Pause for Thought

Sunday 3rd April: 2022 ;  Passion Sunday:  John 12 1-8

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, the hometown of Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.  So they hosted a dinner for Jesus there. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with Him.  Then Mary took about a pint of expensive perfume, made of pure nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was going to betray Him, asked, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?”  Judas did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money bag, he used to take from what was put into it.  “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “She has kept this perfume in preparation for the day of My burial.  The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me.”

Mary’s action was overwhelmingly generous;  knowing how much even a drop of perfume can quickly fill a room, one pint of it must have been immediately eye-wateringly apparent.  Judas was quick to point a finger and complain at her action – for all the wrong reasons, as, had they sold it, he would have kept most if not all of the proceeds.  But Mary’s actions came from her deep love of Jesus, and his teachings.

Do we respond with love to Jesus’ gifts to us?  Remembering that all we have actually comes from God, do we thank him with actions as well as with our lips?  How can we today show our love and gratitude with a generous gift – for God, to someone else?

 

Sunday 10th April, 2022:  Palm Sunday:  Luke 22 14 – 23

When the hour had come, Jesus reclined at the table with His apostles. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering.  For I tell you that I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves.  For I tell you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you. Look! The hand of My betrayer is with Mine on the table. Indeed, the Son of Man will go as it has been determined, but woe to that man who betrays Him.” Then they began to question among themselves which of them was going to do this.

After Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem he goes with his disciples for what he knows will be his last meal to spend quality time with them.  His words on this solemn occasion are the basis for our communion service today and for over 2,000 years Christians have been celebrating what we know as The Last Supper.  He is giving his disciples the reminder of what he is about to do – laying down his own life in order to save the whole world – and tells them to remember his actions and his words. 

As we start Holy Week and remember the events which led up to Jesus’ death on the cross, we pause in our lives to take on board the enormity of what happened.  God’s own son – the God who made the whole world, made us, made everything we have – willingly gave up his life so that we could be forgiven for all the wrong thoughts and actions in our lives.  Let us take time to ask God’s forgiveness, and thank him yet again for all his love.

 

Sunday 17th April, 2022:  EASTER DAY:  Luke 24: 1-12

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were puzzling over this, suddenly two men in radiant apparel stood beside them. As the women bowed their faces to the ground in terror, the two men asked them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’” Then they remembered His words.  And when they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 

Halleluiah!  He is risen.  That first Easter morning must have been so sad, strange and eventually wonderful.  They were confused, frightened, and no longer the confident disciples who had been listening to and following Jesus for three years.  Suddenly their whole world was turned upside down.  Then they discover the impossible – Jesus has done what he told them would happen.  He has indeed risen from the dead and is alive.

We come with great joy this morning to thank God for this great mystery – that his promise to the world was fulfilled; that Jesus did rise from the dead; he is alive – he is with us, everyone of us, today and every day.  Halleluiah.  Let us rejoice together

                                    Our best wishes to you all for a joyous Easter

 

24th April, 2022:  2nd Sunday of Easter:  John 20  19-23

It was the first day of the week, and that very evening, while the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you!” He said to them. After He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so also I am sending you.” When He had said this, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

Jesus knew his disciples would struggle to accept that he was alive.  It’s so easy to forget words of encouragement and move forward in faith when we are faced with challenges, upheaval, loss and immense sadness in our lives.  Jesus came to his disciples to prove to them that what he had told them was true – and he comes to us today with the same confirmation that he is with us, surrounding us, helping us and supporting us, sharing our sorrows, and our joys.

Can we respond to his offer of love today?  Can we accept him into our lives, knowing that they will be transformed if we do so?  Come Lord Jesus – be with us in our everyday lives as we go forward in the strength of your promises and presence.

 




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