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Theme for the Week – 17 May 2015

Readings for the seventh Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19 

Because I used to live in the USA and have used the services of AMTRAK, I received a copy of an e-mail from the President and CEO following the train crash last week. 

With truly heavy hearts, we mourn those who died. Their loss leaves holes in the lives of their families and communities. On behalf of the entire Amtrak family, I offer our sincere sympathies and prayers for them and their loved ones. Amtrak takes full responsibility and deeply apologises for our role in this tragic event.

We recognise that for everyone onboard the train, including those who suffered injuries, the healing process may be long. Within 24 hours of the incident, Amtrak set up a Family Assistance Center in Philadelphia to work closely with the family of passengers and crew on the train. We are also working with the individuals and families affected by this event to help them with transportation, lodging, and of course, medical bills and funeral expenses.

To see a corporation express compassion and caring in the aftermath of tragedy, such as the AMTRAK train crash last week, can be touching, when it acknowledges simply and directly responsibility, but also acknowledges the human cost, especially in terms of holes left in families and communities.  

Families and marriages are important.  The relationships that we develop in marriages and families are the very basic emotional life blood that flows through all of our other relationships.  

This week, we uplifted in our worship the marriages of two couples, and in doing so we recognised just how important marriages and families are.  A good marriage has at its heart a commitment to one another regardless of the ups and downs of human life, recognising in love the value of the partner with whom we share life.  

To bless a marriage within the church is to invite God into it, to consecrate, or sanctify it.  Of course, in the love of marriage, God is already present; the sanctifying asks God to make holy the human relationship.  

This is really part of the consecration of us as disciples that Jesus does in sanctifying his followers through his prayer in today’s gospel, making holy and setting apart those in whom the work of discipleship had already begun – to bring it to completion.  The prayer uttered over those first disciples embraces all of us – if we accept the invitation to be disciples.  

In a perfect world, we would not be surprised when corporations show a human face, demonstrating compassion and caring.  Compassion and caring would be at the heart of all relationships.  Accepting Christ’s invitation to sanctified and consecrated discipleship – including the blessing of faith-filled marriage – is a good foundation for a better success rate, a great starting place.

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