From Gavin’s desk 26/04/2020

Readings: Acts 2: 14, 36-41, Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19, Luke 24: 13-35

How much easier is it when someone comes along for the ride when they are directing us to some place we are not sure how to get to? In the first place, we don’t have to try and cram everything into our head or try and decipher what we have written while we are driving and more than likely while we are driving in the wrong lane, or we don’t have to turn the map around when we go around a corner (because some of us are just like that). In the second place, it is always so much better when we have someone on the journey with us and we don’t have to travel on our own wondering if we have taken the wrong road or not, because without fail, when you said I will drive for a “bit” on a road, after my understanding of a “bit”, I wonder if I have gone too far because our “bits” are clearly not the same “bit”. In the third place, it is even better having someone drive with us, especially if they drive the vehicle for us, getting us not only from A to B but taking us on the scenic route and showing us all of the attractions we would have missed if we spent our time looking for road names and turn offs; especially if our cell phone’s battery has gone flat or we have run out of data at exactly the wrong time.

This is what our journey with Christ is like. We have the option of listening every now and then and spending most of our time and energy doing course corrections or we can invite Christ to come along on the journey and not only come on the journey; but to take the wheel. With Him being the one who steers our course; our trip will be the best possible trip we could ever have. Our concern will not be with getting to point B from point A because the whole purpose of our journey is the journey itself and not the destination. If we get to where we are going, we will know without doubt that this was the best possible trip we could have been on and we will want to stay in the vehicle for an eternal road trip.

Even better than travelling alone with Christ in the vehicle, we are able to invite everyone we know on this road trip because there is always space enough when Jesus drives. There is space enough for fellowship, there is space enough for personal time, there is space enough for silence, there is space enough for celebration, there is even space enough to have peace with ourselves, with the world, with the universe.

When we allow Christ to steer our course; every space, every place, every road, every corner becomes a moment in which we can grow in our experience of His glory and of His power, of His love and of His joy. Every second becomes a moment in which we are able to look back and see how Jesus has been a part of everything and how He has been present in everything. Since the creation of everything, He has been involved in everything because He is Lord and Christ of all. He has always been redeeming, especially when we have not cared to take notice and our disregard for His presence has brought about destruction. He has always been there and He is here now. He is here now and He is already in tomorrow. This is the One we need to invite to join us on our journey and around our table. May it become His journey and His table.

Gavin

From Gavin’s desk 19/04/2020

Readings: Acts 2: 14a, 22-32, Psalm 16, John 20: 19-31

The whole world has either been behind locked doors for fear of the Corona virus or is busy hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Corona virus and in the middle of the virus Jesus appears to those behind locked doors and says “Peace be with you!”. If it is not the virus we are hiding from; there are many other things we are all hiding from physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. We hide from commitment, we hide from mending relationships, we hide from issues of justice because it may seem insurmountable to us. We hide from God, we hide from each other, we hide from the truth and learn how to pretend, whether we know what the truth is or not. In that moment of silence, Jesus appears to each of us and says “Peace be with you!”

The disciples are gathered together behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. The Jews put Jesus to death and the Jews will put those who followed Jesus to death. The news that death could not take Jesus has not made the transition to their hearts yet because even if they have heard it, they have not made sense of what it means for them. They have heard the news from the Angels, they have heard the news from Mary, they have heard the news from the travellers who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, but somehow it is still too surreal to believe. There is hope but they are too afraid to hope in case their hopes are dashed against the reality of life and death. In the middle of their wrestling with truth, reality, probability; Jesus appears amongst them and says “Peace be with you!”.

Jesus’ peace does not take away the threat of the Jews, it does not take away the broken relationships, it does not take away the injustice, it does not take away the virus, but it does give us a moment to breathe deeply, rearrange our perspectives and our priorities and it enables us to make better decisions. Even more than that, it gives us a moment of peace in which we become aware that God has not deserted us, but that He is with us and He always has been. When we reject that peace, we enter into a spiral of darkness and sow destruction, despair, and inequality. When we chose not to receive that peace and that moment of clarity; we sow chaos and anarchy and everything that seeks to steal, kill and destroy.

As we take this moment to receive the peace that Jesus gives to us, we also take a moment to become aware of the Spirit of God who has always been present and has always been guiding and has always been leading us to mend relationships, to bring justice, to curb every single virus that brings death into our lives by the power of His healing love and leading us to dwell in the presence of God always.

This is the real miracle that takes place when Jesus appears to the disciples on the first day and it is the real miracle of this moment. The virus is not from God but it is a moment in which we become aware of God, it is a moment in which we become aware of our mortality and of what is important to us. It is in these moments, when everything has been stripped away and those things that have been blinding us to the essential life have been forcibly removed, that we are able to look into the face of Holiness and know why we exist. Receive the peace that Christ gives you in this moment and stare into the face of Holiness.  Let this moment of peace become the peace you live.

