Great Casterton Parish Council

Serving the people of Great Casterton

Clerk: Derek Patience
29 Priory Gardens, Stamford

Tel: 01780 753066

June Newsletter

Easter is a time of new beginnings for the church. A time to reflect on Jesus, his time with us on earth and the many appearances and disappearances reported by the gospel and epistle writers in the period between Easter day and Ascension day. Forty days in all. It's like an extension of Lent but without the fasting. In that period, we read about Jesus's many appearances to those who loved Him. To Mary and the women of the group on one occasion. To the disciples locked in an upper room for fear of being arrested. Two people out for a brisk walk and on many other occasions briefly reported in the Acts of the Apostles.

Why all these appearances over a forty day period? Who can be absolutely sure. Maybe it was a confidence building exercise to prepare the disciples for a ministry without His physical presence. Maybe to give them first-hand encounters with His risen self to add to their ministry and teaching. When we have such personal experiences and encounters with the risen Lord doesn't it enhance our testimony?

This forty-day period in Jesus's ministry is probably one of the most difficult concepts to get our heads round. A person who was not a ghost because they could touch Him. Not a ghost because He had an appetite. Yet someone who could appear from nowhere and disappear just as quickly.

Maybe the disciples needed that forty day period to come to terms with what had just happened. They needed to get used to Jesus being alive and around. Time to revisit scripture and work out for themselves, just as we need to do, what was foretold by the prophets of old.

And even though they had found a new enthusiasm for mission. They needed to wait. Wait for the arrival of the Holy Spirit. The spirit to empower them and equip them for the ministry they were about to undertake. A ministry which will make possible the spread of God's good news throughout the world.

We are not quite ready for the celebration of Pentecost, for now we concentrate on His ascension to heaven with the promise that He will shortly send his Holy Spirit to remain with us forever. That's one of the fundamental cornerstones of the Christian faith. That Jesus is alive and continues to influence us in our daily lives.

And while we wait for that day of Pentecost we enter into another period of special time between Ascension day on 30th May and Pentecost on 9th June. A nine day period of prayer and reflection we label "Thy Kingdom Come" where we are invited to discover new habits and even new ways of prayer and especially to pray for those who do not know Jesus. This nine day period is a global initiative and Christians throughout the world will be praying with us at all times of the day.

We are challenged to pray for five people who we would like to see move into faith and experience the love of Jesus in their lives. We can include ourselves in that five, that we might walk even closer than we currently do. We have a number of booklets in church which can help us to focus on prayer. Please help yourself to this free resource.

Some folk find prayer difficult; I am one of them, I really need total silence or a prayer partner to get immersed. On my own I can quickly become distracted and lose the plot, but I keep on struggling and sometimes it pays off big time. A retired archbishop was asked once "How long do you spend in prayer?" His response was "just a few moments a day, but I spend hours just waiting to get into God presence". Prayer is not easy for most of us but it is essential for Christian living and so we need to persist.

I hope you will join us in these nine days of prayer either in church or in the comfort of your own home as we pray for His Kingdom to Come and enlighten others in our community.

God Bless

Rev'd. Don