Reflections by Rev Ajay Singh

The promise of the Holy Spirit – Sunday 17 May

Jesus: the way, the truth and the life – Sunday 10 May

I am the Door – Sunday 3 May

A stranger on the way to Emmaus – Sunday 26 April

A brief reflection on Easter – Easter Sunday

A message on Palm Sunday

Hope in God – Sunday 29 March


Sunday 17 May

The promise of the Holy Spirit

John 14 : 15-21

Todays’ reflection is taken from the Gospel of John Chapter 14, verses 15 to 21. I would encourage you to read this passage first as then it will be better to understand the depth of the passage. Here it tells us about the promise of the Holy Spirit.

As you might read it, you will acknowledge that it helps us to draw our attention when Jesus promises his disciples that God will send the Spirit of truth, who will be with them forever. To understand the Spirit of truth we need to understand about the Triune (Trinitarian) God.

As believers, we have a heavenly inheritance as promised to us. Heaven is a full presence of Triune God: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Heaven is our relationship and Communion with God. Jesus doesn’t rely on anyone and assures that He himself will pursue to His Father - “I will ask my Father, and He will give you another Advocate/Helper/Comforter” (v 16). There is a very general word in English ‘paraclete’ (the paraclete is the one who guides, counsels and consoles us, and speaks up on our behalf) and is the transliteration of the Greek word ‘parakletós’. Kletós is a form of a verb Kaleó that means ‘to call’ and ‘para’ means alongside – like ‘parallel’ – ‘to call somebody alongside’. In English, we have only one word ‘another’ to express two different meanings. In Greek, there are two words for ‘another’: ‘Heteros’ means another of a different kind and then they have the word ‘Àllos’ which means another of the exact same kind. Jesus uses ‘I will give you állos Paracletos’ which means I will give you another (helper) exactly like I am; a helper, who knows everything and has all the answers to clarify your doubts and confusions; especially when we read the Bible and we do not understand then the ‘helper’ guides us.

Jesus is unfolding His promises to those who love Him and keep His commandments. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments’’ is a promise to those who are the believers, the disciples, or in today’s context are the true Christians. “The true Christians are those who love and obey my commandments. Those who love me will be loved by my Father and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

You are the temple of God, you are the body of Christ and you are the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit; the inner-self of our being which is beyond our mortal body has a relationship with God in Spirit. ‘God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth’ (John 4:24).

I pray, may His Spirit fill our lives, and we may continue to feel His presence with us forever.

With every blessing

Rev Ajay Singh

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Sunday 10 May

Jesus: the way, the truth and the life

John 14 : 1-14

If you have attended funerals you might recall that this is one of the most popular passages used in the funeral service. I cannot remember how many times I have used this passage in my ministry but it is many times. I find the passage to be quite consoling with the assurance to have firm faith, which allows us to believe in God. This is especially so at this time of lockdown where providing pastoral care and consoling the bereaved is more challenging due to Government guidelines regarding social distancing and that funerals may be attended by no more than six people.

Let us read the Bible from John 14 : 1‑14: In brief, the whole passage provides us with the understanding that Jesus’ assurance encourages belief in God by the hope that it is not the end of life, but that there is life after death, revealing everlasting life or, in one word, ‘eternity’.

We would be sailing in the same boat as Thomas by asking the question: “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Although Thomas sounds either innocent and ignorant, or curious to know the address, it helps us to learn from Jesus what He reveals further:

Then, Jesus said to Thomas: “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.”

Here Jesus reveals and establishes his relationship with God as the Father and the Son. It means Jesus knew exactly where the Father lives.

The curiosity does not end here but goes further with a question from Philip: “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus replies in frustration by asking a question: “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”

Referring to the words of the Old Testament, ‘I have created you in my own image’ (Genesis 1: 27), Jesus reflects the image of God by saying: “Whoever have seen me has seen the Father.” He is the messenger who shows ‘the way’ to God. ‘The way to God’ is going to Him without Sin as Jesus has washed our Sin by sacrificing himself upon the cross. He who claims to believe in Him that He is ‘the truth’; ‘Truth’ remains forever, it is imperishable and immortal; it shows the existence of Jesus is there from the beginning to the end and He is ‘the giver of life’.

Do we then believe in Him and are satisfied with the direction given by Jesus?

Keep up your faith during the time of trouble.

May God bless and be gracious to us.

Amen.

Rev Ajay Singh

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Sunday 3 May

I am the Door

John 10 : 1-10

Here Jesus speaks in a parable using an image set in a local context: the relationship between a shepherd and the flock. He represents the characteristics of the shepherd, and establishes the fact that the shepherd knows his sheep and sheep know the voice of their shepherd and follow him. He also describes the behaviour of the thief: that he does not come through the correct door and also explains the purpose of his coming: to steal and kill and destroy.

