Saviour

Saviour

I do not have a particularly disciplined approach to Lenten fasting. It’s too easy to get lost in trying to keep a fast at the expense of why we fast. So I’m challenged by the like of Isaiah 58

“Is not this the fast that I choose:[says the Lord]     to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

This is more about ‘doing’ something positive for those who are oppressed by their situation than giving something up. It is to make a difference in community. Perhaps even to introduce people to the Saviour.

 

The Lent study group this year has been looking into the Letter to the Colossians. It is a letter of encouragement to give thanks for one another and get to know God better. It considers that through our relationship with Jesus we can develop a firm foundation for life. It encourages us to keep the momentum of faith going by calling us into the family likeness of Christ, and calls the reader into a life of compassion, action and grace, even when the going gets tough.

 

During the last few weeks we have had Comic Relief and also witnessed the devastation of Cyclone Idai which swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe with such overwhelming effects. We are becoming used to seeing these kinds of disasters and appeals. They may not be on our streets, but they are in our homes on TV. Whatever the causes, as Christians we endeavour not to hide ourselves from ‘your own kin’. In other words, not to stand by and do nothing. Perhaps one of our responses might be in making a donation using the Christian Aid envelopes available at the back of church. (Other aid agencies are available).

 

Suffering can make us reassess what faith really means to us. Can we approach such difficulties and disasters and stay faithful? Paul’s letter says that if we are to be Christ-like then not only do we need to be compassionate people, but also enduring people. Indeed, to stay faithful is to be Christ-like. He suffered bitter pain and loss of life for us on a cross. Are we ready to become that Christ-like?

 

As we draw close to Easter it’s that time when we journey with Christ into Jerusalem. The attention of the gospel heralds him as King and we read his final teachings. There’s the symbolism of washing the disciples feet, the Last Supper with his friends. BUT then there’s the crushing heartache in the garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal of Judas, the arrest and then the denial of his friend Peter.  These events culminate in a sham trial and finally – crucifixion. It is perhaps the most sombre period of the Church year. A time of bitter pain. An emotional roller coaster. Ultimately we know that just around the corner is the joy of resurrection, but for now it can feel like we’re in the doldrums of a spiritual melancholy. It can feel like the no hope of a Friday, and yet, (pause a moment) and yet Sunday’s coming!!!

 

There’s not a victory without a fight

There’s not a sunrise without a night

There’s not a purchase without a cost

There’s not a crown, without a cross

© G Davis/B Farrell *  (Listen to this song on line at: https://goo.gl/RwwQhP )

 

 

What a beautiful and powerful name is Jesus. – Christ my King.

May you know the joy of the Saviour, risen, ascended, glorified!