Saturday, 4 April 2015

A crown of thorns

An Easter Reflection

Mat 27:27 Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.
Mat 27:28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,
Mat 27:29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said.
Mat 27:30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.
Mat 27:31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

And the King took it all ...

Why didn't he save himself from this?
Why didn't he speak up?
Why did he just stand there and take it all?

Jesus, God incarnate, totally human, totally divine. In the hands of people who wanted him dead. His message of a new kingdom rejected because it spoke too plainly about the ways in which the priests and authorities were getting it wrong.

To make their point, their joke, even more harsh to this man they despised and rejected, they made him a mock king in their eyes, draping a cloak over him, making a crown of thorns. Pressing that crown onto his head, the thorns, cutting into his flesh and creating rivulets of blood.

And the King took it all ...

Isa 53:3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Isa 53:4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

Jesus, should have been honoured and glorified, should have been revered not beaten, abused, insulted and ridiculed.

"He is a king, lets dress him like one, lets play with him, lets hurt him as we prepare him. How can he be a king, the son of God? Look at him, he can't save himself, there is no power, no might, just a deluded, broken man."

And the King took it all ...

He took it all for me, for me who truly deserves just punishment for my sin. He took it and did it all for me, not because I deserve it what he has done, but because he loves me ...

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Fairy tale Endings

Last night when we got home, Nicola and I sat and watched a rerun of a "chick flick", Pretty Woman. Nicola loves these sorts of movies while I am more an action and adventure type, but its always good to sit and spend a little time together :-)

Anyway, one of the phrases that came up when Vivian (Julia Roberts) was asked what she wanted by Edward (Richard Gere), "The whole fairy tale". He was offering a nice place to live, money, clothes and a car, for her to be there when he wanted. For her it was not enough, she wanted a different kind of dream and so turned him down, "I want the whole fairy tale" she told him.

If you have watched the film you will know that it all works out and the fairy tale comes true.

For many there is no fairy tale ending in life. I was coming home last night from something our church has started as a place to include folks who feel excluded, marginalised or just plain lonely. People who often feel the church has no place or time for them. We call it "Hope Cafe". Our friends come from the homeless in the town, some are recently off of the streets, then there are those who are alone or feel lonely, others who are looking for something they have not found as yet. For them there is no fairy tale ending. But at Hope Cafe we offer a listening ear, friendship and a chance to find out about Jesus.

Was the cross a fairy tale ending for Jesus, or for his disciples or for us?

There was no fairy tale in sight for Jesus, no one came to rescue him and take him away from all of that. It had to be done and it had to be completed, he was the only one who could do it.

For the disciples it must have felt like the worst of disasters, their leader, their teacher, the one they gave up everything to follow was dead!

Fortunately for them and for us, God's plan did not stop on Good Friday with Jesus' death. On the third day he rose again, death could not contain him. The real hope comes from the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and through him we are offered a chance to get right with God. The resurrection is the triumph of the saviour, Jesus, over death, over the cost of human sin (wrong doing). Not that I am saying that is a fairy tale ending, because in my experience fairy tale endings don't happen. Knowing Jesus as our saviour does not mean we will have all of our problems solved, all of our dreams come true and live happily ever after. It does mean that no matter what we experience in life, he is with us, he can be relied upon to walk with us in it.

Our friends at Hope Cafe don't get fairy tale endings but with help from many agencies some of the homeless ones have found homes, jobs and a chance, with support, to start again. The lonely are finding listening ears, the excluded and marginalised are finding a place that wants them there. Some have found or are looking into the saviour who loves them.