Jesus says: “I am the door of the sheepfold”

In the Old Testament God is presented as a shepherd (Psalm 23 – ‘The Lord is my Shepherd…’). A good, caring shepherd is even more vivid: it was the custom for the shepherd to sleep at the entrance of the sheepfold. In other words, the watchful shepherd was, literally, ‘the door’. We can relate this to our present situation in this lock-down period: staying at home is safe. And, Jesus is our door protecting us from all dangers.

Jesus in His ministry has used ‘I am’ frequently to establish his connection with God. In the conversation Moses had with God, God says to Moses: “I am who I am”. Jesus uses ‘I am’, like: … the door … the Shepherd … the bread of life … the living water … the light of the world, etc. He places emphasis on ‘truly, I say to you’. This means that He affirms with assurance that what He is stating is true and going to happen; whether you believe it or not.

Jesus has come so that we might have life and have it abundantly

This is a very important statement; which has a deeper sense of God’s expression of how much He loves us. He has humbled himself and come down to our level, lived and showed us the way to be His people. You may ask yourself: “What is life? Where is God in my life?” Are we not attracted towards the attractions set by the thieves of the world, who at the end will kill us and destroy the life which Jesus offers? Do we listen to Jesus like a sheep and follow him as His disciples?

I hope that this gives you an opportunity to ponder your own life and the situation you are going through. You may find the presence of Jesus in your life and will believe that He is there to give us life in abundance. We need not fear death but believe in the one who is the giver of life.

I hope that this gives you an opportunity to ponder your own life and the situation you are going through. You may find the presence of Jesus in your life and will believe that He is there to give us life in abundance. We need not fear death but believe in the one who is the giver of life.

God never forces us to decide what He wants from us. He always gives us a chance to be His people and Him our God. He is the one who gives life abundantly. He is the one who expresses His love and care by sacrificing His life for the remission of our sins. We need to open our eyes to see Him, and open our ears to listen to Him, and follow the path he set for us. No one can enter into the Kingdom of God without Jesus because He is the door and our redeemer.

Jesus is the door, waiting for us if we listen to Him and follow Him.

God bless!

Rev Ajay Singh

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Sunday 26 April

A stranger on the way to Emmaus

Luke 24 : 13-25

What happened after the death of Jesus?

It was a time of silence in the area. People knew and had talked about Jesus of Nazareth and his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, after he had raised Lazarus from the dead. This had been just before the festival of Passover.

The empty tomb

On the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion He was raised from the dead. Although His tomb was found to be empty the general public remained completely unaware of it; in fact, only the disciples, Mary Magdalene and the Roman authorities knew that the body had gone.

On the way to Emmaus

After the festival was over Cleopas was with one other person walking back to their village at Emmaus. During their journey they were discussing Jesus and how he had been crucified when they encountered a stranger. The stranger then spoke of the books of Moses and the prophets, reminding them that “the Messiah will suffer, die and will rise again in glory”. Their conversation was so intense that they did not notice the time passing and soon reached the village.

They offered hospitality to the stranger, asking him to stay with them as it was already growing dark. He accepted and they sat for a meal where they recognised the stranger by the way he took bread, blessed it and gave it to them. At the very moment their eyes were opened to recognize that the stranger was Jesus, He disappeared.

It’s a reminder to us: we are no better than the disciples who were so close to Jesus for the period of three and a half years while He was doing His ministry. Perhaps we get the impression from the disciples that somehow they failed to recognize Jesus and believe that he had risen from the dead.

Are we afraid of talking with a stranger?

Are we afraid of inviting a stranger to our home and providing them hospitality?

We live in a world where we feel insecure. It might be a great challenge to live our faith by being in our own state and exercising it to the people who are in need. However, this is a time of uncertainty: we do not know when and how we may encounter Jesus until He meets us again. So, let the good work continue, be generous, be kind, bear each other with patience and hold each other in our continuous prayers.

May God bless you!

Rev Ajay Singh

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Easter Sunday 12 April

A brief reflection on Easter

Based on Matthew 28 : 7

After progressing through Holy Week, observing Maundy Thursday when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, and Good Friday, the day of His crucifixion, we celebrate the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ.

Easter is the message of God’s power revealed – beyond the imagination and the expectation of human beings.

“The Tomb is empty; He is not there!” God has demonstrated to those people who hold power that only he has the power to conquer death.

Let us remind ourselves of some of the things that Jesus did. In your own situations you may consider the purpose behind these acts and events:

  • Turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana
  • Healing the lepers
  • Feeding the five thousand
  • Casting out demons
  • Raising Lazarus from the dead
  • His crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven

These events provide more than enough evidence for us to believe that Jesus, who lived on this earth as a common person, had extraordinary gifts. He came to fulfil the purpose of God so that we could believe in God through Him and be saved.

