Re Zooming Activities

While we are unable to use the  church building to meet together  it has been great to see the resourcefulness of various people. We have had Prayer meetings on Zoom, including the ongoing “Thy Kingdom come” initiative. For more details of “Thy Kingdom come please see

Hedge End Methodist Thy Kingdom Come

It is believed  that there are now plans to start a housegroup on Zoom, and a Zoom “pop in cafe”. We have also been able to enjoy a video version of Jammy Church which is still available on the Jammy Church facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/JammyChurch

Since the 5th of April our friends at St James Road Methodist Church in Shirley have been providing Sunday worship broadcast from various different peoples residences. This is broadcast live at 10 a.m.  on you tube and is also available to watch afterwards. They have recently had over 600 views a week, which is more than the capacity of there building.

Service sheet for Sunday 24th May

This service for at home has been prepared for us by Rev Arthur Cowburn

Holy Spirit of God, We watch for you, we wait for you, we look for you, we long for you.
come Holy Spirit, renew us, refresh us, restore us and inspire us, that we may live and work to your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you, oh spirit, are with the father, one God forever. Amen (from David Adam: Radiance of His Glory)

StF 94 To God be the glory

Let us pray
Loving God, we seek to glorify your name. We recognise the wonder of your works in creation, we feel the presence of your spirit in our lives, we see the example you have set before us In Jesus, and we marvel at your love. Help us to be open to see your love in the world around us, in each other, and in you.We are sorry that we often seek glory and failed to give you the glory which is yours by right. We are sorry that we fail to love others as we live ourselves. We are sorry that we allow ourselves to become complacent and failed to seek new ways of worshipping and serving you.Heal and forgive us we pray. Help us to hear the voice of Jesus saying, “go in peace, your sins are forgiven.”As we receive your love, help us to praise your name now and always. Amen

John 17: 1-11
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
“I have revealed you[ to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.  I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.

StF 6 Father we love you

Sermon
The heading for the above reading in the Bible which I regularly use is “Jesus prays to be glorified.” If we hear of people in modern day lives seeking glory, we see that as an undesirable thing, as somebody perhaps seeking to be thought of as better than other people. With Jesus it’s different!
It’s different because of who he is. He is God in human form living out a human life here on earth. A few people have seen glimpses of God’s glory around him at his baptism and in the events on top of a mountain when Moses and Elijah appear alongside him. People have recognised him as a great teacher and healer and there have been questions as to whether he really is the one that the Jewish nation have been waiting for. Peter has recognised him as such, perhaps echoing the thoughts of the other disciples, although completely failing to see the true nature of what Jesus’s Messiahship is about. He hasattracted fame because of what he has done but, apart from that he’s an ordinary person in the street.
When I was a teenager, I took part in a youth service that was attended by Martin Dobson, the Burnley, Everton, and England footballer. At the end of the service we crowded round him in awe when a man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, are you Mr.?” I can’t remember the surname he used but it certainly wasn’t Dobson. We were horrified that somebody had failed to recognise him. I suspect many people were like that with Jesus. They saw bits, but not who he really was. He prays that he might be glorified, that people might fully recognise him.
It’s different because of when it happens. At the wedding at Cana in Chapter 2 of St. John’s Gospel Jesus says, “My hour has not yet come,” and this theme is repeated throughout the Gospel until in Chapter 16 he says “A time is coming and in fact has come.” He is referring in this to the disciples being scattered and leaving him alone, but the implication is that this is the moment. It can’t be put off any longer. Anything which previously might have given him glory is nothing compared with what’s to come.
It’s different because of how it’s going to happen. For John, the crucifixion is not a piteous ending but rather a moment of triumph as Jesus cries from the cross, “It is finished!” It’s a cry of we’ve accomplished what I came for, we’ve done it! To the world the cross is an object to be feared, an object of torture, a place where criminals go to die but for Jesus and subsequently for Christians it’s a place where he is glorified and from which we are able to receive his glory.

