Prayers, Readings and Reflections for Easter 6, 17 May 2020
I wonder how you felt after hearing the government’s proposals on easing the current lock-down? In this house at least, the mood was pretty flat. In our heads we knew there wouldn’t and shouldn’t be significant easing of the restrictions. But in our hearts is always the hope that there might be a magic bullet available and that life could resume some sort of normality. Socialising with family on Facetime or Zoom is a poor substitute for direct human contact and the same applies to our church family. It was disappointing when technical problems meant we couldn’t meet for our Zoom service last Sunday, but wouldn’t it be good to be meeting together back in our church building!
This week’s gospel passage follows directly on from last week’s. We are still with the disciples in their state of dismay on the night before Jesus died, wondering how they are supposed to keep Jesus’ commandment to love as he has loved, when they know that he will soon no longer be with them.
‘I will not leave you orphaned.’ says Jesus.
To be orphaned at whatever age, is to realise that there is no longer anyone alive who has known us and loved us since conception; no-one who has taken pride in every achievement however small; no–one who has worried over us, longed and hoped for the best for us, guided us, picked us up and comforted us, rebuked us and despaired over us perhaps, but also rejoiced with us; no–one else who would stand by us no matter what. And that realisation suddenly leaves us feeling vulnerable and alone. But Jesus says they will not be alone when he leaves them: the Father will send another Advocate.
The original word for the Advocate was Paraclete, variously translated as Counsellor, Comforter, Helper. It means literally ‘one called to be alongside another’, just as Jesus has been alongside his disciples, guiding, teaching, encouraging, showing them what love looks like. The Advocate is one who takes your part, who supports you, upholds you, and empowers you.
Jesus’ promise is that the Advocate, or the Holy Spirit, will be that comforting, guiding, rebuking, encouraging companion for his disciples so that, even though they are separated from Jesus, they will have the capacity to love in the way that Jesus has shown them to love. They will be able to create a loving, serving, compassionate community which is effectively the body of Christ still on earth – a community which itself is able to stand alongside people in their need, to themselves be advocates, comforters, helpers.
If we hadn’t known it already before Sunday evening’s broadcast, we are in this current situation for the long haul. The measures that the church here in Colwall has been instrumental in putting in place to support those most affected, through the Crisis Careline and Foodbank support, speak of a community which is living out Jesus’ commandment to love and serve one another as he demonstrated so powerfully when he washed his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. God, in Jesus, has shown us the full extent of human love. God in love gives us the Holy Spirit, the Advocate to be with us to inspire and strengthen us to live out that same love.
no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.
Teresa of Avila
Lord you are a present help in trouble.
In our darkness come as light
In our sadness come as joy
In our troubles come as peace
In our weakness come as strength
Come Lord to our aid
Distribution of this document to those not on email
We are in the process of arranging to get these reflections and notices sheets to those members of the
Electoral Roll who are not on email.
In doing this, we are aware that there may be others in the community of St James who may wish to receive these,( preferably by email.) If you are aware of anyone we may have missed from the circulation list, please can you let me know here in the office, or ask them to let me have their details? Will have copies available at the food bank collection points each Thursday. Many thanks
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
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.
A huge thank you to everyone for their generous donations for the Ledbury Foodbank - a reminder that collection
points will be open every Tuesday & Thursday from 2-4pm (Station Carpark and Wisteria House, Colwall Green).