Sunday, 24 May 2009

Ascension Day Sermon

Ascension Day (2009) Eucharist

Goodbye, God bless

Ascension day seems a funny day to celebrate. A strange time to have a feast (which of course our Communion is here this evening)! Because, if you think about it, it’s a celebration of something quite difficult.

Have you ever had that feeling of saying goodbye to someone that hurt so much it made you ache? Sixteen years ago Jo and I, who had had an on-off relationship for a few years, found ourselves living in London and York, and at the end of a weekend together we would have that awful goodbye as one of us got onto a train to leave our respective cities. It was probably this ache, this loathing of separation that meant that she came out with the best proposal ever – oh well, we might as well go for it then.

I’m sure for all of us we can understand that pain, perhaps in a smaller or greater degree. Saying goodbye to someone we care about, letting go of them and trusting for both their well-being and the well-being of your relationship with them can be difficult.

It should, to a certain extent, have been the same for the disciples, having had the pain and despair of losing Jesus which was replaced by the joy of the resurrection and the days they got to spend with Jesus afterwards, they were again losing him. Ok, so this time there wasn’t the agony of seeing him suffer, nor was there the same kind of fear that they had experienced before their encounters with Christ – the fear of being caught, the fear of dying, perhaps even the fear that it might all have been a waste of time. But at the same time, Jesus was leaving, and they had no idea when he was to return. There was the promise of his return, but though they hoped for its immanence they had no date, no time, and no firm promise that it would even be in their lifetimes.

So this feast is a strange celebration. We celebrate the loss of Jesus from the Earth – the end of his earthly bodily ministry.

BUT – if we read the Gospel for this evening again we don’t actually get the feeling that the disciples were particularly glum! In fact the reading we had from Luke’s Gospel, chapter 24 ends with these verses (V 51-53) “While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple blessing God.”

Not the actions of those who were filled with despair – so either Luke was an early example of a spin doctor – pretending all was well when it wasn’t – or there was something else happening to the disciples – or Apostles as they are now rightly called, being those sent out by Jesus.

What happened? Well the promise of Jesus return obviously did offer some hope and comfort, and they knew – it had been proved to them – that Jesus was a man of his word. He’d said he was to be raised from the dead, and he was – obviously a fella you could trust.

But more than that they were now people of purpose. People who knew their calling, who knew what they were to do, who knew that God had a task for them – and would equip them to fulfil it.

Before being taken to be with God (however that was accomplished – and I don’t really think it is worth spending time arguing about the world being round and surrounded by space and wondering where Jesus went etc etc – life’s too short to worry about some things… ) Anyway, before Jesus went to be with God he charged the Apostles with being witnesses to the ends of the earth. Those are the exact words from Luke’s account in the book of Acts. Witnesses – those who had seen and who were to proclaim the good news that Jesus himself had proclaimed, those who were to live and act as Jesus had, those who were to be Christ-like in the world.

And not only that – this sense of purpose came with another promise – one we read about at length in John’s Gospel – the promise of ‘power from on high’ – the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, the comforter, the advocate, the helper. The Spirit was to be poured out in a new way, a way that would give authority and power to their message and that would equip them for all they were to do. It was this power that would sustain them through all they faced, it was this power that would assure them of the reality of the presence of God, it was this power that would make it possible for them to go to all places and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.

And they held to that promise, and after some gentle prompting by a couple of (euphemistically named) ‘men in white robes’ (Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven…?) they returned to Jerusalem to await the fulfilment of this promise.

That is why they weren’t torn by this parting – Jesus was leaving, but he was staying, the Spirit would bring that sense of Christ into every moment – just as he had said it would. And so they waited.

Perhaps, if they were anything like me, the waiting was the hardest part. Perhaps not – after all, they were in the temple continually blessing God. They allowed this promise to sink into their hearts, and they waited. And we know the end of their waiting, we will celebrate it in just ten days on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit was poured out, not just given but lavishly shared with signs and wonders, making everything the Apostles and the early Church was to accomplish possible.

Yet today – how many Christians are filled with that joy? How many of us find ourselves continually blessing God? We are those who know the promise, who in our baptism and our Christian life have the gift of God’s Spirit every day. We have the same potential to change the world, to live in the joy and wonder that was promised by Jesus so long ago.

