Tag Archives: Jesus

Advocacy

Representing humankind.

In human terms, an advocate is usually one of two things. An advocate may be a person who promotes a cause or policy for an organisation. He or she may be a person who represents the interests of another individual. In the UK, one of the most recognised types of advocate might be a barrister, representing a client in a court of law.

There are other types of advocate, some of which might not be recognised or called as such. A public relations officer, spokesperson or communications director all fit the dictionary definition of advocate for example, representing the views of a company or perhaps political party. Their job is to put across to a wider audience, the public perhaps or company shareholders, a position or proposals for the future. It might be to justify previous actions.

When Jesus said that an advocate was coming, it is assumed he referred to the Holy Spirit. I assume the same and am not aware of anything to contradict this assumption. In terms of human understanding, might this be some of the most literal words in the Bible? It seems to me that the Holy Spirit in terms of advocacy fulfils our human definition.

There are of course  major differences in the advocacy provided by the Holy Spirit. Human advocates are, on the whole, paid for their services whether representing an individual or organisation. Human advocates perform their duties as a job, or career. They do not need to believe in who or what they are representing. They fulfil a contract.

The Holy Spirit is not paid in any monetary form. Perhaps the best description of the Spirit’s actions on our behalf and God’s is a vocation, perhaps almost its raison d’être.

The Holy Spirit presents our human case to God, representing us both individually and collectively. That same Spirit promotes, and explains, if we take the trouble to listen and understand, God’s plans and policies to us us for the future of the world and the human race. The spirit acts both for us and with us, helping us to come closer to God.

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Intercession Prayer for Sunday 6th May 2018

The 6th Sunday of Easter.


Audio expires after approximately 90 days.

 Holy eternal Father, we bring to you our hopes and fears, thoughts and ideas in thanks and worship. Open our eyes and ears to the presence of Your Holy Spirit as we offer You this prayer in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus called his disciples friends because he taught them what he learned from his Father. Open our minds Father to learn those lessons and to bear fruit for You, like the disciples as friends of Your son, serving but not servants.

Father as you welcome all who turn to you, we join with You to welcome those being baptised this week into Your family as Your own son was baptised. Send Your spirit over the waters of their baptism. Watch over them as they grow and guide those who care for them to thrive in Your family.

Remind those of us who have been baptised of the promises made by us, or on our behalf. May we renew those promises in love and trust.

We pray for new ministers and for those moving on to new pastures and appointments. May each in their own way, under your guidance spread Your word.

Healing Lord we bring to You those hurting in body, mind or spirit. The lonely and the afraid. Be with them Father, give them comfort and strength and make them whole.

The closing of today’s prayer is a prayer poem by Beryl Strange of the Mothers’ Union (MU). It can be found in the Dear Lord prayer book, available from MU here .

Be with us Lord throughout this day,
When sunshine streams or skies are grey,
Be with us Lord in joy or ill,
Choose thou our paths, be with us still,
Be with us Lord, when all else fails,
Thy precious blood for us avails,
Be with us Lord when life slows down,
Thy steadfast love shall be our crown.

Amen.

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Time Travel

Maybe it’s not so impossible.

When you see or hear the words ‘time travel’, what’ the first thing that you think of? The first thing that usually comes to my mind is science fiction. Doctor Who perhaps, maybe H.G. Wells classic story The Time Machine.

For you and me time travel is impossible, certainly in any physical sense in which our corporeal form is transported to a different period. We are simply carried along with time. As H.G.Wells unnamed time travellere observed, whilst time is the fourth dimension, unlike the other three “we have no freedom of movement within it”

So is time travel possible? Maybe in a way it is but perhaps only in one direction, though it remains possible to look in the other direction. Suppose for a moment you could travel in time. How might it affect some of the beliefs you hold or tenets that you live by? While their basis might not change, it is quite possible that how you interpret or implement them for the era you are in might.

History in itself is not time travel but a means to see into the past, an imperfect means that does not always tell the whole story. Now what about forward time travel? I’ve already said that we cannot do it physically, in either direction but could something intangible move forward in time? Something like an idea. There are many thoughts and ideas from the past that have shaped the world as we know it today, ideas that have come forward from the point of conception to now. Couldn’t that be a kind of time travel?

