At Wednesday prayers this morning, today we reflected on the various words and deeds of Jesus that have inspired us over the years. A reflection not just for the purpose of worship and praise, but an example which we can imitate as we seek to follow Jesus. That certainly was the emphasis last Sunday in our service as we continued in Lent to look at 'b e l l s' – intentional habits that we are encouraged to adopt. Blessing, Eating, Listening, Learning (about Jesus), and being Sent. These are 5 habits that are easy to remember and Andy our preacher helped us focus on learning about Jesus, not simply to acquire facts and head knowledge, but in the hope that we as His followers might become more like Him.
Many years ago, I was inspired by a retreat leader who shared with those of us that he was guiding his "...one prayer as a minister, is that I don’t get in the way”. That, rather than people be attracted by and drawn to his personality, that they should see Jesus, working within and throughout him, and so be encouraged to be disciples of Jesus. So all these years later, may we too, seek to allow Jesus permeate our thoughts, words and deeds – indeed our whole beings. That others whom we encounter, will also encounter our living Lord. May we not get in the way.
To close, I share with you the prayer attributed to John Henry Newman, which more eloquently expresses the same hope, and which Andy ended with.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you, O Lord! Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as you do; so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Lord, will be all from you; none of it will be mine. It will be you shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you in the way which you love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you. Amen.