Upcoming Events

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Tuesday 21st February 2017 18:30-20:00
Study & Fellowship looking at Psalms 24 & 25, followed by Evening Prayer. Small meeting room on first floor of Klimentská 18.

Sunday 26th February 2017 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the Sunday next before Lent with parallel Children's Ministry and followed by Coffee Hour.
Celebrant & Preacher: Rev'd Ricky Yates

Wednesday 1st March 2017 19:00
Sung Eucharist for Ash Wednesday
Celebrant & Preacher: Rev'd Ricky Yates

Sunday 5th March 2017 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the First Sunday of Lent with parallel Children's Ministry and followed by Coffee Hour.
Celebrant: Rev'd Ricky Yates
Preacher: Ven Colin Williams

Sunday 5th March 2017 17:00
Holy Communion for the First Sunday of Lent. ‘The Upper Room’, corner of Jezuitská and Mozartova, Brno.
Celebrant & Preacher: Rev'd Ricky Yates

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19th February 2017 – Second Sunday before Lent – Jack Noonan

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Bible Readings: Genesis 1. 1 – 2. 3; Romans 8. 18-25; Matthew 6. 25-34

 

1. Right Beginnings

For any new undertaking, be it, a project or a business venture, a journey or a new start: we have an old Irish/Gaelic saying: Tosu maith e leath na h-oibre‘’, a good start is half the work.

Before embarking on any venture….getting the basics/the essentials sorted out before starting is crucial…. Sensible consideration increase the odds in favour of a good result.

Failing to do so +‘going off half cocked’, leads, to unnecessary stress, unnecessary confusion, and unnecessary disappointments.

Right beginnings… are very important. They set ground rules upon which we can build… starting as we hope to go on.

The same holds true in our relationship with God. It is a mutual commitment, and like any relationship it lives and needs working at.

Scripture alerts us to a basic principle…. that regardless of the inevitable hurdles we encounter in our journey with God… we must

Forget(ting) what is behind(us in life) and straining toward… press on toward the goal… to win the prize…. for which God has called ‘us’ heavenward in Christ Jesus .’(Phil 3.14)

In the beginning… of our journey, it is understandable that we may not have a clear view of the goal post at journey’s end; but we will, through faith in God’s Holy Spirit and His Holy Word…. be travelling in the right direction….learning en route:

that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.’(Rom.8.28)

2. Beginning to Build

In the beginning… Jesus tells us to estimate the costs of commitment. For, we will co-labour with Him and His grace to build our faith on enduring rock. Only by doing this, can we create a living faith that is completely sound, solid, and storm-proof.

So, in relation to today’s gospel, it would be a mistake to understand it as Jesus banning all planning and encouraging a ‘divil make care’ attitude to life’s responsibilities.

When Jesus says:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.’

It is not ordinary, prudent foresight which Jesus forbids. He forbids us to inordinately worry. For worrying says a lot about the health of the worrier’s faith.

Jesus is not advocating a thriftless, feckless, reckless attitude to life; he is forbidding a care-worn, worried, fearful preoccupation towards living, which robs our life of all contentment and joy.

For a habit of worrying, flies in the face of a caring, loving mindful God.

Here Jesus administers a litmus test in two areas:

  1. He challenges, not just our intellectual understanding, of the nature of the Father’s love for us, but also what we believe in the depths of our hearts. For what we hold to in our heart, dictates how we act out our daily lives. An unbelieving heart acts very differently from a believing, trusting, reassured heart.
  2. Jesus challenges, the depth and strength of our faith in God’s promises and providence. Worrying indicates a lack of trust in God’s Word.

To paraphrase Jesus :

‘’Get your head sorted …..Worry achieves absolutely nothing. Fakt. Wake up… Trust God and get a life.

Have you no idea how much your Father-God, loves and values you?

Stop acting the victim. You are not unloved. That’s simply fake news.

Get your priorities right….. first seek God with an honest open heart and everything else follows.

