Renewal Movement Committee

Thy kingdom Come Ascension to Pentecost Novena


The God who shares

1 John 4:7-8 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

You don’t know what it’s like!’ is a cry of despair, frustration and pain. When we feel misunderstood, when it seems that friends simply don’t ‘get’ the pressure we’re under, when we feel unjustly judged or criticized, we want to yell: ‘Try walking in my shoes. Try living my life.

As we think of God, who He is, especially His greatness, majesty, glory…all those great biblical words that emphasise the ‘Wow!’ factor of the creator of all things, it is easy to slip into thinking: ‘So what can He possibly understand of my life in 2023? Isn’t God a spectator, an observer, all-knowing perhaps, but far away and uninvolved?

In this letter, St John underlines the greatness and glory of the great creator. He stresses His triumphant relational love which drives the whole story of salvation. Now it gets even better. In today’s verse we are assured that this Lord is no distant disinterested onlooker but one who understands what it is like to live our life, because He Himself came in the Lord Jesus Christ. This coming into the world is the guarantee that God understands us through and through because He has shared our life and walked in our shoes.

The one without whom, as St John’s Gospel puts it, ‘nothing was made that has been made’ (John 1.3), was content not only to be a carpenter in Nazareth and a member of a downtrodden race in an occupied country, but also a microscopic foetus in Mary’s womb.

As we pray for our five today, we pray that they may catch a glimpse of what theologians call the transcendence and immanence of God, His glory, and His closeness. Pray that they may find Him a friend who understands them, and a Lord who loves them.

This verse is a wonderful reminder that love is not just a feeling, but a decision of the will. It shows itself in positive action as we Live the Kingdom. We love the hungry with food, the lonely with companionship. We love those who don’t yet know Christ by living and speaking for Jesus with humility and integrity. The Very Revd Bob Key

Note: The Thy Kingdom Come Novena for 2023 is focused on verses from St John’s First Letter. Thy Kingdom Come is an annual invitation and encouragement to Christians and Churches, across the world, to seek the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we might live out and share the Kingdom of God.- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby &The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell

Deanie Lambie-Williams