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 April 1, 2020

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord, and his strength; seek his face always. Ps. 105:3

Greetings, Sister and Brothers in Christ;
Recently, I had this ‘picture’ of each of us faithfully following Jesus through this Lenten season; following him through all His temptations and opposition, carrying the load of his foreknowledge; that he is to die in Jerusalem. And that city now looms closer, almost in view. As we heard last Sunday, Jesus arrives within a couple of miles of Jerusalem, staying with friends in Bethany. Then my picture ‘flipped’, and there was the sight of Jesus accompanying us as we followed Him, and accompanying us in this our present time of trial. It seemed appropriate; the closer we draw to Jesus, the closer He draws to us. For he understands only too well, our predicament.
Between Palm Sunday and Easter there is a sense of descent into darkness. As we read (see the Holy Week readings on the website) of the road Jesus travelled, imagine the burden he felt - not only anticipating death, but in order to win through in order to save us. I want to encourage you again, to spend a time each day to remember Jesus, to give thanks for his steadfast faithfulness and determination to fulfill His Father’s purpose for us. 
Sometimes our circumstances and trials become so big that they would blot out our sense of the presence of God. That’s why we pray and turn to prayer; to stay connected and inspired by His abiding presence and love as we continue to journey on. I like to remind myself that when Lent is over (for this year), our Lord will indeed continue to accompany us through all the changing seasons of life.
Is it any wonder that he knows everything about us? He has always ‘travelled’ with each and every one of us, and has watched over us from the moment of our conception on.( See Psalm 139).
Last year Dianne and I had an opportunity to celebrate a significant wedding anniversary. Over many months prior to that occasion, I would grab moments to reflect on our life’s journey together. The idea was to compile a memory scroll of our shared life. I found it quite revealing; even the little, often forgotten moments and blessings that came flooding back. (As well as the most significant moments – forget them at your peril, Tony!)
Have you ever spent time reflecting on your life? We don’t need to have a particular reason to do this, other than opportunity, time on our hands, and our choosing. Start small; what is your earliest memory, your fondest memory (and sometimes not so pleasant memory)? Explore that picture, the time, the place, the occasion; even ask the Lord for his help. He often has good ideas doing this, if we are willing.
Each day take just a few moment to reflect, to remember, to be reminded of an event in your life. To go back as far as you can remember; perhaps use old photos to jog your memory. Keep a note book handy; you may be surprised when the ideas start to flow….. memories start to trickle back into your day, that surprise you, even enthrall. Write, journal your ‘rememberings’, of people, places and significant events. Doesn’t need to be chronological.  Yet each time you recall an event, ask yourself, and ask the Lord to show you where He was in your life at that time. Give thanks wherever it is appropriate. Deal with unfinished or unhappy memories by talking to our Lord about them. They are all part of who you are today. A dearly loved child of God. You may just find it can feed into your prayers.
Please continue to make contact with family, friends and someone new. Grow the Telephone Tree. And if you have ‘grown’ a new ’branch’ and what to share that, I’d love to hear who you have included and are in contact with. Have you ever thought what the early missionaries did in the remote places they went – cut off from ‘home’ for months, even years? What did they do? Pray and learn the local ‘language’ in order to communicate with the local community. Today, in the present climate that means using the ‘phone, Email, Facebook, Zoom, even ‘snail mail’ etc.
Sadly we shall forgo a Maundy Thursday service in church this year. However, we shall gather at the foot of the Cross on Good Friday with meditations and music. More information coming during next week.
Be encouraged in your prayer life. Bring before the Lord both the laments of your heart as well as the desires, hopes and intercessions for that day. Listen for his comfort and encouragement.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.’        Ps. 91:1,2
One Sunday a young child was playing up so much during the service that his father eventually had to pick him up and carry him out. As the father marched sternly down the aisle the boy called out loudly to the congregation: ‘Pray for me! Pray for me!”
Rev. Tony Grainger
Interim Priest-in-Charge