Friday 22 May

Today is Friday the 22 May in the 6th week of Easter.

David Thomas with the Taverner Players, sings Ich Habe Genug from Bach’s Cantata number 82, echoing the words of Simeon: ‘I have enough.  I have taken the Saviour, the hope of the Gentiles, into my arms.’  Often when we pray, we ask God for things we want, or need, and there’s nothing really wrong with that.  But sometimes prayer is not about asking for things; sometimes prayer is more like this; just enjoying God’s presence and saying, ‘I have you, Lord.  I have enough.’ Are you able to spend this opening time of prayer just relishing the presence of God now?

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of John.

John 16:20-23

Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

Jesus speaks to his disciples of pain and joy.  The scene is the Last Supper, and he’s referring to his coming death and the devastating grief they will experience because of it.  But the Gospel writer is also referring to the risen life of Jesus, where we can no longer see him in the flesh, but we feel his presence all around us.  What does this passage say to me about times when I’ve felt Jesus to be absent from my life?

Jesus speaks of a day when we won’t need to ask him any questions, because we will know him intimately.  He speaks of a joy that we can never lose.  This is part of the gift of the risen life. Do I have a sense of that joy, even if I’m not always conscious of it?  Or is there something that prevents my feeling it?

As we listen to the reading once more, what do I find myself wanting to say to Jesus about his presence and his absence in my life?

Jesus promises that anything we ask the Father in his name will be given to us.  What do I want to ask for right now?

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.