Scripture’s reality check reads:

‘’He(God) who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ‘’ (Rom 8.32)

We all fall short, in trusting…in leaning into…. the implications of this Radical Love of God…

Hence our need to seek out the Holy Spirit…the Helper!

Praying earnestly for Him to incorporate the truth of God’s love and providence into the ‘nuts and bolts’…the ‘nooks and crannies’ of our psychological processes is imperative… so that our thinking and behaviour are transformed by grace…. and we begin to embody,…to manifest in a living way… the mind and heart of Jesus in our lives.

3.Beginning the Foundation

It is all to do with faith… the free gift of Faith.

The just shall live by faith (Heb 10.38) …..

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Heb 11.6)

It stands to reason, faith built on the sands of vagueness and uncertainty sinks once it comes under pressure.

Faith built on the rock of God’s character and His Inspired Word, stands solid in the face of Doom.

God, our Father, in His Living Word, has provided us with all the necessary provisions needed to build-up and exercise our faith.

Scripture records:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…through whom also he made the universe…(Heb.1.1-3.)

In turn, the ascended Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit, The Comforter. For the Holy Spirit is not only with the Architect of our faith, but, working in us, becomes its Builder. A specialist craftsman in working with rejected stones.

We were damaged stones in a damaged quarry, until the Divine Builder, sought us + matched us up with His Rejected Corner Stone … Jesus.

As Peter wrote:

As you/we come to him(Jesus), the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

God keeps His promises. He will not short-change us…and help us He does as we contend daily in faith against defeated, primordial evil.

The power of the Father’s commitment to wayward peoples like us and our elder cousins the Jewish people, beggars belief.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus in the hilarity of His wisdom chose to call and passionately love a collective of peculiar, stubborn, and stiff necked peoples; )

Nothing happens by accident. God’s Intention was always clear . In the beginning before the beginning… was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made.…(Jn1,1-3)

The power of His Word’s Word is literally unimaginable and uncontainable.

Bere’shit’: He Created. The verb ‘Bere’ is used only in relation to the creative activity of God. Never is the word used in Scripture to express mankind’s action.

It is always used to describe God’s work in creating, since He is the only one who can bring something out of nothing/exnihilo. Incidentally, if He starts with something He has already created; the verb is changed to formed as with Adam, or built as with Eve.

The spoken almighty Word of God…is the power that brings intention into reality …into time and space…

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good.

Thus the account of Creation opens and proceeds in a style of language extraordinary for its directness, plainness and austerity.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:…

27 So God created (humankind) in his own image, in the image of God created he (them)…

There are vitally important truths about us and creation to be firmly grasped here…as it relates to our origins… the seed and breed of us….

Though our disobedience damaged us + creation… It is well to realise it and we were damaged NOT destroyed.

Right through the creation process God, on reviewing His work

repeatedly saw it ‘’Was Good’’.

In relation to mankind, He created us……in His image and after His likeness….and He passed judgement on what He saw….it was not just ‘good’ …but ‘’very good’’. We must never forget where we come from. It’s our real pedigree.

Being made in the image and likeness of God means we carry His essence. Humankind has a different origin and character from the rest of creation.

We tarnished the image/likeness….but did not destroyed it.

Hence the Great News… through faith in Jesus, the Living Word… we are simultaneously restored and being restored. We are a new creation!

God, our Father once again released Jesus the Word and said;

Let there be light and there and there was light’’ but this time it’s in the spirit of every person that is drawn and draws themselves in faith to He who now has all authority and the last word; the Resurrected King Jesus.

No wonder Paul, in our second reading, is tripping over himself with excitement….New Heaven and New Earth time……..

We’re all ‘expecting’.

all creation …is groaning in labour pain …..

waiting with eager longing for the revealing of US the children of God…

For there is a promised glory coming and even we ourselves groan inwardly in anticipation, in hope, and in patience…

for…our freedom……our glory….and our adoption….as Children of God.

And the People of God said…… Amen.