Gavin

From Gavin’s desk 12/04/2020

Readings: Acts 10: 34-43, Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24, Colossians 3: 1-4, John 20: 1-8

Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed

A seed is planted, it shoots down and it shoots up. Its tap root digs deeper and deeper into the soil that gives it life, soaking up the nutrients that are in the soil because as this seed grows into the life it is created for, it thirsts for the very substance of the soil that enabled its birth. Even as its tap root grows down, so its stem reaches for the air; it reaches for the cool breeze that carries the warmth and the moisture; it reaches for the light and the carbon dioxide that will give it the form, the colour, the fragrance, the function and the beauty that brings forth worship for the one who gave it life. Here is the testimony of a plant that has sung praises to its God in the same way that the plants from which it came have done since the Creator brought the first one into existence with a Word. The Word is full of life and warmth and nutrients, the Word that every single form of life yearns for, thirsts for, hungers for. Those that chase after the Word will be satisfied because the Word is not running away. The Word is coming towards us, running as a Parent to welcome their child, running as One who has moved heaven and earth to be with us, as One who has defeated death for us, as One who has removed every single obstacle from our path. The source of our life, of our peace and of our joy has taken everything that stands between us and His life-giving love out of the way.

This plant has nothing to stop its growth and its worship. There are no rocks, or walls, or curtains or thorns that can interfere. No winds, no droughts, no floods, no bugs can stop it. The Word has gotten rid of everything that would hamper our growth and our worship. There are rocks, there are walls, there are curtains and thorns; there are winds and droughts and floods and bugs but none of it can stop our worship of God because it is even in the presence of this that we thrive. We worship a God who walks alongside us and there is nothing that can get in the way of His love for us. There is nothing that can distance us from the God of life except ourselves.

We are a resurrection people and we know that after death we will rise but even more than that; it is in this life that we will live fully. It is in life that we will live as a resurrection people. It is in life that we hear Him call our names, that we will know the warmth and the nourishment of His embrace and that we will know ourselves rooted and growing in the very substance of the one who created us, the one who sustains us and the one who calls us to add value to the world around us. It is in this life that with God’s help we live as a resurrected people where we proclaim the good news of relationship with God through the peace made by Christ by our words and with our acts of mercy. We are an Easter people who choose love over survival and who care, who show mercy, who choose justice and joy not because it is what we try to do, but because it is who we are. We are kind because our God has been kind to us. We are patient because our God is patient with us. We are peaceful because our God has made peace with us. We have no reason to boast because we can only boast in what God has done for us and with us and in us.

We will go to where the Holy Spirit takes us because we see how people live in the pain of fear and hurt and agony when they don’t have to. We will go because we have found what our souls yearn for and we know that no soul will ever be content without it. Let me tell you about my God. Let me tell you about my Jesus. Let me tell you about my Jesus who is Risen. He is Risen indeed.

Gavin

From Gavin’s desk 05/04/2020

Readings: Palm Sunday: Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29, Matthew 21: 1-11

Passion Sunday: Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm 31: 9-16, Philippians 2: 5-11, Matthew 26:14 – 27:66

There is nothing sweeter than seeing the face of an innocent child coming down the passage with a broad smile and dirty hands. That is if they have been playing outside in good clean mud; where a good bar of soap and an occasional de-worming tablet will help. There is also nothing as frightening for the parent who has witnessed this scene a number of times over only to find that the source and consequence of the dirty hands is to be found on the wall or the bedspreads or the floor, especially when it looks like it is paint or something else that doesn’t dry well or God forbid; something that the child shouldn’t have in their hands in the first place. There are those who were a little OCD about washing hands before the Corona virus became a household name throughout the world and for those who also double up as parents; this could be a moment of fear and anxiety. Behind this moment of joy could lie hours of cleaning up house.

Sometimes, we see one thing, but are never sure what this thing is what we are looking at. Sometimes what is before us is not really what is before us. Sometimes our perception of reality is only real to us. Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on a colt, as a king would who is entering into a city in peace, not as a king would who is coming in war on a stallion. Jesus wasn’t coming in peace though; He was coming in war. He wasn’t coming to fight the Romans or the Jews; He was coming to start a fight with another common enemy the world has faced since the fall of humanity. Jesus starts a fight which He does win and it is with an enemy that the world had accepted as a part of reality, something they could never do anything about. According to the evidence of humanity throughout the ages, we can plainly see that they would never have been able to do anything about this enemy – they couldn’t fight against death, they couldn’t fight against sin, they couldn’t fight against the inevitable separation from God that their imperfection brought about.

Jesus comes to destroy every wall that humanity had built between themselves and God. Jesus came to remove everything that we created to defend ourselves against a Holy God because we didn’t actually need to defend ourselves, even though our fear said we did. Christ came in battle and His battle was with the only real enemy the world has ever known.

The Corona virus will also pass, as all of the other global viruses did. It may even take a huge portion of humanity before it does pass, but the death it brings has already been defeated. We may not be afraid of death, but it doesn’t mean we need to be foolish or flippant about life either. Christ came to defeat death so that we would know life and life in abundance. We are already living our eternal life even now. Live it as someone who has received the gift of life that Christ entered Jerusalem on a colt to bring you. Live as someone who has respect for life and values the lives of others and in this season of world history that would include washing hands and maintaining social distance.

Gavin