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Message from Rev. Jem

A Hope in Things to ComeSt John's Monthly MessageLent, Life, LoveSt John's Monthly MessageLight of Hope!St John's Monthly MessageCelebrate Christmas!St John's Monthly MessageWill We Remember?

A Hope in Things to Come

Message from Jem

A Hope in Things to Come

During these difficult times, amidst all the gloom and anxiety, there have been lots of small acts of support and kindness which have shown us how we can be good neighbours to each other – even whilst in isolation or social distancing. The messages of support for front line workers alongside pictures of rainbows stuck on house windows and the applause of people from their homes as an act of thanking and encouraging the frontline staff, especially in the NHS has lifted spirits and expressed a more thankful community. Even in supermarkets, I heard one worker share that for the first time, people had asked how she was in these challenging conditions.

A headteacher expressed how she was "blown away by how supportive and generous everyone is being’” and added how it is a shame that it takes such a crisis to bring out the best in humanity- with the hope that this part will stay with us for a very long time! Amen to that!

This time is making many of us more appreciative of each other. Yes, there will always be those who are not like this, who care about themselves and little else: these, you will always find in the world! Let us be the appreciative, the patient, the encouragers, the thanks-givers, the kindly, the care-givers.

This is summarised by Jesus in what used to be called the “Golden Rule” found in Matthew 7 verse 12:

In everything,

do to others what you would have them do to you!

This golden rule of life ties in with the spiritual rules of life found in the commandments Jesus focused on (Matthew 22:36-39):

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, souland mind.

Love your neighbours as you love yourself.

Along with his command to follow His example (John 13:34 etc):

Love each other as I have loved you.

So, let us follow The Way of Jesus in how we live our lives – now and in the future, and make the world a little bit better.

Let us hope, pray and work to make it a reality 🙂🌈🕊

Jem

St John's Monthly Message

From March Connections

Lent, Life, Love

It is the time of year that the Church goes through Lent - remembering some of the significant moments at the start of Jesus' ministry, when he fasted for 40 days, battling temptation and doubt as he discerned God's calling on his life; His 3 year ministry of teaching and caring as he showed The Way we should live as people of God and the passion for all people to know the reality of God's love which would lead to the cross.

Lent has become a time for many Christians to remember that Jesus gave his all for all of us and has led many Christians to use the time to reflect on what God wants of us as His people in the world. Many join various fasts for 40 days (if you count the days, there are more than 40 through Lent, but Christians do not fast on Sundays in Lent).

Such fasting is beneficial only if it leads to prayer and reflection about God in Jesus being with us, what He gave out of love for us, and what He calls us to give for God and each other. This is something we should be doing daily in our walk with Jesus, knowing that when troubles and temptations come our way we are not alone, for Jesus has gone before us and His Spirit is with us!

This Lent, whether we fast or not, whether we do somthing extra, or continue our journey of life as before, let us look to Jesus as our hope and our guide, our friend, Saviour and example - and let us put our trust in Him as we face difficult times and options in our lives.

Blessing and love.

Jem

St John's Monthly Message

From February Connections

Light of Hope!

It may not seem like it, but the nights are getting shorter and the light is shining longer! It is not readily apparent - because the change is gradual. We look to the skies for hope - and at the moment, with the darkness which still seems to last so long - we see a bright evening star - Venus.

I have found that often in life we seem to be in so much darkness - but there is the light of hope; hope in the darkness. Venus is known as the Evening Star and Morning Star. look up to the skies and see it - it is beautiful.

Jesus is refered to as the Morning Star. He gives us hope by shining the love of God in the darkness. May his light give us hope when we are walking in darkness - and may we lift our eyes to see that hope wich is always there! His light of hope is beautiful.

Jesus is the light of the world - and as his followers we are called to let our own unique light shine through the good things we do: that lets others see the hope we know in Jesus.

Part of what we are doing as a Church of light, is to shine care in our community through our social cafe project - wich will provide a safe space for people to gather, have social interactions as they desire and where everyone is welcome and respected. Please look at the Rendezvous noticeboard for more details.

I am blessed and thankful for the people around that shine like stars, shining the light of hope in our world. Like any star, our light is unique to us and we are called to let it shine. Thank you to all the stars!

I also take this opportunty to say 'Thanks to Mike for producing Connections, as he moves on to new things.

'Thank you' to all those who shine like stars in our world.

Blessings

Jem

St John's Monthly Message

From December Connections

Celebrate Christmas!

As we approach Christmas, we join in the Advent preperations. Some of us will be stringing lights around our house, or putting up a Christmas tree or wreath and decorating it or hang up stockings. Many of us will buy presents to give to those who are close to us and buy an abundance of food to be consumed for the Christmas feast. Some of us will go to church and a very few of us will fast.

Yet if we do any or all of these and do not remember the reason at the heart of our preperations and celebration, then we miss the point!

Lights remind us of the coming of Christ - the light of the World, who shines the light of God's presence, love, wholeness and peace into the darkness of a broken and turbulent world.

The Christmas tree and Christmas wreath, remind us of the eternal hope and love found in Jesus. The decorations we add remind us of how we are a part of God's story in Christ today. The stockings reflect the story of Saint Nicholas ( of Santa Claus fame ) who brought God's love and care to others through his life.

The presents we give and receive remind us of the Magi who gave their gifts to Jesus' family - but also remind us that we should appreciate the gift of each other and the gift of Jesus. The feast we share with family and friends brings to mind the heavenly banquet that we can all partake of since we are part of God's family! God is our friend! This is why we go to church - as we are part of the family of God.

The feasting helps us to reflect on all that Christ gave up to be with us in the form of Jesus - God's gift of love in our world. What will we give up for God?

Let us put Christ at the heart of Christmas!

May the love of Christ bless us this Christmas and always

Blessings

Jem

St John's Monthly Message

From November Connections

Will We Remember?

As we join together for the month of remembrance, will we remember the fireworks which can look so beautiful as they light up the sky in displays, can also cause misery for many pets and people? As we look at bonfires and bonfire parties, will we remember why we do this?

As we join together in our acts of remembrance - buying poppies, wearing badges, going to acts of remembrance on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day - we will remember beyond the 75 years celebration of D-Day? Will we remember the people and animals who suffered during the wars? The acts of bravery and sacrifice which often went unseen? The fright and the injustice which devastated families and communities, nations and individuals? Will we remember the people who became soldiers who fought for a cause that was not their nation (as in many volunteers of all religions and none from around the commonwealth)?

Will we remember those who suffered?

Will we remember those who still do?

Will we remember Jesus, who showed us how to remember the Way of God by loving God completely and loving our neighbours as ourselves? For Jesus called on us to remember Him - not in a crumb of bread or sip of drink, but in our hearts and lives. By living a life through which others are valued , justice is sought, mercy is shown and reconciliation made possible. Will we remember the good things we have (like freedom, belonging and love), and the cost that made it possible?

Let us remember - and live as followers of Jesus, who paid the cost for our spiritual life, through his sacrifice. Who calls us to remember God and our neighbours.

Blessings

Jem