‘Re-member you need help’

Luke 24:4, 5, 6
While they were wondering, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lighting stood beside them. The men said, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee.

            Many people look out on a beautiful day and say, “God is good, what a wonderful thing He has made!” Many look out on that same beautiful day and say, “what wonderful beauty, it’s amazing how this world comes together!” They both see the beauty, they both speak a truth, yet for one it’s obvious that God Almighty, Creator of all, is at work; whereas for the other they just don’t see that, for them Creation is not proof of a Creator. And you know this, that two people can look at the same thing and see in it something different; especially if you’ve every helped a child find something, ‘go get your teddy,’ ‘I can’t find it,’ ‘look there it is on the couch, there, just up a bit, yep you’ve found it now.’ Sometimes we need help to really see what we’re looking at, to understand what is going on; we even need help to remember.

            Named across the gospels, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, Salome, Mary the wife of Cleopas, Susanna, Mary and Martha of Bethany, and possibly others came to the tomb to visit Jesus and to anoint His body after the rushed burial before the Sabbath’s rest at the end of Friday. Yet when they came to the tomb it was open. They saw the open tomb, they entered and saw the empty grave clothes, they saw the evidence yet they wondered. They did not understand what they were seeing. They did not remember what Jesus had said, who Jesus was. They needed help. And God sent His messengers, in Greek His angelous, to help them. To help them see the message, the Truth, to help them remember Christ’s promise. “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 with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” After these helpful words, they remembered Christ’s words. These women, disciples of Jesus, needed help to see what was in front of their eyes, needed help to understand the Truth.

            Now they understand they are sent back by God to the eleven who would be sent out by God into the world, or in Greek, they are apostles to the apostles. Eight or more witnesses to God’s message through His angels. They try to help the Eleven out of their grief, guilt and despair and tell them all that had happened, yet the eleven in their despair did not believe. However, Peter and John did get up and run to the tomb, they saw Christ’s burial clothes sticky with Myrrh, lying by themselves and went away wondering. The women had helped them out of paralysing despair, into a confused, yet perhaps hopeful, wondering.

            Then Peter, after Christ Himself revealed the Truth, is again helped by a vision and the work of the Holy Spirit to share God’s love with Gentiles and welcome them into God’s family. As we heard from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter helps Cornelius to understand the Truth of God’s grace. And later Paul is also helping young Christian congregations sending out letters to help them understand, to know the Truth of the Gospel, the Truth of Christ’s Church, the Truth of God’s work, God’s help through visions, angels, pastors and women.

And this has been the case all the way through our history, down to today. We all need help. We all need encouragement. All of us at some point or another fail to see what is right in front of our eyes. This is why God has given us companions, as He said in the Garden, ‘it is not good for the human to be alone, I will make a helper’ (Genesis 2:18). This is why He has given us parents, to help us grow up into the lives God has given us (Ephesians 6:4). This is why He has given families, and especially our Christian family, the family of God, Christ’s Church (Hebrews 10:19-25). And this is why we gather today; to help each other together remember the Words of our Lord; to be united with the wonder of all the Mary’s and also Peter; to remember that Christ did not stay dead, He was not defeated, yet rather He rose, He took His life back from death, He rose and stood in victory over the gates of hell, the devil and the corruption of this world. Jesus resurrected, and now He stands victorious over your sin, your death and your demons.

Jesus, the Word of the Lord, stands forever! He will not be shaken and His victory is sure, so hold firmly to Him as you struggle. Remember to take your stand with Him and not the distractions of this world. Remember your brothers and sisters in Him, help them and seek their help. Remember the help of God, yes visions, angels, people, yet most certainly Jesus Himself and His good words passed down for you. And remember we don’t always understand what we see, you need help.

And so, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and forever! Amen.
Pastor Joseph Graham.

‘Speaking eggs and praying buns’

Psalm 118:17
I will not die, but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done!

