Jesus promises not to leave us as orphans; He will come to us.- John 14: 18

I wonder what the word orphan conjours up for you dear reader?

Maybe you are an orphan, someone who has lost their parents, and had to experience being cared for by strangers, foster parents or even in an orphanage? How did you feel? I can only guess maybe alone in the world surrounded by people not related to you? Maybe even feeling abandoned, living with a sense of rejection, not being good enough to have a proper home, parents and upbringing?

Jesus is preparing His disciples in this part of the Gospel, for him going to the Cross, dying, being resurrected and then Him having to leave them behind when He goes back into heaven. They did not understand and He could sense their deep anxiety and fear. They wanted things to remain the same, yet they still were not clued in to the close relationship they had with Jesus. They had yet to fully know Him as more than just a good friend or even a brother, a great fishing buddy! Life with Jesus had been so different that they wanted it to continue and they all really hoped He would take on the Romans and become the Leader  of the Israelites. Nothing Jesus said could get rid of this ‘long hoped for’ overthrow of Roman rule and oppression. Jesus knew He was never going to be an earthly ruler over anywhere, He already was the Creator God Almighty, but His friends, disciples and followers did not get that yet.

So as Jesus spoke of going away, they felt the terror of being orphaned, left behind. Jesus heart seems to be heavy as He feels their terror and so He jumps in with this comforting promise ‘never will He leave them as orphans, adrift left to fend for themselves. No, rather He promises He will come and although the world will no longer see Him, all who believe in Him, will see Him. Jesus is promising to ask the Father to send a Comforter to them, who is the Spirit of Truth.

One of the harsh realities of being an orphan is having nobody standing for you as you learn painfully what is lies and what is truth in this world. You have to be your own parent, teacher an guide, too often. This is very difficult, especially when you are young. Most orphans I know grew up too fast, missed out on the innocence of childhood, and became adults before their time. Jesus is promising to give  back all that you have missed out on. He then repeats all who love Him will also be loved by the Father and him and He will show Himself to you.

What does this feel like to you reading this? Can you sense Jesus the Christ, can you live by His love?

What might you want to say to Him as you pray now?

I pray for all who live and feel alone, rejected or abandoned, can feel the love of God in Christ Jesus hugging you close as He fills your life with His Grace and blessings. Amen.

THE DANCE OF LOVE based on John 14:1-14

During this time of COVID19 shutdown we are spending our time differently, as families. We have no option but to remain at home and so our time together is more intimate because we cannot separate out too far. So time is spent playing games, talking more around the table about all imaginable subjects and topics maybe even religion?? In homes of young children, mothers are front and centre, thinking up fun games, finding dressing up clothes, baking etc alongside home schooling. Close proximity is again being experienced within family groups. Love is being redefined as we spend each day relearning patience and grace with each other. Our human dance of love centred upon mother’s figure, has a new tune, a new rhythm is developing. Today we remember as we thank God for our mothers. The women who soothed us when we were sick or hurt; patiently helping us grow into the wider world, to be loving,caring, gentle and honest human beings.

My own mother died young and I was too young to lose her. She was ripped from my life, leaving me shattered and broken for a while. Grief became too familiar until with the help of loving family and friends, I could make adjustments and found a new way of normal living.

Jesus message today is for all of us, not only mothers. “Do not let your hearts be troubled! Trust only in God and trust in me”. I slowly had to learn this truth, that however the circumstances threaten us, trust in God and the Christ has the power to quiet troubled hearts and souls and bring peace.

Jesus calls Himself The Way, The Truth and the Life. In a way  motherhood at its best is a pale reflection of this- she teaches and guided her children towards the Godly Way, Truth and Life. At best mothers sow the seeds for this in their children’s hearts.

Two of the disciples, Thomas and Phillip, both asked Jesus to show them the Father as they struggled to understand. Jesus response is ” anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father”. Jesus perfectly expresses the person of God in human form. This is why we call the Gospels the Good News. This is why we should become  familiar with them and come to know the Son of God, who is in full harmony with the Father’s will.