So, God turns the world upside down in a way that only God can do, and I believe that is happening again. I don’t believe that God sent the virus, but I believe God is taking this opportunity to shake the Church from its complacency. Everything that we thought was secure has been turned upside down and isn’t going to be put back the right way up in the near future. But we have found new ways of doing things, new ways of worshipping which are enabling far more people to join in worship than was previously the case. People are being brought together whilst the world is forcing them apart. Let us continue to seek new ways of being Christians in whatever sort of world we might find ourselves and, through that, bring glory to God by what we do.

Let us pray
We pray for a fresh outpouring of your spirit in all areas of the church, till our lives and our church’s life are so changed for good that people notice and are drawn to seek you for themselves.We are your people: and you are our God
We pray for godly leaders and advisors all over the world that they may have the wisdom to lead us in this current crisis and that they may have courage to speak out against injustice and evil. We are your people: and you are our God .
We pray for those who are struggling with loneliness. We pray that we would reach out and touch them through our conversations and through our actions. May they receive encouragement by the things that we do. We are your people: and you are our God.
We pray for those who are sick. Those fighting COVID-19 and those struggling with other illnesses. May they know your presence, your healing touch, and your love.
We are your people: and you are our God.
We pray for the dying. Especially for those who cannot know the comfort of family at this time. We pray for the bereaved. Especially those who cannot mourn as they would have wanted.
We are your people: and you are our God.
We pray for those who are encountering God again in these difficult times and we pray for your church that we would have the wisdom to guide them as they discover you afresh. Help us to build your church in accordance with your wishes that it might be prepared to face the challenges of a new reality.
We are your people: and you are our God. Amen

StF 272 From heaven you came

Virtual Jammy Church

jammy-church-logo

On the third Sunday of the Month we would normally be holding Jammy Church from 4 p.m.   As we are unable to physically get together  we cannot do this in our normal way. However this month Jammy Church will still take place as the activities and songs will be shown on the Jammy Church facebook page.  The presentation will start at 4 p.m. the page can be found at

https://www.facebook.com/JammyChurch

Sorry you will have to provide your own food.  We hope we will be joined by our regular attendees and some new ones as well.  We are all getting used to using different technologies at this time so please bear with us if there are any glitches.

Aldersgate Sunday

On the Sunday nearest to 24th May (in 2020 the 24th is a Sunday)  many  Methodists remember  Aldersgate Sunday when John Wesley had an experience which encouraged him to change his life in many ways. As he says in his journal for 24th May 1738.

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate street, where one was reading the preface to Luther’s epistle to the Romans.  At about a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine.”

If you were wondering what Luther’s epistle to the Romans was Luther was a 16th century German protestant reformer.  Aldersgate is in the city of London by St Pauls and the museum of London. I visited the site a few years ago and it is  now is a  cement walkway between skyscrapers so not what John Wesley would have seen.

More about John Wesley and his family can be found in the blogs

Wesley Chapel and Home

Susanna Wesley

Service sheet for Sunday 17th May

This service sheet for use at home has been prepared for us by Rev. Trish Davis. In the prayers when you come across this symbol (+) Please add whatever words you like according to your needs.

Call to Worship: (from Psalm 66:1-3)
‘Shout for joy to God, all the earth!  Sing the glory of his name;make his praise glorious.  Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!’
Prayer: Gracious God, we come before you, whether meeting alone or with others,
drawn by the power of your welcoming love.We come with our sorrows and joys.
We come with our expectations and apprehensions.We come with what we have done.
We come as who we are. In your love help us find peace and hope. Amen.

STF372Come down, O Love divine

Prayer of Thanksgiving:
You make yourself known to us, and you are present in our lives
even though we do not always recognise or acknowledge you.
For all that you are, we thank you, loving God.You do not leave us orphaned,
but embrace us with parental love that encourages and comforts us.
For all that you are, we thank you, loving God.You ensure that we are not alone
by filling us with your Spirit of truth, that inspires and empowers us.
For all that you are, we thank you, loving God. (+)
Thank you, Father, for your presence, your love and your encouragement.
Amen.

