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May Day


from The Rev’d Philip Johnson

May Day is also the feast of St Philip & St James. I have a particular affinity for St Philip, and not just because we share a name. Philip is the disciple who often says what I suspect most of the others are thinking. Jesus has just spoken about his father’s house with many rooms – a text I use regularly at funerals – but the disciples have not really understood what Jesus means. There is almost exasperation in Philip’s voice when he asks to be shown the Father so that he (and the others) might be satisfied.

I wonder what being satisfied means for us today? This period of lockdown has been hard for many… it has also been a time of questioning and adjustment: what are the most important things for our well-being? Regularly I see people out walking (often hand-in-hand) or on a bike ride with their children – far more often than I ever did before lockdown. Is it happening more often or am I just noticing it because I have more time to look? Last Sunday the air ambulance landed in the field opposite the vicarage. All of the neighbours came out of their houses, not simply to see what was happening but to check on each other – concern that one of us might be in need of this medical service. It is just a small thing, like clapping NHS and essential workers, but these are perhaps symptomatic of deeper changes. The lack of cars on the roads has led to noticeable changes in climate data. This lockdown has forced us to live differently and we will learn something from it – and perhaps that might be a re-estimation or where true worth and value lies.

St Philip wanted to be satisfied and see the Father and yet failed to see what was right in front of him. He took Jesus for granted, not realising that Jesus was already offering all that he needed. He needed to slow down and reflect on what Jesus said. He had to go through the pain of the crucifixion and resurrection before he realised that in Jesus, the Father was already with them. How easy it is to fail to recognise the value of what we already have!

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Sep 14, 2023

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