Minister’s Monthly Letter

Ministers Letter March 2024 from Rev. David Speirs

Dear Friends,

During the season of Lent we have been using two resources to help us observe this particular season: Unbounded Love (https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/lent-and-easter/unbounded-love/) which has sought to connect the Gospel lectionary readings with John Wesley’s famous hymn ‘Love Divine’ and the ‘A Search for Peace’ Bible study written by John Birch (https://www.faithandworship.com/Peace_Bible_Study).

These resources come to us at a time where there seems to be a significant need for love and peace within our world. At the time of writing there are a number of continuing global conflicts including the war in Ukraine (now in its 2nd year), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and fighting in Yemen and Sudan. All of these conflicts seem to be worsening, with the number of people injured and dying increasing on a daily basis and no sign of peace in sight.

When Jesus was comforting his disciples, before his arrest and crucifixion, he tells them:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

This giving of peace links back to what Jesus says about the disciples being ‘peacemakers’ themselves (Matthew 5:9) and forward to St Paul’s exhortation that those who follow Jesus should “live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18) and should “live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Corinthians 13:11). At the heart of what it means to follow Jesus is the embrace of the peace that he offers and is mediated to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When we talk of peace we are not referring to something temporary or superficial that allows injustice and oppression to continue. The Hebrew word for peace is ‘shalom’ which is widely and frequently used as a form of greeting. The concept of Shalom is about more than simply the absence of violent conflict. It instead refers to universal flourishing, wholeness, and living in right relationship with one another. It is to this peace that God’s people are called to.

In this season of Lent you are encouraged to pray for the reception of God’s peace in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Then having received this peace, to prayerfully reflect and consider how we might each in turn become peacemakers in our own families, neighbourhoods, and communities. May that same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead into new life through the resurrection (Romans 8:11-13) empower us today in the way of peace and love. May that peace be known not only our life but in life of the whole world; a world which Jesus died and was raised for so all we might know the amazing grace, love, and the peace of God.

Yours faithfully,

David Speirs

 

Revd David Speirs Superintendent Minister Northampton Methodist Church & Circuit.