Prayers, Readings and Reflections for Easter 5, 10 May 2020

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’

Reading

John 14:1-14

Reflection

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

If ever we needed to hear those words of comfort it is now. They would be empty words if anyone other than Jesus spoke them, but he is the one who provides the means to the end. Why did Jesus need to speak into the disciples’ distress at this point, and what is it that gives these words substance for us?

Well, trouble is all around, not just for the disciples, but for Jesus also. Those words were spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper with his disciples on the night before he died. Judas has already gone out into the night on his mission to betray Jesus. Jesus is trying to tell the others that he won’t be with them for much longer and when Simon Peter pledges his undying allegiance to him, Jesus predicts that even he will deny that he ever knew him before the night is out.

No wonder there is turmoil in Jesus’ heart, and we will get a glimpse of it as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. Turmoil fills the disciples too as they struggle to understand that Jesus is approaching his death and they are about to lose their friend and teacher. Jesus tries to explain that his death is the necessary path for him to return to be with the Father in order to prepare the way for his followers to be with him. It doesn’t really make sense for them this side of the crucifixion and resurrection.

Thomas, as ever, is quite blunt: ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ He speaks for all of us who struggle to understand the mystery of death and life beyond it.

I am the way, the truth and the life’ says Jesus.

It’s not a geographical map that Thomas needs, but to grasp that relationship with Jesus is enough. We’re not to think of life beyond death as a physical place, even though Jesus uses the imagery of a dwelling place with many rooms. Rather we are to know that intimacy with Jesus brings us into a permanent intimate relationship with God. Jesus himself is the way to knowing truth and experiencing abundant life.

Jesus can utter those words: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’ with absolute confidence because he is secure in his own relationship with the Father.

I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

What is true for Jesus is true for Jesus’ followers.

The good news is that from the beginning God has always wanted to dwell with us and has a permanent place of abiding ready for us. Jesus by passing through death to return to the Father has opened the way for us there. We cannot be separated from the love of God. So: Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Though we can be hopeful that we have escaped the worst of the pandemic here in Colwall, none of us has been unaffected by it. Some have lost loved ones; many are anxious for family – for their health and livelihoods; many are anxious for their own health. We have been forced to confront our own mortality. What the future holds is uncertain. There can be few whose hearts are untroubled.

Jesus’ words of reassurance have substance for us because we know that despite finding himself in the midst of the trouble which led to his death, his promise to the disciples holds true. He passed through death that he might rise and return to the Father in order to secure our permanent dwelling place with him. In the midst of our current troubles, his abiding presence remains with us. So do let not your hearts be troubled.

Prayer suggestions

Stylised dove with rainbow and olive branchLet nothing disturb you.
Let nothing make you afraid.
All things are passing.
God alone never changes.
Patience gains all things.
If you have God you will want for nothing.
God alone suffices.
St Teresa of Avila

Eternal God,
whose Son Jesus Christ said,
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid’,
take away our fear of death;
bring us to the place he has gone to prepare for us;
and give us his peace for ever.
Amen.

Notices

A request for the Sunday evenings act of worship - Every Sunday at 6.30pm

We shall need volunteers for the psalm reading, the bible reading (liaise with Anne), and intercessions so that an order of service can be circulated. Please contact Marian & Mike (540108)            

The Zoom link for the on-line services was emailed to Parishioners, but is also available from the Parish Office (see Contacts page).

Christian Aid Week 2020 Christian Aid Week logo

Due to the current crisis we are unable to carry out our usual door to door envelope collection this year, but you can still give a donation by visiting the website: christianaid.org.uk or by phone 02075 232 269
Please pray for all our on-going work to continue and please encourage friends and neighbours to also donate. If you need any help with this feel free to contact Phyl King or Marian Paulson.

Historic Sermons

I have here in the office, a box of tapes containing Sunday morning sermons dating back at least 12- 15 years +
Does anyone have the facility (time!) to transfer onto a modern-day medium?
Please let me know ASAP – I am in de-clutter mode! And needing to create space!
Many thanks - Joy

Food Bank

A huge thank you to everyone for their gener ous donations
- to date 2 boot loads have been delivered to Ledbury Foodbank
- a reminder that collection points will be open every Tuesday & Thursday from 2-4pm (Station Carpark and Wisteria House, Colwall Green).

Colwall Coronavirus Careline (CCC)
07452 928 226 / colwallcoronaviruscare@gmail.com

On Saturday 14 March 2020 an intended eco-church meeting for church members was taken over by Covid-19 concerns and the small number present suggested the idea of CCC. In the week that followed a dedicated mobile number and email address was set up, four other village organisations (COCOCHU, Colwall Parish Council, Colwall Surgery and Colwall WINGS WI) agreed to become key partners. An information flyer was distributed to homes in the village with the help of those who normally are Christian Aid collectors. Melanie’s admission to hospital meant that her co-ordinator role had to be handed over somewhat rapidly to Ann assisted by Ian. A rota of WI members was set up to take calls on a daily basis, over 70 households volunteered to help, and requests for help began to flow.

Six weeks on and the work of CCC continues. The leading need is the collection and delivery of prescriptions to those shielding, self-distancing or unable to get to the Colwall Pharmacy. Over 100 such requests have now been handled. Food shopping comes next and Provisions of Colwall have been so helpful with home deliveries. A lesser number of other requests have included arranging for letters to be posted, telephone calls to keep in contact with someone, dog walking and signposting to other sources of help. Volunteer numbers have increased and about 70% have been used to date.

We have kept in regular touch with the four partners in CCC and also with a helpful Herefordshire Council staff member assigned to act a local link contact. CCC anticipates continuing for the present but will be assessing the impact of any measures easing the lockdown on the requests received and on the resources to service them as some volunteers may return to work. The partnership nature of CCC has been key as has the wealth of volunteers and it might be that CCC can become CC when normality returns. This would represent a real positive to emerge from the negative of Covid-19.

Please give thanks to God for the inspiration which gave rise to CCC and pray for its current and future work.