Vicarage Thoughts 26th April 2020.
Acts 2.14a, 36-41; 1 Peter 1.13-23
It’s more than a month since we were last able to meet in St Mary’s as a congregation, it may feel like a very long time ago and I expect many of us are missing meeting with each other. If we are anxious about “lock down” I reckon Jesus disciples had even more reason to be anxious in secret meetings behind locked doors and certainly no “social media” to stay connected. When the Holy Spirit came to them at Pentecost they could no longer contain themselves. They just had to be out and letting the world know what had taken place. We will be reading more about this on Pentecost Sunday at the end of May.
Today we pick up part way through Peter’s sermon in Acts as he tells the crowds that Jesus is alive and Jesus is Lord and Messiah. As people respond they are “cut to the heart” and long to know more. Peter’s rapid response is “repent, be baptised, get forgiven and receive the Holy Spirit”. Reflecting on this life changing sermon I was reminded of the first time I was asked to preach a sermon. It was on a Sunday afternoon, in a church not too far away, at what was called the Adult Bible Class. I reckon I was about 17 at the time! It was traditional enough for the women to sit on the left and the men to sit on the right (even if they came as married couples)! I can’t recall what I preached about although I may have the notes somewhere. As far as I am aware no-one became a Christian through the message certainly not like the 3000 who responded to the message of Peter. Peter’s preaching certainly made a difference. It may make us think about the present government and NHS message to “Save Lives”!
The first letter that Peter wrote to the early church was sent to the new church in Rome around 30 years after the events of Acts 2 about 64AD. This older Peter sounds much more thoughtful and reflective as he encourages the readers to “be holy”, stay alert and be fully sober. He is no longer the “foot in mouth”, big fisherman of earlier years.
There are times for action and speaking out and times to think and pray while staying in. My prayer for this week is that each day we will know God’s protecting and sustaining presence, be encouraged and be able to encourage others.
Revd Jonathan Watkins, Vicar, St Mary’s Knutton
Collect for 26 April 2020
Risen Christ, you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope;
Strengthen us also to proclaim your risen life
And fill us with your peace,
To the glory of God the Father. Amen”