Encouragement From The Word

Don’t hide your ‘alleluias’

The English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) wrote prolifically, and focused frequently on her vibrant faith.  An Oxford Movement Anglican, she often structured her poetry around the Christian year.

Here is one of her poems for Lent, the season which, this year, began on Wednesday of this week.

It is good to be last not first,

            Pending the present distress;

It is good to hunger and thirst,

            So it be for righteousness.

It is good to spend and be spent,

            It is good to watch and to pray:

Life and Death make a goodly Lent

            So it leads us to Easter Day.

What strikes me about that poem is the very last line.  It reminds us of the purpose of Lent.  It is not an end in itself, nor is it some sort of religious diet or austerity plan.  It is a means to an end.  Lent is designed to prepare us for Easter.

Just as a measured celebration of Advent makes Christmas more special, so too does Lent, celebrated appropriately, make Easter more meaningful.  By “celebrated appropriately”, one could mean any number of things, but at the very least, it means remembering that there are but 40 days in Lent:  Sundays are not included.  Each Sunday remains a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.  There is no reason to hide our ‘alleluias’ on those Sundays, because each Lord’s Day is a reminder that the Lord is risen.

So, be last and not first; hunger and thirst; spend and be spent – as long as it leads to Easter Day.  The story ends well, indeed, victoriously!  Keep that end in mind, however you choose to celebrate Lent.

But thank God!  He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15.57, NLT).

Advertisements
Biblical Messages

Victory!

This Easter Day, we celebrate the victory that’s ours over sin and death through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  What’s the impact?  What’s the relevance?  Based on 1 Corinthians 15.50-58, you can listen here:

 

 

Or you can watch the video on our church Facebook page, even without an account:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjeff.loach%2Fvideos%2F10212062857783893%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Biblical Messages, Uncategorized

Gloriously Undead

The message of Easter is that Jesus’ resurrection sets us free from sin and grants us life eternal.  Who doesn’t want that?  Yet many of us place barriers in the way.  The big question in this message, based on 1 Corinthians 15.35-39, 50-58 is this:  What has to die in you so that Jesus can come alive?  Listen here:

Encouragement From The Word

Afraid? Of what?

I shared a poem at a memorial service this week which I had used many years ago, but stumbled upon again. It was written by a missionary to China in response to a number of missionary martyrdoms, and has always, for me, been a powerful testament to what Jesus’ death and resurrection mean for Christians, a poignant illustration of the apostle Paul’s words to the church in Corinth when he quoted Isaiah: “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Corinthians 15.54b, NIV).

 

Read this slowly and meditatively, and let its meaning wash over you today.

 

Afraid? Of What?

To feel the spirit’s glad release?

To pass from pain to perfect peace,

The strife and strain of life to cease?

Afraid – of that?

 

Afraid? Of What?

Afraid to see the Saviour’s face

To hear his welcome, and to trace

The glory gleam from wounds of grace?

Afraid – of that?

 

Afraid? Of What?

A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;

Darkness, light, O Heaven’s art!

A wound of His a counterpart?

Afraid – of that?

 

Afraid? Of What?

To do by death what life could not –

Baptized with blood a stony plot,

Till souls shall blossom from the spot?

Afraid – of that?