Prayer of Confession:
God of love, we are sorry that at times our love for you falters;
that we have wrong priorities; that we overlook your guidance. (+)
O God, forgive us. O God, renew us.
Loving Saviour, we are sorry that we disobey your commandments;
that we fail to love; that we walk by on the other side. (+) O God, forgive us. O God, renew us.Spirit of truth, we are sorry that we disregard your presence; that our thoughts and feelings are unrighteous; that we follow the world’s way. (+)
O God, forgive us. O God, renew us.May your presence abiding in us lead us in the right way, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

John 14:15-21 The Spirit beside us
15‘If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’

Sermon:
We are way past Easter now and heading for Pentecost (well, in two week’s time) so it is very timely that we get to think about the Holy Spirit today in our reading from John’s Gospel. I wonder what comes into your mind when you think of the Holy Spirit? Is it excitement, or confusion, wonder or fear? Do you sigh or do you rejoice? You might like to pause for a moment and consider your response…
This passage, John 14:15-21, comes after the very well known passage where Jesus says: ‘My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?’ (John 14:2) And after the important verse in which Jesus states: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6)
Jesus’ disciples seem rather uncertain about what Jesus is telling them and Jesus appears to be trying to explain to them why they are going to be OK without him physically present. We could see this as Jesus trying to introduce them to the concept of the Trinity. He wants to let them know that they will never be alone, even without him there as a man. Jesus says: ‘I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth.’
Were they any the wiser do you think?! I can almost picture their blank faces… Jesus tries again; he says more about what he means by the ‘Spirit of truth’: ‘The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’ (John 14:17 some translations say: ‘and is in you.’)
I do feel for those disciples. I wonder if they rolled their eyes at one another; nudged one another, or sighed…? Jesus starts speaking about leaving them as ‘orphans’, or to be more precise – not leaving them as orphans. Given that they haven’t really grasped that he is leaving them anyway, I’m not sure how much this helps.
Jesus carries on: ‘19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me.’ Again, Jesus is mentioning that he is not going to remain with them; they will have heard this a few times now – maybe it does begin to sink in?
Then he says something else that must have been very strange to hear: ‘Because I live, you also will live.’ (John 14:19) Jesus is implying that he is leaving them… but I doubt they really think he is speaking of death. We have such a different perspective on things because we know what happened (and yet even so we can struggle a bit with the teaching about the Holy Spirit).
Jesus tells them that they will get it! ‘20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.’ I guess Jesus is looking ahead to Pentecost when the arrival of the Holy Spirit was full-on; unforgettable; transforming them ready for their missionary roles.
In case they are doubtful about what they should be doing in the light of the information he is revealing to them, Jesus says: ‘21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’
What does this mean for us today? Like the disciples, we are living in a time of uncertainty. We may often find we do not understand what the Government’s message is exactly. Some of us may feel that we are being left to sort ourselves out; we may feel insecure about going out or not going out.
The disciples had Jesus living amongst them, in the flesh, for a time. They learned a lot from him about God, and their minds were being prepared for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. We may feel that, without our physical connection with church, we are losing out. Yet, all the months and years that we have connected with church in some form or other, mean we have been prepared for this strange time. If we look deep into ourselves, we will discover afresh that we know God – as Father, as Son and as Holy Spirit. Nothing we have learned through our Christian lives is wasted. We can draw on it now during our absence from our church buildings and groups.
We do know God’s commands; we do know God’s love… it’s all in there, but we might need to reactivate it, and that is definitely where the Holy Spirit comes in – remember Jesus says: ‘I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth.’
Hallelujah! What a gift we have! Maybe this time now is like the period of time when the disciples began to know about the Holy Spirit, through Jesus’ teaching, but hadn’t yet fully received it (as they were to do at Pentecost – see Acts chapter 2). As the church right now, we are slightly hidden away, possibly a little confused about what God is saying to us at this time, but it is my hope and prayer that we will come through it and be revitalised as ‘church’ when we emerge into whatever comes next for churches. Let’s learn what we can about listening to God’s word to us; receiving God’s teaching. And let’s ask to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, so that we can have as big an impact on our communities as the disciples did after they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. How wonderful that would be!