Jesus then says “whatever you ask in my name, shall be done”. Friends if you have yet to experience the Christian power to do great things for God, then know that this power comes and is rooted in prayer. When we  pray intentionally to God through Jesus’ name, something opens within us and we receive a sense of God’s will for us. It is never that we perform miracles, but prayer allows Christ to work through us.

How then do we experience the presence of Jesus Christ when we cannot see Him with our eyes. We can and do sense Him in our hearts and souls as we love and obey Him. Jesus comes to us whenever and wherever we are, calling us by name. Mothers call their children by name and they know her voice for it conveys her love and  willingness to share in their lives. So much more, God desires nothing more than we hear His voice and live an abundant life. Not a life of peril, danger and pain, but a life without fear, measured by endless Grace as you and God dance to the beat of His love. God after all is the parent of humanity.

THE ROAD TO GOD IS REALLY MARKED BY ONE WAY SIGNS.

Holy Easter Day 2020 NEW DAY COMING! JOHN 20:1-18

Let us begin by giving thanks to God for all the First Responders, medical teams, pharmacies and all others who are working in the front line to help us, during this COVID 19 shutdown.

We must thank God for all the signs of spring, new life returning bit by bit. I heard the sound of geese the other day that carries such promise. Soon trees will bud, flowers and vegetables will pop up from the earth. The crops will get planted in the fields and hopefully we can all return to our daily lives. God is surely unwrapping a new landscape of colour, warmth and importantly health. Days grow longer and we feel hope. SPRING IS COMING!

This year it seems uncanny that we are drawn to the image this weekend of Jesus being laid in the dark tomb and left all alone.I wonder what it was like for Jesus as he waited for resurrection to come; was he dead in a human sense all that time or awake and waiting for God the Father to act.  Our imaginations also lead us to this terrible pandemic that causes breathing problems, for some so bad they never recover. Being nailed to the cross caused the lungs to collapse and so caused death. Just as too many wait for the news of loved ones, so Jesus lay in the tomb awaiting resurrection. Meanwhile those who loved Him very much waited for what might happen next. Then dawn comes on Sunday morning and the angel rolls the stone away. As early morning sun streamed into that dank, dark tomb, the ‘angel of the Lord’ removed the funeral cloth covering Jesus face, and the Holy Spirit of God breathed new life into the new body of Jesus. He would show Himself to those who loved Him not as He was on earth, but as He will always be, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ our Lord. He was now restored and renewed, His time on earth nearly over, heaven called to Him to return to His throne.Three days of darkness were over and life was all new! The words the Lord had spoken to His prophet Ezekiel were true, “I will put my Spirit into you and you will live….” Ezekiel 36

We can only imagine Mary’s surprise and joy to be the first to see the resurrected Jesus, after she saw the funeral linens  still lay as though the body was within, yet now empty. Mary witnessed what the prophets had dreamed of;   THE LORD WAS RISEN; THE MESSIAH HAD COME.

 This year as we celebrate Easter, it should take on a deeper meaning for we are experiencing for ourselves living in darkness, confined to a tomb-like existence in this time of lockdown. We fear having our breath stolen away by the deadly virus. Now we know this is the time of waiting as Christ waited in His tomb. This is also a time of expectation, for now we know death has no power over us, for God’s resurrection will raise us up and breath new life into us.

A NEW DAY IS COMING!  Friends, we are all resurrection people . We know that the story ends well in victory, for our God is triumphant, even over death. Our life will soon come again in all its busyness and bustle when the virus rules are relaxed, but let us never forget the new things we have learned from this experience. Life can never be as it was before. We shall emerge from this time in part renewed for we shall know what it means to be true good neighbours; people who now cherish being connected to family and friends, to those who deeply care for our well being. We were forced into this shutdown living, but it has been a true gift  in many ways to show that above all else people matter most. IT WILL ALL BE NEW! We shall know real joy for we are learning to fully appreciate what being connected means and how it leads to fully appreciating life. The signs are all around you, listen for God’s breath upon you, CELEBRATE THE LIFE GOD HAS GIVEN!  YOU! LIVE AS RESURRECTION PEOPLE. AMEN.