Some of the most compelling and durable thoughts, concepts and ideas that are with us today concern religion and faith. They have travelled forward in time from hundreds, even thousands of years ago. Some remain essentially unchanged and some become updated to remain relevant and, more importantly, understood in the current age having been written to be understood by particular cultures in specific eras. The Bible is almost 2000 years old. It’s thoughts and ideas have survived, albeit in words suited to the different eras through which it has passed.

And maybe, just maybe one person has managed to travel through time. I’ve heard it said that for as long as someone is remembered they are not really dead. We know that Jesus died and we believe that he lived again, before his ascension. Had he been forgotten after his departure from the physicsl world then in a sense he would have died again, at least until his second coming. But, if he had been forgotten, would anyone believe who he was on his return?

Jesus was thought to be in his 30s when he departed his physical existence. It is probably as a human of around this age that many people around the world picture him. Millions of people believe in, know, honour and worship this ageless man always in his 30s. Couldn’t this be a kind of time travel?

Roll Away The Stone

A slightly off-beat look at a familiar event.

‘Ouch’, he exclaimed sitting up in the pitch darkness, banging his head on the low ceiling. when his head stopped throbbing, he sat up again, more cautiously with his hand above himself to ward off any further knocks. Putting his hand gingerly to his head, he could already feel a swelling and tenderness. He ignored it. It was insignificant, compared to his other injuries.

Once his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he was able to make out chinks of light, a faint outline, that he supposed to be the doorway. He made his way slowly, still with his hand outstretched, carefully toward it until his hand touched a cold, hard, smooth rock surface roughly in the middle of the faint outline. All the time he was wincing slightly because of the rough, uneven surface under his bare feet.

After feeling around the cold surface his hand had come into contact with, he gave it a tentative push. It didn’t move. He tried again, pushing harder with both hands. Still no movement, not even the slightest shift. He turned around facing back into the darkness and flattened his back against the unyielding surface and heaved with his legs with all his might. A moment later, he slid down to the floor, with his back still resting against it still not having moved as much as a finger’s width.

He wouldn’t be able to shift what he now guessed to be a huge boulder himself. He needed help. Closing his eyes, even though it was a bit pointless in the pitch dark, he called out softly ‘Dad, Dad, can you hear me?’ He was silent a moment and then ‘I’m stuck. I need you to send a couple of the boys to help.’ then as an afterthought added, ‘quick as you can please Dad.’

What seemed to him to take ages, but in reality was only probably only a matter of seconds, he felt the boulder rock and then start to move slowly sideways away from the portal. He rose quickly, still taking care not to bang his head, and watched the light grow and seep into what he now saw was a cave, a tomb, until the gap was wide enough for him to step out into low sunshine of the dawn light.

Emerging from the tomb he gave a friendly nod to the two slightly glowing figures, that had freed him. ‘Thanks Michael, Gabriel, I could have been in there ages.’ ‘Try to keep yourself out of trouble for a while, Jesus.’, Michael said, just before both he and Gabriel both disappeared, a second too soon for Jesus to ask one more question. ‘What day is it?’

Intercession Prayer for Sunday 18th March 2018

The 5th Sunday of Lent.


Audio expires after approximately 90 days.

Living God, You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to proclaim Your word to all mankind. Thank You for His teaching of peace, compassion and justice, as we seek to learn His ways. May our lives influence those who have not heard Your message until Your Kingdom reigns over everyone.

Thank You for the enthusiasm in Lent initiatives and guiding us through the Lenten season. Give us the opportunities to put into practice what we have learned.

God of hope and unfailing love, cleanse us and let us find the joy and gladness you offer. Show us how to be pure in heart, serving our community as Jesus served all mankind.

We pray for people going through dark times. For those in places of conflict. For people struggling to feed their families an who have suffered rejection, feeling discarded or disposable.

We pray for staff of toy retailer Toys ‘R’ Us as it closes. Help former staff find new work or training. Enable them to support themselves and their dependants.

