Church of England Diocese of Leeds Hutton Magna

SERMON from Rev Antony for 7th Sunday of Easter 24th May 2020

The |Seventh Sunday of Easter.

(Easter 6)

Sunday after Ascension Day

Reading John 17 :1-11

Today’s gospel is for each one of us a moment of privilege as we hear Jesus speaks directly to God The Father in prayer.

At the beginning of the covid 19 epidemic I sent an email out to everyone encouraging them to set up in their homes a holy space, a place for prayer, a place to stand in God’s presence and listen to him. Once again, I encourage each and all to do that,

Today we are privileged to listen to Jesus pray in what was his holy space in the upper room on the night before he died. We place ourselves with Jesus in that holy space, in that room and we listen to the Jesus pray.

We should read his words slowly and with reverence, not trying to understand those words, but by allowing them to enter into our own prayer, so that in our holy space we can listen to God Speaking to us through Jesus.

As we enter into that moment of prayer, we notice that Jesus is praying for those who belong to him. He is praying for me; he is praying for you! Jesus asks the Father to protect each one of us.

We can trust that his prayer will be answered. We can trust that his prayer will remain valid every moment of our life. We can trust that we are surrounded by god’s love in our holy space, wherever that may be.

In that prayer Jesus speaks from the depths of his heart. He speaks of the Father’s love for him and his love for his Father, who is the heart and core of his very being. The Father’s love continues to be with him right to the end, even to the Cross, to the point of giving his life.

By giving his life Jesus demonstrates his trust and faith, and he enters into eternity. In placing his trust and faith in God the Father he also enables that same eternal life for each one of us if we put our trust and faith in him.

“This eternal life of which Jesus speaks is that we may know God, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who God has sent”.

All our life we struggle to know the reality of God. We from time to time get a sight of God and that sight burns within us but then it fades and we continue looking for another real encounter with God. We search for God in the words of Scripture, in the parables, and through the world which God has entrusted to us. We try to understand God but we fail to grasp his real love.

Saint Augustine wrote: “Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that you may understand”. My human mission is to seek God through every means, and to remain a God-seeker until the day when he reveals himself to me face to face.

The message is that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Jesus makes clear the inner nature of God and that the evil of the whole human race is transformed in the heart of Jesus crucified.

So we can look at the Cross of Jesus, and ponder what Jesus endures to convey the infinite mercy and love of God.

In the words of todays Gospel reading we are prompt to pray that the Lord of the universe may be glorified in each one of us.

To know God is not just about knowledge. It means that we should have an intimacy, a relationship of trust, of faith and love with God. In the same way Jesus had that relationship of trust and faith. We have to work at that relationship in our holy space so that our joy of God’s love may be complete in us.

Eternal life is not just for the future; it is a gift partly given to us now. It is something given which will last forever. We touch into that gift through prayer and in that prayer, we begin to receive the light that comes to us through Jesus the Light of the World.

Today we thank God for the light we already have, for the quiet revelations and for the personal inspirations that have been given to us, and we pray in our holy space that we may be one with God as Jesus was one with God.