PSALM SUNDAY SERVICE 2020 CAN WE WALK IN THE DARKNESS OF TODAY?

As we worship our Almighty God, let us remember that His Holy Spirit connects us all. Even though we cannot at this time touch each other or see each other we are all connected as the Body of Christ, with Christ as our Head. let us all worship at 10 am on Sundays using this Blog service, this way we can share in worship, if not as we usually do.

Imagine all the faces of your congregation and say The GRACE

There is a powerful hymn that speaks of our theme today:

Great is the darkness that covers the earth,oppression, injustice and pain,

Nations are slipping in hopeless despair, though many have come in Your name

Watching while sanity dies, touched by the madness and lies,

Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus, pour out Your Spirit we  pray; Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus pour out Your Spirit on us today.

Scripture Readings for The Liturgy of the Passion: Psalm 31   and Gospel Matthew 26: 14-75 and 27: 1-54 MESSAGE : Today is the end of Lent for another year and Holy Week begins on Monday. This Lent has been like no other since the days of the World Wars when life for everyone became s strange and scary landscape almost overnight.We are all trying to find our way in this new darkness, carrying anxieties and fears of what will become of our lives, if this virus continues to spread. Many have had to confront their worst fears with being separated from loved ones as they are cared for in hospitals, too many have died alone without the comfort of loved ones or clergy beside them, although nurses and doctors do their best. There is not much to lighten the darkness as we read the Passion story of Christ. If you like me, gain strength from the sacrament of communion and daily prayer, our pillars of faith, yet on reading Matthew 26, gospel for this Sunday, we acknowledge how the first Lord’s Supper was shrouded in deception and abandonment. Judas had already sold out Jesus for a mere 30 pieces of silver, the first act of deception. Yetread again Matthew 26 verse 31, and discover Judas was not the only betrayer. Things do not improve as Jesus is left alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, even though he had asked the disciples to remain awake with him and to pray. Full of sorrow, Jesus prays alone in anguish, “take this cup of suffering from me; yet not what I want but what you want ,Lord.” Yet God does not reply. How dark that night became for Jesus as he was left to confront his own fears.  When the disciples finally awoke, Jesus is ambushed, arrested and dragged away for trial. How dark it must have been as He hung on the Cross and His soul descended into hell in our place because of our sins. This is the darkest the world has ever known as Jesus calls out ” My God, my God why have You forsaken me?” This was a time many were struggling with darkness and ever since that day we have all called out ” where are you God, why won’t you answer me?” Even in the silence we are required to keep praying and taking strength from Communion and our fellowship with one another to keep walking forwards until we encounter God’s light again and then fully know He is always with us even in the silence.

God created the dark first and then said “Let there be light” Genesis 1:1-4. We need the dark to show up the light. To God, darkness is as the day. Look inwards see if you recognize anything you know should not be there; times of betrayal, times of not being honest or putting your needs before others’ ; or even acting like Pilate, knowing the right thing to do, yet doing the wrong thing because you fear losing your reputation and respect. maybe you are more like the Centurion and soldiers who crucified Jesus and the robbers, only doing their job after all or so they thought. Yet when darkness covered the land at 3 pm somehow they stood in their enlightened space amid the dark shadows, able to say with confidence       ” surely He was the Son of God”.

The gem at the heart of this gospel is that God never behaves as we do and for God night is as the day. God is at much at home saving, forgiving and healing in the dark as in the light. He will meet with any situation or person no matter where they have been. Sometimes He even calls His Church into a dark cloud. Maybe this is where we find ourselves today; what might motivate you to open your eyes to seeing God in this strange new landscape? Know this beloved, we all stand at the foot of the cross, the big question is, is Jesus still hanging there waiting for you to see Him? Or is the Cross empty now because you have seen Him and believed He died for YOU!

Take a time of reflection and prayer. Close with Lord’s Prayer.

