Over recent weeks we have had several reminders of how much God in Jesus loves us and equips us to live life well; to share his love with others and in so doing, bring Him glory and honour. How Jesus came amongst, identified with us, yet was without sin, and loved us so much that he died to deal with the hold of, and punishment for, sin in each of our lives. How Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and having appeared to many witnesses, ascended to heaven, but did not leave us as orphans giving us the Holy Spirit to be our guide and comforter, to remind us of all that Jesus did and taught. Through all this, we are called to go and make disciples in Jesus’ name, sharing a message of repentance and forgiveness.
We are called by God to life in all its fullness, in spite of our limitations - be they physical, intellectual, emotional or spiritual. God is for us and calls us to engage with him and his world with joy. Through John’s Gospel, chapter 15, we are encouraged to keep close to Jesus, to listen and to love, and as we do so, fruit is born for the Kingdom of God. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control – Galatians 5:22-23. The tasks the Lord puts us to see positive change, lives touched, relationships restored, forgiveness both given and received. If fruit doesn’t fire your imagination, then the images of growing mustard seed and yeast permeating the dough from Matthew 13, maybe of help. The fruit comes from our relationship with Jesus, the mustard tree is growing and the bread is rising. When did we last stop to take stock, both individually and corporately, of where God is growing his kingdom? Remember God calls us never to ‘despise the day of small things’ (Zechariah 4:10).
My final few lines are for the Circuit gazebo. The gazebo offers a variety of opportunities to consider God at work in our lives and communities. To pray, worship, study, break bread, to be creative, the choice is yours. BUT in the light of what I have shared above, and the verses from Isaiah 54:1-3, which are the basis for the gazebo, we surely want to be in the place where, with joy, we still hear the call of Jesus to ‘follow me’.