Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 7

Rocky Road Epistle for Sunday 3rd May 2020

Chapter 7

Welcome to the seventh part of the “Rocky Road Epistle”.  I previously challenged you to look for something that brought you joy each day.  One joy, as your minister, is being able to speak to so many of you on the phone and in those conversations several of you have shared some of your joys with me.  A personal joy is to see the bright blue of the “Forget-me-nots” - a joyful splash of colour.  They thrive even amongst nettles.  I have always loved seeing them and their name brings joy too.  They remind me of being in the Girl Guides, my patrol was the “Forget-me-nots”.  Also, of my friend Sue, from our school days when she wrote in my autograph book.

“I’ve leafed through these pages oe’r and oe’r,
To see what others wrote before,
And in this quiet secluded spot
I’ll simply write Forget-me-not.”

“Forget me not” could be a description of God, who does not forget us, cares for us, loves us and is with us every step of the way on life’s journey.  

Passage for next week is John 21 v.1-25


Reflection from Phillip

Based on the passage for this week Luke 24 v.32-49

Return from Emmaus

Two weeks ago, I wrote a reflection on the first part of Luke chapter 24 where two friends walked to Emmaus and Jesus joined them along the way.  There was not space then to look at what happened when they returned to Jerusalem so that is where I want to pick up the passage today.

On returning Cleopas and his unnamed companion excitedly told the others that they had met with Jesus on the road.  Immediately though they discovered that their experience was not unique, for the Eleven and those with them were also able to say “it is true! The Lord has risen” (v34a).  The first news of the resurrection at the start of the day had been to the women at the empty tomb.  Their message though was viewed with scepticism by the followers including Cleopas and his companion when they spoke about it to Jesus on the road to Emmaus.  Now though it was confirmed, “The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon” (v34b).

Of all the disciples, Simon Peter comes over as the leader.  He is the one who proudly proclaimed to Jesus that he would always be there for him, only to finish by denying three times that he had ever known him.  Simon Peter then disappears from the story.  He was not present at the crucifixion, but on the day of resurrection when the women tell of the missing body, Peter got up and ran to the tomb.  Luke tells us that, bending over he saw strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened (Luke 24:12).

Sometime during that day, between what we know of Simon Peter in verse 12 and again in verse 34, Jesus appeared to him.  Saint Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians also relates that the Lord appeared to Peter (1Cor 15:5), but the actual details we do not know.  Some scholars think it equates with the episode of the miraculous catch of fish as told in John chapter 21 – however, that story comes much later, and other people were also present.   This appearance as mentioned briefly by Luke and Paul is just to Peter and unique to him.  I guess there would have been words of sorrow from Peter seeking forgiveness and love from Jesus as he forgave his friend.  We do not know the details and I for one am pleased that we are not told.  For if we did know about the encounter, , we might view it as the only way that Jesus meets with all of us, whereas Jesus wants a personal relationship with each of his followers.  As he met with Simon Peter, so he meets with each of us.

While the disciples and others were excitedly sharing their news, Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (v36).  Everyone in the room was startled and frightened, for the door had been closed and now in the midst of, perhaps, twenty people stood Jesus.  They thought in their confusion that they had seen a ghost and this passage is important to us as it tells us that the risen Jesus is no ghost but alive and real.  First, Jesus showed that he was flesh and bones and encouraged them to look at his hands and feet (v39).  Then, he displayed a very human instinct, he was hungry and asked if they had anything to eat (v41).  They gave him a piece of broiled fish and Luke underlines the physical attributes of Jesus by adding that he “ate it in their presence” (v43).

Jesus had died an excruciatingly painful death.  He was whipped, nailed to a cross and and hung out under the hot noon-day sun, before being taken down and placed in a borrowed tomb.  By any measure, his earthly body would not have been a pretty sight, but his resurrection body was new.  When Jesus appeared to his friends they were startled to see him for they were not expecting it, but another reason why they did not immediately recognise him was that he was a new creation.  Yes, Jesus bore the scars of death in his hands and feet, but his body was new.  He was also no longer restrained by the physical laws of time and space.  He could appear on a road, disappear in a house in Emmaus and then reappear in a room in Jerusalem. 

The resurrected body of Jesus is a new creation.  Bringing hope to hopeless travellers on the road to Emmaus, clarity to confused followers in Jerusalem and here now in 2020 to be with us in our locked-down situations.


