The God of Glory
I sit in peace by the river,taking time to reflect on your world .
The silence only broken by the sound of birds
And The the rustle of leaves as the wind gently blows.
My mind fills with wonder and amazement
Thoughts of your gift, your world,
that you freely gave to us your adopted chosen ones
A world created for us out of love.
A butterfly flies past, so small ,so delicate , so colourful
A dragon fly with wings of lace, skims across the river
The golden silence is no more
A plane flies overhead, then is gone and silence returns.
The plane brings with it the realisation,
That whilst you made this world perfect,
We, your chosen have made it imperfect.
The knowledge you have gifted us had been used for good and evil.
Man has moved from you in pursuit of their own needs and not the needs of other.
Forgive us Lord.
Show us how you would have us put this right, enabling us to return to you.
With peace of heart and mind, safe in the knowledge of your enduring love.
Silence is returned.
To silence of mind, silence of heart safe in the knowledge that your love is enduring.
The river, it doth flow gently,
Onwards to the sea.
Silently it moves,
According to its mood.
Concealing its power.
It gives so much
It is life giving,
In more ways than one.
It has the power to do so much
The river mirrors life’s journeys
The ebb and flow of the tide.
Its dry times, where very little flows
Its times of plenty, where the water rises
and there is too much to cope with.
The Good Shepherd leads us
beside still waters
he can’t always keep them calm
but he is with us through the twists and turns
during the ebb and flow of life
believe and be saved,
by his life giving water.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love”.
Love is there any word that is more casually use in the English language Think of all the ways you can say you love someone will something I love my husband I love my children, I love to view out of my window and on the other occasion you meet a friend and you might say I love your shoes “where did you get them”.
I Have quoted many different contexts where the word love is used, so how many different types of love do you think there can be.
CS Lewis talks about love in his book ‘The Four Loves’
It is interesting the order he places the four in.
The first love he describes is affection. A mutual love between a parent and child, the first love we experience after birth, a need love and a giving love.
The next is friendship, a love freely chosen. They are not compelled into it by our own emotional and physical needs. There is a saying which I am sure you are all familiar with,you can choose your friends but not your relatives. How many times did you fall out with friends when you started school.
The next is romance, a coming together, a love that maybe started with friendship , moved deeper to affection, a complete giving of oneself to another.
And finally Agape-God ,love freely given asking for nothing in return and regardless of the circumstance.
A love that is inclusive as we hear in our first reading. This love is not for certain people, this love is for all.
But what about the other words
As the father has loved me so I have loved you now abide in my love.
Does it mean that Christ might stop loving us if we do not abide in his love,we do not wish to stay in his love, but decide to move away from his love and closeness, maybe thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Think of the prodigal son he went off because he thought the grass is greener, the son deprived himself of his fathers love and only later after a time in self-imposed hardship did he return to his father. His father who had never ceased to love his son, Abiding in Christ means we do is he would wish we keep his commands Jesus is here if you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.
So what happens if we don’t do this then we disobey and remove ourselves from the flow of the holy spirit this love is irrevocably linked with obedience really Love God we will want to follow his ways which is why it is important to have this personal relationship and for that relationship to grow.
V 12 and Gives us the command, my command is this Love each other as I have loved you. That’s a high standard of love as I have loved you how does Jesus love you he loved you before you loved him. He loved us enough to give himself totally sacrificially for us.
We may think “how can I possibly love as Jesus loved’, he tells us we can only do it if we abide in his love. If we walk in partnership, if we remain and live in obedience with the one we love.
It only is in this kind of relationship and fellowship our prayers actually mean something. John 15’7 if you remain in me and my words remaining you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to him
Today is rogation Sunday, the word rogation come from the latin Rogare “to ask’ and in v 17 we read “what ever you ask the father in my name he will give you’
We are only going to find our God wants from us if we ask him it is through the spirit that is within us that God is able to speak to us. It is when we develop a relationship with our risen Lord that we can be changed. We have been chosen by Christ to bear his fruit, fruit that will last.
v16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.
Jesus telling to do one thing in this passage; just a connected with him, delivering fellowship with him to draw life and strength from him,obey him and depend on him. And abide in him.
We have a choice something we can do or not do
We can do it if we do as he says
If we abide in him
If we do as he commands and love one another
If we remember he choose us and not the other way round.
If we remember he loves us whoever and wherever we are.
Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Luke 24;36
Peace be with you but what did Jesus mean when he said this.