Yet we are so often the ones who seem to mourn Jesus loss. We are the ones who seem to feel separated and distant from him… It’s true it has been many years, and Jesus hasn’t returned, it’s true that the history of the Church has not always been illustrious or uplifting – but it is equally true today as it always has been – Jesus has not left us alone. If we are open to the life of God, open to his Spirit, then we too can know the fullness of what Jesus promised, and we can have the assurance that one day we will see God face to face.

But it means we have to trust, to rely on faith, to be willing to do what God would have us do. It means, sometimes, waiting on God and listening for the voice of God. It means being willing to move, perhaps to change, and to take risks of faith.

All of this, though, can lead us to a greater joy, an enlarged faith, a sure and certain hope, and a life filled with the love and grace of our powerful, loving, intimate and awesome God. This is the reason we celebrate on this strange day – and I hope every day in our Christian lives.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

June's thought

I was very struck by a talk by John Bell as I listened whilst driving through the lanes of Devon today, it has influenced greatly my thought for June for our local Parishes Magazine - known as 'the Parishes Paper' it serves the whole of the Five Alive Mission Community. I wondered whether this might be a bit heavy for a Parish mag editorial, but submitted it anyway - and this is the first time I have posted something before it is properly published, so let me have your feedback in the next few hours and I can send out a corrected/amended/highly altered version if necessary...

Though probably not.

Faith in the Church?

The celebration of Pentecost on the last day of May and the end of my first six months here have led me to think about what it means for us to be Church here in the villages of the Five Alive Mission Community and more generally to think about what any of us think we are doing when we say we are the Church. Whilst trying to avoid steering into perilous philosophical waters about the nature of Church, I have been thinking about the way that Jesus talked about being his people (Jesus never talked about the Church specifically, though he did talk of a time when his followers would no longer be a part of the Jewish religious institution). I also considered the writings of St Paul, who we could consider the architect of the Church as we know it, or at least the one who gave the people of Christ structure and shape in their organisation. Likewise I have been thinking and looking again at the record of the early Church in the New Testament. This, and listening to a challenging talk by the Revd John Bell of the Iona Community, brought up some questions:

Are we, as Jesus commanded, one Church, united in all things? No!
Are we, as St Paul described, one body so intimately bound together that ‘when one suffers, all suffer, when one rejoices, all share that rejoicing’? No!
Are we, as the Acts of the Apostles describes, living with everything in common, any surplus goods sold and the money given to the poor? No!

So what are we? Has the Church failed?

Well, we could say yes, that all churches fail to be exactly what the Gospel and our Holy Scriptures describe the Church to be. Or should be. But essentially we are God’s redeemed people, and we exist only through God’s grace, love and forgiveness. We start from the very point of realising we can never be ideal, that we are broken and sinful people and that it is only through Christ we are able to be a part of God’s body here on earth, the Church. In a world which constantly demands our leaders, our politicians, our bankers and others say sorry – many of whom refuse – we are a body who recognise our need to say sorry, to God and to one another, and to accept God’s forgiveness and begin again.

To those who criticise our Churches we must admit that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, that part of being a Christian is to admit our inadequacy and yet to allow God to lift us up and make us new. That in the midst of our brokenness there is hope given through Christ to build us up again and make us into the people God wants us to be. This means that the hallmarks of our Church should be tolerance, forgiveness, humility, love, graciousness, mutual comfort, acceptance and welcome – for these are all things that God gives us despite our unworthiness. Though I am more than willling to receive criticism of the Church and even of myself and my mistakes, I would hope that within our Church fellowships we do this with a desire to grow in faith, hope and love, and to be together the people of God. Thanks be to God for a Church that isn’t perfect, but let us be inspired by our calling to be holy, grace filled Christians and Churches so that others in our broken, imperfect and often painful world may find a home and a place to belong.

Sermon - the good shepherd

Apologies, forgot to post this one...

Easter 4 (2009) Year C RCL Principal
Shepherd and sheep

April has been, for me, a time of reflection and looking back at the last 6 months or so of my life and the life of these Parishes. The first Easter a minister gets to spend in his or her Parishes is a very important one, not only for the obvious reasons regarding what we all believe about Easter, but because the way we celebrate Easter reflects who and what we are as Christians in these fellowships of which we are a part.

