SUNDAY REFLECTIONS

SIXTH OF EASTER

John chapter 14, verses 15-21
The promise of the Holy Spirit

REFLECTION

Many of us can admit to having a blanket or a teddy bear in our younger days. It was something to help comfort us when we were afraid, sick or upset. It was always useful at bedtime when we were separated from our parents.

Jesus understood our need of help in times of trouble. When He was here on earth He was a source of help and comfort to His disciples.

Today’s reading takes us to the time when Jesus was preparing to leave His disciples. He knew there would be times when they would need help and comfort but that He would not be there to give it to them. So Jesus told His disciples that He would ask His Father to send them another Advocate, or Comforter, who would be with them forever.

That is exactly what happened. Jesus asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to guide hem in times of trouble and to be their comfort and guide throughout their lives.

We may outgrow our need for a Teddy Bear or a security blanket but we never outgrow the need for the comfort and guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. No matter how dire our circumstances may be we can gain comfort, strength and guidance when we remember the promise of Jesus that in keeping His commands and following His teaching we are loved by our Lord and that He is always with us.

PRAYER

Dear Father.
we thank you that through your Son you have promised to be with us always. May we know your Holy Spirit to be our comfort, guide and inspiration all the days of our live. Amen

BIBLE QUIZ

The answers will be found in the reading
(John chapter 14, verses 15-21)

(1) What will we do if we love Jesus?
(2) Who will Jesus speak to?
(3) What will then be given?
(4) What can’t the Spirit be received by the world?
(5) How do we know him?
(6) How are we able to see Jesus?
(7) Who are the ones who love Jesus?

QUIZ ANSWERS

(1) John 14:15; (2) John 14:16; (3) John 14:16; (4) John 14:17; (5) John 14:17; (6) John 14:19; (7) John 14:21;

ASCENSION DAY


Luke chapter 24, verses 44-53
Jesus ascends to heaven

REFLECTION

The reading for Ascension Day, Thursday, gives Luke’s version of what happened. Jesus and His disciples had reached Bethany. There He raised His hands, blessed them and was taken up into heaven.

Earlier Jesus had taken the disciples aside to ensure they understood everything that had happened to Him, explaining why it was important for Him to be crucified and raised from the dead to fulfil what the scriptures had said about Him. He had also told them that He was going to return to His Father in heaven and that the Holy Spirit would come to be with them.

The disciples were then led to Bethany where Jesus disappeared from their sight, an event that could have saddened them greatly. But Luke tells us that they worshipped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, praising God continually in the Temple.

At the Ascension of Jesus we are reminded, as He ascends to sit at the right hand of God, that He and the Father are one. He sits with God and is crowned Lord of All. But He goes to the glory of heaven to enable God’s Holy Spirit to be poured out, wave upon wave and generation upon generation, to guide, comfort and inspire you and me today.

Hail the day that sees Him rise,
to His throne above the skies;
Christ the Lamb, for sinners given,
enters now the highest heaven.
(Charles Wesley)

PRAYER

Risen Christ,
you have raised your human nature to the throne of heaven; help uis to seek and to serve you, that we may join you at the Father’s side, where you reign with the Spirit in glory, now and for ever. Amen

SEVENTH OF EASTER

John chapter 17, verse 1-11
Jesus prays for His disciples

REFLECTION

John’s Gospel has extensive coverage of the events the day before the Passover Festival and before the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The 11 verses of John chapter 17, which is the reading for this Sunday, is part of a 26 verse long prayer that Jesus makes to his Father for his disciples. The reading ends with Jesus asking that they may be one.

Jesus was praying for those who would become His Church. It is tempting to refer to ‘the church’ as a building when in fact it is ‘people’. The building may be made up of stones and mortar in which people worship but those people who are really ‘the church’ are all sorts and all ages. Just as the first disciples came from a variety of backgrounds so the present-day disciples are a motley band with different skills and abilities

The strength of any group of people lies in their working together. Some people claim they can be a Christian without going to church. That may partially be true but sometimes it’s just an excuse not to accept any commitment to work together, pray together, worship together and generally be ‘as one’.

The prayer of Jesus is that Christians should be strong to face whatever the world throws at them. He knew that when His disciples came together as one they were much stronger than they are as individuals. So Jesus asked God that they – and us – may be strengthened and protected by being one, just as He ands his Father were one.

PRAYER

Father God,
we thank you for revealing to us, through the Scriptures, the mind of Christ and His prayer that we may be one. Guide and inspire us to work together that through us your name may be glorified. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

PENTECTOST

John chapter 20, verses 19-23
Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to His disciples
and
Acts chapter 2, verses 1-21
The disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

REFLECTION

Today, the Christian Church celebrates The Day of Pentecost, or Whit Sunday as it is sometimes called.

The reading from John chapter 20 tells us that when Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’. The reading from Acts chapter 2 tells us that it was on the day of Pentecost that God sent his Holy Spirit to the church. All the believers were gathered together in one place when suddenly there was a sound like a mighty, rushing, wind. What looked like a tongue of fire touched each one of them and they began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance.

God’s Holy Spirit is like wind – it can’t be seen but it can be felt and we know that it is there.

We can hear the Spirit. The Bible says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock, and if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.’ (Revelation 3:20) We can’t see the Holy Spirit, but we know he is there because he speaks to our hearts.

We can see the Spirit moving people to do God’s will. The Bible says that the Spirit of God moved his people to speak and to do things for him. (2 Peter 1:21) We can’t see God, but we can see people doing things that God’s Holy Spirit has moved them to do.

We can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, ‘I will feel no evil for Thou art with me.’ (Psalm 23:4) The Bible also says that ‘if we love one another, God lives in us.’

We can’t hear or see the Holy Spirit in the accepted sense, but we know he is there because we can feel his presence in our lives.

PRAYER

Father God,
who fulfilled the promise of Easter by sending us you Holy Spirit and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal: open our lips by your Spirit, that every tongue may tell of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

BIBLE ANAGRAMS

From the following anagrams identify some of the people or areas mentioned in Acts chapter 2 where the disciples were heard speaking in their own language on the Day of Pentecost.

(1) PARISH ANT; (2) DEEMS; (3) LIME TEAS; (4) POISE TO MAMA; (5) SUN TOP; (6) GRIP HAY; (7) HIPPY ALMA; (8) TEN CARS;

ANAGRAM ANSWERS

(1) Parthians; (2) Medes; (3) Elamites; (4) Mesopotamia; (5) Pontus; (6) Phrygia; (7) Pamphylia; (8) Cretans;

A VIRTUAL CHURCH

Worshippers confined to their homes due to coronavirus can be part of Virtual Church worship provided by the media.
Religious broadcasts are regularly available on the radio and television:-
BBC SOMERSET at 8am on Sunday
(95.5 MHz, Freeview Channel 722)
BBC ONE tv Sunday Morning Worship usually at 10.45am but may vary
RADIOS 4 & 3 carry their usual Services during the week
Check Broadcasting Schedules for up to date timings and details

LOCAL INITIATIVE

The local Ministry Team will be producing each Saturday a brief act of worship which they will be circulating to as many people as possible by e-mail. If you would like to ensure you are included please contact Martyn Hamlin (martynhamlyn@hotmail.com)

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