Let us go through the incidents that actually happened on that day:

  • Earthquake
  • The stone is rolled away
  • The Angel appears as a messenger of God
  • Mary Magdalene is the first person to reach the tomb

At the tomb Mary received this message as written in Matthew 28 : 7:

“Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him.”

The disciples have seen Jesus many times before. Now they see the resurrected Jesus after his death. They go to Galilee and see Jesus. Is this not enough evidence for us to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead?

In our own context let us consider: How do we see Jesus? Do we know Him?

The answer is quite simple: “No, I haven’t seen Jesus in person like the disciples or the people of the time saw Him”. However, when we say “I ‘know’ Him” we should be aware that this has a very deep sense. ‘Knowing Jesus’ facilitates our participation with Jesus in His ministry; it allows us to believe in the sacrifice of suffering and to receive salvation. This is the whole understanding of God in sending Jesus to the people of world.

We can believe and be saved.

We can hope that it is not an end but a beginning of a journey to that place where Jesus welcomes all in his Kingdom. Can we take the responsibility to carry out the message, as it was given to Mary Magdalene, “Go quickly and tell the people to see Jesus and know Him”.

Prayer

May His continuous blessing be upon us.
His assurance gives us hope.
His expression of Love binds us together.
His strength protects us from all fear and danger.
We may feel his presence throughout our lives by keeping our faith in him.

Amen

Rev Ajay Singh

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Palm Sunday 5 April

A Message on Palm Sunday

Dear Friends

This could be a unique event: Christians around the world in their own isolated situations celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which we usually call ‘Palm Sunday’.

The crowd welcomed Him by spreading palm branches and their cloaks in His path and shouting: “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He, who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest!” It was a quite usual practice for Jews who travelled to Jerusalem for the festival of Passover to sing praises taken from Psalms 113 to 118 which are known as ‘Hallel’, which means, ‘Praise God’. These had been used in the past to welcome the King as a victorious conqueror on return from battle.

A very popular chorus that we may have learned during our days in Sunday School:

This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord has made

is taken from Psalm 118 : 24.

Psalm 118 : 26 says:

Blessed is He, who comes in the name of the Lord!

Those who greeted Him were convinced He was ‘the Messiah’, ‘the deliverer’ or ‘anointed one’.

The Gospel of Matthew in Chapter 21 specifies that Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem upon a colt fulfils the prophecy of Zechariah (Zech 9:9). Riding on a colt is a symbolic presentation of a noble King who has come to establish peace. Jesus’ action is an open declaration that He is the righteous Davidic Messiah, for the prophecy says: “Your King is coming to you”.

Do we recognise Jesus as our King who came to this world to establish peace and His Kingdom in our heart? Or, are we still struggling with the question: “Where is God in this (our) situation?”

Remember, we are here to praise His name by believing in Him despite the situation in which we find ourselves; He is our strength and refuge. He is our Messiah.

Hallel (Praise God)!

Prayer

I pray for you all who are struggling at home with financial problems, lack of support, loneliness, ill health or are in fear and suffering anxiety. May God be your guard and strength. May His Spirit fill you with His joy and love. I pray for those who, with great courage, are helping others and thus find themselves vulnerable; especially those in the NHS and Police, pastoral visitors and practical support volunteers.

May we all find Peace within us.

Amen

Rev Ajay Singh

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Sunday 29 March

A reflection: Hope in God

Due to Government and the Methodist Church instructions we will not be meeting at Church for some time and so I have prepared this short time of reflection: Thinking about Hope in God.

Hope in God

What is Hope?

I looked it up it my dictionary:

Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

In short, Hope is belief in given assurance !

The Gospel of John emphasizes various aspects of Jesus’ ministry. John was a disciple who was quite close to Jesus. He witnessed Jesus’ ministry of Teaching, Preaching and Healing very closely.

Of Jesus’ many miracles there is one in which he brought Lazarus to life after he had been dead and buried in a tomb for four days. This particular miracle was performed in front of the people and Lazarus’ friends and family so that they could believe, and it provided a testimony for others who could then believe by hearing about this event.

In Believing it is very important to have Hope. Jesus prepared the people and his disciples for his resurrection. If you want to know “Is there life after death?” then you can believe through all those events.

Assurance: You may not have hope unless you have assurance. Jesus assured that:

I am the way, the truth and the life; no one can enter into the Kingdom of God without me.

We are going through a very challenging time. Fear is all around. Our Government is devising ways for us to be safe and protected. I believe that we are taking all precautionary measures and keeping everyone in our prayers. We are reminded of the assurance of Jesus to all, and who gave hope to the world that this is not the end but that there is life afterwards.

May God bless you and keep you safe as we have Hope in Him.

Prayer

Romans 15 : 13

May the God of Hope fill you
With all joy and peace in believing,
So that by the power of the Holy spirit
You may abound in Hope.

Amen

Rev Ajay Singh

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