12th February 2017 – Third Sunday before Lent – Rev’d Ricky Yates

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Bible Readings: Psalm 119. 1-8; 1 Corinthians 3. 1-9; Matthew 5. 21-37

9th February 2017

Dear People & Friends of St. Clement’s,

Please do plan to join us for worship again at St Clement’s this coming Sunday.

Sunday 12th February at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Third Sunday before Lent

As I explained in both last week’s ‘Weekly Message’, and on last Sunday morning, our Gospel readings on the first three of these four pre-Lent Sundays, are taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This coming Sunday, we shall hear Matthew 5. 21-37 where Jesus has some quite powerful and challenging things to say about anger, reconciliation, adultery and making oaths. We will also hear a further part of St Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth – 1 Corinthians 3. 1-9, and say Psalm 119. 1-8 responsively. There will be parallel Children’s Ministry and following worship, Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentská 18.

Following worship and refreshments, I shall be heading for Praha hlavní nádraží, travelling by train to Dresden, where I shall be officiating and preaching at the monthly English-language Anglican Service of Evening Prayer in the Frauenkirche starting at 18.00. The following day, Monday 13th February, will be the 72nd anniversary of the allied bombing raid that destroyed so much of the historic centre of the city, together with horrific loss of life. I’m planning to stay on a little longer on Monday, in order to attend the beginning of the ‘Silent Remembrance’ event to mark the anniversary. If you are interested, details, in German, can be found here:

Your Chaplain will be on annual leave, Monday 13th-Monday 20th February inclusive

Therefore, there will NOT be a study group on Tuesday 14th February. But then I’m sure at least some of you, will be wanting to be romantic that evening  🙂

Sunday 19th February at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Second Sunday before Lent

In my absence, your celebrant will be Rev’d Nathanial and your preacher will be Jack Noonan. The Biblical readings will be the creation narrative found in Genesis 1. 1 – 2. 3, and part of St Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome – Romans 8. 18-25. The Gospel reading will be a further section of the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 6. 25-34. There will be parallel Children’s Ministry and following worship, Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentská 18.

I will return to duty on Tuesday 21st February, ready for:

Tuesday 21st February 18.30-20.00 in the small meeting room on the first floor of Klimentská 18

Our Tuesday night meetings for study & fellowship will resume looking at various Psalms. This evening we’ll tackle Psalms 24 & 25. As usual, we will spend the last part of our time together saying Evening Prayer. If the ground floor door of Klimentská 18 is locked, press the bell marked Sborový Kancelář & we’ll buzz you in!

And finally for this week…..

……..my sermon from last Sunday, nearly twelve minutes about salt and light 🙂  , is now available to listen to online here:

Best wishes

Ricky

5th February 2017 – Fourth Sunday before Lent – Rev’d Ricky Yates

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Bible Readings: Isaiah 58. 1-12; 1 Corinthians 2. 1-16; Matthew 5. 13-20

2nd February 2017

Dear People & Friends of St. Clement’s,

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, commonly also known as Candlemas, celebrating the events described in Luke 2. 22-40. The lectionary does provide that we could have celebrated this Feast last Sunday, but I chose instead to stick with the readings set for the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany. But today does mark the end of the Epiphany season and the beginning of a period of what is known as Ordinary Time. Because Easter Day in 2017 is relatively late, falling on Sunday 16th April, it does mean that this period of Ordinary Time from tomorrow until the beginning of Lent on 1st March – Ash Wednesday, is longer than it commonly is, lasting for almost four weeks & including four Sundays.

On the first three of these forthcoming Sundays of Ordinary Time, when green is the liturgical colour, we will hear successive sections of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as our Gospel readings. So to this coming Sunday.

Sunday 5th February at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday before Lent

In our Gospel reading, Matthew 5. 13-20, Jesus calls on his hearers to be ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’. The supporting readings will be 1 Corinthians 2. 1-16, where even St Paul speaks of being ‘in fear and much trembling’ when first preaching the Gospel in Corinth, which I have to say I find quite reassuring 😉 , and Isaiah 58. 1-12 where the prophet speaks powerfully of our duty to care for those who are hungry or oppressed. There will be parallel Children’s Ministry and following worship, Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentská 18.

Then, as it is the first Sunday of the month, I shall be heading to Brno, probably by train, for:

Sunday 5th February at 17.00 – Holy Communion for the Fourth Sunday before Lent

in ‘The Upper Room’, corner of Jezuitská and Mozartova, Brno.

Tuesday 7th February 18.30-20.00 in the small meeting room on the first floor of Klimentská 18

As, because of the appalling weather last Tuesday evening, nobody came, this Tuesday we’ll tackle Psalms 95 & 96 as I previously planned 🙂 . As usual, we will spend the last part of our time together saying Evening Prayer. If the ground floor door of Klimentská 18 is locked, press the bell marked Sborový Kancelář & we’ll buzz you in!

Supporting the work of the Salvation Army with the homeless in Prague

Earlier this week, I met at the Church with Captain Petr Janoušek of the Salvation Army, and he collected all the contents of both of the red wheelie bins at the back of the Church. He asked me to pass on his thanks for all your donations of both warm winter clothing and tinned food. Therefore both wheelie bins are completely empty, ready to receive fresh donations!

A reminder that we need clothing for both men & women, and not just jackets & sweaters – underwear, socks, hats & scarves are equally needed. And tinned food – any form of food, but in a tin! No packets or bottles please! Some well-meaning person put a packet of biscuits in amongst the tinned food. Result – broken biscuits & crumbs all over the inside of Petr’s van, as we unloaded the tins! A mess we could have done without!

And finally for this week…….

……..my sermon from last Sunday is now available to listen to online here:

Until Sunday

Best wishes

Ricky

29th January 2017 – Fourth Sunday of Epiphany – Rev’d Ricky Yates

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Bible Readings: 1 Kings 17. 8-16; 1 Corinthians 1. 18-31; John 2. 1-11

27th January 2017

Dear People & Friends of St. Clement’s,

I promised at the beginning of my ‘Weekly Message’ last Friday, to write and publish a blog post about my long day trip to Brussels on Wednesday 18th January. Yesterday, I finally managed to do so and you can find it here.

There is also now a news article about our meeting on the Diocese in Europe website here. In the second photograph, you can actually see the back of my balding head on the right-hand side of the table 🙂

Then, today’s edition of the ‘Church Times’ carried a leading news article in which I am actually quoted!

But now to this coming Sunday.

Sunday 29th January at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany

On this last Sunday of the Epiphany season, we reflect on how Jesus was ‘made manifest’ or ‘shown forth’, when he performed his first miracle, or ‘sign’ as St John calls it, when he turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana, as recorded in John 2. 1-11 which will be our Gospel reading. We shall also hear more about the foolishness of the crossfrom St Paul in 1 Corinthians 1. 18-31, together with a story from the life of the prophet Elijah as recorded in 1 Kings 17. 8-16. There will be parallel Children’s Ministry and following worship, hopefully Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentská 18. I say hopefully, because we still need someone to run it! There are more than adequate supplies of snacks & nibbles, all it needs is someone to go out after receiving communion to make the coffee & boil water for tea. If you can do this on Sunday, please contact me ASAP.

Tuesday 31st January 18.30-20.00 in the small meeting room on the first floor of Klimentská 18

Our Tuesday night meetings for study & fellowship will continue on Tuesday looking at various Psalms. This coming Tuesday, we’ll tackle Psalms 95 & 96. As usual, we will spend the last part of our time together saying Evening Prayer. If the ground floor door of Klimentská 18 is locked, press the bell marked Sborový Kancelář & we’ll buzz you in!

A Lent course

This year, Lent begins on Wednesday 1st March – Ash Wednesday. In recent years, we have run a Lent course on the following five Tuesdays of Lent. For two different reasons, I’m wondering whether to move to Wednesday evenings. Would that be better for people? Or do people who like Tuesdays, find Wednesdays difficult or impossible? Feedback please! As this will be my last Lent in Prague, I would like to use Lent to get the congregation thinking about what the Church should be as you face an interregnum and the task of recruiting a new Chaplain. More information in due course.

Refugee needs in Prague

2 chests of drawers. 1 largish mirror. 2 bedroom rugs for boys. 1 rug for living room area. 1 large trash bin with lid. Suitcases (no wheels or handles missing please). Towels, Pots & Pans (in good condition). Toiletries: soap,shampoo,toilet paper,feminine hygiene items – anything!  If you are able to help with any of these items, please contact:  Debby.Nichols@gemission.org – preferably before this weekend to save voluntary charity workers giving up their weekend to scavenge.

Sermon last Sunday

My sermon from last Sunday is available to listen to once again on our Church website. Just click here.
And finally for this week…….

……as today is Holocaust Memorial Day, and in 2017, refugees and migrants being blamed for problems in both the USA and the UK, may I leave you with the challenging words of the German Protestant Pastor Martin Niemoller.

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Best wishes

Ricky

22nd January 2017 – Third Sunday of Epiphany – Rev’d Ricky Yates

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Bible Readings: Psalm 27 . & 5-13; 1 Corinthians 1. 10-18; Matthew 4. 12-23

20th January 2017

Dear People & Friends of St. Clement’s,

I’m back in circulation in Prague after a busy few days of travelling. In the next few days, I plan to write and publish a blog post about my day in Brussels last Wednesday – what was said and what I learned. What I will say here is that it was very tiring! Getting up at 04.00 and not getting back to the Chaplaincy Flat until midnight, not helped by my return flight being delayed by an hour 🙁

But now, let me say something worship this coming Sunday and re-starting meeting on Tuesday evenings.

Sunday 22nd January at 11.00 – Sung Eucharist for the Third Sunday of Epiphany

As well as saying Psalm 27. 1 & 5-13 responsively, we shall hear 1 Corinthians 1. 10-18 where St Paul addresses the problem of division within the Corinthian Church and declares that ‘the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’. Our Gospel reading, Matthew 4. 12-23 tells of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Galilee and the call of the first disciples.

During the service, the baptism of Sofie, the daughter of Charles & Radka Owen-Jackson, will take place. I had the privilege of conducting Charles & Radka’s wedding in September 2015 and am very much looking forward to baptising their first child. There will be parallel Children’s Ministry and following worship, Coffee Hour in the hall on the third floor of Klimentská 18.

Tuesday 24th January 18.30-20.00 in the small meeting room on the first floor of Klimentská 18

As previously promised, our Tuesday night meetings for study & fellowship will resume next Tuesday. As no one has come up with any other suggestions, I’ve decided to return to the Psalms and look at various ones on Tuesday evenings, until the beginning of Lent. This coming Tuesday, we’ll tackle Psalm 27, part of which we will hear on Sunday morning. As previously, we will spend the last part of our time together saying Evening Prayer. If the ground floor door of Klimentská 18 is locked, press the bell marked Sborový Kancelář & we’ll buzz you in!

Two other things for this week

The Sermon preached by Jack Noonan last Sunday is now available to both listen to & read, on our Church website here.

Are you a native English-speaking TEFL teacher? If so, would you be interested in this post, previously held by a member of our congregation who has now returned to the USA.

Here is the offer:
An unexpected vacancy occurred at our department (Cabinet of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Architecture, Czech Technical University in Prague) for summer semester (as of 20th Feb 2017). Our domicile is at Prague 6 Dejvice, close to the underground station line A Dejvická.
These are courses within accreditation.
We need a native speaker for 3 courses, each of 2 hrs of advanced conversation + 2 hrs of consulting (total 8 hrs) to prepare the students for anglophone mobility. All details incl. materials  would be discussed personally.
You can choose from the following times for teaching:
Tuesday:
12:30-14:00
14:15-15:45
16:00-17:45
Wednesday:
9:00-10:30
10:45-12:15
16:00-17:30
If necessary, your schedule can be arranged within one day.
Consulting hrs would depend on your choice.

If you are interested, please let me know & I’ll put you in contact with the correct person.

Until Sunday

Best wishes

Ricky

15th January 2017 – Second Sunday of Epiphany – Jack Noonan

Sermon (Click Link to Listen)

Bible Readings: Isaiah 49. 1-7; Psalm 40. 1-11; John 1. 29-42

Focus Scripture: John 1. 29-42

A few days ago, as I sat down to draft this sermon, it struck me that today is the third time, in 2017, that we meet as a congregation. I wondered why such an unusual observation should strike me. For within the Judaeo- Christian tradition this number has significance.

In Judaism the number 3 signifies completeness and stability.

Judaism, in common with Christianity also associates the number three with divine perfection.

For Christians the number 3 is most associated with the mystery of the Divine Godhead …The Holy Trinity; that dynamic ,creative Love relationship, by which the One God expresses Himself through the three distinct Persons : Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

  • It was on the 3rd day of creation that the earth rose from the water

  • We have 3 founding patriarchs in the Faith; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

  • The Seraphim’s adores God as thrice holy…singing; Holy, Holy, Holy.

  • There are 3 great Pilgrimage Festivals to Jerusalem which were observed by Jesus and His disciples: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.

  • Jesus raised 3 persons from the dead.

  • On the Mount of Transfiguration were Elijah, Jesus and Moses The event was witnessed by the 3 apostles Peter, James and John.

  • The crucifixion of Jesus was on the 3rd hour.

  • His suffered on the cross for 3 hours

  • His resurrection on the 3rd day.

  • Jesus holds 3 great offices; Prophet, Priest and King.

And we, His creation are tripartite also….being composed of body, soul and spirit. Our capabilities are also threefold expressed in…. thoughts, words and deeds.

What might this underlying design feature be pointing at? ’’ I suspect the clue and answer may rest in the phrase: ‘as in heaven so on earth.

Part 2

So now, on this auspicious 3rd Sunday in 2017, as we turn to the hope in our Gospel reading, may we sense The Holy Spirit witnessing 3 things to our spirit:

That we are presently in a

  • Time of Grace,

  • Time of Forgiveness and

  • Time of Blessing…Amen.

As we enter our third week…Jesus, in our gospel reading has already entered the first week of His public ministry.

By way of context, a few verses earlier in this, the opening chapter of John’s gospel, we are introduced to the great mystery of the pre cosmic existence of Jesus, the Living Word of God:

‘’He (Jesus) was in the beginning with God .All things came into being through Him..

He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him…

To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.’’

It is well to pause a moment here and consider the major spiritual fact stated in what I just read.

He/Jesus gave(us) power to become children of God.

We are believers not because:

‘’ of the will of the flesh… or of the will of man…, but of God.’’

There is great assurance in that knowledge.

For Christian living is not always plain sailing….. there are times when we are frail believers, anxious believers, vulnerable believers, and even unbelieving believers.

It may surprise us to know that this occurs primarily, when we unconsciously believe lies. Lies about ourselves and lies about God.

Lies we often absorb growing up in a damaged world, among fallible people.

I am no good’……………………’ I was always stupid’’…..’ I never have luck’….‘’God could never love me’’…’’ God will never forgive me’….’

These are paralyzing lies.

The anti-dote to… and the basis for this stinking thinking ….rests in our failure to grasp and sink into our heads that God’s love for us is unconditional… not earned…it is free, gratis and for nothing. We all qualify for it ….just openly and honestly ask for it.

So this is the year ….. in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, let us identify, dismantle, and disempower lies that we have untinkingly believed to be true.

This year of Grace let us reclaim the power we unwittingly leased to the enemy, and renew our hearts and minds in the knowledge and power of Christ. Remembering:

To all who received Him (Jesus), who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood… or of the will of the flesh…. or of the will of man,…. but of God.’’

We are the children of the Almighty God… a Loving Father… Jesus, is our Divine Physician enabling 2017 to be the year of our spiritual makeover… The year we tell the lying deceiver, to pack up his tissue of lies, and go to hell.

‘’(For) in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him (Jesus) who loved us.’’

Part 3

John the Baptist sees Jesus coming towards him and spontaneously calls out to those around:

‘’See! The Lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world!’’

This title ‘Lamb of God’ reverberates with deep associations among the Israelites who hear him.

1. It echoes the story of the Passover lamb whose sprinkled blood saved from death all those who came under its protection… the night before the exodus from Egypt.

2. John, the son of a priest who officiated,at times, in the Temple…knew all about sacrificial lambs. Jesus, the Lamb of God would be more efficacious than all the lambs sacrificed for the sin of the people….whereas Jesus’ sacrifice would deliver people from sin itself

3. The title , Lamb of God, also evoked in Israelites the image of the horned lamb. That horned lamb is not of the meek and mild variety, but represented the conquering champion of God. The King’s champion, like David’s was Saul’s in relation to Goliath. Champions fought in single combat.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, was also the champion of God who would fight, in single combat with sin, and triumph.

John’s disciples also heard that Jesus is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit and is the Son of God.

For John’s ultimate function will be to point, to direct his followers to Christ.

John never claimed fame or greatness. He drew back the veil so Jesus and Jesus alone would be the focus of attention.

And that is what we must be.

As we grow into Jesus, we, like John, must point Him out to others and discretely step aside so that on encountering Jesus and a seeking soul may blossom.

We see this very clearly in the latter half of our reading. Three men are standing and talking. The Baptist and two of his disciple. John points beyond himself directing his disciples’ attention to Jesus. He effectively invites them to leave him; to transfer their loyalty to a greater teacher. John was relegating himself to second division. He knows that the beginning of the end of his ministry has started.

At a respectful distance, the two disciples now follow Jesus…

And Jesus, does something utterly characteristic of His Father. He turns…. and in speaking to them reaches out to them.

In that flicker-moment we see divine initiative in action. God, again is more than willing to meet us more than half way.

Think back on….when our uneasy hearts began to seek and search, like the prodigal son; our Father ,in love, sought us and secured our well-being.

Paradoxically our starting to search for God is an indication that God has already found us.

Jesus asks the two disciples directly: What are you looking for?

How might you and I answer that?

Their answer: ‘Where are you staying? ‘always struck me as sort of rude. But, like all things with Holy Scripture, if it doesn’t make sense…. We need to rummage more.

These disciples are serious minded Jews, not spiritual fad tourists.

They were not looking for casual road side chat.

They had heard a lot from John. They had questions to ask. They wanted quality time with Him. Eternal matters are no trivial matter.

Jesus replies in classically rabbinic style. His answer is really a challenge: ‘Come and see.’

This answer, I now know, is very Jewish….. it is really saying:

“Do you want to know the answer to this question?

Do you want to know the solution to this problem?

Come and see, and we will think about it together.”

When Jesus said: “Come and see!” he was inviting them, not only to come and talk, but to come and find the things that He alone would open up to them.

The time the three spent together bore fruit. The next meeting Andrew introduces his brother Simon.

Who knows what a day brings? Simon certainly didn’t.

Jesus looked at Simon. But the verb ‘to look’ is not precise enough. The Greek verb indicates a concentrated, intent gaze. This gaze of Jesus journeyed to the recesses of Simon’s heart.

Having looked intently, Jesus renames Simon, calling him Cephas(Peter/Rock) Remember, in this culture, names speak of character and nature.

Be careful with prayer. The knack is to spot the answer. Be careful when you hear the voice of Jesus say;

What do you want?

For He sees us not only as we are, but as we can be.

He sees in us the seeds of wonderment that only Divine Love can germinate. Just look at the subsequent lives of the Baptist and those first 3 apostles.

In love Jesus calls us out of ourselves to become more ourselves.

He renews and regenerates what has been damaged, stolen or killed in us; for with His Death, He’s already paid for all our repair work.

Amen

For the final section dealing with John’s Gospel I am greatly indebted to W. Barclay’s wonderful Daily Study Bible (NT)