thankful

1) Thankful that Christ is risen indeed.

2) Thankful for eldest’s company as we walked to church early to be on the welcome team and the very sunny cheery wave and “good morning and Happy Easter” he gave to everyone we saw.

3) Thankful to see youngest much brighter,  happier and back to his usual chatty self finally this evening at bathtime.

4) Thankful for another great Abel & Cole recipe, this time a superb chocolate and beetroot cake.

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He is risen indeed – Hallelujiah!

A wonderful resurrection hymn from Charles Wesley – highlighting the reality of victory won.   “Early in the morning, while it was still dark…” A miracle had occured. Death itself had worked backward.  Victory is secure. Heaven is certain.

Christ had died

Christ has  risen

Christ will come again…

Happy Easter!

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

thought for the day

What a great day, a day of celebration and praise to the One who loves us

Psalm 118

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Shouts of praise and victory resound in the tents of the righteousness.

The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things.The Lord’s right hand is lifted high.

The Lords’ right hand has done might things

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.

The Lord has chastened me severly but He has not given me over to death.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

The Lord has done it this very day;

let us rejoice today and be glad

thankful

1) Thankful for an on the ball out of hours doctor this evening who wanted youngest to be seen and got us an apt within the hour. All is well and youngest and Mark are now back home.

2) Thankful for eldest who coped well with the interrupted end to dinner and evening routine.

3) Thankful for Mark cooking a wonderful Sabbath dinner – dessert can be enjoyed tomorrow.

4) Thankful for this afternoon, as youngest napped and Mark was cooking, watching eldest one in his creative world entertaining himself with the occasional check ins with me while I got to make a renewed start on youngest’s quilt.

4) Thankful

thought for the day

Luke 23 Jesus being laid in the tomb.

It is the day inbetween. Not that Jesus’ followers knew that. We read the accounts knowing that death is not the end of the story.

The women who had followed Jesus after His death had gone home and prepared spices and perfumes to place on His body. But they waited as Sabbath was about to begin and they could not prepare His body on that day.

We are not good with waiting, with inbetween times. We want to get on with projects, with our day. We do not want to wait. We have more important things to be doing than waiting, We have things to do rather than simply sitting. Though we often do not sit, we walk up and down impatiently, we huff and puff at the inconvience of waiting, of being held up.

But God was not to be rushed. He went with the rhythm He had set in place from the beginning. On the 7th day God saw all that He had done and was pleased and He rested from His work. The stumbling block between us and Him had been dealth with on the cross but He was not to be rushed. He was not delaying. He knew we needed to sit and ponder. To learn to sit inbetween times and remember, to hold out hope. To lay things aside and let the magnitude of what had just happen sit there.

thankful

1) Thankful for the opportunity go to a Good Friday service at our church with our eldest this morning. It was sombre and over an hour long but he did really well. Wonderful to walk the stations with him and see him interact with it all.

2) Thankful for this afternoon’s skype time with our dear friends in Vancouver.

3) Thankful for Friday Family Fun Night with the Gruffalo and home made pizza.

4) Thankful for the cross. Thankful that it means I can walk free and keep on living.

The Wonder of the Cross in its ironies

Mark 15 contains a number of ironies that point to the heart of the cross:

Jesus who had never done anything wrong condemned as a criminal.

27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left

The insults of the crowd

29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!”

As far as they could see it here was a man who had claimed to be able to tear down a temple and rebuild it hanging on a cross helpless. Yet in his death he was tearing down a temple (see John 2), and it would be rebuilt in 3 days when he rose again.

31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

He saved others, himself he cannot save.  No doubt this was inspired by the sight of Jesus hanging on the cross, the one who had healed so many (healed and saved are often the same word in the Greek) unable to put himself right.  Of course they were wrong.  He could have saved himself. But also they were right. He could not save himself and heal us.  He could not give himself life and also give us life.  That is the essence of substitution.  He dies in our place. He does what we cannot do.

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

Jesus, the Son of God dies forsaken by God the Father. Here is a deep mystery.  How it can be that the loving Father turns his face away. And yet he does, while also being so united with Christ that this moment fills the Father too with pain.  And yet Father and Son out of love for sinful human beings give the Son in our place, so that by his death we die and by his life we live. Also remember that God’s love is not in any sense created by the cross – it is not that somehow Jesus’ death enables God to love us – he always loves us; rather it is that the cross is the supreme display of God’s love because in it God reconciles us to himself – Romans 5.  We should too remember that Jesus is quoting Psalm 22 and then we are reminded that forsakeness is not the whole story, after the pain, after the crucifixion comes joy.  It’s friday, but Sunday is coming…

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Here is another wonder. The chief priests  said: “come down so that we can see and believe” – but if he had come down they would have never been able to see or believe.  The Roman Centurion – the Gentile responsible for Jesus death, one “without God and without hope in the world” sees how Jesus died and believes. The sight that brings true life is not the  sight of an impressive miracle, the sight that  brings life is the Crucified Messiah.  Folly to the Greek, weakness to the Jew – but to those being saved the power of God.

The temple curtain torn in two.  We can now enter the holy place – or maybe God now comes out of the holy place to meet us in the world. The temple is gone. We need no more temples – we are the temple, believers gathered together and separated into the world are the temple, God’s presence made known through us as God sends his Spirit to live in us.  The croiss is the moment of ultimate suffering, and of ultimate victory – which does not make us glib in suffering now, but does give us hope in suffering now.  We expect hard times, but we know the joy that is to come because of the victory of Jesus on the cross over sin and death and hell.

Here are the wonders of the cross in the ironies of the cross – here is a wonderful prayer for Good Friday from the Valley of Vision collection (incidently “lustres” = “shines”)

My Father, Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink, tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal light.
My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song, endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine, experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might for ever live.
O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life. O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. Go forth, O conquering God,
and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

Such wonder leads to praise, and here is another wonderful Isaac Watts hymn.  Originally he put “for such a worm as I”, which I have some issues with if such language is used regularly.  Biblically people are not worms, we are fallen individuals who remain bearers of God’s image.  However such language can be thought of as a comparative, and there may well be times when our behaviour has been so wretched and our realisation of what God has done so great, that we use such language – particularly in poetry where images are especially important.  I might not be a worm, but my sinful behaviour may make me at times repulsive.  I suspect such language is better than our modern day preoccupation with feeling good and making life work.  We would probably better off considering the depths of sin more often, and the need for forgiveness and holiness.

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.