So the celebration of Easter left me feeling tired, but very happy. Our celebrations were well attended, they were friendly and they were joyful. With the Annual Parochial Church Meetings that took place at around the same time I have had a time when I have given thanks both to God and to the many people who work so hard, and often without the thanks they deserve. to keep our Parishes not just going, but growing.

As I’ve said before, on the arrival of a new incumbent and there is some change in our Parishes and there has been over the past few months, and I have been pleased with all that we have achieved. There is so much to give thanks for, and so many good things happening in the Five Alive Mission Community. At the same time there have been hard choices to be made, and there will be more as we seek the best way in which to serve the Parishes which our Churches are placed in – and that brings me to the readings which we have for today.

Our faith should face us with some hard choices. Jesus pulls no punches when he demands our allegiance – we are to give ourselves wholly to him. We are like sheep, we need to give ourselves over to the care of the shepherd and allow him to guide us where we need to go – or it won’t be long before we wander off and become lost – God is gracious and will rescue us, but that’s another story.

I used to have a lecturer who said he disliked the word pastoral because he didn’t consider himself a shepherd and his congregation weren’t sheep. The fact he didn’t like the term ‘pastor’ made the fact that he taught Pastoral Studies quite confusing – but there we are. I have to say that I am happy with the idea of pastoring as it reminds me that we all have a tendency to be like sheep, and we need the guidance of a shepherd.

The teaching of the Church has been, and indeed is, that Christ is the shepherd and that we all are the sheep, but that within the Church authority is given through the orders of ministry to some to take on a little of Christ’s rôle as shepherd – namely Bishops, Priests and Deacons. This does not for one minute make any of us more important that other Christians, but recognises that, through God’s grace, leadership can be exercised within the Church. But we remember that it is Christ who is our good shepherd and all gifts and responsibilities come from him.

This leads us to our passage from the Gospel of St John which we are given for today. Jesus says very clearly that we are his sheep, and that we hear his voice. But that poses the question – how often do we hear his voice, and when he speaks do we listen.

Sheep are notably wilful and stupid creatures, I’m told. They are easily distracted and often get themselves into a fix whilst seeking out that extra juicy looking bit of grass or plant. In the time that Jesus lived he would have seen shepherds who lived with their sheep out on the hills and who devoted their whole lives to the care of these clueless animals. He reminds us that he is like that, willing to give of himself to keep us safe.

But in order that we might be kept safe we have a choice to make, will we listen? Will we take heed? Or are we so concerned with what I want, with the way I want to go, that no cajoling from the shepherd is going to make us do what we should. In the verses we have from John’s Gospel we see Jesus becoming impatient with those who refuse to see who he is and to believe in what he is. John’s Gospel begins with a statement that offers no doubt as to the identity of Jesus – that the is the human manifestation of the word that brought all life into being. Throughout the Gospel Jesus is constantly offering signs of his nature and power, as well as unequivocal statements about who he is – all of the I AM statements come from John’s Gospel (I am the vine, I am the resurrection and the life, I am the bread of life, I am the good shepherd etc etc). Yet there are still some who refuse to believe, who refuse to see the relationship Jesus has with his Father in heaven and who refuse to listen to him.

Of course the author or authors of St John’s Gospel don’t just recount these stories as interesting events in the life of Jesus – those who are unbelievers are included in the stories in order to encourage us to be believers, not to emulate the sceptics, the awkward, the ignorant, but to be faithful and learn to listen and obey the voice of the good shepherd. These stories are here to challenge and inspire us, they demand that we make the choice – that we either accept or reject Jesus.

What are we going to do?

This willingness to obey must be at the very centre of our Christian life. Are we willing to lay aside our own self-will and embrace the rôle of a follower of Christ, a servant of God?

So we are faced with a challenge, with a demand. But we are also offered in today’s readings, even the ones we haven’t had read to us, the other side of the Christian life – the touch of grace and God’s gentleness. Psalm 23, that wonderful well-known Psalm reminds us that the Lord is a shepherd to us, that when we do listen to him he leads us to pleasant places, he accompanies us through the worst parts of life and death, that he will bring us to a place of rejoicing and celebration. This is a reminder that obedience to God pays dividends, that we don’t indulge in this servanthood that Christ calls us to for the sake of suffering, but that through it we grow to be those who God can use, in whom the Holy Spirit can work and live and grow. We become those who in being drawn closer to God enjoy all the rewards of the life on offer from God.

