29th March 2020
Most Merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Gospel: John 11.21-27
[Today’s reading, the story of the raising of Lazarus, is a long one: John 11.1-42. Do read it in full if you can]
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again”. Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
At times of crisis, we need to know where to put our trust. Martha, whose beloved brother Lazarus has died, doesn’t know what the future holds but she knows exactly where to turn. She lays all her grief and bewilderment at the feet of Jesus. She knows that the power and love of God are alive in him, and Jesus tells her that he is the resurrection and the life for all those who believe.
In these anxious times, we are invited to do as Martha did. Jesus asks us to hand over our fear to him and to trust that, in the words of Rowan Williams, ‘there is nowhere God is absent, powerless or irrelevant; no situation in the universe in the face of which God is at a loss. His love never exhausts its resources, whatever may happen in the universe in general or in my life in particular. God always has the capacity to do something fresh, and different, to bring about something new’.
This week Bishop Martin sent to the clergy in the Diocese a lovely sentence from a Bible Commentary by St Bede: ‘Christ is the morning star who, when the night of this world is past, brings to his saints the promise of life and opens everlasting day’. May that promise sustain you through the week ahead.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
St Anne’s Parish Prayer
Heavenly Father, whose love surrounds us all on every side, bless St Anne’s parish church and all who worship there. Give us a vision of all we are called to be, courage to reach out to those around us and the spirit of love to unite all our efforts. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.