May 2023

Dear Friends

As they came near to the village to which they were going, He walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged Him strongly, saying ‘stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is nearly over.’ So He went in with them. When He was at the table with them, He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; and he vanished from their sight.’ [Luke 24:28-31 NRSV]

We have just celebrated Easter as I write this, and we can all joyfully proclaim: Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this chorus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.’ (see MP 712)

That was surely the effect on those disciples who saw the risen Lord. Is it still our reaction today? I really hope so; emphatically it is for me! As we head on towards Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit, my thoughts turn towards my own commitment and how I can help to spread the Christian message. Being musical, I find it easiest to express my thoughts through hymns and songs. Here, another chorus comes to mind:

Jesus Christ is alive today, I know, I know it’s true.
Sovereign of the universe, I give him homage due.
Seated at God’s right hand, I am with him in the promised land.
Jesus lives and reigns in me, that’s how I know it’s true.’ (see MP 358)

I find that I often strike up conversations with people I meet as I walk around, come to church coffee morning, come to Thursday Luncheon Club or travel on the local buses. As we talk and get to know each other better we find ourselves talking about our lives, our experiences, our memories and often our faith. If you are open and positive it often leads to amazing outcomes. These are no longer ‘one-off encounters’ as I meet many of these new friends time after time and the conversations become further ranging, sharing problems, thoughts, experiences and a desire to know more about Jesus. These activities, by others as well as myself are a definite part of our Christian outreach and an expression of love for one another as Jesus taught us. Some now arrive at church regularly, sometimes moving on from just a cup of coffee to Luncheon Club and to Sunday Worship.

I try not to forget that the Church is the people, not a building we visit for worship on a Sunday morning. Telling new people who want to know about the Christian way of living is up to us, whenever and wherever we meet them. As a friend once said to me after I described a chance meeting with a stranger and getting into conversation: ‘I don’t believe in coincidences, I call them Godincidences.’

As a final offering, another song and chorus:

O! O! O! how good is the Lord… I never will forget what He has done for me.’ (see MP 532).

Why not read the whole song and think about what each verse and the chorus are saying?

Wilf Hawes

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