Weekly Bible Study on Wednesdays at 7.30pm

All are welcome to join in and if you do not have internet you can join us over the phone.

We are taking a gentle stroll through Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

The passage for 29th April is Philippians 1 v.19-30, I am aware that some of you will receive this epistle after that date, but you can still look at the passage yourself. 

If you have a phone and want to join in the Bible Study - then you can. 

  • You ring either of these phone numbers, 0203 481 5240 or 0208 080 6591
  • Then you will be asked to enter the meeting ID 429 588 385 followed by #
  • Then you will need to enter a passcode, again followed by #
  • Please let me know beforehand if you want to join in and I will let you have the necessary passcode

If you prefer to do this Bible Study at home, then why not see if you can find the following?

ABC method

A title
Best Verse
Challenges
Difficulties
Encouragements

The passage for the Wednesday 6th May is Philippians 2 v.1-4


Songs for Sunday

This first one was suggested by Pam:

  1. One more step along the world I go,
    one more step along the world I go;
    from the old things to the new
    keep me travelling along with you:
    And it's from the old I travel to the new;
    keep me travelling along with you.
     
  2. Round the corner of the world I turn,
    more and more about the world I learn;
    all the new things that I see
    you'll be looking at along with me:
    And it's from the old I travel to the new;
    keep me travelling along with you.
     
  3. As I travel through the bad and good,
    keep me travelling the way I should;
    where I see no way to go
    you'll be telling me the way, I know:
    And it's from the old I travel to the new;
    keep me travelling along with you.
  1. Give me courage when the world is rough,
    keep me loving though the world is tough;
    leap and sing in all I do,
    keep me travelling along with you:
    And it's from the old I travel to the new;
    keep me travelling along with you.
     
  2. You are older than the world can be,
    you are younger than the life in me;
    ever old and ever new,
    keep me travelling along with you:
    And it's from the old I travel to the new;
    keep me travelling along with you.

Sydney Carter  (1915-2004) © CCLI #5638

Another lovely hymn is ………………………

1.  Lord of all hopefulness,
            Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike,
            no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking,
            and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
            at the break of the day.

2.  Lord of all eagerness,
            Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled
            at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours
            and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord,
            at the noon of the day.

3.  Lord of all kindliness,
            Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome,
            Your arms to embrace.
be there at our homing,
            and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord,
            at the eve of the day.

4.  Lord of all gentleness,
            Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment,
            whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping,
            and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord,
            at the end of the day.

Jan Struther (1901-1953)


Encouragements

Churches Together are encouraging people to pray “Prayers of Hope” every Sunday at 7.00 pm.  This poster is available on their web-site.

Scriptures for your encouragement

  • Vera A. recommends Psalm 91
  • Rita recommends Psalm 42
  • Mark recommends 1 Thessalonians 5 v.16-18 and Philippians 4 v.4-8

Prayers

Thank you God that you do not forget us and you are at work in our lives.  We praise you for your love and care. 

Dear Father, grant wisdom to those in authority as they manage the current situation. Be with those who are working in hospitals, in any sort of care, in shops and in the emergency services.  We pray for safety and for strength, may they know your compassion in the midst of their circumstances.

Dear Jesus, we bring to you those who are struggling at the moment. Those who find it difficult to be in lockdown, especially those in households where there is abuse or violence.  Others who are grieving for loved ones who’ve died. Also people who are worried about family members who are ill.  May they know your love in the midst of their situations.

Dear Holy Spirit, come and fill our lives with your light.  May those we meet or speak to glimpse you in our lives.  Work in us that we would be people of prayer who can bring encouragement and hope to those around.        Amen


Reminders

  • On a Sunday morning, around 10.45am, take time to pray, read the week’s passage & reflection and even sing the hymn.  Around 11am say the Lord’s Prayer
  • On a weekday morning around 10am pause to pray for a few minutes, use the prayer diary or the directory to pray for a few people from our fellowship as well those you are concerned for.  Again, finish that session with the Lord’s prayer
  • The May prayer diary is with this mailing, thanks Margaret.  Let it inspire you with daily Bible readings and items for prayer.

Latest News,

On the RRBC website there is now a short audio service to listen to on a Sunday morning, and join in the songs. 
If you want to listen and do not have internet, then we can do something through Zoom.  You will need to phone in to do this – please speak to Laura if you would like to 

Finally a couple of cartoons for you, we are becoming more high-tech but we can all (men and women) bless each other.