Sunday 09 May 2021

Bible Book:

'You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit' (v. 16)

John 15:9-17 Sunday 9 May 2021

Psalm 98


In his poem¹ "Choruses from the Rock", T.S. Eliot asks “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge. Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” You and I live in a time where we have access to more information than ever before. We have so much information, in fact, that we are almost paralysed by it. It does not always follow that our increase in gathering information gives us more knowledge. Nor does it always follow that if we increase our knowledge, it leads us to greater wisdom. Yet. it doesn’t need to be like this.

Our passage from the 15th chapter of John’s Gospel, for all that it is familiar, is extremely challenging. We read of Jesus telling us that we are not volunteers who have stepped forward, but we are a people who have been chosen. We read that, having been chosen, we are required to engage with the calling that Jesus places before us. We are commanded to love each other, those who Jesus brings to us, and the planet which is the sphere of our mission. There are no conscience clauses here, we are commanded to get on with it. Abiding in this relationship gives us a context in which to gather our information, a place in which to search out wisdom.

We stand at the start of Christian Aid Week and, as the week progresses, we shall be confronted by the outworking of that command in our engagement with the world, its people and the environment. We shall be challenged to use our knowledge and exercise wisdom in our engagement with the command of Jesus to love. In doing so, we shall also be reminded that we do not engage in this through our own strength alone, but in the power of the whole created universe. The Psalmist, writing the words from Psalm 98, calls us to sing a new song and to acknowledge how all creation joins in with the song of praise to God. The sea roars, the floods clap their hands, the hills rejoice together, for God is moving among God’s people.

The hymn assigned today ("Come down, O Love divine" Singing the Faith 372) takes us further still in our recognition of the relationship between information, knowledge, wisdom and the command to love. It is a hymn that reminds us that Jesus does not only issue the command and expect compliance, he sends his Spirit of power and grace to encourage, enable and energise his disciples.

To Ponder:

  • The dominant theme of our readings and thinking for this week is justice. As the Methodist Church embarks on a major new project to be a justice-seeking Church, consider what your part might be in that endeavour.
  • How do you feel about that suggestion that being a disciple who has been called into service, is not the same as being a volunteer who has stepped forward of their own initiative?

¹"Choruses from the Rock", Stanza 1, in T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems 1909-1962, Faber & Faber (1974)

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