ‘aliveness’ in these challenging times.

If you have internet, do take a look at the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative, in which we are asked to light up the world in prayer from Ascension Day (21st May) to Pentecost (31st May), when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. There are lots of great resources for prayer, for families, and to help us pray for our local community, that more people would come to know Jesus in this time. So let’s pray!

If you don’t have internet, have you tried the Church of England’s new Daily Hope phoneline? It’s a freephone number (0800 804 8044) and has some helpful prayers and hymns to listen to.

A prayer for this week

Loving God,
thank You for Your love from which nothing can separate us,
and which does not depend on our efforts.
Please reveal your love and peace to me,
and to the people in my life,
more and more each day.
In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

With grace and peace,

Sue McWhinney
sue@stjohnsfarsley.org.uk
07484 181699


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