BENEDICTION; Hosanna! let us welcome the shining face of the Jesus who came to save and accept the guidance of light into the most shadowy aspects of real life. may we align our minds with Christ and be humble witnesses to the Holy Spirit in the world. AMEN.

 

LENT 5 THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES. .EZEKIEL 37:1-14

Here we are thinking about a passage of the Old Testament called The Valley of Dry Bones, a place devoid of life, a silent world of no human voices, a nightmarish place where hope seems not to exist.

We read this as most of us are  reeling from finding the world has changed overnight into a place dominated by the virus COVID19. We keep behind closed doors for fear of catching this vicious killer virus, social life has ceased,schools are closed, businesses closed and employment seems a thing of the past. And yet the human spirit continues to strive to keep connections alive, to dare to hope and to love. I am reminded of the  saying ” the mother of all invention, is human need.” Many of us are calling on the Holy Spirit of God to renew us, refresh us, and set us on our feet again. We, who form the Church of God are beginning to find a fresh resurgence of faith, that dynamic spiritual quality that brings courage into every anxious heart, that prevents us keeping our focus on the problem and opens us to all the opportunities and possibilities of the answer. Faith can connect us one to another, in new ways. Yes, we cannot meet in church buildings at this time but we can draw on modern technology to keep us connected; we learn a fresh dynamic of God’s Spirit through prayer and find the scriptures come alive in new ways as we read that history records other times in the human life-time when others had similar difficulties and overcome them.

As we view world events unfolding, as the pandemic spreads, we remain shut in our homes and can be forgiven for fearing we have lost control of our life.If this is you, know that God sees our plight and is offering ways of lifting us up, providing peace, giving us strength. God is helping us wait, not wait to see who lives and who dies but wait until we can proclaim the Lord’s power of healing and love amidst all the noise of fear and chaos. He wishes us to reach out to one another as many are doing. Only very recently I have heard over and over the words ” we must think of others”. Many around the world are finding new ways to say thank you to those medical teams, that are caring for the very ill; helping isolated friends and strangers by delivering groceries and medications.It is as though the heart of our world is rediscovering how to share its love with neighbors.

Around 600 years before Christ was born the Babylonians captured Jerusalem and took over the land of Israel. Jews were overcome by oppression like a virus seeping through every layer of their homeland. Unable to practice their religion in the temple, people found new ways to keep their faith alive just as we do today. The valley God shows to Ezekiel was probably one of many where the Israelite’s battled their enemy. Life as captives brought desolation and fear. By the time Ezekiel came on the scene, these battles were long past and all that remained were the dry dead bones of the fallen. Today we should not fear the virus so much as our own emotional and spiritual health.

We are still in the season of Lent, that time for Christians to re-evaluate their lives, take stock of where their hearts focus.We have the time now to develop our courage and strength  and call on God to guide us along new pathways into healthy habits of faith and trust. God shows Ezekiel that He alone has the power to raise up not only the desolate but also the dead. There is no shame in feeling anxious or even hopeless at this grave time, but do not allow yourself to stay in that state too long. Faith in our God can reconstitute us even in the aftermath of terrible adversity. When God breathes upon what the world sees as dry and dead, the Church see a new revitalized life rising up. The dry bones became a skeleton and then God adds the flesh and new life so that once dead valley, is full of life again. Our God is a God of resurrection, He has overcome the final death and made everything new!

Dear ones, arise shake off your slumber and trust in your Lord God Almighty! Rise up from your fears and hopelessness and share with us in proclaiming the future of health, love and life.

“Abide with me, fast falls the even tide, the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide, When others fail and comforts flee,     Help of the helpless, O, abide with me.”

