The Gospel of John is many people’s favourite of the four biographies of Jesus in the New
Testament. It is certainly the most deeply thought through of the Gospels. One commentator
said that there isn't a word out of place in all of the twenty one chapters.

John’s was the last of the Gospels to be written, possibly as much as fifty or sixty years after
the events of Jesus’ life. The Gospel is written by an eyewitness who refers to himself as ‘the
beloved disciple.’ Tradition has identified this disciple with John. We assume that John was
only in his mid to late teens when he travelled with Jesus, and that he wrote the Gospel in his
old age, after many years of telling the story of Jesus and reflecting on His life and its
meaning.

In his brilliant introduction to the story of Jesus, John 1:1-18, comments that the light (of
Christ) “shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). The word
translated ‘overcome’ can also mean ‘understood’; I tend to translate it as “the darkness did
not master him.”

John is referring, of course to the events of Jesus’ life, when the forces of darkness tried to
destroy Jesus, but on the third day the Father raised Him to new and eternal life, defeating
the powers of darkness, chaos and evil. But John is also making a wider point.

There is darkness in this world; there are people who give themselves to evil and destruction;
there are forces of evil and chaos at work. There always have been and until Jesus returns
there always will be. But the light and the life of God, which is revealed in Jesus is greater
than the darkness and evil.

As followers of Jesus, we are a people of hope and trust. We live and pray and work in a
world which has more than its share of evil and darkness; the events of the past month
amply bear this out. But the life and light of God, revealed in Jesus, are greater. This is our
hope.

Our response to evil is not fear, but firstly hope in God, and then as Christians it is to seek to
be Christ like. It is to let the light of the living God shine in us and through us into the world,
giving light and hope to others.

And we pray. We pray for victims of terror, and we pray for the perpetrators - that God will
break their hearts and change their minds. We pray for healing between communities in the
face of those who want to divide. Above all, despite the presence of darkness and evil, we do
not despair; we look to the risen Jesus who passed through death and defeat and rose again
to a glory a joy and a life that death, hatred and chaos can never master. Because of Jesus,
because of His victory we are a people of hope.

May God bless you,
Tim
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The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3

In Gethsemane, on the night of His arrest, after the last supper with His disciples, when Jesus
had spoken of the Cross that He would carry the next day, Jesus knelt in prayer and
anguish. He asked His Father to take away the cup of suffering from Him. He did not want
to be arrested, to go to the Cross. But He also prayed, “Not my will but Yours be done.”

“Thy will be done” is probably the hardest prayer that we will ever pray, and it is the most
Christian prayer we can pray.

Too often our prayers are simply asking God to fulfil our will. We think that we know what
needs to happen, we believe that our intentions and decisions are the best. So we ask God’s
blessing on our plans, we ask God to bring about our will.

To pray, “Thy will be done” is to acknowledge that we are not God, that we do not know
best. It is to let God be God, to surrender our will to God’s. We do this because God is God
and because He is a Father; our Father. This is a prayer that expresses our basic trust in God’
s goodness and God’s wisdom and God’s power. It is to put ourselves and the people that we
love and the things that we do into God’s hands.

In Gethsemane Jesus showed us what it means to be a child of God and to live as a child of
God. The key to living as God’s beloved child is to trust Him. My experience of prayer is that
God is faithful. When I trust God, even if the things that I pray for do not come to pass, even
when the timing of events is not what I believe to be best, then two things happen. Firstly
and most importantly my relationship with God deepens. Secondly I discover, in the long
run, that God’s way and God’s timing are better than mine.

In Gethsemane Jesus knew that he would have to carry His cross the following day. He did
not want to die, not in that way, He didn't seek martyrdom, but He trusted His Father. He
went to the Cross.

If Jesus’ prayer had been answered He would have avoided death; but because He trusted in
the Father and took up the cross, death was defeated once and for all. Because Jesus prayed
and lived as a trusting Son of the Father, we can all find hope in His victory.

“Thy kingdom come” is not an easy prayer. To pray it and mean it we have to surrender
control; we have to trust; we have to pray and live as faithful children of God. The heart of
Christian life and prayer is trust.

God bless,

Tim.
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  • Parish Magazine the July 2017 issue is now available On-Line see:
  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and Thought for the Month have been
    updated for July 2017 - see below
  • Bishop's Letter - A brief biography to date of Pete Wilcox the new Bishop of
    Sheffield
  • Listen again to recently recorded Sunday Sermons -  Listen Again
  • Have a look at some interesting and thought provoking videos - Viral Videos
  • The  Diary and Rotas  page now has on-line features and will always be 'up-to-date'
  • Don't forget to check the Weekly Notices page for service times and the latest news.
  • Forthcoming Events page will be updated shortly
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Quick Links
I cannot believe that July has already arrived and that we are half way through 2017!
There are a few extra events in Church to call attention to in the summer months.

On
July 9th after the 10am service we will be having a Bring and Share lunch in church.
This is an important time to relax together and to get to know one another better. If you
want more information, please have a word with Pat Wood.

On
Friday 21st July at 7.30pm we are hosting an organ recital on behalf of the organists
and choirmasters association. I am delighted to be able to welcome Simon Linley as the guest
organist. If you want to know more about this concert please speak to our own organist Don
Knott.

On
Sunday 23rd July the Mothers’ Union are holding a tea at 3pm (tickets available in
advance), followed by a Songs of Praise style service at 6pm in Church. For more
information speak to Stephanie Hartshorne or any member of the MU.

During the six weeks of the school holidays we are hoping to keep Church open every
morning. To do this we need Church sitters. If you are able to do this, please sign up on the
sheet at the back of Church. For more information please speak to one of the wardens.

Over the summer there will be many weddings at St Mary’s. The volume of weddings,
baptisms and funerals that are held here every year remind us that we hold this beautiful
Church in trust for all of the people of our parish. Please pray for those couples who are due
to be married here.


God Bless
Tim