On Tuesday I went for a sermon prep walk, down to the coast guards cottages at Langton Herring on the Fleet in Dorset. It was so peaceful with an air of tranquility. It was so so peaceful, I cant really explain how I felt.Suddenly something spooked the birds and they started tweeting. In a field nearby a pheasant was calling and I suddenly became aware of the sound my feet were making as I walked along the gravel path but this didn’t transcend the peace and tranquility. It was if the noises were God drawing my attention to the surroundings, say “hello, take a look, enjoy ,be inspired by the beautiful world that surrounds you”
I felt the sun on my face and just could’t stop but think what a beautiful part of the world, and how fortunate I am that God has placed me here.
His gift to me.
But it got me thinking ,what did Jesus mean. Was it just a greeting, Shalom, to his friends, is traveling companions or was it something deeper.
“Peace be with you” Those words are profound – through his gift of peace Jesus is healing their memories. They had vivid memories of their time with him, as fellow travelers on the road, but not all of their memories were good. There was the Garden of Gethsemane of course, the memory of how they had deserted Jesus, leaving him to face his trial and execution alone. And uppermost in Peter’s memory would have been the scene outside the high priest’s house when he had denied any knowledge of Jesus, and had sworn and cursed at the mention of his name. A memory that would have cut him to the quick, sickening him every time he thought about it, perhaps making him wonder whether he could go on living with himself. The sort of memory that only God’s forgiveness can heal.
And now the risen Jesus is with them, offering not anger at their betrayal, desertion and denial, but peace, healing and a new beginning. Their memories can’t be forgotten or wiped out; we know that in our own lives – yet they can be taken up, healed, and held in God’s peace. The power that bad memories have to blight and diminish lives is replaced by a greater power; the power of God’s forgiveness, won through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That power, that peace, set them free and it can do the same for us today.
Then I thought about Philippians 4:7 where we have a wonderful promise: “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It is important to note the context of this promise, because that’s where we find the condition: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” God’s peace is promised to guard those who pray—with thanksgiving—about everything. This peace will transcend our ability to understand it.
The believer who places his or her full confidence in a loving God and is thankful in every circumstance will possess a
supernatural peace. An inner calm will dominate the heart. The faithful believer will know peace—his heart and mind are “guarded” by it—despite the tempest raging without. No one, especially those outside of Christ, will be able to fathom that peace. To most, it will remain a mystery how someone can be so serene in the midst of turmoil.
The peace that comes from being in a right relationship with God is not the peace of this world. The world’s peace depends on having favorable circumstances: if things are going well, then we feel peaceful; when things go awry, the peace quickly dissipates. Jesus made the distinction between His peace and the world’s vacillating peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27).
God’s supernatural peace surpasses natural understanding.
God’s supernatural peace is beyond our understanding.
God’s supernatural peace is personal to us all.
God’s supernatural peace is at the heart of out relationship with him.
God’s supernatural peace is for us all
The Fleet, Weymouth ,Dorset
I have sinned; I have brought an innocent man to death
Words spoken by the repentant Judas but not often heard
This is not easy to write about. Traditionally Judas is seen as the figure of evil,the betrayer who put Jesus on the cross. However without this betrayal the Messiah could not have fulfilled the scriptures foretelling of a trial in rejection by his people. Judas was instrumental in bringing about the peoples ultimate salvation from Rome only he did not comprehend the enormity of his actions at the time. The angry return of the money only solidified his guilt and his decision to commit suicide was a last, desperate human effort to allay his shame. By providing the mechanism by which the Resurrection could be fulfilled, some suggested Judas became the first martyr for the church.
Judas was handpicked by Jesus to be a disciple empowered to preach the gospel. Given authority to heal the sick,to cast out devils however he had weaknesses as did the other disciples. He was not among the most intimate of the group as Peter James and John. Judas might have felt one reason for this was because he was an outsider and not from Galilee, coming from Kerioth in the district of Jerusalem. On this point I asked you to consider whether Jesus may have specifically chosen an outsider that’s the one whom he knew would betray him in order that they would be no recriminations against the remaining 11 disciples and their families as they all came from Galilee.
Scripture tells us that Judas was a man of financial ability,, trusted to keep the common purse even though Matthew, the tax collector would have been better qualified.Judas was a man persuasive reasoning reflected by a scene in the home of Mary of Bethany. Mary had anointed Jesus with a rich appointment. Judas saw this act of love as a waste of precious money and should be sold and the money given to the poor. He was above suspicion by the other disciples after the final hours of his own life. At the Last Supper Jesus is that in the place of honour.. Maybe climbed near the Lord on the left so they could talk quietly. The composite picture of Judas as an ordained apostle of financial competence, with persuasive verbal abilities and the persona to command personal respect has compelled some to have compassion for him. Judas has been portrayed as almost virtuous, presented as a merely misguided patriot who actually love the Jesus and only hung himself because his scheme to force Christ into political leadership against Rome did not materialise.
