With open hands

A sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Lent from Father Clive.

In the name of the Father,the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In this second Sunday of Lent I want us to think about how Jesus must have felt knowing what was to happen, for we know from the Gospel narratives that he had told His disciples quite early on how his life was to be given for the salvation of all.

I like this picture because it is not only the way some people pray but also how we receive, and this is especially the case with the Communion wafer…..symbolising the Body of Christ.

Jesus knew the role that He had been given by His Father and it is often very difficult to understand how he must have felt, or even questioned. But his inner strength made certain that he was to carry out His mission.

Did he question? Well we know that He did on one occasion when he asked if ‘this cup could be taken from him’. A moment of human doubt. Yet he immediately says ‘but thy will be done’. This surely gives us a reminder that to doubt is a normal human emotion, but that it is our faith in the sure knowledge of His promise to all who follow Him that should give us the ability (some may call it bravery) to overcome such doubt.

It is certainly not easy and must have worried many people of faith particularly during this pandemic.

The important thing for us all to remember is that God understands our humanity and helps us to see that whatever may happen to us during our lives He is there to uphold us….yes even in times of doubt.

Like many, my own physical and mental health has suffered, and yet when I sit in meditation I know that my faith is solid – but I cannot eliminate still having doubts from time to time.

It is here that perhaps we can all open our hands, and allow the power that in better times we simply appear to accept to come into our lives.

At times we feel that we have not received the answer we want, but that too is a natural human attitude. But since I became a Christian my life has been changed in virtually every way from the course that I had planned. Not everything is as I planned or asked for, but I certainly thank God daily for the privileges and empowerment that I have received from Him, and that helps me to overcome the times of illness, despair,
heartache, and of letting Him down.

I used to think that my doubts, sins and falling short of the commands of Christ would damage my faith, but the open hands always mean that I receive His love, forgiveness and support in a way that helps me walk the path, and not fall by the wayside…. well not too often!

I realise fully that to have doubts, to lack patience at times and to fall short is a human weakness for almost everyone, but that God will always be there to support us often in ways that astound us, or even puzzle us.

At this time those words, ‘not mine but Thy will be done’, seem particularly important. For things will improve with the course of the pandemic. I have learnt to understand that life is not always a bed of roses and our hearts go out to those who have suffered so much in the last year, especially those who have lost loved ones. But that is the way life is and if we really think seriously there is no other way, and it has always been so. But with faith our lives have meaning, not just for ourselves, family and friends, but for humanity as a whole.

My prayer for us all is that we understand fully what being human is, and that with God’s help we may overcome those times which bring us sadness and hurt. For as time goes on our memories bring true and lasting joys that can never be lost. For Jesus went through the same. But His promise means that our lives are eternal.

So open your hands at some point today and ask to receive what you know is there…God’s love, peace, hope, joy and understanding of our humanity with all its failings.

This will help us through the period of Lent and encourage us to continue our prayer and meditation times, however and whenever we do them. And although we miss our times together as the family of the church we are together in thought, prayer and love.

It will also help to understand more fully the events of Holy week as it approaches.

It is with open hands that we receive the Body of Christ: the same hands with which we receive all that we are given, both in physical food for life, gifts and love, but more importantly in spiritual food for life, gifts and love.

God Bless


Father Clive