The Rev’d Derek Arnold
Click here for the text of the reflection
Hello and welcome to our time of reflection on this Thursday the 30 April. Maybe not all of you know my name, but I am Derek Arnold, the Team Rector for the Torridge Coastal Mission Community of Abbotsham, Appledore, Northam and Westward Ho! I thought that we should have a change of venue today. So I am sitting in my front room looking out the window and I can see Rosie running around the garden and you may hear her voice in the background during the recording. Before I begin, I would like to thank all of you for your support and positive feedback about all that we are doing online during this time of lockdown and I hope you are all well. We continue with the next part of John’s gospel…..
No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. Now listen how Jesus describes himself. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
These words echo those spoken by Jesus at the unfolding events leading up his death on the cross.
I guess that most of us are familiar with the painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo Davinci. While the depiction isn’t entirely accurate, and we know that people in Jesus days reclined to eat rather than sitting at a table. However, it still captures the essence of the evening. A wonderful celebration of the Jewish Passover with his closest friends.
A proud impetuous Peter; the careful, sceptical Thomas; the unsophisticated sons of Thunder, James and John, as well as the other disciples closest to Jesus. And then there is Judas, torn between guilt and greed, who will that very evening sell his friend’s life for 30 pieces of silver.
But most important of all, there is Jesus at the very heart of this rather eclectic group of would be leaders. The whole history of humanity has come into focus at this very moment in time. Either it builds up to or on the hours that start at this table and end in an empty tomb three days later.
There was a brutal death but there was also resurrection. There was sacrifice and heroic love, victory and promise. It does not end in tragedy; it ends in hope and salvation. Jesus came to provide a way back for us to make peace with God.
It was his body that was pierced and died instead of ours. With his sacrifice we make our peace with God and the slate is wiped clean.
He was our Saviour then and he is our Lord in life now and he will be our advocate on the last day. We are his servants and disciples. We imitate the way of life that he left for us to follow and we take on his mission, either in freedown or in lockdown.
THE COLLECT (prayer for the Day)
Almighty Father, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
Give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever. Amen.