31 May 2021

Image by Alaric Duan

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”  made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4 : 6

Reading:

Psalm 139:1-6,13-14

The Psalmist this week reflects God’s intimate knowledge of each one of us.  God sees each one of us, no matter where we are in life and no matter how far we feel we are from God, considering each one of us as important.  Through Jesus Christ His Son He has made us children of God. We have been beautifully made by our creator God, who constantly walks in the shoes that we and our neighbours wear.  He walks beside us, in front and behind us and says, “I am still with you.”   Psalm 139 reminds us that even the smallest aspect of our lives is known by the creator of the universe even when we are experiencing difficulties.  See Psalm 138 : 7.  Is that not awesome!

Psalm 138 is a prayer of praise for God’s love and faithfulness.   It prays that all the kings of the earth will also praise Him and sing of the ways of the Lord.

When we try and consider the glory, the love, the faithfulness and the ways of our almighty God, it is hard to think of the many leaders and peoples in the world who are corrupt, dishonest and seek violence, instead of peace, understanding and concern for the people around them.

Prayer:

We praise you, O Lord, with all our hearts.  We praise Your Holy Name for Your love and Your faithfulness.  No one is like You, O Lord; You are great and Your Name is mighty in power, and we know that You can do all things.  Almighty God, may we allow your light and love to so shine through us, that

others may see you shining through us and give You all the glory.  Amen.

1 June 2021

Image by Eduardo Soares

“Come, eat my food
   and drink the wine I have mixed.

Proverbs 9:5

Reading:

John 6: 51-58

When Jesus wanted to make visible the great gift of salvation, which God offers to all people, He multiplied bread from a boy’s basket and fed a multitude of people. When Jesus wanted to leave behind a living memory of the depths of God’s love for a sinful world, He broke bread with His disciples, including Judas. He said:” Take , eat this is My body, which is broken for you.”( 1 Corinthians 11:24). Bread is a gift of God. We do not think of bread as given. Our understanding is that bread is something we work for, gained by our labour. The bread of God is different. It is like manna , falling from heaven. Bread and wine are the signs of God’ love, grace and mercy. It reminds us of God’s love expressed in the sacrificial death of Jesus and His resurrection. “ For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven,” so reminds The Nicene Creed.  Jesus said:” I am the living bread that came  down from heaven.”( John 6: 51). Daily bread is a miracle. It is communion with Jesus. Jesus becomes part of us and we become part of Him. Jesus is saying, I think, “ when you eat this bread and drink this cup, I will live in you and you will live in Me.” Through the sacrament of Holy Communion, Jesus gets inside of us, so that we may see the world through His eyes.

Prayer:

 Be known to us in breaking bread,

But do not then depart;              

Saviour, abide with us, and spread

Thy table in our hearts.

        

There sup with us in love divine;

Thy body and Thy blood,

That living bread, that heavenly wine,

Be our immortal food.

AMEN.

2 June 2021

Image by Bruno van der Kraan

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
   he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
   and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:17,18

Reading:

Mark 4:35-41

Set in the hills of northern Israel, the Sea of Galilee is not very big, 5km wide and 7,5km long.

Around the sea, the hills of Galilee reach nearly 430m above sea level, and the mountains of the Golan Heights reach more than 726m. The sea's location makes it subject to sudden and violent storms as the wind comes over the eastern mountains and drops suddenly onto the sea. As seasoned fisherman, the disciples must have been accustomed to storms of Sea of Galilea, and with their knowledge and experience, it must have been horribly clear that  they were facing their imminent demise due to the extreme ferocity of this storm. When they woke Jesus they cried out “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” or as the  ESV translation reads “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” meaning they were actively busy drowning!

When Jesus rebukes the storm and everything becomes completely calm, their fear for their lives turns into fearful awe of the One who possessed authority to rebuke both the waves and themselves. "They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

It is easy to relate to the disciples, their actions and their faith or lack of faith.

So often we are faced with situations that terrify us and causes us to ask the Lord if He does not care? And often it is just as terrifying when catch a small glimpse of who it is that we pray to. 

 

Who is this?

