Keep in Touch: 24th May 2020

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24th May 2020
 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Christians are called to live eternity NOW. Not pie in the sky when you die, but heavenly pie in life’s press and stress! The prayer of Jesus in today’s gospel is clear that our lives now are to be shaped by the gift of eternal life. And that means union with God. What an awesome thought; what an awesome goal. God’s people are to know God with such closeness that only the word ‘union’ will do.

This is a pretty hard thought. Yes, Jesus can pray for union with God the Father; perhaps an obvious part of what we understand by the incarnation? Jesus claims the glory of his union with the Father ‘before the world existed’ as John’s gospel has it (17 v5). We can say that of Jesus but saying it of ourselves is altogether more troublesome. We’re only human, and with our human character go all kinds of disqualifications for union with God. Sin, selfishness, fear, conceit, hatred, laziness—I needn’t go on, it’s all too plain to see. And yet we were created for eternal life!

‘And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’ (John 17 v3 NRSV). This intimacy is about a quality of living that takes in the whole of a person—body, mind and soul. Jesus prays that we will have the same kind of union he himself knows with God the Father. Wow! Enjoy that kind of living right now. Lockdown can’t stop that. When once we’ve seen our goal on the horizon nothing else will do.

Too many years ago I had a running coach. He used to drum into me continually the need to keep my eyes looking towards the finishing tape, whether I could see it or not. I used to run the 400 metres so there were corners to tackle when the temptation was always to look to see how other runners were doing. Fatal! Keep your eyes; keep your will on the finish. The same is essential in discipleship: we must keep our eyes, our intention, and our will, fixed on eternal life. The fears and threats of a pandemic mustn’t obscure that view.

I think there’s help in the very thing Jesus is doing in this gospel passage. Jesus prays for his disciples and friends, for himself, and for all Christians of every time and place. He prays for us. Chapter seventeen of John is by far the longest prayer on Jesus’ lips we have. It makes plain again that for Jesus prayer was an essential component of being alive. This is no add-on to what he does and says. It is part of the very breath of his life—a necessity of living.

Eternal life now means sharing the prayer of Christ now—regularly, earnestly, and unhurriedly. It must be as breathing to us, as it was for Jesus. We all have a part in this—a horizon beyond the strictures of Covid-19.

Christopher Burkett


READINGS for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 1:6-14, Psalm 68:1-10, Psalm 68: 33-36, 1 Peter 4: 12-14, 1 Peter 5: 6-11, John 17:1-11

Readings available to read online (New Revised Standard Version - NRSV)


NOTICES
Holy Trinity Blacon are the living church of our living God, and we continue to be at work here! If you are able, do check the parish website www.holytrinityblacon.org (especially the Coronavirus Support page) or our Facebook page (holytrinityblacon) for updates. We will put further worship and prayer up there each Sunday morning by 10am.

THY KINGDOM COME
is a period from Ascension to Pentecost (21st to 31st May) when we focus especially on praying for our church and nation. Do join us each evening in prayer – how about putting a candle in the window daily as well as on Sunday evenings? Resources to help at this time can be found here.

DAILY HOPE
is a free phone line for hymns, prayers and reflections – 0800 804 8044

BISHOP OF CHESTER
Downing Street have announced that Rt Rev Mark Tanner is to be the next Bishop of Chester. He is currently Suffragan Bishop of Berwick in Newcastle Diocese. Please pray for him and his wife Lindsey as they prepare to move.

FOR THOSE IN NEED
Holy Trinity Church Hall is open on a Monday and Thursday morning from 11:00am to 12:00 noon for families and individuals to come and collect food, and Western Avenue Surgery, Community Shop on a Monday and Wednesday afternoon from 2:00pm – 3:00pm for families and individuals to come and collect food. We are also offering a delivery service for people who are confined to their houses and have no one else to collect or get the food for them. Form online to register for this, on the front page of our website www.holytrinityblacon.org For more information, please contact 07719 960541 or email Blacon Beacon.

HELPLINES
Cheshire West and Chester council have a helpline to advise or support vulnerable adults who need assistance with food, medicines or social contact (open 8am to 7pm everyday) call 0300 123 7031 or email enquiries@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
We would love to hear from you! Do share with us any photos, poems, verses, pictures, songs, reflections, to keep in touch and encourage the rest of us.

BISHOP OF CHESTER
Downing Street have announced that Rt Rev Mark Tanner is to be the next Bishop of Chester. He is currently Suffragan Bishop of Berwick in Newcastle Diocese. Please pray for him and his wife Lindsey as they prepare to move.