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As I’m on annual leave when this is due to be published, I’m writing this a week earlier than normal.  As a result, there may have been issues in the week prior to this being published so it may not be as up to date and therefore as relevant as I would like it to be.

 

Yesterday (20th April) I was at synod at Stratmore Road Church, in Rowlands Gill, part of the South West Tyneside circuit. It’s a good chance to catch up with people as well as catching up and being encouraged (!) with all that is going on across the District. It was also the day that synod was voting on Jona’s name going forward to Conference as Chair of the Newcastle District from September 2024. I said to several people ‘do I vote for something that will mean the circuit releasing Jona a year early and the extra workload that will mean for the circuit or do I vote against and cause possible disruption to the district’ i.e. do I make a sacrifice for the sake of the District or be selfish and think only of myself and the circuit?

 

On returning home I went to collect the papers I have put aside each week which includes the Methodist Recorder. I know I could get it cheaper by subscribing but it gives a bit of business to a small local shop which people may rely on. Whenever I go into a shop I talk to the person who is serving me even if it is just passing the time of day and asking how they are. As I was later yesterday than normal it was the owner, I think, who served me. I mentioned how nice it was yesterday (cold but sunny) and that those of us who attend synod often say that it is usually glorious on the day that synod is held because we are stuck inside. I think the people in the shop have a Sikh background so he asked me to explain what synod was. He then reminded me that our faiths call us to make sacrifices. How often do we make sacrifices?

 

Throughout my life there have been times when I have thought that I should have been asked to do something - that I have all the qualifications to do something - but have not been chosen to fulfil that role. When that happens, it hurts, but to assert myself could end up by hurting others. There are too many selfish people in society today. Whilst some may see my response as allowing others to walk over me, I hope that accepting the person’s decision and being gracious about it makes them question why I have been gracious.

 

The gospel lesson on 21st April was John 10: v 11-18 in which Jesus says that he is the good shepherd. Although I didn’t use it as a text to preach on, I read it as part of my morning devotions and verses 17 and 18 gave me the inspiration for this message. ‘For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

 

As Christians we are all called to lay down our lives for God. That isn’t always easy because it hurts our pride, we feel left out and, although God still loves us, we might even feel unworthy. We have recently celebrated Easter when Jesus, God’s own Son, laid his life down for us. We are also called to lay down our lives for Him so that we gain it again. Are you willing to make that sacrifice?

 

God bless

 

Lynda

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