Posted by: Jo | May 27, 2016

Are You Listening God?

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at other times, “Samuel Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak for your servant is listening.”

(1 Samuel 3: 10)

I have a friend who loves to write poetry. She started writing fun things in imageconjunction with her sisters, sending each other sometimes funny topics, sometimes about family members, but just recently she allowed me to read her collection and one of them really resonated with me so I asked her permission to publish it in my blog as its message is one that often grips us in our walk with the Lord and perhaps many of us have asked the same question;

Are You Listening God?

Clouds

I walked the neighbourhood last night

To see the setting sun

It covered me with a large pink cloud

And lifted my heavy heart

Are you listening God? – we say out loud

As our negative doubts abound

“O you of little faith” rebounds

“I’ve been watching from the clouds”

The Psalmists knew the darkness of thinking that God was no longer listening to their cries

“Save me, O God for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail looking for my God.” (Psalm 69: 1 – 3)

The Psalmist certainly paints a dismal picture with these words and even goes so far as to ask God to answer him quickly;

“Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly; for I am in trouble.” (Psalm 69: 17)

image The message we read over and over again in Scripture is that yes the Lord is certainly listening to our cries, but we have to be part of the dialogue. If we are doing all the crying out and not listening, we will not hear the comforting words our Saviour is saying to us. We have all come across those people who love to talk volumes, but rarely listen to what others are saying. We can fall into that trap with our relationship with the Lord.

As my friend discovered on her evening walk, we need to be the ones listening so we don’t miss out on the compassion the Lord is so willing to pour out on us. He urges us to set aside quite times to reflect on his greatness and be bathed in his grace and mercy, in whatever situation we find ourselves and one of the best ways is to remember who he is and stop our minds from racing with all those destructive thoughts;

“Be still and know that I am God….” (Psalm 46: 10)

Then remember who we are;

“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100: 3)

Posted by: Jo | May 20, 2016

Leaving Behind A Little Salt

“You are the salt of the earth….”

(Matthew 5:13)

Just recently a friend of mine forwarded me a copy of a Reflection she had imagewritten encompassing the Sunday Scripture readings for that week and within this very perceptive article she had included a charming little story about her grandmother. She had remembered as a small child, her grandmother always leaving behind a small container of salt in the cupboard of any holiday cottage they were leaving so the next occupants would not have to go without this very important part of our diet.

I was thinking about this story and how important salt was in ancient times and how it was used in all sorts of ways from preserving food to being part of the sacred covenant between God and his people;

“What is ever set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.” (Numbers 18: 19)

Many of the offerings ordained by God were sprinkled with salt as a sign of the importance of always remembering the incredible privilege God was extending to his people in promising to dwell among them.

So when Jesus tells his disciples and us that we are the salt of the earth we become part of that sacred offering. We become sprinkled with salt that is given to us for a very special reason and Paul shows us how we can sprinkle others with what we have been blessed with.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4: 6)

image I was thinking back to my friend’s story and I thought what a beautiful example it set for us as followers of Jesus. I am sure we can all think of those special people who just seem to be able to say those right words when we need them and still leave behind them when they go, a warm feeling. Or others, who can bring laughter into our lives when things seem very gloomy and life looks brighter even when they leave, our spirits remain lifted. Others do practical services of love so the recipients are left with thankful hearts. I would call this;

Leaving behind a little salt!

When Paul was writing to the Galatians, he reminded them of the beautiful gifts of the Holy Spirit and I saw this as again a lovely example of how we could take Jesus word’s seriously about being the salt of the earth and try to leave some of this saltiness, mentioned here, behind wherever we find ourselves this week.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5: 22)

image

Posted by: Jo | May 13, 2016

Drenched In Fragrance

“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

(John 12:3)

image One of the members of our Home Group was celebrating her 80th birthday this week and she was describing to us the fun filled weekend she had with her church group at the Sunday service and then later with her family. She had been given beautiful bouquets of flowers from her congregation and then later her family had also brought lovely flower arrangements for her. She told us that her apartment was filled to overflowing with these lovely presents and said to us, “My whole apartment was drenched in fragrance!

