Tuesday, May 27, 2014

This can be hard or easy

Readings for the Sunday after the Ascension (Seventh Sunday of Easter) June 1st 2014  Acts 1:6-14 Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 I Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11 John 17:1-11

Now this can either be hard or easy!
Because, either the point of the physical removal of Jesus
is an insurmountable obstacle to 21st century rational-scientific minds
or it is as easy as recognising
that in order to mature
we cannot go on having others
doing for us what we need to do for ourselves!
I opt to think, today, about the Ascension
in this latter way!

In the most obvious sense
if God wants mature men and women.

People who will have depth and understanding

then that is not achieved
by always stepping in making up for our inadequacies.

Any parent knows the truth of this.
Indeed anyone in any relationship whatsoever
needs to understand this,
we are not called to step in and make up
for the inadequacies, mistakes and failures
of others.
However well-intentioned,
this breeds immaturity and over-dependence,
rather than freedom, initiative
and sophisticated maturity.

There is a difference between supporting people in difficulty
and in not allowing people the opportunity to make their own mistakes!

The withdrawal of the physical presence of Jesus
rather than being an expression
of God's disappointment and heartbreak with the world
can and should actually be seen
as a statement of faith by God in you and me.
God believes that we have within us
the means to be effective people
God believes that we have within us
the means to be effective church
God believes that we have within us
the capacity to fail and to know that failure is not the end

This is what is going on

Two encouragements
We may feel as though this is too hard sometimes
Can we hear two things today:

That Jesus prays to the Father for our protection.

He is not assuming that it is going to be easy,
indeed the reverse would seem to be the case.
So he prays for our protection.
In the midst of difficulty
our faith requires that we bring that 'big gun' into play.
Let us not forget that God is on our side,
this is not some sort of crude lining up allies
during war
but rather seeking to draw out of you and me
Faith in God.
Perhaps we need to pray 
that prayer that one of the rulers prays
Lord I DO believe
but also help my unbelief.
feeling undersiege
is not necessarily a sign of spiritual weakness
but rather an invitation
to strengthen our faith
As we rely on faith
we learn to be faithful.

Jesus's key promise
in this time
is that he will not leave us friendless.
He promises the Holy Spirit.
We are not called to do this alone,
but rather to realise that we act out of God's power.
there is something important
about being able to ask for help.
As we seek to move and grow
we pray that God's Holy Spirit,
the Holy Spirit of Jesus himself
will cause us to move as God wants us to
and to understand as God wants us to.

And we discover what the first Christians dicovered
that in acting out of faith
our faith is increased.
In that exercising our God-given independence
we find a new sense of freedom
which opens them up 
to the gracious life of  the Spirit of Jesus.

More mysteriously, then, though Jesus is no longer
physically with us
May we have a deeper, 
profounder sense of God's abiding love.

May this be ours too

This week
  • Remember to commit yourself deliberately to God's care and protection as you seek to be more faithful
  • Pray deliberately for the Holy Spirit to guide, encourage and lead you

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