I thank thee God

Bible Text: John 14:1-14 | Preacher: Cath Hilton | Series: Easter |

Last week  we heard that Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly – and that the invitation to follow Jesus is everywhere.

In this week’s gospel we hear those familiar words: ‘Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.’

Pathways

In the last few weeks of lockdown, I don’t know about you, but my attention has been brought to paths in a way that it never has before.

Lots of people have appeared in the village where I live.  I have met neighbours who I have never met before and had conversations for the first time! The reason for these people and these meetings has been created by countryside paths.  When walking the dog we have discovered new ways to get around, going across fields where we have never ventured before – and it can be a bit disconcerting when the path suddenly disappears or becomes unclear.

Another highlight of the week has become shopping.  The supermarket has become an exciting outing and, yet again, we come up against paths. Arrows telling us how to negotiate the aisles.  It has caused me some frustration, confusion – and also a little guilt when I find myself walking the opposite way to the arrow!

Where am I?

Then we come to GPS.  A wonderful piece of technology but more than once I have found myself anxious when I am in a strange location and often wonder if I put in the correct postcode!  Where am I?

At the present time, we are often hearing of anxiety and confusion.

In this morning’s gospel, it seems to me that the disciples were feeling a little bit lost. We hear Thomas say: ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?’

‘Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.’

‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

The verse might be interpreted to be about “only one way to heaven”, but that is not necessarily the intended meaning. Jesus was not trying to get people into heaven – His gospel was about something God was doing.  God is someone who forgives sins and is able to save anyone who comes to Him.

Anybody, through Jesus, can have access to the Father, be his friends and children, and all the promises and benefits that come with it.

God will come to live with us

‘I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’

We wouldn’t stand at the front door to a friend’s home complaining about the fact that they don’t have other front doors. And if there was a sign at the entrance saying “this is the entrance”, we wouldn’t  feel resentful or unwelcome.

We have a Father, we have a guide, we have instructions. Do we trust? Is our faith strong enough?

Trust in the Lord…

A text from Proverbs Chapter 3 is very important to me and has popped up time and again in various difficult situations when I have been afraid and doubtful.

‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.’

Jesus is the way.  The only way.  We, as God’s children can place our hand in his, and, if only we will, there will be no confusion, no guilt, no getting lost.

I thank thee God

Earlier this week, my attention was drawn to a beautiful poem by Elizabeth, Countess of Craven, who lived in the late 18th and early 19th century. It is entitled ‘I thank Thee God, that I have lived.’

She writes about all the beauties of life but also considers the sad times and difficulties and how we should also give thanks for those.

In her writing, Elizabeth Craven refers to all the blessings we have, and ends with these words:

‘Because of these and other blessings poured

Unmasked upon my wondering head,

Because I know that there is yet to come

An even richer and more glorious life,

And most of all, because Thine only Son

Once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me,

I thank Thee, God, that I have lived.’

Let us be grateful for what we have and appreciate everything that life gives to us, enabling us to have life in all its fullness as we follow Jesus, ‘the way the truth and the life’.

‘Let not your hearts be troubled.’

Amen

 

Here’s the poem in full:

I thank thee God, that I have lived

In this great world and known its many joys:

The songs of birds, the strongest sweet scent of hay,

And cooling breezes in the secret dusk;

The flaming sunsets at the close of day,

Hills and the lovely, heather-covered moors;

Music at night, and the moonlight on the sea,

The beat of waves upon the rocky shore

And wild white spray, flung high in ecstasy;

The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,

The love of Kin and fellowship of friends

And all that makes life dear and beautiful.

 

I thank Thee too, that there has come to me

A little sorrow and sometimes defeat,

A little heartache and the loneliness

That comes with parting and the words ‘Good-bye’;

Dawn breaking after weary hours of pain,

When I discovered that night’s gloom must yield

And morning light break through to me again.

Because of these and other blessings poured

Unasked upon my wondering head,

Because I know that there is yet to come

An even richer and more glorious life,

And most of all, because Thine only Son

Once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me,

I thank Thee, God, that I have lived.

stjohnstmarkchurchbury

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