Good Friday, love, Worth

The Indestructible £5

The new £5 is meant to be indestructible? Right? wrong!

I want my money back! I was reading an article about how someone hit a £5 with an axe and it still wouldn’t break.

I thought I’d do a clever talk around £5 being unbreakable, then I’d link to God’s love that didn’t break or tear away from us, even when Jesus was nailed to a cross, or sealed in a tomb.

Love so indestructible that Christ over-came death, hell, sin and everything that separates us from a relationship with God.

It even tied in with the song Meekness and Majesty as it has the line “Love indestructible in frailty appears” (why is it that when Easter comes so do all the old Graham Kendrick songs?).

Yet it took one 6 year old to ruin my talk!

An axe couldn’t split a £5 but a 6 year old could destroy it in seconds.

In fact my fiver got ripped in two (and no this isn’t a clever way into talking about the Temple Curtain ripping in two, from the top to the bottom symbolising that they way is now open to God!)

At the end of my talk the £5 was presented stuck back together with cellotape, and was told that the bank would swap it (not that the kid gave my £5 back!)

But this sort of illustrated my other £5 note talk, where I used to screw up some money, threaten to clean my ears out or blow my nose on it… but yet however broken or disfigured the note got it was still worth £5 for as long as the words “I promise to pay the barer the sum of of five founds” visible upon it. I normally go onto say that this is like us, no matter how battered we get, no matter how much we get screwed up or stuff is done to us, our value does not diminish at all in God’s eyes, he still sees us as precious and valuable, so precious that God sent Jesus to die for us.

God says you and I are worth dying for.

Reminded of a kids song… “I’m special because God has loved me for he gave the best thing that he had to save me, his own son Jesus, crucified to take the blame for all the bad things I have done, thank you Jesus, thank you Lord, for loving me so much I know I don’t deserve anything, help me feel your love right now, to knw deep within my heart that I’m your special friend”.


Easter, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Resurrection

The Third Day…

“It’s FRIDAY but SUNDAY is coming” -Said Tony Campolo, but some you might be asking, what about Saturday, isn’t there anything to say about Saturday?

The THIRD Day appears often in scripture, obviously and most famously Jesus’ resurrection, but it was on the third day that Lazarus was raised from the dead and it was on the third day that the wine ran out at the wedding at Canna.

The first day is the event happens, the change is made, something is done, and the third day is the day when we see intervention, but the Saturday is a day of waiting, of watching, of faith (and of doubt),  it is a time of powerlessness, and a time of reflection.

We live in a world of cuppa soups and instant coffee, a rushing society, a society that wants everything yesterday, twitching impatiently whilst waiting for an instant broadband connection.

Waiting, complexity and the reality of the ebb of faith and the flow of doubt (and vice versa) are in many ways a gift, in the pressure and darkness of a rose-bud is what produces its colour and scent, the pressure, the waiting, the wrestle, the space to explore, the journey and not just the destination often teach us so much, and yet it is human nature to try and short-circuit waiting, watching, uncertainty and doubt, the time when (like the rose-bud) God wants to shape, fashion and work within us.

Sometimes, in the time of waiting, we encounter ourselves, not as we would like to be, but as we really are. I wonder whether the book of Acts would have ever been written had Simon-Peter not had time and space over the hours between the Crucifixion and beach encounter that ends the Gospel of John.

Growth is rarely instantaneous.

Shaping is rarely painless.

Pressure can turn a lump of coal into either a pile of dust of a beautiful diamond.

I was wondering whether the Third Day was a picture, not just of the time between the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, but actually a picture of the reality of the life we live in. We are people who live post-resurrection but we are also people who live pre-Christ’s final return.

In the resurrection we have salvation assured and the reign of the King begins but is yet to be fully realized until his return in glory to judge the world. Some have likened this to the time in between D Day (when the 2nd World War was won, and before the peace was declared in V.E Day (Victory in Europe Day). In many ways our whole lives are lived on something of a Holy Week Saturday, waiting patiently for the coming of the King. Living in the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’ tension of life where we see the Kingdom breaking into ordinary lives but not in its fullness and entirety, where things aren’t always as we expect, want or hope, where we have questions of faith and doubt ebbing and flowing in our minds and lives.

Yet in this crucible time, are we letting God shape us, grow us, develop us and fashion us; he wants us to become diamonds not piles of coal dust, he wants the work he has done within us to be like the rose bud beautiful and fragrant.

So let us not rush to Sunday just yet, let’s be open to what the Holy Spirit wants to do in us and through us on the Saturday which will add the the beauty and richness of the arrival of the Sunday.

Lets not waste our Saturday, but say to God;

“What do you want to teach me?”

“What can I learn in this time?”

“How are you going to shape me?”

So let’s make the most of the Saturdays God gives us.

Good Friday, hope, Matthew 6:8

To Be Continued…

Today we had a whole load of prayer stations for our Elevenses Service and some letters hidden around the place to spell

TO – BE – Continued.

The idea that although we are talking about Jesus dying and being placed in the tomb, we don’t want the kids (or their parents) going away thinking that Jesus is dead.

It made me think that how often in our Churchy circles we so often talk about Jesus dying for us, or the centrality of the cross, but we don’t talk as much about the resurrection as probably we should.

In many ways the fact that Jesus died is very sad, but quite normal, many, many  people died in horrific ways.

Many people died sacrificially.

Many people died horrifically who were innocent.

Yet none of these, apart from Jesus, rose again from the dead. This turned a tragic event, into a “this changes everything” history making moment.

Unique in history.

Ultimately Christianity stands or falls not on Christ’s death, but on his resurrection.

Without the resurrection today would be a tragedy, if the resurrection didn’t happen the apostle Paul says “we are to be pitied more than all people”, as our hope is not based on the fact that Jesus died but on him rising again.

We call it Good Friday because it is a day when death was defeated.

We call it Good Friday, because death didn’t and doesn’t get the final word.

Today we were worried people might leave our service not knowing Christ rose again, but what of the other 365 days of the year? I worry as Christians we talk a lot about Jesus’death and the cross, we must never, ever, forget to keep on tell the world not just that Christ was Crucified, but Christ is alive today.

Let us be people that tell the world the story doesn’t end at the cross….

Keep going to the end of the book!