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Revd Sara's Reflections for w/c 7th April 2024

Easter Season Reflection Sunday 7th April 2024

Gathering / opening prayers 

Sit down, close your eyes and breathe three deep, slow breaths. Keeping your eyes closed - pay attention to your breath for a minute or more and in doing so, when you breathe in, imagine you are breathing in the love of God. When you open your eyes look around you, what do you notice in your room that reminds you of the love of God? If this is something you can hold, hold it, if it is to be looked at, look at it. As you do so, remember that you are in the presence of God. When you are ready, offer this time of worship to God

Around me and within me, Spirit of God I thank you for your presence here. I offer each breath in worship to you. Amen. You may now wish to say the Lord’s Prayer in a version or translation with which you are familiar.

Bible Reading: John 20:19-31 

Responding to the reading Thomas reflects someone with a bad reputation, doesn’t he? He wants to put his fingers in the wounds of Jesus, he expresses doubts at the story he is being told…and he gets labelled ‘doubting Thomas’ for the rest of history! I wonder, would you have done differently in his position?

Today, as part of this reflection, you have the opportunity to hear a bit more about the work the Methodist Church is involved in around the world, building partnerships and relationships with other Methodist churches and similar partners. This work comes under the oversight of the Global Relationships Team of the Methodist Church, but it involves all of us. One of the challenges the team faces is that it is difficult for us to feel a real connection with somewhere we haven’t visited – we all suffer a bit from the impulse of ‘Doubting Thomas’ and just like we don’t get to put our hands in Jesus’ wounds, we can’t all visit the work of all 107 of the Methodist Church’s global partners!

We can find out a bit more about it, and recognise that this global mission is part of, and connected to, the mission and ministry each of us is involved in where we live.

Watch this short film from the Methodist Church’s Global Relationships team:

For those not able to watch the film, it shows a brief insight into the lives of Miriam and Pascal, both people from Tanzania who a living with different disabilities that have often left them excluded from their community. The video explains how the work of the local Methodist church, and their pastor, Peter, has enabled both Miriam and Pascal to start projects that are helping them to support themselves, but also change attitudes in the local community so that they both feel involved and included. The video demonstrates how it is the support of the Global Relationships Team and funding from the World Mission Fund that has helped make this work possible and lists a number of ways that people can support this work – through prayer, by sharing stories in their churches and church events, by twinning their church with a partner church around the world and by financially supporting the World Mission Fund.

By working together, by standing alongside those from other parts of the world, you can be a part of this work too. As you saw in the video, this work is not just about supporting one-off projects or enabling particular pieces of work to happen, it is about changing attitudes. That is what Peter is doing in Tanzania, and it is what you can do in your church and community too – you can help to challenge and change the way your church and your friends talk about and engage with work happening in other parts of the world.

You can pray for our global partners, also take a look at the Global Relationships section of the Methodist Church website for other resources and ideas, including how your church could twin with one of the churches global partners.

In today’s reading, Jesus also repeatedly says ‘peace to you’ – this invitation into deeper peace that marks the resurrection and beings the Christian church in being. We are guardians of that peace, and an important part of having a global perspective is the groundwork it lays for better international relations and peace-building. Can you play your part in sharing stories of peace, advocating for peace and praying for an end to conflict? As one of the other lectionary readings from this week clearly says (1 John 1:1-2:2): there is strength to be found in working effectively together. Making strong relationships with those in our communities and around the world is so important as a mechanism for bringing our faith to life, and making it effective in the world, bringing the love and goodness that Jesus represented into reality.

love and prayers Revd Sara

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