‘The Church Times’ has the usual list of those being ordained deacon or priest in the various dioceses during Petertide, alongside articles relating to the need for an increase in lay leadership. This reminds us that all Christians are commissioned by Jesus, as evidenced in the Great Commission at the end of the Gospel according to Matthew.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And then significantly, a promise that no one is expected to fulfil this obligation alone.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
It is those words, coupled with one of the names ascribed to Jesus : Emmanuel – God with us – that has prompted the priest-poet, Malcolm Guite to write this sonnet:
I Will Be With You
Your final words fulfil your ancient name,
A promise hidden in Emmanuel,
A promise that can never fade or fail:
I will be with you till the end of time;
I will be with you when you scale the height,
And with you when you fall to earth again,
With you when you flourish in the light,
And with you through the shadow and the pain.
Our God with us, you leave and yet remain
Risen and hidden with us everywhere;
Hidden and flowing in the wine we share,
Broken and hidden in the growing grain,
Be with us till we know we are forgiven,
Be with us here till we’re with you in heaven.
(Copyright Malcolm Guite)