In our Gospel this morning Jesus talks about abiding with us. The whole sweep of the Bible teaches us that God has chosen to abide with us. John’s Gospel develops this rich theme “and the word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1.14) – God has come to dwell with us: he has sat with us, eaten with us, walked with us.
I was looking for hymns this morning that were about abiding and came up with two versions the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord’s my shepherd”. One that you will know (“In heavenly love abiding”) and one that you may not know (“Because the Lord is my shepherd” with the chorus “You are my friend … I want to follow you always”).
The second verse of “In heavenly love abiding” is a wonderful translation of the first verse of Psalm 23 begins: Wherever he may guide me, no want shall turn me back; my Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack. This hymn is also about hope, with that memorable phrase “my hope I cannot measure”. And puts flesh on that hope: “my Saviour will walk with me” – if God abides with us he walks alongside us every step of the way.
Jesus is made known to his disciples at the end of John’s Gospel in the everyday as much as in the extraordinary. A prayer about meeting God in the everyday, acknowledging that sometimes in the casual ordinary encounters we have discovered we have met with God in Christ:
you are with us each new day,
in the ordinary as much as the extraordinary,
help us to discern you in our lives as we live them
as much as in those revelations on the mountaintop,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Virtual Service 2 May