STF391‘O breath of life come sweeping through us’
Prayers:
(You might like to pray using the hymn you have just read or sung. Spend a few moments asking God what you need to hear at this time…)
Holy God, there are many prayers on our lips arising from the present situation:
We ask that you help scientists develop treatments and vaccines for Covid-19.
We ask that the Government and their advisors can plan and set out a safe and sensible way for coming out of lockdown.We pray for all who are in work during this crisis, whether on the frontline or in some other role – that they will be protected and supported.We ask for resources to be made available to those not in work; those whose businesses are failing; and those who are very fearful about their economic future.
We ask for help for vulnerable, grieving and hurting people, and we pray that we will be prompted by your Spirit to offer help when we can. (+) Gracious God we lay our prayers before you, uplifted by the knowledge that each prayer is valuable and meaningful. Nourish us this day, and throughout the coming week, and give us a sense of your Holy Spirit drawing us together as Church as we speak out the words of the Lord’s Prayer.
“Our Father… Amen.”

 STF382‘Holy Spirit, come, confirm us’

Blessing: I am your child, O God: Help me always to show love, and fill me with the Spirit of truth. Amen.
‘May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth and your saving power among all nations.’ (Psalm 67:1-2)

Prayer walk during Exercise

Thank you to the person from the congregation that provided these suggestions for a Prayer walk during Coronavirus days.

Here are a few suggestions to help you pray as you pass various spots on your permitted exercise walk around Hedge End (or in your own local community).

Location Pray for
Churches people who would normally worship there, that they might feel close to God at home
Houses and flats people who live inside, especially those who feel lonely, isolated, sick, fearful; that they might be comforted; also those who help and support them. People who are now working from home, that they might adapt easily and successfully to their new way of working
Banks those who work there, making finance available to those who need it, that they stay safe
Pharmacies those who work there, providing necessary medicines and helping to keep people well, that they may stay well themselves
Food shops those who work there, those who supply the shops and all those who keep supplies moving, that they may stay safe and feel appreciated
Medical Centre those who work there, providing health care to those in distress, feeling ill or in pain, that they stay well and know how much they are helping the community in providing an essential service
Shops that are closed:
hairdressers, cafes etc
the people who would be working there, who run businesses there and who may be worried about the future and struggling financially, that they receive the help they need
Schools, nurseries, etc the children who would normally be there and are missing their friends, that they may all keep cheerful and grow; the parents coping with home schooling and child minding, that they enjoy being with their children; the teachers and other professionals who are providing materials for home schooling, that they find satisfaction in what they are doing
Traffic lights All those who are working behind the scenes to keep our community safe and functioning: council workers, utility companies, road, traffic, TV, mobile networks, internet suppliers, etc, that they stay safe and feel appreciated

You are sure to pass some of the above on your exercise walk and you may notice others such as the library, post office, the parks and gardens, council offices and police station….

Hedge End Methodist Thy Kingdom Come

ThyKingdom

‘join the global wave of prayer’  – Thursday 21st – Sunday 31st May 2020

The stewards invite all the church family to join together this year in Thy Kingdom Come . We may not be gathering together at the moment but we can still join in the global wave of prayer as a church family. Below are several ways to participate throughout the 11 days of prayer – please feel free to join in with any (or all!) of these opportunities:

For more details of what my kingdom come is and links to the my kingdom come website please see the previous blog on this site at

Thy Kingdom Come 2020

Daily prayer: it would be good if at times we could pray simultaneously to increase our sense of togetherness at this time. This may not be possible for everyone and you may find there are other times more suitable for you, but we suggest 8.30am and 7.30pm, for ten minutes. The morning prayer will be on Zoom and will be based on the Jesus loves all prayer journal.

Day of prayer: Friday 29th May. We invite you to make this a really special day of prayer by finding extra prayer time throughout the day. You could, for example, join in morning prayer as usual but you might also pause for prayer at other times, perhaps linking with a regular activity such as making a cup of tea or washing your hands.

In the evening there will be a prayer meeting on Zoom at 7.30pm, lasting about 40 minutes. This will start with a short introduction followed by a time of open prayer, during which both silent and spoken prayer is welcome. If you are not joining the Zoom meeting perhaps you could still pray during this time, wherever you are.