And God will work in us, if we will open ourselves to him and listen to his voice. And in that he can even bring life out of death.

Perhaps we feel that we need some of that strength and power for ourselves in our Christian lives, perhaps we feel we need it in our Churches. The message is clear, in order to bring about that kind of miracle we need faith, we need to pray and we need to be listening to our good shepherd.

We are encouraged in our Bible readings and Psalms for today to make a choice. We are encouraged to choose Christ and to choose life.

Whatever we do, we must choose life.

Sermon - I am the vine...

Easter 5 (2009) Year B RCL Principal

Pruning & Growing

As anyone who has talked to me about growing, sowing, weeding and reaping will know, I am not a gardener – and one of the attractions of moving to the Five Alive Mission Community was a generous offer by one of the parishioners in Kilmington to take care of the Vicarage lawn so that I didn’t have to make the time for garden upkeep.

So I will mow the lawn or strim if necessary – and I have started the process of clearing the new bit of Garden that we have been able to adopt at the end of the current Vicarage space. Having said this, the aforementioned garden care parishioner crept into our garden yesterday afternoon and did more with a proper strimmer in half an hour than I had managed in three hours the day before! The only other thing I will do in any garden is prune.

Well, not so much prune as hack, slash, clip, cut and slice. I have a bit of a reputation in my wife’s family – many of whom are keen gardeners – as somewhat over enthusiastic in my approach to pruning. In theological college I had a reputation for being ‘the Clematis killer of Westcott House’ after a very exciting session with some secateurs and the once bushy Clematis outside our flat. To be fair, the clematis grew back rather well, until it was blown down in the Winter gales a few years back – seven years after I left!

But the nurture, weeding and feeding of plants is beyond me, I’m afraid. I start out with good intentions and it all disappears. Give me a good bit of clearing to do, some chopping, preferably with a good bonfire at the end of it, and I’m happy.
But as any gardener knows, pruning – real pruning, thoughtful pruning – is an important part of the regime of garden care. It allows new growth, it prevents plants becoming misshapen, it helps guard against pests and disease, it removes dead and dying parts of a plant. As part of the whole regime, pruning is essential to the health of a garden.

And it is of course pertinent because of the Gospel reading for this morning, which begins with Jesus saying ‘I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower’. And he goes on to use this illustration to talk of God’s relationship with us, through and in Christ himself. But more of that in a moment.

If you’ve heard the Gospel readings in the past few weeks, you might have notices that we have been looking through the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus. We know them so well – I am the Good shepherd, I am the way, the truth and the life, I am the light of the world etc etc. These sayings are unique to the Gospel of John and quite deliberately link to the Old Testament where God describes himself to Moses when he speaks from the burning bush as ‘I am who I am’.

In John’s Gospel, when Jesus uses the phrase ‘I am’ it makes a statement not just about Jesus as a man, or a teacher, or a spiritual leader. It is meant to deliberately lead us to make the connection between this man Jesus and the fact that he is God. Just as in the very beginning of John’s Gospel we are told ‘In the beginning was the Word’ and it goes on to say ‘the word was made flesh and lived among us’.

John uses the ‘I am’ sayings very carefully and only seven times in his Gospel. When they are used they are to be taken seriously. They say something that is not just good advice, or comforting words, they seek to offer us the wisdom of God.

And so we come back to today’s reading. ‘I am the true vine.’ A strong image of life, and growth – something we are all to share in. ‘Abide in me as I abide in you’ Jesus commands, and later he says ‘I am the vine, and you are the branches.’

These are images of dependence, trust, intimacy and closeness. Not words we use a huge amount in the Church, actually – but here in the image of vine and branches, it is highlighted how close we should be to our Lord and Saviour Jesus. We are to be grafted in to him, dependant on him for our life and health, our very essence coming from him.

And like so many of these ‘I am’ sayings, this is a passage that challenges us to consider our relationship with Christ. Do we trust? Do we seek to be closer to Him? This is an intensely personal challenge – demanding that each one of us consider our own relationship to him – not as a Church, but as individual Christians.

