Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Wednesday’s Podcast at STC. Today a big hello to Ivy, our lovely and lively 17 month old granddaughter. Ivy lives in London with her mum and dad and wore her new pink shoes to nursery yesterday so ‘Hi Ivy from Granny and Grandad!’
Our theme this week is ‘hope’; today’s reading is Luke 22:1-23 and today’s focus verse is the one that really stood out to me is v15 – it’s part of Luke’s account of the Last Supper:
“You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you.”
Today is Ash Wednesday. It’s the day when many parts of the Christian church begin the season of Lent – 40 days of reflection, prayer and discipline as we come close to Jesus our Lord and Saviour. Here at STC we have a day of prayer on this day which begins at 7am and continues with continuous prayer times throughout the day ending with our amazing Ash Wednesday Gathering at 8pm. There are some of you in our church family who I know would love to be at the 8pm Gathering but cannot be for all kinds of reasons – usually small children in bed! Be assured that we will be praying for you! We will see several hundred people gathering at the church to pray today with hundreds more joining us in their workplace, at home etc as they receive regular prayer emails. Ash Wednesday is a truly remarkable day in the life of STC!
Visitors do join us but as I see people arriving throughout the day, I always get this powerful sense of friends coming together to pray and as they pray, ‘hope’ rises up in those praying and in the lives of others they are praying for. Today’s Bible reading begins with the betrayal of Judas but at the heart of the reading is the Last Supper – Jesus gathering together for a meal with his friends. So today, two brief reflections on ‘friendship’.
Firstly, friendship matters. Friendship is one of the key foundations of being church. When speaking to his disciples, his ‘God apprentices’, Jesus said:
‘I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.’ (John 15:15)
There is something so special about friendship – it really matters. I have told the story many times but to briefly say again that Tricia and I became Christians because we became friends with a work colleague of mine and his wife – they were Christians, spoke about their faith, took us to church and the rest is history! We will forever be eternally grateful to Roger and Sue for sharing their lives and faith with us.
Secondly, friendship meals. We met with Jesus every time our friends invited us round to their home for a meal as well as time together over a pub meal. As a lad off a council estate, going to someone’s house for ‘dinner’ at 7.30pm was different. In my parents house, dinner was at noon ish (lunch) and tea was at 6 ish … I have since become very sophisticated and even know what a ‘light supper’ is these days!
Jesus ate so many meals with his friends; they must have not only listened to him as they ate but watched him, asked questions of him. His last meal on this earth, literally his last supper was with his friends. They were all there, even Judas the one who betrayed him. Eating a meal with friends is such a good and Godly thing to do.
Could I please ask you to do four things as we end this reflection? Firstly, make a list of your friends – Christian and not yet Christian. You may need some common sense here if your list is very big because secondly, would you now commit to pray for them over this six week season of Lent. It might just be just their name/family lifted to God. As you pray their life will be blessed! Thirdly, look for an opportunity to enjoy a meal with some of these you are praying for. Invite them round to you or, if you’re really cheeky, buy a ready meal and invite yourself round to them! Finally, thank them for being your friends! a card, email, text, whatever – let them know they are valued by you and by God
Friendship is such an key foundation of our life and Godly vision here at STC. – we are a church who look to meet friends, meet God and live life better. It begins with friendship.
Friendship matters and friendship meals – it’s the Jesus way to build his Kingdom!
Lord Jesus, thank you for friendship. For the love and support friends give. Help me always to bless my friends and always be looking to be a friend to someone else. Amen
READING: Luke 22:1-23
Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’
‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked.
He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks: where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.’
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.’
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!’ They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.