Strangely enough our study that morning was also drenched in fragrance. Certainly a little different from what our friend was describing, but as we started to read the words in our study in Exodus, we began to realise that in all the detailed instructions on how the various sacred parts of the Tabernacle were to be constructed and how the priests were to be made ready to serve the lord, were all bathed in beautiful aromas of perfume and incense.

“Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.” (Exodus 30: 25)

As the craftsmen worked and the priests obeyed the commands and instructions laid out by God, it would have been impossible not to have some of the beautiful fragrances cling to those exposed to them. We began to realise that there was definitely a purpose to this. We in our group started to exchange thoughts about aromas and many of us associated aromas with lovely thoughts and some of us were always stirred by a certain smell to think of a person, for some a grandmother when fresh bread was coming out of the oven.

God was making sure by his use of fragrance, that it would be a constant reminder of his presence when his children came to worship him,

“…Take fragrant spices-gum resin, onycha and galbanum – and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to a powder and place it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.” (Exodus 30: 34- 36)

image When God used perfume to place permanent reminders of who he was to his chosen people, he was drawing on one of our powerful senses and for us who know the Lord Jesus Christ it takes on a whole new and powerful meaning. When we choose to follow the Lord his fragrance will envelope us and as we mix with others, they too will want to know the source of the aroma that sweetens all our behaviours.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2: 14 – 15)

I read a powerful quote about this theme;

When God’s people praise him, their praises rise to him as a beautiful aroma that blots out the stench of evil.

Posted by: Jo | May 6, 2016

Terrors of the Night

“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

(Psalm 91:5 – 6)

image One night, last week, my husband in the middle of the night, suddenly shouted out in a loud voice, sat bolt upright and then jumped out of bed. Needless to say I also awoke with a series of possible scenarios racing through my head, ranging from expecting to see some intruder brandishing a weapon, to preparing myself to flee from the burning building. My husband then very sheepishly informed me he had just had a very frightening nightmare! Terror in the night! We have all experienced it in various forms and apparently generations before us have also been beset with this night time horror. I have often discussed this with my friends and puzzled over why as darkness descends and we lie down to sleep, worries overtake us and everything seems to take on a more threatening and menacing overtone.

How do we combat this sleep destroyer?

My source of help, for any sort of problem facing me, is to go back to God’s word. Scripture never shies away from any emotion experienced by mankind and especially in the Book of Psalms you will find the Psalmists honestly writing about what disturbs them. Psalm 91 is one of my favourites as it acknowledges the real terrors that can overtake us and then advises us to fill our minds with this beautiful mental picture of our Heavenly Father as a mother hen, protecting us.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (Psalm 91:4)

One of the ways I have used when sleep evades me and worry overtakes, is to try to remember the many times the Lord has solved our problems in the past and then I either recite scripture or go over my favourite hymns (I do this silently as bursting into song during the night would certainly create a certain sort of terror for my husband!) I was delighted to find that the Psalmists also used this to ward of all that is threatening. In Psalm 77 the Psalmist after being very troubled in spirit for many verses, suddenly remembers firstly what a wonderful God we all have and then remembers how he has solved so many problems in the past. A great idea for us to follow as well.image

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77: 11 – 2)

Another Psalmist in Psalm 42 realises that we can take the love of the Lord with us in song for those dark times of night;

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me- a prayer to the God of my life.” (Psalm 42: 8)

When we allow the Lord to take over those terrors of the night we wake the next morning with these words on our lips;

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22 – 23)

Posted by: Jo | April 29, 2016

Putting On The Garment Of Praise

“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

(Isaiah 61:3)

image What to wear? Women of all ages will of course resonate with that question, but men also face the same dilemma when important dates or job interviews loom on the horizon. Dress code has changed dramatically since I was a child and I can remember my father quoting with a very serious voice, “Clothes maketh the man” and I can also see him in my mind’s eye, preparing himself for his weekly meeting with the Rotary Club (a service club in which he loved being a member). Every member of that club would not dream of attending a meeting unless appropriately dressed, which meant suit, waistcoat, jacket, tie and of course beautifully polished shoes! My father would emerge from the bedroom impeccably dressed confident that he met the standards expected of him.