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord Christ, for inviting me to come to you to find my home. Be present with me on the path of life to comfort and restore me.As I lay down my burdens of my own making, I take your yoke upon me and seek to learn from you how to live. AMEN

LENT 4 SUNDAY MARCH 22ND 2020

WALKING IN DARKNESS     Ephesians 5:8-14;   Psalm 23;    John 9: 1-41;

In this time  of waiting for the COVID 19 pandemic to pass over us and life to be restored as we knew it only a short time ago, do  you ever fear ‘you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death’? What thoughts come to you in the dark hours of the night; what do you fear the most? As someone who loves reading, studying, needlepoint and dressmaking, what I have always dreaded is blindness. Our Gospel this Sunday reminds us all of the man born blind (John 9: 1-41). Jews believed blindness was a form of God’s judgement for sin. Yet Christians know that Jesus is the Light of the world and whoever believes in Him should hold to the truth that we live in Jesus’ glorious Light.

People are still believing that God punishes us for our wrongdoing. I have heard people saying that this COVID 19 virus is God’s punishment for turning our backs on Him.  To this I have to say confidently and firmly ‘”NO, NO and NO. Jesus died on the Cross and took upon Himself all the sins of mankind once and for all!”.  If you truly believe in Jesus as the Son of God who came and lived among humankind, then you cannot turn away from the truth that He died on the cross for your sins and mine and so darkness holds no fear for us. Instead, I suggest our faith in God is being tested to show each of us clearly where our faith needs strengthening. The man born blind was questioned over and over again for the Pharisees  did not believe he was blind since birth, but that he was a conman. All he could say was, “once I was blind but now I see”. Once we were all in bondage to sin but in Jesus Christ we are set free to love and to serve Him  in and through each other. Millions in this world testify to this fact and how Jesus has transformed their lives.We do not merely hope to live in the light of Christ, we know we can. Once we were blind just  like the man in the gospel, but now we know Jesus,  we can see!

‘Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see!’     John Newton

PRAYER:  God of mercy and compassion, when Your face seems far from me, help me to trust that you are smiling on me with love.Bring me through this dark night of anxiety that I may sing to You in the morning light of Your glory.’ In Jesus Name, Amen.


 

Advent themes

This Advent has found me looking deeper into the often used themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. It never seems to matter how much we study and read God’s Scriptures, there is always another treasure to be found; at least this is my experience! Maybe my mind is slowing  up , but this Advent was when I discovered the treasure that three of our regular, much loved advent themes are to be found in the list of ‘fruits of the Spirit’ in Galatians Chapter 5: verses 22-25. I have read this scripture many times in the years of ministry but this year was as if for the very first time! I had an epiphany ! Love, Joy and Peace grow within our hearts and live through the grace of God’s Spirit. In John 14.16 we can live in hope, because Jesus promises each of us, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate(the Holy Spirit), to be with You forever”‘ and so I conclude because of this promise, we can experience living Hope. This Hope is our blessed hope, for it develops and grows in strength and volume as we live deeper and more trusting in God. Paul wrote in Romans 15:verse 13b : ‘ May you abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’. If this Christmas finds you adrift with little or no hope, call on the Lord to fill you afresh with His Holy Spirit. Make this your one desire for this Christmas and I will pray that the God of Hope fills you with all joy and peace.

In the lovely words of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem”  all humanity’s hopes and fears are met in the baby born on that first Christmas night so long ago. Give over to Jesus our Lord, all your hopes and all your fears this Christmas . He has promised to take on our burdens and set us free from fear because’ His perfect love casts out all fear. Make Christmas 2019 the year when you allowed the God in Christ Jesus into your heart with His perfect love. Hope is very near, it is here through our Lord and Saviour!

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome. My name is Kathleen Bush, author of Whispers: Follow One Girl’s Journey with Christ from Wilderness to Wholeness. I’m so happy to have you as a visitor to my blog about my new book. This project is very special to me, and I hope to share some of that excitement with you here.

I’ll be using this blog to interact with you about Whispers: Follow One Girl’s Journey with Christ from Wilderness to Wholeness, expanding on some of the topics in it and blogging on some of the ideas related to my book. This is a great place for you to get to know me, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you, too. What did you think of Whispers: Follow One Girl’s Journey with Christ from Wilderness to Wholeness? What questions do you have for me? How do you relate to my book?

I’ll be returning here frequently with new posts and responses to feedback from you. Until next time, tell me a little bit about yourself.