Prayer station. It would have been brilliant to have a Thy Kingdom Come prayer station at church but in the current circumstances why not create a prayer station or space at home? You might use a candle, flowers, a cross and pictures of the people you are praying for as a focus for your prayers.

Prayer walk. Could you use your permitted exercise walk as time to pray? If you are self-isolating why not try an imaginary walk? Prayer walking is a great way to pray for our neighbourhoods at any time. Please remember to comply with coronavirus restrictions.

Closing celebration, Sunday 31st May, 4.00pm – 4.40pm on Zoom.

If you would like to join in with the zoom parts of this imitative  please use the contact form to the left and we will endeavour to send you the details.

You could also Make and wear a symbolic knotted cord during Thy Kingdom Come. Tie five knots in a length of string, cord or wool to represent the five people you commit to pray for. Tie it on your wrist or place it somewhere you will see it regularly as a reminder to pray.

Keep a prayer journal. The Methodist resource Jesus loves all has space to record your reflections during Thy Kingdom Come but you could make your own journal for this time.

Use the Thy Kingdom Come mobile app

The breath prayer: Thy Kingdom Come could be a time to try different forms of prayer, such as this breath prayer. Pray the first part of each line breathing in and the second part slowly breathing out.
Short/arrow prayers: prayers needn’t be long or planned, after all, Jesus advised us not to go ‘babbling’ on in prayer! (Matthew 6:7) During Thy Kingdom Come why not practice praying short, arrow prayers as you feel prompted? You could think of a simple prayer prepared to use whenever you think of someone, eg. Lord, I pray that you will lead ……… to you. Amen.

Imaginative prayer: imagine inviting Jesus and one of the people you are praying for to join you for a cuppa. You might want to explain why you want them to meet one another. How do they get on together? What do they talk about? You could imagine telling them what you hope to come from this meeting. When you have said goodbye to them remember that you can meet again with Jesus in prayer at any time.

 

Lockdown Lyrics

Some poems, based loosely on well-known songs, to cheer you up! Take them with a good dose of humour and a pinch of salt! Except for the last one, which is my serious tribute to all health workers and others who are helping us through this pandemic. Enjoy! Geoff Scarlett.

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!
Tesco is providing.
Bags brought to the door,
Outside ( Not inside it ).
Bread, milk, runner beans and more,
Ice cream and some jelly,
Pies, peaches and spuds galore
Fill our belly!

Food, glorious food!
Don’t panic to buy it.
Toilet rolls abound —
Buy some on the quiet!

Just picture steak and champagne –
I’m just in the mood
For food, Wonderful food,
Marvellous food, glorious food!

HOW MANY TIMES SHALL I WALK AROUND
In my English country garden?
I’ll tell you now of some things I’ve found
To alleviate the boredom:
Mowed the lawn ten times a day!
I’m now selling bags of hay!
I throw the wrong flowers away
From my English country garden!

How glad I am that I can enjoy
Such a lovely country garden!
I take back everything I’ve just said –
It’s the lockdown my heart hardened.
Now I do appreciate
Fresh air, every breath I take.
Daffs, tulips, heathers, roses make
Such a lovely country garden!

OH! MISTER BARBER ( OR: OH! MADAME COIFFEUR )
What shall I do?
My hair is growing longer and
It’s almost six foot two!
Quickly come and cut it,
Or else I’ll trip, I fear.
Don’t bring your scissors – no!,
Just bring your garden shears!

I’VE GOT TO BE THERE IN THE MORNING
Seated before the TV screen.
Churches are showing
Worship — I’m going
To join in, ‘cos it’s all for free!

If I’m sleeping,
Wake me up, do!
If I am busy,
Make me come and view!

For I’ve lots of hi-tech stuff to help me
Sing hymns and pray and hear God’s word,
Learn from the sermon
( Please a short sermon! ),
So get me to the screen,
Get me to the screen,
Be sure to watch with millions —
Praise the Lord!

