We believe in God

Author: 
Rev'd Heather
Date: 
Sunday, May 10, 2020 - 9:30am

Collect 

Lord of all life and power,

who through the mighty resurrection of your Son

overcame the old order of sin and death

to make all things new in him:

grant that we, being dead to sin

and alive to you in Jesus Christ,

may reign with him in glory;

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit

be praise and honour, glory and might,

now and in all eternity.

 

Readings

Acts 7:55 to end and John 14:1-14


Reflection – We believe in God, whose love unites us all

We believe in life after death. The words of today’s Gospel reading offer comfort. They are words often chosen by families to be spoken at a funeral service, for they remind us of the eternal life that we share through Jesus, and the hope and reassurance that brings us. They are words that Jesus spoke first to reassure his disciples when he knew that he would soon die. He wanted to prepare his disciples for his death, as well as for their own deaths. He does this by telling them that where he is going, they will one day be able to join him too. ‘In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places… I go to prepare a place for you.’ That hope filled promise reminds us that when we depart this earth, Jesus will have prepared a place for us where we can dwell with him forever in God’s love. We believe in life after death. 

Yet as Christians we also believe in life before death. As we heard at the end of our Gospel reading last Sunday, Jesus came to bring life, life in all its fullness (John 10:10). What is more, when we read on in John’s Gospel next Sunday, we will hear Jesus promise that He will send the Holy Spirit to be with the disciples, and with us, here on earth. A promise that wherever we are, God will be with us, and God will unite us through His Holy Spirit. We believe in life before death.

‘We believe in life after death’ and ‘we believe in life before death’ are such important statements for us as Christians. They sum up so much of what is at the heart of our faith, to believe in the love of God. I will often remind those present at a funeral that the love of God continues to hold our departed loved ones, as well as us, uniting us all in God’s love. For God’s love is alongside us, and God’s love unites us, across distance, across time, and across heaven and earth. 

And that gives us great encouragement today, on this first day of Christian Aid Week 2020, as we give thanks for God’s love that unites us with all our brothers and sisters in Christ across distance, indeed around the world. Christian Aid works with our brothers and sisters, with families around the world to overcome poverty and injustice. 

As Coronavirus travels across the world, Christian Aid reminds us that love rises up in response. We’ve seen that here in Old Basing and Lychpit, with the huge desire to reach out and support one another, with the practical help that is offered through the church and other local schemes. We saw such wonderful community spirit yesterday as we marked VE Day at a safe social distance – we loved saying hello to those coming past the front of the vicarage, and meeting Flossy the therapy pony as she walked around the village. We’ve seen teams of people sew scrubs, donate and deliver food, keyworkers keep working to support us, and staff continue to work selflessly on the front line – thank you NHS and carers. 

Yet we’re also conscious at this time of all that we have in this country. Clean water and soap to enable us to wash our hands thoroughly, medical supplies, and food available in shops. Around the world live people who have no clean water to wash their hands, whose only shelter is in an overcrowded refugee camp; who already face a lack of food and healthcare; who like us are grandparents, mothers, fathers, friends, children. 

Christian Aid are calling us this week to reach out to our neighbours near and far, to support them in their work with their local partners to draw on their experience from the Ebola crisis and help communities to prevent and delay infection. For in the words of Christian Aid: ‘Coronavirus impacts all of us. But loves unites us all.’ 

We belief in life after death. We believe in life before death. We believe in God whose love unites us all. And so let us pray this week for the work of Christian Aid, and continue to offer our support, in whatever way we are able, to our neighbours near and far. Amen.