Second Sunday before Lent - this week's readings and reflections from Father Michael

Sunday 07th February 2021


COLLECT

 Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever. Amen 

 GOSPEL READING John Chapter 1 Verses 1-14 (In the beginning was the word..)

 I'd like us to think today about the words in John's Gospel, the Word becoming flesh, coming to live among us, whose glory we can see, full of grace and truth.

 I'd like us to think especially about the ways we see the Word bringing grace and truth into our lives.

 The Word is Jesus, of course. By faith we believe that he lives among us today, and that we can see his glory. By faith we can begin to open ourselves up to grace and truth, and as we do, we can see the Word come alive in our lives, Jesus living alongside us and around us.

 You know we can just as easily see the Word bringing grace and truth into today's world if we have eyes to see. We see grace in the great events of recent history - the people from both sides of the Berlin Wall bringing it down; Black South Africans queuing up in long, exuberant lines to cast their first votes ever; Israeli and Palestinian representatives shaking hands in the Rose Garden. 

 However, there is a warning. In life, the state of grace can prove fleeting. For a moment, grace descends. But then Eastern Europe sullenly settles into the long task of rebuilding, South Africa tries to figure out how to run a country facing huge corruption and poverty, and there are attempts on the lives of the Middle Eastern politicians, sometimes successful.

 It has been said that like a dying star, grace dissipates in a final burst of pale light, and is then engulfed by the black hole of 'ungrace.' 

 But I'd rather suggest that those moments are like candles lit, which keep on flickering and providing some light, however slight, so that the darkness does not overcome it.

 If only we could see it, God is lighting such lights with acts of grace every day. Small acts of kindness - someone asking after you if you are unwell, an unexpected gift or call.

 And bigger things - the first smile of a new-born baby; laughter among those you love; the family reunion after maybe long periods of separation; a good conversation with a new neighbour which makes you think you could be friends. It is in these things that we see the Word becoming flesh, coming to live among us, day to day. 

 These things help us see God's glory, full of grace and truth.

 Help us understand what that means. The best thing about God's grace is that it shows he loves us, that we are God's children by adoption and have received a great gift from him. Knowing this helps us love ourselves, and that helps us love others.

 If you remember nothing else from this blog, please remember this: "Grace is everywhere." It is all grace. It is amazing grace. Amen.

 MY THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK 1 Peter 4:10

 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

 I know at this time, with the continuing lockdown, that we have to observe social distancing etc. However, I am sure that like you and me, a lot of people are feeling isolated, and for some maybe this feeling is magnified, because they live alone. May I suggest therefore that now is a good time to make contact with friends and family and those you love, electronically, just to say hi, are you OK? It is also a better time to make contact with someone with whom you have had a falling out and ask them the same question. Part of God's grace is love and healing in a broken and hurting world.

 And so.. 

 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love and God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us and those we love now and for ever. With my love and prayers.

 Fthr. Michael