Friends, as usual, I hope that this will find you well.
My letter is drawn from my daily prayers (22.05.2020) from the Pray as You Go. It began with the singing of Bach’s Cantata number 82 ‘Ich Habe Genug, ’I have enough’, echoing the words of Simeon: I have taken the Saviour, the hope of the Gentiles, into my arms (Luke 2:25–35). People from around the world describe how Bach’s cantata, about the elderly Simeon holding the baby Jesus in his arms, helped them to deal with difficult moments in their lives, writes the BBC (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09l07ly).
The prayer commentary states that often when we pray, we ask God for things we want, or need, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, many of us prayed, and continually do so, fervently, for what we need, including toilets rolls, eggs and flour, even when Supermarkets have worked hard to ensure that all essentials are now available!
But sometimes prayer is not about asking for things, it says. Sometimes prayer is more like this; just enjoying God’s presence and saying, ‘I have you, Lord. I have
enough.’ How many of us are able to spend time of prayer, during these difficult times just relishing the presence of God?
The Gospel of John writes “ Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So, you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (John 16:20-23)
We have indeed borne the labour pains of COVID-19, certainly akin to the first trimester of pregnancy if you’re anything like me or the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate! Jesus is speaking to his disciples of pain and joy at the Last Supper, and is here, referrin
to his coming death and the grief they will experience because of it. But the Gospel writer is also referring to the risen life of Jesus, where we can no longer see him in the flesh, but we feel his presence all around us. Jesus speaks of a day; of a joy that we can never lose. This is part of the gift of the risen life as we remain in Easter and heading towards the future.
The nation is preparing for a ‘so-called easing of the lockdown’ and the cautious re-opening of our Church buildings. I wonder if you have a sense of that joy that Jesus is promising, or confident about the future, and if not, is there something that preventing you from feeling this joy Jesus is promising? And as we move towards what is rapidly becoming a ‘new normal’, can you, or will you be able to confidently proclaim, ‘God I have you, Lord. I have enough’ in the days ahead?
Jesus promises that anything we ask the Father in His name will be given to us. What do you want to ask for in the days ahead?
‘I have taken the Saviour, the hope of the Gentiles, into my arms’. I pray every blessing on you at this time and for the future to come. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Stay well and stay safe.
Abe, your minister.