Psalm 66:8-20 & John 14:15-21
These two readings are set down in the Common Lectionary for this week to be read in churches around the world.
Psalm 66 at one level speaks about the Israelites’ gratitude to a God who loves them and us unconditionally, who takes us through good times and bad, a God who answers prayer, and a God who – as is recorded in verse 9 – ‘keeps our feet from slipping’.
But then we read of our response, ‘I will come, I will sacrifice, I will offer, I will listen’.
In our Johannine reading we begin with the words, ‘if you love me, you will obey what I command’.
But the remaining verses speak largely of living in the Holy Spirit who gives us the power and strength to serve God’s will.
God’s will for us is to serve a hurting world and to bring comfort and Good News.
Our hands and feet need to be like Christ’s:
- Sometimes sore and scarred from the work we do.
- Sometimes like his dusty feet from the roads on which we travel in his name.
- Sometimes with hands, like those of Christ, hands that hold little children, that hold up a sinking disciple or overturn the table on the corrupt establishment, or hands that are simply clasped together in prayer.
We are all missionaries sent in Christ’s name – to use our hands and feet.
For some of us, like Tony and Sheelagh, as commanded by Jesus in Acts 1:8, it is to take the message from Jerusalem to all Judea and Samaria and then to the ends of the earth.
We welcome both Tony and Sheelagh here today – who will speak to us about the work they are doing in Jesus name in parts of Africa.