Appropriately dressed. I was thinking what this meant when our Home Group came to the passage in Exodus 28 which we are studying at the moment, with the title, Priestly Garments. This lengthy chapter with its 43 verses is entirely devoted to describing in detail not only each article of clothing, but the skills needed to prepare precious stones, weave beautiful patterns in exquisite materials e.g.

“Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen- the work of a skilled craftsman…” (Exodus 28:6)

Our Home Group began the study with the big question, “Why would God go to such lengths with such detail in how the priests were to be dressed before they could come into his presence and what significance did this have for us today?

We were all surprised to find that as we read carefully the preparations for the priests, a feeling of awe began to surround us and we began to experience the feeling of anticipation that would have been flooding over those men. This was no ordinary meeting, God was promising to come and dwell with his people and the people were to learn what an incredible privilege God was granting them and one of the ways to remember was the beautiful array of the priests clothing with every part bearing its own meaning so that its significance would never be forgotten.

“They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” (Exodus 29: 46)

image We know that Jesus Christ became our High Priest and fulfilled the sacrifices these priests were being trained for, and that intense detailed preparation is no longer needed, we can actually come and be welcomed into the presence of the Creator of the Universe but, at the same time, reading this passage in Exodus we realised that this incredible privilege should never be taken lightly. We began to think of the spiritual garments we could wear when we enter our Lord’s presence; a garment of praise/ a spirit of humbleness/ thank fullness/piety/ joy/gladness/so we never forget the price Jesus paid for our freedom to worship.

The most beautiful garment of all is the Lord Jesus himself and Paul urges us to clothe ourselves with his beautiful presence and what could be more fitting apparel than him.

“Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13: 14)

In fact, Peter reminds us in his letter that we are now all considered to be a royal priesthood so let us don those spiritual garments.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter2: 9)

Posted by: Jo | April 22, 2016

Facing Fear Boldly

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

(2 Chronicles 20: 12)

image I have always loved the incredible messages contained in the stories of the Old Testament and am constantly amazed how relevant they can still be for us in this present day. I believe that the Old Testament records some of the most powerful prayers found in Scripture and are models for us to follow when troubles of any kind loom in our lives.

Just recently I was studying the story of King Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles chapters, 19, 20 He was a king who feared and honoured the Lord, his training of honest judges in 2 Chronicles 19: 4 – 10 should be part of the training for our judiciary system, (worth reading) but the part of the story I love is when this good king is informed that a vast army is advancing towards Jerusalem and he fears the worst is about to happen. What does he do? Rally the Troops? Try to find some allies? Give in to despair? No!

He gathers the people together, goes to the temple and in front of his people places all his fears in front of the Lord. He begins by praising the Almighty God, a great lesson for us, as we recognise the mighty powerful God who loves us, we become aware of his strength and with great relief we can then surrender our frailty/ our fears/ our human weaknesses. Jehoshaphat then acknowledges that when God’s children call out to him, they know with confidence that he will hear and save them.

“If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.” (2 Chronicles 20: 9)

image He ends the prayer with a sweet childish admittance of not knowing what to do, but is determined to keep focused on the Lord. We are often tempted to tell God exactly what we would like him to do, so this is again a beautiful gentle reminder of letting go of our will in times of trouble and to just remember to keep our eyes on the strength.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20: 12)

Our lives are very different from that of Jehoshaphat, but when ugly circumstances arise in what ever form, fear can overtake us and we forget the great source of strength we have and begin to think we have to fight our battles in any way we can. No wonder I love this passage. Just read what God says, through a prophet, to Jehoshaphat;

“This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

image We often think we have to be strong when those ugly times come unexpectedly, or one after the other, but the message I see in this story is that yes we have to boldly come into the Lord’s presence asking for his strength, but then we take great comfort in the fact that it is not us fighting the battle, but the Lord.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4: 16 (K.J.V.))

P.S. Read the great ending of the story 2 Chronicles 20: 1- 30

God upheld his side of the bargain and won the battle for Jehoshaphat!

Posted by: Jo | April 15, 2016

Sweet Talk

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

(Proverbs 16: 24)

image Some friends and I were discussing our various likes and dislikes about food and some confessed how much they loved sweet desserts etc., and others how their favourites were the spicy and salty Asian dishes. I was telling them about two of my son in laws who both love chocolate so much the whole family have deemed them “chocoholics”. One of the ladies remarked that they each must have a sweet tooth and another made us all laugh when she posed this question, “Does that mean sweet talk comes out of their mouths?”

