Jesus our Rabbi

I have recently been reading the remarkable story of the walk to Emmaus at the end of Luke’
s Gospel (Luke 24:13-35). It struck me that no one really knows where Emmaus is -there are,
apparently four candidates! In Jesus’ day Emmaus was nowhere important, it was
unremarkable; it could be anywhere.

Also, we are only told the name of one of the two disciples who shared this journey with Jesus
- Cleopas. We don’t know who the other one was - it could have been anyone.

Maybe that is the point. Luke was not just a biographer - he was a very astute theologian. I
believe that he left these details ambiguous, not because he didn’t know, but because he
wanted his readers to think of themselves. We are ordinary people in unremarkable places,
but the risen Christ is with us just as He was with them. We may not recognise Him. He may
not be visibly present with us, but He is with us nonetheless.

This is the first thing that I took from my praying through this familiar passage: the risen
Christ is with me - with us - always and everywhere. We are never abandoned.

The second thing that I noted is what the risen Jesus said to the two disciples. He ‘opened the
scriptures’ to them (Luke 24:32). Like any good Rabbi Jesus was teaching His disciples how
to read the Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament). What was the risen Christ’s teaching
on the Bible? He taught that “it was necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things
and then enter into His glory.”

He taught them to read the Old Testament in the light of His own passion and resurrection.
Because it is in Jesus; in Jesus suffering for us, defeating evil through His abundant life and
mercy, and triumphing over sin and death that we see the true face of God.

As Jesus’ disciples we read the Bible, Old and New Testaments, in a way that is consistent
with the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. In Jesus the Bible is fulfilled, because Jesus is
the living Word of God to our world, and the Bible is God’s witness to His living Word.

During Lent we have been reading Mark’s Gospel. As I read it I was again struck by how in
Jesus God becomes vulnerable, suffers and is humiliated and dies - for us. I also saw that in
Jesus there is at work the greatest power in the universe, the power of God’s love. This love is
greater than our sin and foolishness, greater than the forces of evil and chaos, greater than
death. Emmaus reminds me that this love of God made flesh in Jesus is with us, whoever we
are, wherever we are.

We are all disciples walking to our Emmaus and we know that our Lord and our Rabbi Jesus
is walking with us.

God bless,
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Following Jesus; Celebrating Life; Welcoming All
We are here to help people love and worship God.
We aim to be, and encourage others to become, committed and active disciples of Jesus,
who love God and worship him, who know the power of the Holy Spirit and who show
God’s love in every part of their lives.
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Prayer for the month
Thought for the month
Below you will find extracts from this month's Parish Magazine
First Words...,  A Prayer for the Month & A Thought for the Month
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This month’s prayer comes from the end of the letter to the Hebrews:

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of
the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that
you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus
Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21)

Hebrews is a great letter in the Bible, it is different in tone and content from the other New
Testament writings. No one knows who wrote it, but it is by a Jewish Christian who is
associated with Paul’s mission; someone like Barnabas perhaps.

The prayer at the close of the letter is an Easter prayer, or perhaps we should say it is a
prayer for an Easter people. It reminds us in a few words of who God is and who we are as
God’s people.

God is the one who in Jesus has defeated death once and for all. And this God of peace and of
resurrection is with us, is at work in us, enabling us to become the people that we are created
to be - the best version of ourselves that we long to be.

This prayer reminds us of who we truly are in Jesus. It tells us that we are ‘well pleasing’ in
God’s sight; that God, the creator and sustainer of the universe delights in us. This is a
message that every one of us needs to take to heart every day - God rejoices in us. God is an
artist and we are God’s work.

This prayer also tells us that the one who is the power behind creation; the one who was at
work in Jesus defeating death by His love and life, is at work in us and through us.

The challenge of this prayer is that we live out the truth of who we are in Jesus; that we live in
the love and grace that is truly ours in Christ every day of our lives. And, as we live in this
truth, so we will see signs of God’s presence wherever we go and in every person that we

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  • First Words, Prayer for the Month and Thought for the Month have been
    updated for April 2018- see below
  • We have added a New Burial Records Page  covering over 6000 individuals
    interred in the St Mary's Section of Ecclesfield Cemetery from 1875 onwards
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By the time that you read this work should have started on the roof. It will cause disruption,
but it is necessary and will ensure that your beautiful Church is still standing and witnessing
to the risen Christ in another 900 years’ time.

I am very grateful to the Heritage Lottery fund which has made the work possible, and to
the Ecclesfield Feoffees who have made a generous grant which will enable us to get the
work on the North Aisle done this year.

Please pray for those who will be coming into Church for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
during the time when the work is going on.

In April there are some important dates for your diary and your prayers.

We begin on the
1st April with our celebration of Easter and Jesus defeat of death once
and for all people.

After the 10am service on Sunday 15th April we will be holding the Church’s Annual
General Meeting. We will be voting for a new Church Warden and PCC members. This is an
important occasion in the life of our Church. Please pray for the AGM and attend if you are

Monday 16th April at 7.30pm I hope to host a community forum for all of the
voluntary groups that work in Ecclesfield.

Regular events to remember this month are
Prayer Breakfast on Saturday 14th April at
and Ignatian prayer at 7.30pm on Monday 23rd April.

Our Young People’s Group for those in Secondary School will meet on Sunday 22nd
April at 5.15pm
and the monthly Prayer and Praise follows at 6.30pm.

Finally, on Sunday 29th April at 10am we will have a focus on prayer ministry and healing
at our Sunday Eucharist.

God bless you,
Twitter - keep in touch with Tim Gill @RevTimGill
St. Mary’s Church, Ecclesfield, a Grade 1 listed building, has received confirmation
of a grant of £220,000 for major repairs to the church roof and the installation
of a state of the art security system.
Click here to read the full Press Release
Facebook - keep in touch with Tim Gill