'A servant is not greater than his master,' Jesus tells them. 'If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.
But he promises them the indwelling Holy Spirit, who will guide them into all truth, and that, despite all the difficulties, they will have peace and their joy will be complete. Jesus repeatedly tells them not to worry: 'do not let your hearts be troubled...'
A message for us
There is so much we can take from this briefing. In many ways, we live in troubling times. There is much political and economic uncertainly and the terrorist threat is never far away. We need to hear Jesus say: 'But take heart! I have overcome the world.'
More specifically for the church, we should expect to be opposed: Jesus's message is counter-cultural, challenging the norms of the day. When the church s accused of being out of step with trends in society, in each different instance we need to ask whether this is as it should be. There will be times when the church needs to stand up for the truth, however unpopular it may be. In challenging times, Jesus urges us to stay close to him.'I am the vine,' he says in that final briefing, 'and my Father is the gardener... No branch can bear fruit by itself;it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.' It is as we stay close to Jesus that we can experience peace that passes all understanding however difficult or uncertain things may be in other ways.
I hope that you've all had an enjoy able holiday period even if,like me, you are yet to get away yourself. And welcome back to Parish News. Once again I apologise that we weren't able to produce a full magazine last month. Subscribers and advertisers' subscriptions will be extended to compensate.
Much has happened over the summer with many enjoyable summer events. In Hurley there was Music on a Summer's Evening; St Mary's hosted the exhibitions and teas for the village' fete; there was a visit by Easthampstead Parish for a celebratory evensong - The Organ Club putting our church organ through its paces - and lovely cream teas on Sunday afternoons. And all three areas of the Parish served wonderful summer lunches. Thank you to everyone who helped organise our summer events and to all who came and made them so memorable.
Looking forward to the Autumn
So, as the summer comes to an end, what do we have to look forward to? A continued improvement in the weather perhaps? A lovely golden September would be most welcome - not least, I guess, for our farmers as they gather in the harvest. And at the end of the month, we celebrate the abundance of God's natural world and the skill and hard work of the farming community, both in church and in celebratory harvest meals - details are here>>.
Jesus' warnings about and promises for the future
During our church services in September and October we will be listening to Jesus's final briefing of his disciples before his arrest, trial and crucifixion. Jesus warns his disciples of tough times ahead: