Reflection on the Lectionary

Sunday 15th May (Easter 5 & Christian Aid Week)

Psalm 148 | Acts 11 : 1 – 18 | Revelation 21 : 1 – 6 | John 13 : 31 – 35
This reflection is provided by Local Preacher Sarah James of Faithspace

With Christian Aid week upon us we celebrate 75 years since its start. The beauty of the work of Christian Aid is that it really shows the effectiveness of Christians in global justice issues. Who would have thought so many big ideals would be achieved in those 75 years?

From responding reactively to the needs of refugees after the war, to proactively campaigning and partnering with other agencies, they have tackled the root causes of poverty, with new strategies and approaches. Connecting our thinking about our consumption and the global food crisis has demanded more in the way of official development from our own government.

Isn’t it encouraging that we are not speaking of 19th century philosophy here, but the proof from recent history that our good intentions can come to something? So, we know that we can alter the crooked systems and change the world for the better, challenging and campaigning against the evils in the world and giving concrete aid in the meantime. Looking at our readings today will show that it’s all about making space for the holy City; the new Jerusalem to come down: Revelation 21:1-6; making way for the new heaven and new earth. It means including everyone, Acts 11:1-8 and it all boils down to loving one another, John 13:1-5.

So, Christian Aid week is upon us and we celebrate those seventy five years of the charities work. Its humanitarian relief soon stretched to long term development aid to poorer communities worldwide. By tackling injustice and supporting people’s rights they continue to help the refugee, to tackle racism and poverty at their root causes, to educate those who can, to feed and support those in need. They have managed to tackle apartheid, worked to highlight issues: tax inequalities for developing countries and more recently climate change too, campaigning by bringing organisations together to effect systemic change to alleviate people’s suffering. In short, giving us a way to help and showing us that we can. How will you support Christian Aid this week?

Have a look at today’s readings and consider the following:

Revelation 21:2-6
What difference might it make to life here and now if we believe that the ‘Holy city, the new Jerusalem’ will ‘come down’, as it says in the passage, rather than us being taken up to it?
How and what should we do to prepare for this? What difference could it make to our and others lives?

Acts 11:1-8
The Holy Spirit told Peter to accept everyone ‘and not to make a distinction between them and us. Who do we think of, or treat as Gentiles? Other faiths? Other races? Those who don’t come to church? What if you gave your blessing of the Holy Spirit to everyone you met?

John 13:31-35
This was Jesus’ last commandment and the words he left his disciples to remember.
‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another…. By this everyone will know you are my disciples. If Jesus says we are all to be included and the kingdom is to be lived and grown here: how must we love one another and Gods creation?

For your prayer this week:

1. Contemplate the holy city: what one thing could you do to make way for it?

2. Practice giving God’s peace to everyone you meet; be inventive.

3. Take some time to imagine a place where this ‘loving one another’ is the norm. What would life look like then?

4. Pray for God’s presence with you, that you might understand his love and pass it on.

‘Love one another as I have loved you.’

Meditation

May 8th 2022

Psalm 23 | Acts 9 v46-43 | Revelation 7 v9-17 | John 10 v22-30

Two frogs fell into a large bowl of cream. The sides of the bowl were too smooth for them to use as a foothold to climb out. One frog found the circumstances impossible, gave up and sank to the bottom and was no more. The other frog swam and swam with all his might. He kept on swimming, his webbed feet churning up the cream until he found that the cream had turned into butter. He was able to stand on the butter and then hop out of the bowl.

Our Bible readings today are all about perseverance, coping with the struggles of life. The word persevere comes from per, meaning through, coupled with the word severe. It means keeping on, trusting God, looking up and doing our duty even through severe circumstances. It is so easy to give up, we have to make so many decisions in our day to day lives, either as individuals or church communities.

The psalm this week must be one of the most familiar and best loved of all. In the New Testament the picture of Jesus as shepherd caring for His sheep and telling of the shepherd searching for the one that is lost is not the full picture.