Father God give wisdom to the leaders of the world’s nations. Encourage moderation by our Prime Minister and the Russian leadership, to lower the tension between Great Britain and Russia caused by the attempted killing of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

We pray for those recently departed this Earth, to stand in your presence. Gentle God who gave the gift of life, give them peace in Your kingdom. Comfort those who grieve, knowing that their loved ones are with You. Be with them in their sorrow and pain.

We bring before you the friends and family of scientist Stephen Hawking. May they know he is healed and whole in your presence. We mourn his loss to science and pray for his legacy to inspire people to continue exploring the mysteries and wonders of the universe You made.

Loving Father we bring to You the hurt in body, mind or spirit. Be with the unwell and injured and frightened. Reassure them that by the creative ability You gave to our medics many will be cured, restored to health and relieved of pain. Give them courage and comfort by knowing that you are always with them throughout their suffering, and we pray especially the alone and lonely who have no one to help them.

We offer this prayer for those we know in need of Your healing, comfort or wisdom. We pray for those needing care, those who care for them and the medical staff who treat them.

Lord and Father be with us in the week to come. Help us be good tempered and considerate to all who we meet. To be cheerful when things go wrong and to act kindly to those we find it hard to like. Send Your spirit to guide us while we go about our daily lives.

Merciful Father, accept this prayer for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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Forsaken

Separated from the Father?

Christ On The Cross, by Eugène Delacroix, 1798 – 1863

On the day that Jesus is crucified, when he is hanging nailed to the cross, at around three in the afternoon he is heard to say “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (UKNIV Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34). It seems to be generally assumed that he has become separated from his father, can no longer feel His presence. Is there be another possibility?

Jesus knows he is going to die, that is clear. He prophesied his own death to his disciples, though they don’t listen, don’t believe or don’t understand. As well as knowing he was to die, Jesus knew why and quite possibly when.

You and me know we are going to die too. Only a very few people know when and with the exception of suicide, the time of their death. The very old probably realise why they die; They reach the natural end of thier life. Most of us do not know when, why or how we will die. We probably expect to live into a ripe, old age.

As I have aged my fear of death has diminished. I think that happens for most people as they get older. What I am afraid of now is not being dead, it is the manner of my dying.

Is it possible that Jesus’ cry of “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” as he was crucified was because of the manner of his death, not because he was afraid to die and not because he was experiencing separation from God His Father?

Jesus crucifixion was a brutal act. It was unjust, but that is not relevant in this context. It would have been excruciatingly painful. Most men probably could not have born such agony for so long, knowing their life was ebbing away. I am not saying any other interpretation is wrong, only that I think the scenario I offer bears consideration.

Intercession Prayer for Sunday 11th February 2018

The Sunday Next Before Lent.

Perfect God and Father, You value each of us so much that you sent Your son, Jesus Christ, to pay for our sins and redeem us all. As You have shown our value to you, let us take that example to show how we value You by caring for our fellow human beings and sharing Your love to Your people, created in Your image.

As we approach the season of Lent, bless the initiatives taking place wherever Lent is observed.

Bless and guide Lent Groups. Lead them as they seek to serve communities by living as an example that can bring more people to You.

Eternal, loving God help us to look forward with hope, expectation and action through Lent and beyond.

Christ Jesus who gave us freedom to live, work and to worship you, we pray for the 200 migrants rescued from modern slavery on a flower picking farm in Cornwall. Help them, and all who are forced to work under unjust conditions, to integrate into our free society or the society wherever they may be.

We pray that in places beyond our direct influence, there is someone to help and support those living or working under slave conditions, or under any kind of injustice that might be inflicted upon them. We ask for all slaves to be freed and for justice upon the slave-masters and the oppressed alike.

Loving Father we bring to you those hurt in body, mind or spirit. The unwell and the injured. Heal those injured by their and our fellow humans, in places like Syria, Somalia, Yemen and wherever there are victims of violence perpetrated on human by human. Heal too the minds of those who enact that violence. Forgive them as an example to us and to their victims to forgive them.

In our own localities, we offer this prayer for those we know in need of your healing, comfort or wisdom. We pray for those needing care, those who care for them and medical staff who treat them.

Eternal God, thank you for hearing our prayers. May we listen with open hearts and minds for your response whenever, wherever and however you choose to respond.

Merciful Father, accept this prayer for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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