The New Room is sharing a Friday reflection each week. We hope that these short reflections will act as a point of spiritual focus, enabling a moment of quiet thought and prayer.
Revd Inderjit Bhogal is a former President of the British Methodist Conference, former Leader and Chief Executive of the Corrymeela Community in Ireland, and a recipient of the World Methodist Peace Award (2018). Currently Inderjit is working with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) on the Church of Sanctuary project, to encourage local congregations to become churches of sanctuary.
Abide with me (John 15:4)
The words “abide with me”, used in the well-known and widely sung hymn, are originally spoken by disciples of Jesus when they invited him to stay with them (Luke 24:29). In John’s Gospel, chapter 15, it is Jesus who makes the request (verse 4)…abide with me…remain in me…, and speaks of the resulting fruit that will “remain” or endure (verse 16). The ultimate goal of human life is to finally be in union with God, to abide in God, to be at home in God.
In John 15:1-11 we find several invitations to “abide”, dwell, remain in Christ.
So, abide in Christ. This is a way of understanding, developing, expressing and sustaining mission and as a way of being Disciples of Christ, and as a way to grow and be fruitful, and build the fullness of life. I have found inspiration in the word translated “dwell” to imagine and encourage an understating of hospitality which is expanded by the idea of sanctuary, a deeply spiritual concept centred on mutuality, solidarity, protection and safety, and which matures through enduring relationships. From this concept deeply rooted in scripture has grown the City of Sanctuary movement which is being used in many places by many people, and seen in the vision of City of Sanctuary, Schools of sanctuary, Universities of Sanctuary, and Church of Sanctuary. I have written of it a recently published book called Hospitality and Sanctuary for All.
Holy God, we bless you. You dwell among us. You take sanctuary in us. You know all our hopes and hurts. You know the journeys we take. Grant that we may be sanctuary to ourselves and others, and practice Jesus’ craft of hospitality. In the name of Christ. Amen.