June 17, 2020
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:8-11
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
There are always going to be days we need encouragement. For Christians, we have only to look back to Easter and the Resurrection of our Lord. For it was just 2 months ago that we celebrated that great event, and remembered all that led up to that moment – just not quite in the same way we have done at St James in past years.
It must seem strange to non-Christians that we find encouragement when we look to the (empty) Cross of Christ. Yet it is in looking to the Cross that we can remember ‘all’ that is associated with that historic event, its very purpose and triumph. (Do you have a cross (or crucifix) in your home, and if so, is it somewhere you can see it, often?)
In remembering and reminding ourselves, we can find encouragement for today, each day. That in Christ’s overcoming death and paying the price of sin, we are saved. Not just sure of heaven, but of life now. And that’s where we often need to dig a little deeper to remember ‘all’ that Jesus proclaimed and promised.
Through our baptism we belong to the great family of God. I love baptisms and the prayer we pray over the candidate(s) is always a powerful reminder of what Jesus wants us all to know throughout this life.
“Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed on these your servants the forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit, give them an enquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen” (p. 160 BAS)
I invite you to ponder just one of those phrases (– the one that ‘spoke’ to you as you read!) For me, I find the phrase ‘the courage to will and persevere’ very poignant. Jesus’ very example in his life was filled with courage and perseverance and consequently encouragement for others.
We are to take courage, and to be encouraged in our belonging to God; in the presence of His Holy Spirit and in everything we have learnt and are still learning about our life in Christ Jesus.
I am reminded of a lovely hymn;
I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare;
I would be friend of all – the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift
I would be faithful through each passing moment;
I would be constantly in touch with God;
I would be strong to follow where He leads me;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod.
Blue Hymnal # 640, words by H.A. Walter (1883-1918)
May you know the courage of Jesus in claiming His presence with you today. May you be encouraged to go through the day singing his praises and giving thanks for all that he continues to reveal to you of our Father’s love.
A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short on time and couldn’t find a place with a meter. Then he put a note under his windshield wiper that read: “I have circled the block 10 times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.” When he returned he found a parking ticket from a police officer along with this note: “I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I lose my job. Lead us not into temptation.