Sweet talk! That made me think of exactly the way Scripture describes how words should come out of our mouths. The verse in Proverbs 16:24 likens the source of pleasant words to be like a honeycomb and as they gather the sweetness of honey the words are endowed with the beautiful qualities that honey possesses. Honey must be one of the first foods known to man and in ancient days was also revered for it’s medicinal properties, so the writer of Proverbs also includes healing to be part of the power sweet talk has.

We all know and have experienced the opposite effect words can have if they lack sweetness and we can also recall the power to hurt that thoughtless words have.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings about healing.” (Proverbs 12: 18)

Again we are reminded that our words can be very powerful when they are overlaid with gentleness and can dissipate anger and can avoid ugly disputes.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15: 1)

So how do we develop the gift of sweet talk? What would be the honeycomb source for us in our present day? How could we be the bringer of healing just by our spoken words?

The Psalmists had the answer and it is the same for us;

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” (Psalm 119: 103)

image Our way of sweetening our words is found in God’s own word and it is interesting that taste is part of many verses in Scripture and I find a deep meaning behind the inference that God’s word has to be so much a part of us that we need to inwardly digest his wisdom so it permeates our very being, influencing our actions and sweetening our words.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34; 8)

Choosing to do this becomes a daily exercise, I know myself how easy it is to retort in a likewise manner when someone speaks rudely to me and I am equally aware to how I have caused pain to someone by a thoughtless remark. So how to guard against this? Again we have to go back to Scripture to see how we can plan, as my friend said, to be able to allow sweet talk to come forth from our mouths and the Psalmists had a great solution;

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119: 11)

Posted by: Jo | April 8, 2016

Prompting from the Heart

“The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give.”

(Exodus 25: 1 – 2)

image My husband and I have been watching a series on the television by a woman who is fascinated by the Nomads who still exist in our world and she seeks out these tribes and taking a television crew with her, actually stays with them to capture their way of life. It is a surprising, very personal insight into the relationships of a group of people constantly on the move, working as a very connected team, using all the skills each person has to ensure the best for their people as a whole. Working together for the common good. We were watching in fascination as their shelters were being erected for yet another stay and as they threw the animal skins over the wooden structure we both remembered the study our Home Group is doing in the book of Exodus and how working for the common good was so much a part of what God was teaching his children.

God speaks to Moses and gives him a detailed plan on how to build a tabernacle for him and promises he will dwell with them. I love the way the finances will be raised. No not by a fundraising campaign. Not by placing a guilt trip on everybody. Not by issuing tax receipts, but appealing to the hearts of the people. (Exodus25:1,2)

This was the wonderful result of people’s hearts being touched;

“The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done” (Exodus 36: 5)

And again

“No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary. And so the people were restrained from bringing any more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.” (Exodus 36: 6 – 7)

image We don’t often hear that in our present day churches!

The Lord gives us, for our present day, another example of how he would have us serve him if we have a willing heart, and assures us that he will provide the ability and skill for what ever he asks, if we provide the willing heart;

“Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given skill and ability and who was willing to come and do the work.” (Exodus 36:2)

Sometimes we forget that when we feel that prompting from the Lord we begin to doubt our own capabilities even perhaps argue with God about how inadequate we are to serve him in any way. That is when we need to reread this story in Exodus and see that the Lord calls those he has already endowed with the ability to do what our hearts are prompting us to do for the Lord.

The other stumbling block sometimes arises when we feel the prompting, but fall into the trap of assuming the role is ours alone and imagenot for the furthering of the Kingdom and Paul reminds us to keep this in mind;

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3: 23)

The lovely ending to the constructing of the tabernacle becomes a blessing for all involved, which is the same for us today when we work together for the common good, listening to the prompting of our hearts, using our God given gifts for his glory

“The Israelites had done all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the Lord had commanded. So Moses blessed them.” (Exodus 39: 42 – 43)

Posted by: Jo | April 2, 2016

Recognizing Jesus

“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognising him.”

