Welcome to our 12th Friday Connection which leads us to Trinity Sunday
There’s a story that says Saint Patrick was trying to explain the mystery of the Trinity to his people – how God could be Father, Son and Holy Spirit at one and the same time – when he noticed a shamrock growing – three leaves coming out of one stalk and used it as visual aid for his sermon.
Here at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 28, Jesus the Son gives his followers three tasks to work at now that he is going back to God the Father, and leaving them His Spirit to support and strengthen them.
First – to make disciples: his own followers had become learners of the way of life Jesus taught and embodied, and like them we are called to help people to find Jesus and that way for themselves.
Second – to baptize – baptism is not an option, but the way that someone takes on the name of Jesus for themselves – the name of the living God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And third – to teach the gospel of Jesus that generates a lifestyle that is quite different to the way the world lives.
These three tasks are held together by the fact that Jesus now has all authority, and His promise that He is always with us. Matthew’s gospel begins with Immanuel, God with us, and ends with Jesus – God with us for all time and in every situation – yes, even when we face the surreal situation of a pandemic that hems us in, and keeps us from being the church we were called to be.
These three callings are how we will continue to be God’s people in the future, however unclear that seems just now, and whatever form it will take:“ I am with you, every single day, to the very end of the age.”
With our love & prayers, Irene and Terry
We pray –
Father God, you have created all things, and through Christ shown us your salvation in all the world. Give us a vision of your glory, and by your Spirit fill us with life and love, that we may praise and serve you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Whilst we’re not meeting at church, Young Spirits are sharing videos with us as they work through the Bible one book at a time. This week they’re looking at Hosea.
Welcome to our 11th Friday Connection – Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4)
I remember as a child that we always had new clothes for what we called Whitsunday – is that a peculiar Yorkshire thing, or did that happen in Lincolnshire as well? These clothes then became our “Sunday best”, and what had been new clothes last year now were pressed in to everyday use. Was it also something to do with the cleansing or newness of the Spirit – hence Whit or White Sunday, as the name for the day?
Pentecost only came later as the name for the day when the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, which our reading tells us about. For a first century Jew, Pentecost was the fiftieth day after Passover, and it was a celebration of the crops beginning to grow again, as they remembered coming to the promised land generations before, and the promise that God would provide their needs – it was called the first fruits, to be fulfilled in the full harvest later in the year.
In our reading, the disciples had been waiting for the Spirit that Jesus had promised to meet their needs in working and speaking for him, and now they were able to speak in a way that everyone could understand. Their needs of timidity and uncertainty were met so that they could then meet the deeper needs of others.
A new language to meet deeper needs – and as we move out of this time of staying at home, we will need to speak in a new way of God’s love to those we live with and see each day – and we will need God’s d help to have the right words to say, so that people can grasp God’s love and purpose for life for themselves, that we show to them and talk about.
May you know the refreshing of the Spirit this Whitsuntide
With our love & prayers, Irene and Terry
Whilst we’re not meeting at church, Young Spirits are sharing videos with us as they work through the Bible one book at a time. This week they’re looking at Daniel.
Whilst we’re not meeting at church, Young Spirits are sharing videos with us as they work through the Bible one book at a time. This week they’re looking at Ezekiel.
Welcome to our Ninth Friday Connection – 15th May 2020
Do you feel life is on hold, life is dream-like, or life is just different. While we are not meeting in church our Christian life is not on hold – indeed Christian life is not a dream but full and purposeful, a Christian life can be quite different to the lives of so many who do not know Jesus and the full life that knowing Him means. Though we are living differently from eight or nine weeks ago we need more than ever to stay close to Jesus and each other by whatever means we can as we encourage and charge each other to go forward in whatever situation we find ourselves.
As we look at the readings for the week we are encouraged. The Psalm for the week is so joyful and reassuring so please read it and know our God: Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. Read it all and be glad. Likewise as we look at the Gospel reading we are challenged to go forward with courage.
John 14:15-21 Another Helper
Here we are in week nine carrying on our thoughts from last week – we are walking with Jesus as he continues to support his disciples and encourage them for the work he is going to leave them to do when he returns to be with his heavenly Father. We need to listen carefully for the words are intended for us too.
Jesus in effect says that he will still be around when he goes back to God – an event we remember this coming Thursday – Ascension Day. He will do this by sending his own Spirit, his own breath, his inner life. He uses a special word for this – he calls the Spirit “another helper”. This is a term that is many sided. It doesn’t simply mean someone who comes to lend assistance in our lives – it does mean that as well – the Spirit comes to give us strength and energy to do what we have to do, to live for God and witness to his love in the world – yes, even in times like these. It means two other things: another word that is used is “comforter” – to give an extra strength to meet special needs; yet another word is “advocate” – to help us to speak up for Jesus.
So in the days of this week, and the days that lie ahead, the Spirit of Jesus will be with us at every step in every situation, to be our helper, comforter, and enabler, giving us the words and actions we need.
Don’t forget to make use of the Prayer Journal you have received from this Thursday to Pentecost Sunday on 31 May – we can wait on God as the first disciples waited for their gift of the Spirit – and pray for five people we know to come to know Jesus for themselves.
With our love and prayers
Irene and Terry
Whilst we’re not meeting at church, Young Spirits are sharing videos with us as they work through the Bible one book at a time. This week they’re continuing to look at Jeremiah.
Welcome to our Eighth Friday Connection – 8th May 2020
Can you believe that this coming Sunday will be the fifth Sunday after Easter, that day when we celebrated with great joy the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour? Easter day, the day when sin and death were defeated by Christ’s death and resurrection and gives us assurance and confidence that whatever happens, Jesus walks with us and God will protect us. Psalm 31, verses 1-5 tells how King David put his trust in God, how he acknowledged God as his rock and fortress in whom he put his trust. Surely when we accept and believe in God this is our experience too.
Our Gospel reading for this Sunday is John 14, verses 1-14, and gives us the words that Jesus used when talking to his friends about his own life, and his own approaching death. In trying to prepare them for his leaving them and returning to God, he offers them some of the best known words in the New Testament: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life! Nobody comes to the Father except through me.”
When we feel we have lost our way in life, in Jesus we find the road back to God, to Jesus, and to ourselves. When we hear so many words in the world, all claiming to contain the truth, in Jesus we find that genuine teaching that makes sense of anything and everything that happens to us. When we have been hearing of so many lives lost in recent weeks, perhaps someone close to us, in Jesus we hear the promise that He gives us a life that begins in this existence, but goes on all for all time, and beyond time. Jesus has come in to our world to open up the path that leads us to God, and we only find it through Him.
These are words that we all need to hear, and take in, and seek to pray and live by each day. There is a beautiful song, from the Bible Society that says it so well:
Do not be worried and upset, believe I God, believe also in Me,
There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I’m going to prepare a place,
prepare a place for you.
I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by Me,
I am the way, the truth and the life, and I’m going to prepare a place,
prepare a place for you.
After I go and prepare a place you, I will come back and take you to Myself,
so that you may come and be where I am, and I’m going to prepare a place,
prepare a place for you.
I am the way, the truth and the life….
© Bible Society 1980
With our love and prayers, Terry and Irene
If you would like to look at any or all of the readings for this coming Sunday they are: