Sermon for Petertide 2014 – St Peter’s Caversham

Sermon for Petertide 2014 – St Peter’s Caversham

Matthew 16:13-20

‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid;
that foundation is Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 3:11

One ‘benefit’ it might be argued of living in a house with members of ‘the younger generation’ is that from time to time they alert me to ‘things that are going on ‘out there in the real world’. So just a few days ago they drew my attention to the advertisement for paywave – that supposedly liberating mechanism for paying for all things whereby you only wave your debut card vaguely in the direction of the till and automatically money is removed from your account. Why we don’t see this as troubling in the extreme I don’t understand, but what I found compelling was the form of the advert, in which the mechanistic, indeed robotic actions of the people in the video all ground to a halt when some ‘less Advanced’ human decided to pay by cash . . . I will come back to this chilling description of the ‘Advanced’ human so mechanistically described in a moment or two.

Just this week, clergy and other members of the Diocese have been gathered at Holy Cross, Mosgiel for our annual Ministry Conference. During a lecture on the Acts 2 Church from the Revd Dr Christopher Holmes of Otago University, Father Hugh pointed out that Peter in his sermon at Pentecost breaks every rule in the preachers handbook . . . which is good news for me as your visiting preacher this morning. For of course if Peter does it, then why not me 🙂

Peter of course is a most convenient clothes horse on whom we are all invited to lay all our own failings as disciples of Jesus, and thereby to excuse them. His refusal to accept that Jesus must die which led to the most stinging rebuke from our Lord; and of course his three fold denial – these amongst other things are held up as a reminder that this ‘Rock’ is far from rocklike, and that all our failings are thereby somehow perfectly acceptable behaviour . . .

This approach however does a disservice to Peter, and I say this not as an act of politeness to your Patron Saint rather that purely to understand Peter in terms of his failings is untruthful. Peter in and through the Living word reveals his devotion to Jesus, and calls us to the same.

You will remember the incident with the Rich young man, whom turns away from Jesus’ gracious invitation to follow – Peter declares truthfully ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you’, and he has, along with the other disciples. Peter three times declares his love for Jesus, yes haltingly but with increasing exasperation as Jesus encounters him following his resurrection. That Peter loves Jesus is in no doubt . . . and for this costly love alone, I think one might well say ‘If only we had more like Peter . . .’
Not primarily because of the virtue of devotion in and of itself, but because of its focus. Peter leaves his nets, at the call of Jesus, his devotion, albeit fragile when enacted, is to Jesus, and it is for Jesus that he will at the last bear the fullest martureia, the witness to Jesus Christ at his own crucifixion at Rome.
Peter, humanly speaking is the lens through which the evangelists most sharply focus our attention on Jesus Christ. And so for this aspect of his life, his witness, we may well cry out ‘Oh that we had more Peters!!’

A further presentation during the week was from Kevin Ward from Knox College on his research into the place of religion in our national life here in New Zealand. Amongst many all too familiar statistics of decline and the inevitable rehearsal of the line ‘people are Spiritual nowadays not religious’ – for which read, we are more ‘Individuallistic’ than ever before – in the midst of this were some findings on people’s ‘spiritual’ beliefs. That there is an increase in people who believe in some sort of life after death, and in heaven, BUT that belief in a personal God was on the decline; the understanding of God as ‘spirit or life force’ was on the rise; AND Belief in ‘Jesus as Son of God’ was also in decline.

Of course, one does not need to be too close an observer of the life and liturgy of the Anglican Church in New Zealand to recognise how deeply these changes in the wider society are endemic in the life of this church. So reference to God by that name which is revealed , Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, is sidelined for the deeply impersonal ‘Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life’ – thus without a backward glance, Jesus Christ wiped from our liturgical consciousness.
Devotion to Christ becomes a rather quaint historical relic, as we shop for a psychotherapeutic, Christless and thus more advanced and ‘spiritual faith’ . And so the church withers . . . for as Jesus declares, it is precisely upon the confession of Jesus as Messiah or ‘Christ’, as the Son of the living God that the church is built, or better, that Christ himself builds his church upon that confession. The very foundation of the Church is the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord to the everlasting glory of God the Father. Without which there is no Life in the Church, for He is Her life

Now of course in focussing upon Peter’s confession, it may seem that I am coming down on the side of the confession of Christ in that age old dispute: that is ‘is it Peter or his confession upon which Christ promises to build his church?’ Not so! Peter and his confession cannot be so undone, however much we have been trained to think they can. That move, that determination to see this as ‘either-or’ is part of the philosophical undoing of word and person, of heaven and earth, of the disappearance of Sacrament – which has increasingly bedevilled [sic] the church since the late middle ages – and in that undoing denies us the very life which we seek to declare, the Only the one in whom Is Life, which is the Light of all people. The One whom the Father reveals to the faithful heart as the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Our words will be shouted from the rooftops – we are our actions, we are our words. Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Son of the living God goes beyond mere words – it is lived out in his ongoing witness. Person and word woven together; and through this, Peter’s witness, Jesus declares ‘whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’. In the confession of Word of Life made flesh, the participation of heaven in Earth and Earth in heaven is revealed, most apparently to the eye of faith in the Eucharist. Everything held together.

We live in dangerous times. Those ‘Advanced’ thinkers amongst the flock who seek often with good intent to disconnect the person of Jesus of Nazareth from ‘the eternal spirit which we have come to call God’, in so doing deny our true humanity, which can Only be known in Jesus Christ. Formed from mud yet also God breathed – the pinnacle of creation, the joining place of heaven and Earth, human kind is made for fellowship with the Triune God, revealed to us in the Second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. Where, most especially in the Church, that is denied, we who are called to reveal the truth of human existence instead leave the door wide open to those who will redescribe human being in terms of the machine. Robots in a queue with our paywave cards.
Quite literally for our part, Everything hangs together in and on the embodied confession of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of the Living God, the daily work of the Church in the pattern of St Peter.

Amen

Sermon For St John the Evangelist – VERY transferred . . .

Sermon for St John the Evangelist – transferred
Sunday June 26th
1John 1
John 21:20-25

Patron Saints – neglected friends?

Just the other week someone asked me a question, to which I didn’t know the answer and rather than do what everyone seems to do nowadays – go to Google – I just sat with it. The question was this – ‘How do churches get their patron Saints?’ It’s not entirely a question just of the moment for next week I’ve preaching at St Peter’s Caversham for their patronal festival. John this week, Peter next – rich fare. But how are they chosen, and does it really matter?

Of course there are some churches, such as we have here in Dunedin – who sort the problem by having the complete set, All Saints 🙂 Or those who denying the need for mediators ignore the Saints all together and go straight to the top – Holy Trinity – Christ the King . . . a sort of Patronal oneupmanship 🙂

But what’s the deal with Patron Saints? A couple of weeks ago I remarked that we should say ‘Our’ St John the Evangelist. But why?? Why bother with a Patron St at all when for most of the year we treat it as a matter of no consequence. Why not just be Roslyn Anglican Church?

Over the years I’ve served under the patronage of St Lawrence – the patron Saint of toasters – and if you don’t know why, ask me later :-), St Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles, St Aidan The Apostle to England. St Margaret of Scotland. Oh yes, and St Mary the Virgin. I have to say that Mary caused me more than a little disquiet, and perhaps was the reason why I tend to think we are missing something important, treating our patronage as it were as an incidental, little more than the occasion for ‘a patronal festival’.
For a number of years I taught in a Roman Catholic High School. I was VERY Protestant at the time, which I failed to see was a HUGE problem, not only re the Saints, but also for being a Christian, period. When I was Year Dean I had to conduct a weekly assembly, and once a year the Head teacher would arrive unannounced to conduct the assembly. Which would be all about Mary. For it was well known that Mr Kyte’s year group did NOT pray the hail Mary!!! When the school building was being re-ordered, a large statue of the Queen of Heaven had to be moved from its pride of place, and my colleagues thought it the height of good humour to reposition it in my office, ‘so that Our Lady can keep an eye on you, Eric’ 🙂 And there she stood for six months, watching me. But there was something far worse to come when as the Vicar of St Mary’s I had to confess to my Spiritual Director that I had a worrying sense of attraction, even devotion to Mary. To which without a moments hesitation she replied, ‘well of course, she is the mother of God’ . . . My heretical Protestantism was at this time beginning to wear a little thin, but all the same, the idea that one might as it were begin to have an acquaintance with the Saint as friends, as someone you might possibly look up to was to me still an awkwardly novel one.

In the Catholic school in particular I was of course encountering that culture which gives us patron Saints – that throughout most of church history these matters were treated with far more significance – after all people thought that their patron saint might indeed be their patron, might be, indeed WOULD be praying for them . . .

Some years ago at theological college I remember one of my lecturers recounting a strange vision he’d had. He wasn’t given to such things and it was a vision, not a dream. He was wide awake. And he looked up and saw slumped in the corner of his study what looked to him like a Roman soldier, a most unkept Roman soldier. He was bedraggled and smoking a cigarette. My friend, at the time of the vision the Vicar of a large suburban church asked the man who he was. ‘I’m your guardian angel’ was the reply. ‘Well if you are,’ my friend retorted ‘why do you look such a mess?’. The ‘soldier’ looked up and replied – ‘because you never give me anything to do!’ He realised with a jolt that the world was not as he had been told

One of the besetting sins of Protestant faith, made worse by the way technology gives us so much apparent control over the world, is that sense of ‘I can do it by myself!’ I can have my Own relationship with God, I don’t need Saints to pray for me – I don’t need the Church. ‘I don’t need you and you don’t need me, and if you do it is because you are less than a whole person. You are incapable of standing on your own two feet’. As I said a couple of weeks back, the compelling aspect of that vision of heaven where people fed one another with 6ft chopstick was that it exemplified the fact of our mutual interdependence which the modern world strives with all its might to deny.
We who are Protestants have lost the awareness of The Communion of Saints – that sense that we are part of a Community of faith, a community of mutual interdependence in the here and now which is at the same time one that stretches back through the years – and is very present and alive to us, did we but know it.
As I often remark, ‘Oh that we could See what was going on as we came week by week to this table, with these people, in the presence of St John the evangelist and all the Saints’. Who better to pray for us than those who dwell in the nearer presence of God, of Christ? Who better than the one who reclines against Jesus at table – who enjoys intimate fellowship with Jesus?

One of the matters that is concerning me at the moment is this question of living as an intergenerational community. We take it as a given that young folk and old folk live in separate worlds, at least in the church – so we are separated now. But One way in which we might begin to address this is simply for those who are older to actively disciple those who are younger – to be as it were parents in faith, older brothers and sisters. And so ‘Our’ St John – like in my family we say ‘Our Hannah’, or you might say ‘Our dad’, so ‘Our St John’  – Whanau

Our brother John is the one who gives the lie to individualised faith. And so often portrayed as the one who makes faith ‘other worldly’, is actually the one who says to us ‘Reality is staring us in the face’. As we begin to explore what it means to be disciples of Jesus we learn from John – ‘by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another’. What does Jesu say is the Essence, the core of the Christian Life, of being a disciple?? Reading your Bible? Praying daily? No. Having a wonderful time with God on Flagstaff?? No. our older brother John points us to Jesus – by THIS shall you be known as disciples, your love for one another. The mark of authentic Life is mutual devotion to the flock. We love Jesus no more than we love his body, and indeed ‘the least of these’. With THESE people. THESE people????!!!!Yes, they desert me, they will abandon me, they let me down, I feel as if no one cares for me here . . . me me me me . . . but of course you have done the same to them. None is without sin. Here is the thing John is trying to tell us. Life is found in the company of these sinners . . . open your eyes – Here is Reality
John tells us of that wonderful conversation Jesus has with Peter, where Jesus asks ‘Do you love me?’ and when Peter protests his love, Jesus redirects his gaze to the church ‘love them, then’. I don’t know if you are given to warm devotional feelings in the presence of Jesus?? They’re only as real as the warm devotional feelings you have to those people who deny you, let you down, abandon you . . . Love one another as I have loved you, they abandoned you? They abandoned me. Did I love them the less??? And you are saying that you NEVER did the same to them??? How many of my body go hungry and you dine sumptuously every day? How many of my body go naked and you are always dressed in the best money can buy? . . . do I need to go on?? . . . There is no devotion to Christ without devotion to the ungainly fleshly incarnation of his body. John like the big brother in faith he is shows us that there is no love for Christ that is not evidenced in love for his flock. There is no such thing as an individuals ‘spiritual’ relationship with Jesus, locked away from the realities of the Church – for Our John tells us, ‘The Word has become flesh’
Our Life is in the other.

And here’s the thing, miracle of miracles, it is precisely in that difficult, at times all but impossible devotion to the Saints that we encounter Christ in Reality, not the Jesus of ghastly emotional pietism, but the one who is The Truth. Devotion to the Saints always leads to truthful devotion to Jesus. All else is an illusion. I know of no authentic Christian whose life speaks Truth who is not devoted to the Saints – all of them, those we can see, and those who gather in myriad clouds with us around the table. Life. We have been taught, a relationship with ‘Jesus’ is easy – it is our relationship with his followers that is difficult. But that is a Lie – it is Unreality – illusory. Jesus makes it clear over and over and over again, to be his disciples is Hard. ‘Do you love me? Really? Show me – love my body – really Love me . . .’

Faith in Christ is only known in Community – in shared life. Listen again to Our John, to the words he has written to us . . . imagine him now listening, like a good elder brother hoping we will hear him, hoping we’ll get it We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Listen to his language – rooted in the community of faith – We declare to you, what we have heard, we have seen, we have touched – we are writing these things . . . The Community of faith . . . The Rich fellowship of faith. We declare to y’all – can you hear the church that has gone before us speaking to us? We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us . . . Come! Join us! ‘so that you also may have fellowship with us – and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ!!

As I have said, we are trained in our culture in individualism, we may deny we are individualists but we lie. It is the air we breathe and only together might we begin to craft a different way of being b the Grace of God. But, I wonder how we heard those words of Peter as he looks behind him to John – ‘but what about him?’ We might be thinking, yes but Jesus treats us as individuals – which of course is true – he gives to each different giftings, to each there is a different calling. But they are to be worked out in the Community of faith. We all to easily miss the richness of Peter and John’s relationship. Peter at the last supper only has to motion to John for John to ask Jesus who is to betray him. Perhaps here too Peter looks back and sees John nod towards him, motion him ‘What about me?’ Peter’s question might not be one of ‘well that’s not fair what about him??’ It may well be, what about my brother John, what have you got for him?? After the resurrection, for a large part of the book of Acts, Peter and john are inseparable – Peter and John went to pray, Peter and John before the authorities, Peter and John in Samaria. Is not Peter’s question a mark  of devotion for his dearly beloved brother John . . . Our brother John . . . who is always finally doing one thing – directing US as his sisters and brothers towards Jesus. That WE together might enjoy the fellowship of all the Saints in glory – with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ . . . and note his love, or rather the love of the Saints for the church here below . . . we are writing these things that our joy may be complete . . . without you, he says, it is not the same , without you, without you, without you

That Christian Joy is completed when All are gathered in, when none are lost, when every one has Eternal Life in the Communion of the Saints, that is fellowship with the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ

Amen

Sermon for the Sunday after Ascension – June 1st 2014 – Year A

Sermon for Sunday, June 1st
Sunday after Ascension
Acts 1:6-14
1 Peter 4:12-14;5:6-11
John 17:1-11

They devoted themselves to prayer . . .

When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
I wonder how many of us have ever had this thought :- ‘how much more straightforward this Christian life would be if we had Jesus with us, in the flesh’ Well there’s a couple of things we should remind ourselves of in that regard, before we boldly pray ‘Jesus be present amongst us as you were with your disciples’.
Firstly we need to ask ourselves ‘how easy would it be to face him with his call to leave our means of making a living to follow him . . .’ Or his call to ‘sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor then follow me?’, or indeed see him look us in the eye as we denied him for not the third but probably the thirty third time before the cock crows. We may well be pleading with him pretty quickly, ‘thank you Jesus for answering my last prayer – would you now please answer another, and disappear into the clouds as you did at that first Ascension?!!’

But secondly take note of this – that there is no sense in the New Testament writings that the first disciples in some sense lacked in terms of their life together because Jesus was no longer present with them. There is no sense of ‘Oh, if only Jesus was still here!!’ Yes they longed for his return, but not because they thought that things would be any clearer.     One of the obvious things that hits us after a few readings of Luke’s gospel and then the second part of his writings are the powerful parallels between the actions of Jesus in the gospel, and the life and actions of the church in The Acts of the Apostles. Jesus is present throughout. There are NO marks of the absence of Jesus – even in the days between the Ascension and the day of Pentecost. Even then no one is saying ‘Oh, if only Jesus was here . . .’ – ‘Oh, if only Jesus was here . . .’  – these are our words, not those of the infant church. So what we might ask is the difference. What are we lacking??

Thursday was Ascension day – Jesus is taken up from the sight of the disciples, and what do they do? We read – they returned to Jerusalem – they went to an upstairs room – all eleven of them, several women also, including Mary and also Jesus’ brothers – and they devoted themselves to prayer. [Before I go any further – I’d like to ask you – what do you see in your minds eye in that room. What do you hear??]
What is the Church’s response to the absence of Jesus? Devotion to prayer. All together in one place – the Greek isn’t straightforward – the way we might think of it is ‘they committed themselves together as one’ to prayer. Together, as one. We might say they devoted themselves together as one to prayer. I’ll come back to this in a minute or so.

But before we think about what they do, note where the disciples go – Luke is very careful in describing the place – returning from the Mount of the Ascension – they go back to Jerusalem – ‘they went to the upstairs room where they were staying’ – why does Luke tell us this seemingly insignificant detail? Why ‘the upstairs room?’ Perhaps it is because it was in an upstairs room, perhaps the very same one – that they had gathered with Jesus. In other words the intention is to continue in that fellowship – Around His table. The upstairs room – away from the street – the place where they know intimacy with Jesus, and there that intimacy is continued for they ‘constantly devote themselves to prayer’

Jesus is not present in body – so now they ‘constantly devote themselves to prayer’
And this is Not purely before the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. – it is not as if the presence of the Holy Spirit exactly replaces Jesus. The enfleshed word of GOd, the Son of God has ascended – the Spirit will be given, but even after the Spirit is given – Jesus’ disciples we read ‘devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching, the breaking of bread and the prayers’;

The intimacy they had known with Jesus around the table before his death upon the cross – they still know – in their devotion to prayer.

When the church so grows that the Apostles are pulled hither and thither looking after the needs of the flock – they appoint deacons – those full of the Holy Spirit and Wisdom – for the task of looking after them – ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables.* 3Therefore, friends,* select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, 4while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’ What is the Apostles concern? That they are being taken from the task of praying.

Prayer – more specifically the disciples of Jesus praying – is one of the non negotiables. It is through the prayer of the church that the life giving intimate relationship of the church with her Lord is maintained. The prayer of the body. All through the book of Acts, and overwhelmingly in the New Testament, the disciples are found praying – and praying together! That is revealed to be the normative expression of the life of the Church.

And now? And now? Yes, we all know that as Christians we are to read our Bibles and we are to pray – and note I say ‘as Christians’ Do you see? ‘As Christians’, not ‘as the Church’ All around the Western Church we are being taught to read ‘our’ bibles on our own, and that the heart of prayer is to pray is to pray on your own. Books on praying abound, but you will have to search SO VERY hard to find a single book which will teach ANYTHING about praying together. We have taken the exception, praying alone in those painful times when we cannot be with our brothers and sisters in Christ – and turned it into the norm, and largely abandoned Christ’s will for his body, praying together.

In large part, in and through the Reformation and its after effects, the Church in the West has drunk long and deep at the poisoned well of post enlightenment hyper individualism and its toxic results are to be seen everywhere in the church. Not least in our rapid numerical decline as social convention no longer holds the church together. For the heart of the Church is Only OUR intimate fellowship with Our Lord in devotion to praying, and that together – in our devotion to a common life of prayer. And that spoken. What Do you see in that room? What do you hear?? Are the disciples all sat there in silence??? Silent meditation no doubt has its place – not least because it is the place where we HEAR from Christ – as we should. He is ALWAYS speaking. But by and large there is no conversation – no Converse – no Sharing in LIfe with Christ.

Common prayer – where the body of Christ enjoys intimate fellowship together with her head – has all but disappeared. What do We know as the bride of Christ,  of that agape feast of Our self surrendered Love relationship with the Bridegroom in our life of prayer together??

The disciples weren’t saying ‘Oh, if only Jesus were still here, for in their devotion to prayer together they were with Him, he speaking with them, and they with Him. Just as Jesus knows the intimate presence of the Father in prayer

Here in New Zealand,very creatively I believe, we observe the ‘Week of prayer for Christian unity’ between Ascension and Pentecost. Thus today hear these words of Jesus as he in that profound intimacy, in Union with the Father prays – ‘I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one’. Our thoughts are trained towards the unity of the various denominations – perhaps the unity within our own denomination – but amongst ourselves?? We are so distracted by the ‘out there’ that we don’t beleve that the Father ALWAYS gives the Son what he asks for. That in Christ we are one – and that unity is most profoundly expressed in our praying together, and in being with Jesus around the table – where as in prayer we know him, in the breaking of the bread.

We are so trained in individualistic relating to Jesus in prayer, that we don’t realise that that is not the deepest of relationships we are called into. To adapt some words of CS LEwis, our so called intimacy with Jesus on our own, is as it were ‘playing with mud pies on a rainy day, when we could be playing with sandcastles on the beach as we feel the sun and the wind and hear the roar of the surf’, would we only devote ourselves to prayer together.  Oh yes, when we have no choice but to pray alone – if we are sent into exile like our beloved patron Saint. Yes THEN he comes to us in full brilliance – but under no other circumstances. And so most of us most of the time can’t understand why the disciples weren’t saying ‘Of if only Jesus were still here’ For less and less do we venture into the far more profound, far more intimate prayer which we know as the bride in her encounter with the bridegroom. That we discover the glorious answer of Jesus prayer ‘that they may be one as we are one’ in our Life of prayer together. We are the Church, we are the bride of Christ – in prayer together we know the deepest intimacy with the One who loves us and has died for us.

As we consider our future Life here at St John the Evangelists – I have suggested various themes which might shape our Life in the form of what I call an Open Rule. I will speak much more to this over the months to come, but Firstly Prayer. Prayer is THE foundation, and Prayer is first and foremost praying together. Without praying together we will go nowhere. St Peter says, ‘God . . . gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God’.
To pray together, especially when we have been deceived into thinking the most intimate expression of prayer is solitary, requires great humility. It requires acknowledging we were wrong in this matter . . . and worse 🙂 it requires the difficult work of setting aside all those so important things so important to us as individuals to submit our wills to the glorious work of praying together. It requires the humility perhaps of praying with those whom we do not find amenable – and hearing that we recognise of course that one of the  deceptive ‘joys’ of solitary prayer is this, that we are praying with the person we most love – ourselves 🙂

Last Sunday, if the weather hadn’t intervened we would have begun exploring what a shared life of prayer – Praying together might look like. But there will be further opportunities – and I pray flourishing opportunities to pray together in the coming months and weeks. Please come and join in – to know Jesus amongst us in profound intimacy – and what is that???  ‘This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’ To know HIm, present amongst us – this is eternal life. What more could we possibly want?

Now to the One who by the power at work amongst us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus, to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.