Tag Archives: easter

Simple Powerful Hope

Hope

NOUN

  • A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

  • Grounds for believing that something good may happen. ‘he does see some hope for the future’

  • A feeling of trust.

Hope is a vessel where we place our desires, dreams and even our faith in God. It can appear vague, flimsy, incongruent and perhaps illogical. Yet living without hope is like peering into a black hole! Hopelessness is crippling, physically and psychologically. Hope, even the smallest kind against insurmountable odds or just existing in terrible conditions, gives life.

Yet exercising hope that is unrealistic can be crippling and destructive to the person. The best kind of hope is that which you consider to be possible. It is the scent you are following hoping that at the end of the journey you have begun you will find that hope realised. It could be as simple as your favourite dinner or something more meaningful, like social or political change.

Hope is both personal and corporate, it can be held by many or a few. Hope can be contrary to laws, you can have opposing hopes, one who would hope to harm you and one who would hope to survive.

Regardless what you hope in or for, it’s important to have a plan to see that hope fulfilled. The plan may or may not work! Yet looking back through the lens of hindsight the journey for hope can be as just as meaningful as the realisation of hope itself.

At key moments of the year such as getting ready for Christmas or Easter there is always a journey that is made. That journey defines the quality of hope, the emotional connection we have with that which is hoped for. In the journey we discover for ourselves how important that thing is, how much it means to us. Which in turn makes attaining or losing that hope more joyful or more painful.

At this kind of year especially I question my own sense of hope in the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for me, how it completely defines my life and work. How a decision when I was a rebellious, narrow-minded, conflicted, teenager set me on a path I still follow over 25 years later. How this hope has grown with me, and my understanding of this hope has deepened and reshaped my understanding of what God was doing all those thousands of years ago and today in the world. Because of that history it makes it easier for me to answer the question I conclude with:

Would I hold to this hope I have, if I was the only one hoping in all that Jesus offers through his death and resurrection?

I wonder what your answer is and why?

Have a great easter journey and a great Easter 2017.

 

1 Step Towards a Healthier You

There is nothing quite like that first waft of chocolate hitting the nostrils when you open the Easter egg box. Each of us has our own rituals, I’m sure.  I like to take all of my eggs and break them up in a tub so that for the days to come I have a lucky dip of chocolate delights.

Let me explain the step we need to take to become healthier Whilst eating your easter egg. Easter, perhaps more than any other point in the year, offers us the opportunity for a fresh start, to take hold of our health in a new way.
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Easter day +1 Spot The Difference?

lightstock_128162_medium_user_4497717Teach-Girls-End-World-Poverty

Easter monday is upon us and I wonder what yours looks like? Have you begun to devour your egg shaped mountains of chocolate, or perhaps catch up on world news, as ever peppered with riots, military action and poverty. Whether or not you are relaxing or busying yourself, or perhaps spending time in prayer.  For me at least I find myself questioning what difference has Jesus rising from the dead 2014 years ago brought to bear on the world! Sometimes it is hard to see if jesus’ resurrection makes any difference at all, not least in the midst of national and global issues, but even within denominations and churches and personal squabbles against the backdrop of theological or Theo-political viewpoints.

If resurrection day did not happen the world would probably barely know the person of Jesus of Nazareth, He would at best have been relegated to an ancient mythical age of history at the time of Troy, Mary of RomeEmperor Augustus, and Josephus. Jesus may have made it into Wikipedia entry based on his teachings and assertions. Maybe you would find the odd statue, or a museum exhibition dedicated to Jesus’s life and work somewhere near Jerusalem. For certain some people might have tried to hold onto their faith post Jesus death, but would probably have been regarded as a weird Jewish sect. Except the people as known back then as The Way, grew in faith not shrank and claimed and still claim to have a living real, tangible experience of Jesus in and became known as christians!

I have been celebrating easter in a meaningful way as a christian since I was sixteen some twenty-three years ago. I have sympathy for the viewpoint that the resurrection of Jesus barley turns a head or touches a heart at least in my cultural context. Except I don’t know if you are compelled to acts of grace and mercy because you’re kind or because the spirit of God gives you a nudge. But why is it that when street pastors are out on the street, the police notice a calming influence on the nights revellers, and in some places a reduction in crime, it could be coincidence of course or the power of prayer. What about if you leave some money or a purse at christian functions 99% of the time you will get it back. It was christians who largely initiated education and healthcare systems back in the day because they recognised its need, and more recently in response to the poverty they see around them, christians are heavily involved in the creation of food banks in the UK. There are so called christians who use these Jesus communities which we call Church for their own ends and for abusive reasons, but they are in the minority and indeed tarnish our religious and institutional reputations.

The difference that Jesus’s resurrection makes to society is not always obvious or clear, because it is difficult to separate religiosity from the simple faith that Gods son rose from the dead for you and me. That the things or sin that make it impossible for us to enter into heaven might be cleared away. May our lives before we ascend the heavenly staircase, be a tapestry living faith in the light, and reality, of resurrection day? Indeed live faithful lives loving our neighbour at least as much as we claim to love God, not getting sidetracked by scriptural minutiae, mundane religiosity, or hopeless arguments that this side of glory will never be answered to our personal satisfaction.

I am not diminishing the importance of scholarly debate far from it, or healthy discussion and disagreement between friends, but some of the answers we seek won’t be found now, but the answer to the question did Jesus rise from the dead is before us and what is its value in society, it appears at least for me in my 23rd year of following Jesus to be more true and meaningful than when I first became a follower. I see his resurrection affecting the lives of some, bringing hope security to the dying, and purpose and promise to those who know him. I see what motivates my congregations to care, love and serve their church and community sacrificially, not expecting anything in return. I hear the impassioned pleas on behalf of the poor, impoverished and broken, by men and women of God rooted in the understanding and belief, that God so loved the world that he gave his only son that all, and I mean all may know the depth, breadth, and love of God through his son Jesus Christ. Who I am sure will have a long list of questions to answer and with those questions and eternity in which to answer them.

So live today and tomorrows, tomorrows as easter day +1 in all the awe, wonder, worship, brilliance and giddiness that might bring, as we unashamedly live out our faith, not expecting or manipulating a response other than perhaps putting a smile on someones face, and being a genuine blessing to others, on behalf of others, willing for them the best life ever.

Easter Saturday

On Easter Saturday, i wonder what one of the disciples might have put into their diary, (if they had one) perhaps something a little like this.

Dear Diary,

 I have been taken for a fool, I feel embarrassed, how could i have fallen for, Jesus lines, about newness of life. Was everything he said a lie? His miracles, were they just tricks? Does God even exist beyond the temple courts and religious trapping?

A God I believed and which Jesus spoke of, that knew my name, the numbers of hairs on my head, a God who says i am more important than the birds of the field. How could i have been so stupid, Jesus took our hope to the cross and with him it died.

I cant face tomorrow, its so hard, I hide from the jeers of others and the laughter. It seams everyone else saw through Jesus, and stupid dumb, overoptimistic me, believed, and ridiculously still hopes something will happen. But who ever heard someone walking away from crucifixion!

I’m so pathetic.

 

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