St Francis, Terriers - Easter 4 (17.04.2016)

Tony Dickinson

I don’t often begin a sermon with a text, but I’m going to this morning. It comes from our second reading, the Revelation to John, chapter seven and verse seventeen:

Those words sprang out at me because they echo the words on the display board that stood outside the church door each Wednesday during Lent to advertise our drop-in quiet days. It’s still tucked away in the south porch. “The water of life” is an image rich in meaning, both in countries where water is scarce and precious, as it is in much of the Middle East, but also in countries like our own where there is abundant water. Water as live-giving rather than death- and chaos-bringing is an image which bubbles up in Genesis, and flows through the story of the Exodus – remember that spring of fresh water which spurted from the rock when Moses struck it with his staff? It streams through the Psalms and the writings of the prophets of Isaiah. Jesus uses it in the fourth chapter of John’s Gospel when he speaks to the woman at the well, and again in John’s seventh chapter at the Feast of Tabernacles.

In our survey of parish life and worship last year, two dozen people committed themselves anonymously to praying on a regular basis for our church. The week from 8th to 15th May would be a great time for them to put that commitment into practice, so I’m going to ask them to shed their anonymity and commit either to praying at a specific time on a specific day (or days) that week, in church or at home, or simply to setting aside time for prayer. Mary Amer has been working on prayer leaflets and she has a small stash of candles to be given out to those who take part. To provide support, the church building will be set up all that week as linked prayer spaces, as it was on those drop-in quiet days during Lent. The aim is for each of us, and for others, to discover for ourselves those “springs of the water of life” to which the Lamb is guiding us and to draw from them the joy of eternal life. Alleluia. Christ is risen!