And the consequences of allowing our relationship to wither are spelled out in strong and challenging terms. All who do not bear fruit in their relationship to the Vine, will be pruned, in a method that is reminiscent of my own approach to Gardening, they will be cut from the vine and burned.

Now I would counsel against taking that image too literally, but I would recommend that we take it seriously. We are called to bear fruit, living lives that show the love and grace of Christ, in order to Glorify God. We are called to be close to Christ and to grow in our faith in and love for him. We are called to live in Christ.

And we are called to live in Christ here and now, in our everyday lives, in the relationships we have, in our friendships, at home, at work, at play. This is the Christian life, to be in Christ. It is both a privilege and a responsibility.

And it is not one to be take lightly. Like a gardener God demands growth. He will prune, but like a Gardener God cares for, nurtures, feeds and protects us. In this very meal, this holy feast of Communion we are fed and nurtured in our Spirits through God’s grace and love. Meeting Him here in bread and wine, to be sent out again to live our lives, bearing the fruit of the true vine.

God is not a capricious gardener, caring only when it suits him, cutting on a whim. God is a gardener that takes time to look after each branch, bringing from it the best fruit it can bear. He allows us to grow in our own way – but he does demand that we grow and continue to grow.

And the challenge for us today is to consider our own lives, and the fruit we are bearing. To take seriously God’s calling upon our lives and to seek to be those people God wants us to be.

If we are willing to trust, to pray, to seek God’s will then he will care for us and help us to grow. If we are abiding in Christ then we will bear fruit, that is the way of vines, they bear fruit year after year, often for many years.

So let us pray that we will remain in Christ, and whatever may keeps us from growing, let us be willing to tackle it and with God’s help to deal with anything that prevents us from bearing fruit, fruit that will last.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

A Gospel Service Sermon

Jesus is Gospel….

In my first weeks here we had our first Gospel service with the Kroft Originals in Dalwood. It was a great service, as this one is, and I had two instructions regarding the sermon – keep it light and keep it short! Funnily enough on my way out of Church this morning I said I needed to work on this talk and a certain Churchwarden who shall remain nameless said ‘not too long!’ – I can’t make any promises, but hopefully no matter how long this it will speak to us.

The difficulty I have is that I have so much to say! Just as I took the opportunity it introduce myself at the first of our Gospel services and to say a bit about my belief in the Good News – which is what the word Gospel means – I am keen now to reflect a bit on my first six months in our parishes, and to say a little more on this ‘Good News’ business which we Christians make so much fuss about!

It helps if we start by remembering something of where the Gospel music we are enjoying this evening comes from. The Spiritual songs we have heard and sang this evening come from the churches and the people who were slaves many years ago in the USA and West Indes. These songs come from a place of despair, and yet are filled with life and hope, they are powerful, inspiring and uplifting songs and are the foundation of a music heritage which combines African, American and European music and went on to be the foundation of Blues, Soul, Jazz, Motown, Rock and Roll and ultimately to influence the Rock and Pop and infinite variety of contemporary music we enjoy (or not today).

In the midst of slavery, the spirituals were songs of hope and faith and love. Though Christian faith was often forced upon the African slaves, they made it their own, and in the powerful language of redemption and hope they found comfort and strength, and the truth of a God who understood and was alongside them in their sufferings was their inspiration and joy.

But its not the history of Gospel music I want to spend a few minutes on today, it’s the today of the Gospel and our part in the chorus of faith that is carried in our villages and communities today.

I wouldn’t even begin to really understand or compare our situation to the suffering that those in slavery go and have gone through. But in many ways we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land, as the Israelites described their slavery in Babylon, today. We sing a song of faith, hope and love in a world filled with anger, greed, despair and faithlessness. We hold to a Gospel which though a declaration of God’s Good News isn’t good news for most people. It’s a Gospel that isn’t trendy, it involves sacrifice, hard work, standing up for what is right, it involves denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following the one who suffered and died for us. The theologian and writer Francis Scheaffer described the Christian message as ‘bad news for modern man’. It doesn’t conform to the message of the ‘me generation’, it doesn’t involve status, power, recognition, fame or fortune in the way the world values.