If you watched Countryfile last Sunday you will have noticed that there is a lot more to shepherding than looking after white woolly lambs. Their health and safety is all important. Are the fences sturdy and kept mended, are there risks in allowing nature to take over while ewes neglect their offspring. Real shepherding needs strength of mind and body and constant vigilance. Real shepherding is not just about green pastures and cool still waters. Shepherding is of necessity about the highs and lows of life.

God’s shepherding tells us that He is there in our deepest darkest moments. As well as being on the mountain tops and cliff tops, He is with us in the valleys and mole hills. When the going gets tough, we so often attempt to push through on our own, only to find ourselves getting weighed down and going nowhere fast. What we must do is trust our shepherd, being aware of His presence, acknowledging His Blessings and guidance. Just as God perseveres with us and sees us through our darkest journeys, so we need to persevere in our faith and trust Him to see us through those difficult times.

I read the following in Argyle Morley’s Church Magazine.

A little girl told her teacher that she knew the whole of the 23rd psalm. Her teacher sceptically gave her the opportunity to recite it. This is what she said:

” The Lord is my shepherd, He is all that I want.” Then she sat down.

Out of the mouths of babes !!

With every Blessing to you, Val Lamont

A prayer:

Sometimes Lord, something comes along that happens to shake our world. Thank you that you are with us through the difficulties, that you never give up on us. Thank you for blessing us with new beginnings, with green pastures and still waters.

AMEN

Reflection on The Lectionary

Sunday 1st May (Easter 3)
Psalm 30, 14-24; Acts 9 : 1 – 6 (7 -20); Revelation 5 : 11– 14; John 21 : 1 – 19
This reflection is provided by Local Preacher and Circuit Steward, Christine Jones.
John chapter 21
There are times when just saying the word ‘sorry’ doesn’t seem to be enough; times when
we’ve messed up so badly; times when we’ve hurt someone so deeply; times when the
opportunity to apologise has passed or was never there.
That’s how Peter felt. When he realised the enormity of what he’d done, by denying three
times that he knew Jesus, he went out and wept bitterly [Luke 22:62]. But it was too late
and there was no opportunity to say ‘sorry.’ We don’t know how miserably Peter spent the
rest of that night or the next two days. We don’t know if he was among those who stood at
a distance watching [Luke 23:49] Jesus die. All we know is that, unlike Judas, he didn’t kill
himself in his despair.
We do know that on Easter morning when the women returned from the empty tomb with
the idle tale that Jesus was alive [Luke 24:11], Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself and
came back amazed. But there was no opportunity to say ‘sorry’. Nor was there that evening
when Jesus appeared and all the others were milling round [John 20:20]; nor the following
week when the focus was on Thomas [John 20:27].
Peter was still left with his festering guilt. Emotionally if not physically ‘locked for fear’ [John
20:19]. The old close relationship had gone for ever. It was too late to say ‘sorry’. Then the
fishing trip and breakfast on the beach. While the others were busy counting the fish, Jesus
took Peter aside and gave him the opportunity he desperately needed, not merely to say
‘sorry’, but to say how much he loved Jesus. His guilt was gone; his fear was gone; it was the
start of a new and lasting relationship with a new vocation, not merely fishing for people
but shepherding them.
Jesus is reaching out to you with the opportunity to say ‘sorry’ for anything that is locking
you in fear. Your guilt doesn’t need to fester. He is ready and eager to forgive you. What’s
more he has a fresh vocation for you. He says to you ‘follow me’ [John 21:19, 22].
Lord Jesus, remind me again that there is nothing I can do which will make you love me any
less; and there is nothing I can do which will make you love me anymore. I am truly sorry for
the past. I do love you. Please forgive me and help me to make a fresh start. Show me your
will for the next stage in my life and help me to follow you. Amen.

Eco Church

“The science is clear. Our Planet is in trouble. Climate change threatens the delicate equilibrium that sustains life and biodiversity is collapsing around the globe. We must act now if we are to leave our children a planet worth inheriting.

There is still a glimmer of hope. God chooses to use His people in His redemption story. We have a part to play.”

– quoted from https://app.ecochurch.org/about

A Rocha Bronze Award Winner Eco Church

At Badminton Road Methodist Church, we registered with this exciting scheme early in 2021, and would very much like you to journey with us as we all try to find ways of improving our stewardship of the environment in and around our home.