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Reflections and Prayers The 5th Sunday of Lent and Passion Sunday - 21st March

Reflection Sunday 21st March


Have you ever experienced a situation where a number of different things just seem to come together and leave you thinking that 2+2+2 doesn't just make 6, but 7, 8 or even 9? Was it chance? Or the Holy Spirit? Coincidence or Godincidence? The apostle Philip has made several appearances in our Sunday readings in recent weeks and in our thinking about evangelism in the Live Lent course. He is among the first to whom Jesus says "Follow me", and then almost immediately, he goes off to find Nathanial and tell him to "Come and see". He is the disciple whom Jesus tests by asking where he could buy bread for the 5000. In this Sunday's reading, some Greeks tell Philip that they would like to see Jesus and, with Andrew, he goes to tell Jesus. Later, in Acts 8, after the events of Easter and Pentecost, we read of Philip in Samaria, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in Samaria, driving out evil spirits, healing paralytics and cripples, and baptising new believers. The Holy Spirit was certainly working in and through him in a dramatic way. And then an angel tells him to go south (at least 50 miles) into the desert where he just happens to meet Ethiopia's Chancellor of Exchequer, who just happens to be reading Isaiah in his chariot. Philip finds himself able to catch up the chariot, run or walk alongside, and explain the passage to the Ethiopian and how it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In no time, the Ethiopian accepts Christ into his life as the son of God and Philip baptises him. And only two verses later, Philip pops up nearly 100 miles further north preaching the gospel near Caeserea. You may think that Philips's evangelism in Acts is more refined and effective than his rudimentary "come and see" to Nathaniel, but it is essentially the same thing. When Philip told Jesus how the Greeks wanted to see him, Jesus spoke of his forthcoming death and how it would be the means by which he would draw all people to himself and how the cross would become a means to glory. All people included Greeks, Samaritans, cripples, Ethiopians and others that Philip may initially have felt outside the reach of the gospel. As Philip went about his work among the people and kept pace with the Ethiopian's chariot, did he sense that things were coming together and that people were indeed being drawn to Christ? Philip was one of those who have been given the badge of "evangelist", but we all share in the same mission, Christ's mission to draw all people to himself, or in other words, to bring everyone into a loving relationship with God and His creation. Like Philip, we can reflect on Scripture, remember and worship Jesus, and make his love known and visible. As we go about that work day by day, Godincidences will occur for us as they did for Philip. Where and to whom are they taking you and me?

James Hall

Having Confessed

Patrick Kavanagh (1904–1967)

Having confessed he feels That he should go down on his knees and pray For forgiveness for his pride, for having Dared to view his soul from the outside. Lie at the heart of the emotion, time Has its own work to do. We must not anticipate Or awaken for a moment. God cannot catch us Unless we stay in the unconscious room Of our hearts. We must be nothing, Nothing that God may make us something. We must not touch the immortal material We must not daydream to-morrow’s judgement— God must be allowed to surprise us. We have sinned, sinned like Lucifer By this anticipation. Let us lie down again Deep in anonymous humility and God May find us worthy material for His hand. To Pray for

  • We pray for our benefice as we look forward to worshiping in our churches once more

  • For all our police officers who often come under attack and immense pressure in very difficult times

  • Also we continue to pray for the vaccine rollout across the world amid fears of delays, shortages and concerns. May success and targets continue to be met.

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