Pastoral Letter for Wed 13th May:

Dear Friends,

If you want to find your way to a strange place and you’re not quite sure of the directions you can often download a map or use a satnav system. Sometimes, of course, these things can be misleading and unreliable; and folk can get lost. Its always better to get directions from someone who knows the route personally – someone who can actually take you there. 

That is partly what the 14th chapter of St. John’s gospel is telling us. John was writing to people who were feeling lost, vulnerable, and frightened. People who were uncertain of the way ahead. We are all of us aware of those distressing times when we wonder what’s going to happen to us and to the people who are dear to us.

The first thing that Jesus says in such a situation is: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Don’t be afraid!” These are strong words of comfort, hope and reassurance. The guidance he gives us is simple and pellucidly clear. “Trust God; and trust me!” Our destiny is to be found in a close relationship with the God who is like a father to us; and it is precisely because this Fatherly God is the focus of our faith that our hearts need not be troubled; and we need not be afraid.

Thomas pointed out to him, however, that this was all new territory to them. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going with this. We are lost here – and the way ahead is far from clear. We don’t know the way you are asking us to travel. How CAN we know the way?”

Jesus replied: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am all the things you are looking for and all the guidance and direction you will ever need. If you want to find your way in life I can show you the direction to take.” “I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the true and living way!”

Philip butted in to say: “Yes, that’s all very well and good. But don’t just TELL us. SHOW us! You say that God is Father-like and that we need to trust him. Show us how God is like a Father to us. Show us why we should trust him.”

Jesus replied: “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still don’t get it? It still hasn’t dawned on you. Haven’t you been listening to all the things I’ve been saying? I am in the Father and the Father in me. I and my Father are one. He who has seen me has seen the Father.” This is the staggering claim of the Incarnation – the Word made Flesh and dwelling among us.”

My Friends, in these days of difficulty and disorientation, it is our task, as the People of the Way, to trust in Christ; to hold fast to the things we believe in; and to follow the guidance and direction he offers us. He is the one who has called us out of darkness into his own marvellous light.

Liz joins me in sending our love to you all.