Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

After a misty start today is a beautiful mild sunny day with a clear blue sky.  I enjoyed my walk to church enjoying the remaining crocuses and the vibrant daffodils.  Our service was led by our Deacon David Hunt and it was a good service for Passion Service.  He asked us and the children if we were keen gardeners, but only a couple of us reluctantly raised our hands.  He had looked recently at his garden which had appeared dead where new life was sprouting everywhere. The seeds had lain dormant over winter and now the warmth of the soil had triggered their growth down as roots and up as new shoots.  The seeds had to die to grow to new life.  We sang a favourite hymn of mine by J.M.C.Crum:

 

‘Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,

Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

In the grave they laid him, love whom men had slain,

Thinking that he never would awake again,

Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:

Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain,

He that for the three days in the grave had lain,

Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen:

Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,

Then your touch can call us back to life again,

Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:

Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

 

That hymn sums up the meaning of the Easter story and shows us that it is a continuing story for us in our lives.

 

In the sermon David encouraged us, after we had felt faith being sidelined in public life, that recently there had been unexpected headlines in the Daily Mail and Daily Star, ‘in God’s hands’ and ‘God is in control’ as the nation prayed for the critically ill young footballer, who had collapsed on the pitch,. The manager of the team of the young footballer, who, though he had in Hospital terms ‘died’ for 78 minutes, had been making a recovery acknowledged the power of prayer and admitted that he had a strong faith.  I often found when I was teaching that pupils who knew I was a Christian would often ask me to pray for them or some situation, whether they had any faith or not.  God has not allowed himself to be completely sidelined.  The reading from John’s gospel described a group of Greeks asking to see Jesus.  They were obviously curious about him, the healings and the powerful preaching and were in Jerusalem for the Passover and wanted to see him for themselves.  What seems funny to us was the way Philip asked Andrew what he should do; well surely it would be obvious that they should introduce him to Jesus!!  Anyway the disciples are human and flawed just like us so would not necessarily know what to do.  Jesus also gave an odd answer; John12v24 ‘I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it dies, then it produces many grains.’  He did not confirm their expectations of this wonder worker and powerful speaker, but instead he gave that comment, going on to say that only in losing their lives could they gain their lives eternally, implying that to follow him was the way of sacrifice and death, not glory.  We want reassurance that God is in control through an authentic representation of Jesus in 2012.  How can this be done?  In order for us to live life to the full and be the people of God, we have to die to our own way of doing things, rather than handing over to Jesus and with his help following his way of interacting with a needy world.  Are we on fire for God, David challenges us, and willing to take risks to share his love and acceptance with all we meet. He concluded with the challenging words of the Covenant Service:

 

I am no longer my own but yours.  Your will, not mine, be done in all things, wherever you may place me, in all that I do and in all that I may endure; where there is work for me and where there is none; when I am troubled and when I am at peace. Your will be when I am valued and when I am disregarded; when I find fulfilment and when it is lacking; when I have all things, and when I have nothing.  I willingly offer all I have and am to serve you, as and where you choose.

Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. May it be so for ever. Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

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