Bennochy Windows

Weekly Thoughts (March 2021)


Week of Monday 22nd March 2021

John 12: 20-33

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[a] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

The crowd in verse 29, may be the same crowd mentioned earlier in verse 12 of this chapter, the crowd which welcomes Jesus to Jerusalem, as “ King of Israel”.

And as a crowd, perhaps they are expecting Jesus to say a few words. They might be expecting a crowd- pleasing word of thanks perhaps or a sound bite they could adopt as a slogan: Jewish Lives Matter? We Shall Overcome?

So verse 25, “Whoever loves his own life will lose it: whoever hates his own life in this world will keep it for life eternal” is not what they expected-or wanted- to hear. It’s not a manifesto they can sign up to or sell easily to others. Perhaps it is this moment that the crowd which would condemn Jesus on Good Friday, began to turn against him?

It was difficult to understand and difficult to follow, more than 2000 years ago , and still is.

However, it was -and still is- Jesus’ message to those who would follow his Way today.

Prayer

Father God, help us to understand your message for us today.

Jesus, Son of God, give us courage to stand against the crowd, and follow your Way today.

Holy Spirit, help us to encourage each other as we try to follow the Way. Amen

Nancy Gilmartin


John 3: 14-21

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

The phrase that struck me in this reading, is verse 19: “Light has come into the world.”

That’s probably because this year, more than any other, in this time of pandemic, we have been longing for brighter days, physically and mentally.

This Saturday is the official beginning of Spring, and with brighter mornings and lighter evenings and even a day or two of sunshine, it does feel that we can start to hope we are finally coming out of a time of winter darkness that has seemed unnaturally long.

The verse also brought to mind a favourite Graham Kendrick hymn, and who knows, perhaps it won’t be too long before we can sing it again.

“Lord the light of your love is shining.
In the midst of the darkness shining
Jesus’ light of the world shine upon us
Set us free by the truth you now bring us.
Shine on me...”

Prayer

Father God, thank you for giving light to the world you created in love.

Jesus, Son of God, give us your light and love in times of darkness.

Holy Spirit, send the gift of light and love to our world today and always. Amen.

Nancy Gilmartin

Week of Monday 15th March 2021

John 2: 13-22, Jesus Clears the Temple Courts

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

This passage, with its surprising actions of Jesus, has appealed to many people. It has been used -rightly and wrongly- to support the actions of many individuals and groups. It has been used, for instance, to support animal rights or accept violence in certain kinds of protests. It has been seen as being against the exploitation of the poor by big businesses or even selling tablet on a Sunday after church services.

However, now in lent, it might also be read as a personal prompt for us, as followers of Jesus, to look afresh at how we worship God.

God cannot be bought or sold or swayed by gifts. Worship is not just for presenting shopping lists of what we want or want to happen...

And …what might need to be swept out of our lives to make room for worshipping God?

Prayer

Father God forgive us, if, in the hustle and bustle of life and living, we lose sight of what it means to worship you.

Jesus, Son of God, forgive us for the times when we have lost our tempers, without good reason.

Holy Spirit, forgive us for the times when our anger has harmed others. Amen.

Nancy Gilmartin

For Mother’s Day: Sunday 14th March 2021

Luke 1

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.

John 2. 1-12

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

The first reading, from Luke’s Gospel suggests that Jesus had a mother, who even before he is born, is setting out a challenging view of a God who turns the world upside down.

And, moreover, a God who has chosen a woman to set this revolution on its way.

Like mother, like son, you might say.

John’s Gospel has no stories from Jesus’ childhood, but his public life of Jesus begins with his mother, in Cana, and she is there at the Cross at the Crucifixion.

In this second reading, describing the first miracle at Cana, it is Jesus’ mother who prompts him to act. It is a very human exchange between two people who know each other well. She is not put off by his apparent rebuff and is confident he will do what she has asked.

It is the kind of awkward scenario many mothers might recognise.

But Mary, Jesus’ mother, you might say, is kick-starting the next stage of God’s revolution, that changed the world and still can.

Prayer

Father God, we bring before you the family of God, wherever they might be, whatever their needs might be.

Jesus, Son of God, we bring before you, the family of God, wherever they might be, whatever their needs might be.

Holy Spirit, we bring before you, the family of God, wherever they might be, whatever their needs might be. Amen.

Nancy Gilmartin

Week of Monday 1st March 2021

Mark 8: 31

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

We know several of these verses so well, maybe too well and the impact of them may have lessened because of their familiarity. But it would be hard not to feel for Peter and this public, harsh telling off in verse 33: “Get away from me, Satan!”

Again, and again, Peter says out loud what probably everyone else is thinking, for this is not the Messiah they expected. This is not how it’s meant to happen!

And if we are honest, we might not just feel for Peter, but feel like him?

We too want the apparently easier answers, the cut and dried solutions, but time and again, Jesus reminds his would -be disciples- then and now- that there is another dimension, a spiritual, soul -centred level of living offered by him.

There are no easy questions or answers for the followers of Jesus.

Prayer

Father God, be with us when we find it hard to put God’s concerns before our own.

Jesus, Son of God, be with us when we find it hard to follow you.

Holy Spirit, be with us when we find it hard to know what to do to save our souls. Amen

Nancy Gilmartin




Read our Thoughts for February 2021 ...