Friday Reflection – 1st May 2020

The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week during the time that we are closed. Even though we cannot currently join together for our usual Friday lunchtime Communion service in the chapel, we hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.

Today’s Friday Reflection is by Revd Gordon James.

I invite you to read John 10 verses 1-10 Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Using this web page we could be said to be virtually taking part in a service which is not real. We might also say that we, a virtual flock of sheep, are going to struggle to live our solitary lives if they are described as ‘abundant’: they may actually feel far less fulfilling than we ever could expect. Yet the modern paraphrase of the Bible, ‘The Message’, suggests that Jesus meant, in verse 10, “I came so that they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

At a desk, but not by the Communion Table, I remember Jesus’s awful isolation and death when we share what we call ‘the elements’, and I grieve that the simple words which repeat his promises are not easy to write. I understand better now the words in Psalm 137, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” To anyone reading this completely at peace, you are fortunate, to those struggling, take heart, you are not alone.

Over nearly 300 years people have sat in the narrow and uncomfortable pews of the New Room and, in the quietness of worship, believed in a life which is more than they dreamed of, not full of pain, anxiety, sorrow. Normally on a Friday in the Chapel we read requests for prayer and afterwards speak with worried family members, some just taking a break from sitting by a loved one ill in the BRI or the Children’s Hospital, to pray with us.

I pray that, even under the cloud of the present shut-down, we may be ready to be reminded that we are promised life that can really be abundant, and look forward to a time when many more will discover that promise was made by one who promised to cheat death itself, and did exactly that.

A prayer:

O God, when it is dark and nothing seems real any more,
when our faith has been enfeebled by distress, help us to remember
those times when we were sure of your presence,
so that the light of our experience will reveal you once again,
and we might see that you are, always with us,
always waiting, always loving,
in and through Jesus Christ our Lord.  [Frank Topping 1994]