St Paul's Chichester

Journey towards Pentecost

Day Nine

 

Reading: John 21. 20-25

 

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.  But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

 

Wondering:

 

What were all the ‘other things’ that Jesus did and said?  Why did John and the other Gospel writers choose the stories and sayings they did?  Ask yourself: If I had been an eyewitness in Jesus’ lifetime, which story/saying would I have been most keen to have included in a Gospel?  Why?

 

Reflection:

 

Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday, and so our devotional is drawing to a close.  But our journey does not end here.  Our times of prayer have helped to prepare us for a new beginning – a new Pentecost.  Like the early Christians, we will of course experience uncertainties; there will be disagreements and the need to take time to build up trust and new relationships.  But we do this having reflected on events in Jesus’ life, which offer both challenge and great promise.

 

Prayer:

 

Give thanks for the joy of people who are witnessing God’s promise being fulfilled.

Pray for one another at St Paul’s as we prepare to rebuild the life of our church in the coming months. 

 

Come, Holy Spirit:

fill the hearts of your faithful

and kindle in them your love.

Send forth your Spirit to re-create us

and renew the face of the earth.

 

Lord’s Prayer


Day Eight

 

Reading: John 21. 15-19

 

Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’  He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’  A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’  He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.  Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’  He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’  Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’

 

Wondering:

 

We move away from ‘the last discourse’ to a reading that reminds us of the commission given to Peter and his successors.

 

How aware am I of being part of two thousand years of the history of Christianity?  How am I playing my part in witnessing to the Gospel and building up the contemporary church?

 

Reflection:

 

Although the call to ‘feed my lambs’, ‘feed my sheep’, was given to Peter in a very special way, it is one given to all Christians.

 

We express our love for Christ by feeding the hungry amongst us (Matthew 25. 31-46).  Who are the ‘hungry’ amongst us: the lonely, the depressed, the newly-unemployed, the financially vulnerable, the homeless, the bereaved…?

 

In order to get strength to go out and feed others, it is important to remember to feed yourself.  How do you feed yourself: through contemplation, reflection, prayer, worship and communion, reading, play, conversation…?   Where do you find inspiration?

 

Prayer:

 

Come, Holy Spirit:

Fill the hearts of your faithful.

Give us ears to hear the call of Jesus

And minds, hearts and wills

Ready and willing

To respond to it.

 

Lord’s Prayer

 

Day Seven

 

 

Reading: John 17. 20-26 

 

Jesus looked up to heaven and said… ‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.  As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’

 

Wondering:

 

How do my words and actions bring others to believe in God?  How have the words and actions of others helped me to believe?

 

Reflection:

 

It is a staggering thought that our lives can touch other people’s lives in ways that speak to them of God: the fact that we may say or do something that helps people come to know Jesus, and that kindles the spark the Spirit has planted in them.

How can we better build up relationships of encouragement and support?

 

Prayer:

 

Pray for the members of our community, especially for those who feel lonely and unsupported.

Pray for wisdom and enthusiasm for people working together on community projects: our Pastoral Care Team, Heart, Four Streets, Foodbank, Anna Chaplaincy, Boys’ Brigade etc.

 

Come, Holy Spirit:

give us a sense of unity and common purpose;

as we have received faith through other people,

give us words and actions

that will help others to believe in you.

 

Lord’s Prayer

                                                                                                        

Kathryn Turner/Wellspring


Day Six

Reading: John 17. 11-19

‘I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.  They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.’

Wondering:

What does it mean ‘not to belong to the world’?  How does my life show that I have been consecrated in the truth?  How does the life of my community witness to the truth?  How am I protected from ‘the evil one’?

Reflection:

We are, it is often said, ‘in the world but not of it’ – a phrase that comes down the centuries to us from Jesus.  What does it mean?  Our contemplative communities are certainly clear signs of one way of living this truth. But how are lay people called to live in the world: ‘to be in it but not of it’?

Prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit:

fill the hearts of your faithful.

consecrate us afresh in your truth,

protect us from the temptations of our time

and show us ways in which to make our world

a better and happier place.

 

Lord’s Prayer

                                                                                                                      Kathryn Turner/Wellspring


Day Five

 

Reading: John 17. 1-11

Jesus looked up to heaven and said… ‘Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.’

Wondering:

How did the disciples know that Jesus had come from the Father?  What Godly qualities did they recognise in him?  What helps me to believe that Jesus came from the Father and choose to follow his teaching?

