Sunday, 21 April 2013

Good Shepherd Sunday

  “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me”

In claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ, we have the dubious honour of being likened to sheep! However what ever parallels or comparisons are drawn from this analogy one must be that as one of his sheep Jesus claims that we are people who hear his voice!

As followers of Christ we are told that we will hear his voice calling us, directing us, guiding us, protecting and supporting us. But do we really listen?

Throughout history God has listened to the cry of his people.

1.It began in the garden, with the single cry of the lonely and terrified Adam. His cry was for companionship, someone to share the responsibility and joys of Gods creation with, and God heard his cry and created Eve.
2. It continued with the cry of Abel’s blood spilt out onto the ground, the cry for justice, and the demand for judgement.
3. There was the cry of a people, enslaved by the rich and powerful. A cry for someone to lead them out of their bondage into the promise land. God heard them and sent Moses.
4.There was the cry of Elizabeth in the night of her old age, united with many through out the ages who in their loss and shame had been granted new life, a share in the creative power of God. Elizabeth’s cry signals the beginning of a new and radical way in which God would deal with his people. The ultimate answer to this cry from humanity is the incarnation, the birth of Jesus.

When we are faced with our own torments or difficult decisions do we really listen for the voice of God?  
or do we rather listen to our own voice-
the voice of reason,
the seductive call of our secular consumer society that seeks to enslave us and rob us of our true identity and dignity as one of Gods chosen ones?

My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me”

We know that there are many who cannot and will not listen to the voice of our Lord and the terrible consequences of not following him are evidenced all around us.

As one of God’s sheep we belong to him and as one of his sheep we can hear him assure us that he will give us life, will lead us to better pastures, will defend us in times of tribulation.  

Congratulations to Sophie Elizabeth Hayes who was baptised at St John this morning. Our prayers go with her and her family.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

O Tell me the Truth about Love - 3rd sunday of Easter

O Tell me the truth about love

Some say that love's a little boy,
and some say its a bird,
Some say it makes the world go round,
And some say that absurd......

When it come, will it come without warning, 
just as I am picking my nose?
will it knock on the door in the morning,
or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
will its greeting be courteous or rough?
will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love        
                                   January 1938 W.H. Auden

In the original Greek of the New Testament , there are three different words translated by the one English word love.
There is eros, which means sensual or erotic love, the kind of love that leads to marriage. Erotic love lies in senses and the emotions that find the object of love attractive.
Then there is philia, meaning love of the likeable, the admiration and devotion we have for a worthy person or thing, such as love for a hero, love of parents, and love of art. Likeable love dwells in the mind that judges the object of love worthy of it.
Finally there is agape, which means self-sacrificing and unconditional love, even for a person who may not deserve it and when there is nothing tangible to be gained. Agape love is in the will. It is a decision.

In Verse 15 of the 21st Chapter of St John's Gospel Jesus asks Peter, “Do you Agapas me? Do you have agape love for me?” meaning “Do you love me in such a manner as to sacrifice your life for me.” Peter knows that he has not lived up to this standard of love. He knows that he disowned Jesus in order to save his own skin. So what does Peter answer? He answers, “PhilĂ´ se. Yes, Lord, I have philia love for you,” meaning, “Yes, Lord, you know how deeply I like and admire you.”
 Peter is saying to Jesus, “Yes, I like and admire you, but no, I have not been able to love you with a self-sacrificing love as you demand.”
So Jesus asks him a second time whether he has agape love for him and Peter again replies that he has only philia love for him. Finally, unwilling to embarrass him any further, Jesus then asks him “Do you have philia love for me?” And Peter answers “Yes, I have philia love for you.” End of the interrogation! Jesus accepts Peter the way he is. Even his philia love is good enough.
The Peter we see here is not the loud-mouthed, confident man who thought he was better than the other disciples but a wiser, humbler man who would not claim more than he can deliver. Peter’s confession here can be likened to that of the father of the possessed boy who confessed to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). What Peter is saying is “I love you, Lord; help my lack of love.”
So if Jesus is asking us this morning do you love me? I wonder which kind of love we are prepared to name and honour? Philia or Agape?

Monday, 8 April 2013

2nd Sunday of Easter

Congratulations to Dean and Alison on the baptism of their first born "miracle" Lilly.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A view of the Easter from St John

confession and absolution
in the refiners fire
Father forgive them they do not know
what they are doing
Space for reflection on Good Friday
preparing for the Veneration of the Cross at 2.00pm

Alleluia Christ is Risen: He is Risen indeed