APCM Sermon

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2024/APCM

10am Parish Communion followed by the APCM

Acts 8.26-end, 1 John 4.7-end, John 15.1-8


“Abide in me, as I abide in you” (John 15.4)

Abiding Faithfully, Remaining Fruitful

Have you ever been travelling, and on arriving at a familiar junction, you discover that the turn you would usually take is shut! Yellow diversion signs re-direct you, and off you go, diverted along another road. You have that feeling that you know the direction you are travelling, but, you are not quite sure of this road, this way is unfamiliar.

Such journeys act as a metaphor for life; we all have significant points in life that we can recognize as ‘junction’ moments when we look back on them. Such moments have taken us down roads never travelled, when the journey has become difficult or we have found ourselves travelling through the dark valley, wondering will the light ever break through again. Often, we have no choice when those junctions come – we must walk the road set before us.

If you live long enough, you are bound to experience an unexpected junctions in life; twists and turns that you need to take, alone, or with friends and family. In our recent past we all had to embrace, like it or not, a collective unfamiliar road, as the world came to the COVID junction. We were all travelling a road unknown, collectively experiencing it, wondering what God was doing and what we were meant to be doing, and being, as we walked it.

In preparing for our APCM after this Service, many of us have been looking back over the past year of life together as a community of faith here at St. Andrew’s, Biggleswade. We’ve been reflecting on it, writing about it as we’ve given thanks for the service, generosity and love shared in the name of Christ in this Church and Parish community. In our personal lives, collectively as a Church and across the Parish, we recall that we have come to various ‘junctions’ during the last year; matters of life and death, joys and sorrows, finance and mission, direction and purpose, outreach and worship, decisions and changes. At times we have needed to travel a road unknown, wondering what God was doing, and what we were meant to be doing, and being, as we have walked our own paths, journeyed together as a Church, and lived, loved and served this Parish, and beyond throughout the past year.

John’s Gospel (15:1-8) as the reading set for today, is a well-known passage that speaks comfort and truth to many situations. Jesus, speaking with his disciples, on the road they were travelling, as they left the Upper Room – Jesus knew there was a junction for them ahead, a junction not just for Jesus but one that would shake the foundations of the world and the life as they knew it, as Jesus was to be crucified, dead, and buried. In the shadow of the cross, Jesus called the disciples to abide in him, to remain in him.

One of the key words that can help us to understand the ministry of Jesus and his Church in the world is that of abiding. God abides with us. Christ bids us to abide  in him, that he will abide in us. Christ bids us to make our home in him, as he has made his home in us. Christ tells us that there are many rooms in his Father’s house, to which, in God’s time Christ will come again and take us to where he is, to be with him for ever (John 14). Whatever is ahead as we look forward to the next year here together, we are reassured that we can lean on Christ; he is the one who goes before us – and who walks with us.

One understanding of abide is to ‘wait patiently with’. Today, we thank God for his waiting patiently with us this past year. God, through his Son Jesus came to us in ordinary life, he has sat with us, eaten with us, walked with us, lived amongst us. It is no wonder then, that after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples doing ordinary things. Walking, talking, sharing food, breaking bread, eating breakfast on the sea shore.

As we gather today for our APCM, we give thanks for God’s abiding with us, in the shadow of the cross, at the diversions and junctions, alongside the good times, the successes and celebrations of the past year. We rejoice that God continues to dwell with us, in us, through us. God was, God is, God ever will be – God will not abandon or leave us. Our calling as the Church is to abide faithfully, and to remain fruitful. We are called not just to abide for ourselves but we are called to abide in, with and for this Parish community, within the wider context of our troubled, broken, hurting world; and we are called to abide as good stewards of all that God has given to us as we to strive for the well-being of all of God’s creation – and especially to abide with those who have no one to abide with them.


“Abide in me as I abide in you” (John 15.4)

Abiding faithfully, may we remain fruitful, as we are sent out to love and serve the Lord.


+In the name of Christ.





The Revd. Liz Oglesby-Elong

                                                                                                Vicar of the Parish of St. Andrew’s, Biggleswade.

                                                                                                Fifth Sunday of Easter/APCM 28th April, 2024

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