And I think that here in the villages of our Mission Community we are in the middle of learning and living that important lesson – that being God’s people, being God’s Church isn’t easy. But it is worth it!

In the six months I have been here I have been impressed again and again by the willingness of our Churches to reach out to the communities in which God has placed us. I have been impressed by the commitment of many people to Christ and a genuine desire be a faithful witness of Christian truth. I have been overwhelmed by the faith of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

But I have shared in the frustrations of exactly how we can be churches which bring in people of all ages to know Christ and to share our life. I have shared in the apprehension that comes with considering change, and in a desire to balance moving forward with standing firm for what is good and right for our Churches.

But in the midst of this, good and bad, we sing the Lord’s song, and that song is ‘Hallelujah!’.

So to move on to my choice for the reading for today. Unusually as I usually follow the Sunday readings week by week very closely, I chose something outside of the lections – though not very much, today’s story of the Emmaus Road can be found in the verses just before today’s set reading – Luke 24 verses 13-35. There’s a lot here, but I want to highlight some ‘Gospel’ attitudes and thoughts from this passage quite quickly…

We see these two companions, who are walking home to a village called Emmaus near Jerusalem. They haven’t seen Jesus, as far as they know he is dead and gone, and all of the hopes and dreams that went with knowing Jesus are dead and gone too. They are talking about this when a stranger approaches and asks them what’s up. First of all they react with incredulity that this person might not have heard of the events of the past few days, then they listen as he takes them through the scriptures that talked of the messiah, then they invite him in to share a meal – as would be traditional in middle eastern cultures where hospitality is important – and then as he blesses and breaks bread they see that it is Jesus, then he disappears and they run all the way back to the disciples with the news of what had happened, and how ‘Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread’.

It’s an incredible story, perhaps my favourite of the resurrection appearances – though all of them are pretty amazing! But I want to consider three things

Firstly that, simply, Jesus was with them. Whether they saw it or not, whether they understood it or not, he was there alongside them. Though it took a particular moment of recognition for them to see it was Jesus he was there all the time on that Journey. And it is the same for us, just as it was the same for the original Gospel singers and originators of the music we enjoy tonight. Jesus was with them, whether they understood how or why or when or not. Jesus likewise is with us, in everything and through everything. He teaches, he guides, the shares. This is the essence of our Good News, of our Gospel. Jesus is here! He is alive!

Secondly they were hospitable. Yes, it’s traditional in Middle Eastern culture – but they still reached out to this stranger despite the fact that it was late, despite all they had gone through, despite the fact they had lots of reasons not to, they invited this stranger in to break bread with them. Our Good News is to be shared, we have a Gospel of love, welcome, hospitality and friendship. In a world where relationships are often broken, where families are under strain, where a sense of community is often hard to foster and sustain we have a message of family, of love, of inclusion. All are welcome at the Lord’s table, in our worshipping communities – no one is worthy of being brought into the presence of God, but because of what Christ has done for us no one is unworthy! Even when it takes time and effort, even when it involves sacrifice, even with those we might find difficult, or those who find us difficult, we are called to welcome, to share the love of Christ.

Lastly, and springing from the previous two – they told. Their first reaction is to sprint back to Jerusalem and share their story! And here perhaps is the greatest challenge to us today – when was the last time we told someone about Jesus? When was the last time we shared the Good News? Even in our Churches it is often hard, embarrassing to talk about God! How many of ask each other ‘so, how’s your faith?’ We are in the Church to build one another up so that we might reach out to others – to tell the story of Christ.

Now I am not saying that we all have to zip out and purchase the next soapbox we see and start preaching to everyone, or at everyone as most soapbox preachers seem to do. Our lives are the greatest way of telling the Christian story, and living lives of faith are the greatest sermons! As St Francis of Assisi once said ‘preach the Gospel, and when necessary use words’. That’s not a get out though! We still have the responsibility of sharing our faith and drawing others in as we share this Good News of the Christ who died, who rose and who is coming again!

So in our Churches and in our lives let us remember that we walk with Christ in all things, let us welcome others into our Churches, let us share the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And I leave you with one last thought. When these two disciples talked together they asked ‘did our hearts not burn within us’ as Jesus spoke to them. Let us allow Jesus to speak to us, that our hearts may burn, and that we may invite others into the burning passion of God’s love.