Reflection:

Jesus’ teaching has been handed on from apostle to apostle, disciple to disciple.  Over the centuries, people have gathered, prayed, discussed and discerned.  How can we continue to grow in discipleship and responsibility?  How can we foster a practice of discernment rooted in scripture and tradition?

Prayer:

Pray for the gift of openness to the Word of God and willingness to be guided by it.

Come, Holy Spirit:

inspire our minds with love for the Word of God,

for the rich heritage of tradition,

for the people with whom we pray and worship,

and for those with whom we long to share

the Good News at the heart of our faith.

 

Lord’s Prayer

 

                                                                                                                                      


Day Four

 

Reading: John 16. 29-33

 

Jesus answered them…  ‘I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.  In the world you face persecution.  But take courage; I have conquered the world!’

 

Wondering:

 

Jesus said many things to his disciples – and these things have been passed on to us.  Which of Jesus’s words have offered me comfort?  Which have challenged me?  Which have brought me peace? …

 

Reflection:

 

Change can be frightening.  People can become confused and suspicious of the motives of others and the reasons behind their decisions.  At a time of major change there are doubts and uncertainties – some expressed, others hidden.  This is a time for bravery: for facing the future in the knowledge that Jesus has indeed conquered the world and given us the Spirit to help us play our part in the building up of his Church.  What part are you being called to play?

 

Prayer:

 

Pray for those who will have to make brave decisions over the coming months.

Pray for a generosity of spirit: for trust in the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Come, Holy Spirit:

deepen our faith in the One who created us,

confidence in the One who saved us

and fill our hearts with your peace.

 

Lord’s Prayer


Day Three

 

Reading: John 17. 1-10

 

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

 

Wondering:

 

What does eternal life mean to me?  How does the promise of eternal life influence how I live?  Do I try to share that promise with other?  How?

 

Reflection:

 

Eternal life is what we are promised at our baptism.  In the constant routine or struggle of our day-to-day lives it is easy to forget our destiny.  In times of change we can also lose sight of our ultimate goal and focus solely on the here and now.  How can we retain a sense of vision: seeing beyond what may seem confusing or problematic?  How can we help others to set things in a greater context?

 

Prayer:

 

Pray for your community and its sense of vision.

Pray for an increased awareness of your eternal destiny and that of others.

 

Come, Holy Spirit,

and renew our vision:

remind us of the great promise made to us in baptism –

the promise of eternal life.

 

Lord’s Prayer

 

 

 

Day Two

 

Reading: John 16.23-28

 

‘On that day you will ask nothing of me.  Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.’

 

Wondering:

 

Praying in Jesus’ name – what does this mean?  When Peter prayed in the name of Jesus, folk were healed – the dead were raised…  How has God used my prayer?  Was it as I expected – or surprising – or confusing… but ultimately the ‘right’ answer?

 

Reflection:

 

Prayer is powerful – but when we pray we often can’t see ‘the big picture’.  How do you cope with this?  How easy is it for you to ‘let go and let God’?

 

Prayer:

 

Pray for those who have had to try to take the big picture into account, and are concerned about how their decisions will be received.

 

Come, Holy Spirit:

Fill the hearts of your faithful.

Bless those charged with discernment about major decisions.

Grant them insight and wisdom

And a deep love of the people entrusted to them.

 

Lord’s Prayer


Day One

 

Reading: John 16. 21-23

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come.  But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.  So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.  On that day you will ask nothing of me.  Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.’

 

Wondering:

 

How does this image of a woman giving birth speak to me?  Have I experienced or witnessed a birth – and do I agree with Jesus?  How can I help to support people through the process of ‘birth’: easing their pain and encouraging them through what may be a difficult time?

 

Reflection:

 

This may not be the most comfortable Gospel reading to begin our devotion with – but speaking about birth gives us hope.

 

Like a woman wondering or worrying how she will cope with a difficult labour, some people feel apprehension about the future.  Others feel more excited at the prospect of new possibilities, and see great opportunity beyond any initial pain.  How do you feel about the prospect and process of ‘birth’?

 

Prayer:

 

Pray for those for whom the future looks worrying – even terrifying.  Pray for their consolation and comfort.

 

Come, Holy Spirit,

to all who are preparing to give birth to new ideas

and ways of being.

Give comfort to those who are apprehensive,

confidence to those preparing for change

and trust in your guidance.

 

Lord’s Prayer