It has been suggested that Judas used his reason in a clear sighted and call manner to discern that the Ministry of Christ was over I’m Judas saw a head on collision with the Roman authorities so he simply arrange to have the Lord arrested with the expectation that Christ would be out of harms way. Or was Judas so caught up in the hype of being one of the chosen is one, and by bringing about a confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees, Jesus would be provoked becoming the leader of a politically motivated uprising against Roman occupation. Judas would in turn become one of the select few and therefore become the master of a very large common purse. But when Jesus didn’t fight back and the Romans took control of Jesus judas lost his resolve. The 30 pieces of silver he received was only a small amount which would not having surety safety following the betrayal, nor would it has provided him with a lifestyle free from guilt. Is this an indication that his motive was was financial? Probably not as he wanted to return it but then what was his motive for the returning of the money was it to distancing from the event. We know that he knows he made the wrong choice and regretted it taking his own life. The second century Greek teacher Origon suggests that as soon as Judas fully realised just what he had done he rushed to commit suicide in order to meet the Lord in Hades replace of all the dead and there he intended to break the Lord’s forgiveness.
One final observation: didn’t the Apostle Peter also betray the Lord by his denials? So, what’s the difference? Sure, Peter wept in bitter remorse for his betrayal, but Judas too confessed, “I have betrayed innocent blood” and gave back the thirty pieces of silver. So what’s the difference?
The difference is in the way that Peter and Judas see the crucified Lord. Peter had confidence in the mercy of Christ, and Judas did not! Judas’ greatest sin was not in having betrayed Christ, but in having doubted his mercy.
And so, here is what the story of our brother Judas should move us to do: to surrender ourselves to the one who freely forgives, to throw ourselves likewise into the outstretched arms of the Crucified One.
He sought out Peter after his denial to give him forgiveness, so who knows how he might have sought out Judas at some point in his way to Calvary! When Jesus prays from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34), he certainly does not exclude Judas from those for whom he prays.
Horrible was the nature of my sins,
but boundless mercy stretches out its arms
to any man who comes in search of it.
This is what Christ’s Passover can do for each and every one of us.
The day is near, the time has come
Bread is broken, Wine is drunk
The deal is done,
Fate has been sealed
Sealed with a kiss, the sign of love, no less
How times have changed, how people change
From cries of love, to cries of hate
The awaited one came, they couldn’t see
He healed, taught love but, still they did not see
Now time has passed, they’ve had their chance,
they chose their path.
Hand are washed, backs are turned
The cross stands high, one of three, for all to see
Bang, bang, bang,
one, two and three
The crown of thorns, to crown a king
Spills blood for sins He came to bear
The sky, it darkens
Forgive , forgive, forgive
BUT NOT THE END
by Margaret Preuss-Higham
The Last Supper
Most evenings we sit down for a meal with our family and tonight Jesus sits down in the upper room with his disciples who have become his family, his friends, his travelling companions, who have witnessed his miracles, who have heard his teachings but still they did not quite understand. But this wasn’t just a meal, it was to be jesus’ last meal with these friends and he knew it.
For on this very night Jesus will be betrayed by one of his friends, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver but for me the biggest betrayal was that Judas a used of a kiss, a sign of love to identify Jesus.
Before the meal began, Jesus knelt down to wash the disciples feet. This disturbed the disciples as it was the task of the humblest slave, whereas Jesus their master took it upon himself. Jesus got to know the disciples more closely by taking upon himself the role of their servant if you remember he said to them whoever wishes to become great among you, must be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.
In the “old upstairs downstairs” days good servants probably knew a lot more about their Masters mistresses then they let on. This however made them better servants, for by keeping their eyes open they can understand their employers needs and anticipate their demands. Was there something of this in our Lords decision to washes disciples feet? For he told his disciples to become servants of others just has he had become their servant: “if I your Lord and teacher have washed your fee”t he said” you also ought to wash one another’s feet for I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done. And to serve somebody you must learn about them what makes them tick, what their life experiences have been, who they are and how they think of themselves.
It’s very easy for a “do-gooder” to rush in and give someone what they think they need without taking the time to learn from them what they really need. You must get to know them and understand who they think of themselves to be and as we say where they are coming from for this you really need to look at them listen to the town of the voice and you may well learn a lot about them that they would never have been able to put into words themselves.
Jesus calls us to follow his example and to learn our neighbour stories by serving them he calls us to serve our neighbours as he himself served his disciples by washing the messy places in their lives with the love of God. Ask yourself whom Jesus is asking you to serve in all humility today.