(Luke 24: 15 – 16)

image Just recently my husband received a newsletter from his graduating class from university which pictured a reunion dinner which he was unable to attend, as it was held in Australia, but in the letter, along with all the news of fellow students were their current photos taken at the dinner and as my husband studied these (now old faces) he admitted that without the names underneath he would not recognise them. I was thinking about what recognition meant when we were reading our study this morning that featured the story from Luke 24 about the disciples walking to Emmaus after the resurrection and when Jesus joins them they are unable to realise who he is. Going to the dictionary gave me a little insight into the depth of this word, “recognition.” Some of the meanings are;

  • To treat as valid or having existence
  • To take notice of a thing or person in some way
  • To perceive clearly to realise

Those two disciples were not the only ones not to recognise Jesus after the resurrection. Mary Magdalene, overcome with sorrow, fails to see her beloved Saviour standing right beside her;

“At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.” (John 20:14)

Again those disciples closest to Jesus fail to recognise him as he stands on the beach, urging them to cast their nets once again;

“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.” (John 21:4)

Mary’s sorrow had so overcome her, she failed to see the very one that was to lift that sorrow from her forever and then overwhelming joy replaces the sorrow as she hears Jesus call her name;

“Jesus said to her, “Mary.” (John 20:16)

The fishermen disciples were also experiencing confusing thoughts about the astounding events that had just taken place and resort to returning to what they know best and spend a disappointing night fishing in vain. Again their own emotions of bewilderment, sorrow perhaps fear of what will happen next, prevents them from recognising Jesus when he speaks to them from the beach.

“He said. Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” (John 21:6)

Suddenly at the sight of this amazing miracle their eyes are opened and they cry, “It is the Lord

So what prevents us from recognising Jesus in our everyday lives? Do we allow circumstances to cloud our vision? At the time when we really need to be aware of our Lord standing beside us, do our emotions run riot and block out his beautiful presence?

image In our three stories the two on the road to Emmaus, listened to the Lord speaking through his word.

“They asked each other, Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

Mary heard the Lord call her name. She listened

The disciples obeyed the word to let the net down on the right side of the boat. They listened.

I read a beautiful prayer in a study I was reading one, that I am going to say often

Dear Lord,

When you call my name, teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily life and teach me to listen to your voice.

Posted by: Jo | March 25, 2016

New Life Out Of Death

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

(1 Peter 1:3)

image It is spring in North America and I am actually writing on the first official day of spring, and especially here in Vancouver, the strikingly, beautiful cherry trees are celebrating in glorious displays of white and pink blossoms which cascade over their branches as if the trees were wearing gossamer dresses. It is hard to believe that a few weeks ago these same trees were bare branches, so bare that the trees appeared to be lifeless. I don’t know why, but every year I am still surprised to look in the garden bed and see that little touch of green bursting forth from what last week looked like a bare patch of soil. Suddenly life is replacing the deadness of winter.

Life and death. Death and Life

Easter represents both in such a dramatic way that one writer described this week as the greatest story ever told. Good Friday with its shadows of death, sorrow, even perhaps loss of hope for Jesus’ disciples, is clouded by bewilderment disappointment, agony for Mary as she watches her precious son crucified in front of her eyes, the mocking of those whose taunting voices add to the pain of those who love Jesus. Who could believe that day of death and sorrow was about to bring about the greatest promise of new life ever granted to mankind.

Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for what was to come by using the illustration of how seeds and plants need to die before winter so new life in all its abundance will be greeted with joy in the spring;

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls in the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:23 – 24)

Iimage n their sorrow, those who loved Jesus had forgotten the amazing promise of the prophet, Isaiah, who had foretold this many years before and on this first Good Friday the promise was fulfilled;

“On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah25: 7 – 8)

So the tears we may shed on Good Friday as we remember the pain, the indignity, the agonising death Christ suffered for us, will also mingle with tears of joy and gratitude as we realise the beautiful gift of new life, that we had no way of earning, except through our acceptance of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, has now come to fruition.

When Martha, the sister of Lazarus, was confronted with her brother’s death, Jesus reassured her with these words which we too can claim as our promise of new life.

“Jesus said to her. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11: 25 – 26)

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