He is the Son of God (Mark 1:1). He is the one who made the wind and the waves. He is the one who loves us so much that he willingly died for us. He is the one who could not be kept in the grave. He is the one who intercedes for us before the throne. He is the one whose love cannot be separated from us (Rom 8:35). The One who asks us to believe in Him and to trust Him.

Prayer:

Lord our Saviour. 

Your name is above all names. 

You are worthy of all praise.

Lord we come to you in our brokenness. We lay before you all our troubles and our fears.

Help us when our faith is dim.

Strengthen us when we are weak dear Lord, to trust in you, to rely on you.

To You be all Honour and Glory and Praise

Forever and ever

AMEN.

3 June 2021

Image by Patrick Hendry

When you search for me, you will find Me; when you search whole heartedly for Me,

I shall let you find Me.  

 Jeremiah 29 : 13

Reading:

Psalm 139:1-4,23-24

Deep within us is a place where we have found God and God has found us.

Our hearts and minds are easily distracted by many other things, everyday realities such as work, maintaining a physical home, raising a family, and shopping for life’s necessities.

Once in a great while we come to this place within us and we realise it is the goal of our seeking.  It feels like home.  It is a place of safety and security, an ideal home where we can be ourselves and know that we are accepted for who we are.  We may be challenged to grow here, but always in the context of God’s deep strong love.

Thomas Merton writes that when we find our true self we find God, and when we find God, we find our true self.  When we experience a stirring within ourselves, we hear a calling from beyond ourselves, which is the work of the Holy Spirit, which can lead us to this home within.    When we enter this place, we find a deep contentment and a true peace fills our being.

As much as we yearn to stay connected with this inner source, we quickly lose our sense of it.  Thus, we spend most of our lives seeking what we have momentarily found, but then seem to lose it again.  The wonder is that while this searching goes on within us, there is One, the Holy Spirit who keeps seeking us out on behalf of Jesus Christ, calling us in different ways, greatly desiring that we find that inner home and inner peace.

Extracts from “May I have this dance.” By Joyce Rupp.

Prayer:

God of all seekers, bless our yearnings for that inner home where we find you your Holy Spirit.  Keep us on the path that leads to You.  Fill us with courage to do what is best for the healing of our inner hearts and the heart of the world.  Accept our thanks and praise for the many times when You have sought us and invited us to recognize You in our inner being, that is in our true selves.  We ask this in the wonderful Name of our Lord Jesus.  Amen.

AMEN.

4 June 2021

Image by Noah Cellura

The earth is the Lord’s,

and everything in it,
   the world, and all who live in it

Psalm24:1

Reading:

Matthew 21: 33-46

I have been reminded that coming Sunday is ‘Environment Sunday.  I am not qualified to respond to scientific statements about global warming, chemical fertilizers, alternative energy sources, organic farming, mining or fracking. I do believe though that as Christ followers, we have a responsibility towards creation. We understand that we do not own the world in which we live.  One of the expressions of our love for and commitment to God, I believe, is to care for God’s creation. The earth, like the vineyard in the parable, is a trust given into our keeping by its Maker and Proprietor. God has asked us to tend God’s garden. According to Genesis 1:28, human beings were given “dominion” over creation. This does not mean that humanity  is free to abuse and pillage the earth’s resources. ‘Dominion’, I think, is a mandate to care for God’s creation, as God cares for it. Dominion brings a responsibility and accountability. As Christ followers therefore, we need to constantly seek for ways to at least put back into nature what we take from it. We know that a fertile field will become a dustbowl, if the farmer cannot find ways to maintain and replenish the soil. That is good stewardship of the Master’s estate. We do this as a way of serving God and humanity. Our interactions with the environment should aim at improving human life and alleviating the sufferings of women, men and children who have been created in the image of God.

Prayer:

O God, we thank You for this earth, our home;

for the wide sky and the blessed sun, for the salt sea and the running water,

for the everlasting hills and the never resting winds,

for trees and the common grass underfoot.

We thank You for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds,

and see the splendour of the summer fields, and taste of the autumn fruits,

and rejoice in the feel of snow, and smell the breath of spring.

Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty; and save our souls from being so blind

that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with Your glory.

O God our Creator, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

AMEN.

(Walter Rauschenbusch: 1861- 1918).