TO FIGHT THE INVISIBLE FOE,
That strikes with a deadly intent,
To strive to save lives every moment,
At the end of the day feeling spent:
This is your work, your calling, your life,
The choice that you have freely, happily made
And whatever the part you are playing,
Thanks for wonderful gifts you’ve displayed!

And you dream of a beautiful world,
Full of life, without suffering and pain,
And at last you’ll assuredly triumph,
Evil vanquished, as love comes to reign!
We’ll look forward to living again!

The Way to the Father

A service for Sunday 10th May at home, prepared for us by Rev. Geoffrey Scarlett.

Draw near — Our Father beckons us to come!Within the confines of our earthly home
We feel and know the joy of heaven above,Since Christ reveals God’s face of utmost love.
No distancing can keep us far apart From all the love that flows out from his heart,
And joyfully we crown him with our praise,Who keeps us in his care through all our days!

Hymn: STF 347 Crown him with many crowns

Prayer:

Father God,We are gathered in our homes in ones or twos, but we are not alone.
We are joined with millions of Christians around the world.
We praise you for the gift of your universal Church — and, best of all,
that you are with us!

We sing in different languages, often to different rhythms, but our theme of adoration is the same. We praise you for the gift of music to sing,
or, if music is denied us, the gift to read and value the printed words
— and, best of all, that our hearts can sing your praises!

We possess different bibles, in different versions and tongues, but each of them brings us your good news of salvation. We praise you that salvation
comes through your Son Jesus, crucified and risen — and, best of all, the good news includes forgiveness for our sins!
Take all our prayers. Use them to draw us closer to yourself. Cleanse us of our sins and refresh us for your service, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Reading: John 14, 1 – 14 — The Way to the Father

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Hymn: STF 459 Captain of Israel’s host

Reflection

At the moment we’re in coronavirus lockdown, but once that is lifted, we’ll be free. Free to walk streets locally. Free to drive to our usual places or explore further afield. When I’m driving off somewhere new, I read or google the relevant map, but, when Val’s with me, I have an excellent navigator by my side. When I take her advice, I usually end up in the right place. When I don’t listen and go my own way, I find I’m going in the wrong direction and have to make a U-turn to get back on course! Yes, I know, I should have GPS, but that’s not infallible! We need a good guide, and Jesus is that reliable guide for us in life.Sometimes we don’t know the way. This is why our passage begins with Jesus’ comforting words: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’. Well, no wonder they’re troubled. Jesus has just told his friends, that one of them will betray him and another deny him! They’re entitled to be upset. But Jesus simply says, ‘Trust God. Trust me. Stick with it. You may not always understand, but keep the faith. I’m your true guide’.

Where are we being guided to? What’s our destination? That’s the question our friend Thomas raises. Perhaps the others didn’t dare! ‘We don’t know where you’re going!’, he says. Jesus answers him. ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. Not: this is the way, describing a process, a route, a guidance system, but I am the way. A personal guide, a living example, the real thing. Not Alexa’. Not boring and irrelevant, but life-giving. Not fake news!It sounds as though we’re being led to a place: ‘You know the way to the place where I am going’. ( verse 4) This, apparently, is the Father’s house and a place of many rooms. This is often taken to refer to heaven and, indeed, these words are often spoken at funerals to offer comfort and hope to the mourners, and rightly so. But it also sounds as though we’re being led to a person. ‘No-one comes to the Father, except through me’. (verse 6). Jesus is offering us the way to get closer to God, the way to understand better who he is. He is leading us towards perfect fellowship with his Father! Other people, other faiths may offer us glimpses of God, but only Jesus shows God to us in all his fullness.This is a great challenge and a great privilege, but what exactly is this Father God like, the One we’re to have fellowship with? Up pipes Philip this time: ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us’ ( verse 8). Can’t you feel Jesus getting exasperated by this time? He must wonder if all his teaching and work has been in vain. He needs patience and great love to keep going. ‘Look!’, he says,’You’ve seen him already! You’ve seen him in me! Can’t you get that into your thick heads?!’ ( This last comment is, alas, a mistranslation by me from the original language!). Jesus takes Philip’s need on board and explains in detail, not just about God, but about a God, who is also our Father ….

‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’, says Jesus. ‘Like Father, like Son’. There is a family resemblance. Jesus gives us a true picture of God, one of love. He shows the living power of God. So Jesus says here,‘Look at me. At my whole loving attitude – that shows you what your Father’s like. Listen to my words – they are the Father’s words I pass on to you. See the things I do – these are the actions of a caring Father’.
And in all of this we see Jesus’ total dependence on his Father. If we go on to ask how we know what fellowship with God is like, we have only to witness Jesus at prayer. Isn’t he a good example to follow? If we want to know how we can even think of approaching God, we shall find we can do so and are encouraged to do so, through the death, resurrection and intercession of Jesus!

The way to the Father can be a long one, a long pilgrimage to make with ups and downs on the way. We need breaks, just as we often do on any long journey. So we look for somewhere to stop en route. A B&B perhaps or a motorway hotel. On our spiritual journey Jesus travels with us, but also goes ahead to prepare the next stopping place to receive us. We may stop after we’ve been having a good time. Life’s gone well for us. So Jesus says,’Stop and reflect. Count your blessings and thank your Father. Then go eagerly on’. We may stop after we’ve been going through a bad time. Bad things have happened to us or we’ve done bad things ourselves. Then Jesus says,’ Trust me, when you can’t understand. Repent and receive my forgiveness. And then go on to follow and serve me afresh’. So Jesus is there with us every step of the way, until he leads us at last to our final resting place in our Father’s presence!

Let me conclude briefly with Jesus telling us that we will do greater things now he is going to the Father. This is Jesus telling us to carry on the work, and he will give us whatever we ask for in his name. Jesus, I’m quite sure, expects his friends to work together to achieve this. So we too are not alone. We work together as a Church, to challenge and comfort, to witness and care. Think of all the Church’s achievements of the past and now. The Church’s influence at every level of society and also with us individually today. And give thanks to our Father.So Jesus has spelt out for his disciples of old and for us the way to the Father.That way is through him: our guide, the revealer of our destiny, our preparer of each resting-place. Where are you on your spiritual journey? Reflect and then travel on with Jesus. A glorious destiny awaits – deep fellowship with our Father God!

Prayer
Father God,
Help us to be patient in this time of lockdown, to find things to do and to cheer others up. Meet the needs of our family and friends we bring before you now…
Encourage your Church to explore more ways of communicating in a hi-tech age.
Strengthen and help those whose faith is being tested and those seeking to live under persecution.
Bless all who are active in eradicating domestic abuse and supporting its victims… in fighting against the virus and researching new vaccines… in providing the necessary services to keep the country going… in reaching out to all in trouble…
Bring relief to those suffering in our world, who lack the food, water, schooling and medical care, that we so often take for granted.
May our celebration of VE Day lead us still to pursue peace in our world…
Show us what we may do to answer these our prayers, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hymn: STF 297 Christ is alive!

Blessing based on of STF 411
May the God of hope go with us every day,
Filling all our lives with love and joy and peace.
May the God of justice speed us on our way,
Bringing light and hope to every land and race.

God will be our Shepherd as we go our way
And will not forsake us when we go astray.
Even though the load of life is hard to bear
We must not forget that God is always there.

Wartime at Hedge End Methodist

This Friday (8th May) is the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.  When we think about the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Hedge End Methodist Church worked throughout the war to support the Community and the War effort in various ways. There was a a Canteen for service personnel in our hall, as well as sandwiches and cups of tea games equipment and a Piano were available. At the time of the Air raids on Southampton people sought shelter in the Church and at times about 100 people a night slept in the Church. On the 60th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War Hedge End Town Council presented us with a plaque in recognition of the Churches work during the War. You may have seen this by the Kitchen  hatch.There are still some people in our congregation who remember these times.

We recreated the forces cafe for one day only in 2015 on  Hedge End Carnival day at the request of the Carnival Committee.

Carnival Forces Cafe

This blog is partially based on the article on this site  called “our history” for which the link is below.

Our History

 

 

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