            Shouts of joy and victory! Christ is Victor! Our enemies are defeated! Sin is dead, the devil is bound, and death O death where is your sting? It’s gone, that’s why we’ve chocolate eggs, not chilli or prickle ones. Now, I know they’ve only been chocolate for 200yrs, but the egg has always been a symbol, a reminder of Christ’s empty tomb, His death from which comes life. It looks like a stone, something dead; and yet from the chook egg comes a live chicken, at least if there’s been a rooster involved. A symbol of life out of death, and now it’s sweet chocolate, a reminder of Paul’s words, ‘to live is Christ and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:21). For the Christian death is now nothing to be feared, it’s merely a temporary pain. For we know we have been baptised into Christ, the rhythm of His life, into His death and resurrection (Romans 6).

            So, we pray together with Him, ‘I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done!’ And another food that proclaims Jesus’ victory is the hot cross bun. The cross is obvious, Christ died that shameful and excruciating death; then traditionally spices are used, as incense and myrrh on His body to the tomb (John 19:39); but His death is sweet for us (Colossians 1:22), He’s the firstfruit of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20), so there’s the fruit and sugar; also no flat bread buns, because Christ is Risen indeed! Hallelujah!

            So, we can proclaim His victory with each egg we eat, every bun we munch, that our lives are joined to His and He sustains us according to the Promise. This is the Gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, Lord of all! (Acts 10) No need to fear this mystery, for God has revealed today His salvation, we have seen it! (Mark 16; Luke 2:30) By God’s grace hold firmly to the Good News of Christ’s victory and don’t reject it. (1 Corinthians 15) For ‘the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this and it’s marvellous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice and be glad in it! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ And as we join with Him, ‘give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.’ (Psalm 118)

            The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now unto the Resurrection. Amen! Christ is Risen!

Pastor Joseph Graham.

Easter Sunday

The Text: Matthew 28:1-10


That first Good Friday must have seemed anything but good. Along with some other faithful followers, the two Marys had seen their Lord tortured and suffering in unthinkable agony. Mocked,humiliated and left to die. They sat on the sidelines and watched the life drain from His once strong body. The One who had spoken with such authority and hope, now lifeless and hanging on a cross. All their hopes were snuffed out just as surely as His life was. After taking His body down from the cross, they had done all they could. Hurriedly preparing Him for burial so they could observe the Sabbath, they left that garden tomb with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.

And so when dawn breaks on the first day of the week, they tentatively make their way back to the tomb. Every step bringing them closer to the hopelessness they left behind on Friday. Every step bringing them closer to the tears and grief and despair they know is coming as they prepare themselves for the sadistic mocking that seems to come from every tomb and grave.

Jesus final words from the cross were ‘it is finished’. But to the ladies and to all who looked on, it seemed as though death had had the final word.

Isn’t that the way we experience life and death as well? Even as Christians we live out our days, knowing the hope that is ours in Christ, and yet every grave we visit seems to mock us. Every funeral we attend seems to taunt us to doubt the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ. Tempting us to despair, to heart break, to hopelessness. As long as we remain this side of eternity, the grave will always seem deceptively powerful. And now that he is defeated, the Devil will always try to convince you that it is the end. But today the Holy Spirit reveals the hidden truth for all who trust in Jesus for forgiveness. He reveals the divine reality that death is not strong enough to hold our Lord and so is no longer strong enough to hold any of us who have our lives in Him. Christ is risen! [He is risen indeed!] And because He is risen, death and the grave look completely different to us.

It’s not that we’re supposed to suddenly see death as a good thing. But in light of the Easter resurrection death is no longer the fiercesome enemy it once was. Jesus has made His way through death to life. In paying the penalty for our sins, He has broken death’s hold on us and transformed it into a doorway to eternity. As we live and even as we die, we can do so knowing that our Lord and Saviour has been through the valley of the shadow death and has come out the other side. He knows the way and has promised to be us to the very end of the age – and so He will even lead us through death to life. Because Jesus lives, because His tomb is empty, our graves are no longer the pits of hopelessness they once were.

Is there any better news than that? Why is it then, that most of the time our lives don’t seem any less filled with anxieties than the disciples’ were? If we know that Jesus is risen from the dead, if we know He has conquered our greatest enemies, why are we so often just as afraid, just as worked up, just as worried as the ladies were on that first Easter morning?

From our text it is clear that the reason the two Marys were despairing is the same reason our lives lose that resurrection joy and confidence shortly after the chocolate buzz wears off each Easter. And that reason is that we forget what Jesus has told us. You see when the ladies showed up at the tomb, we get all distracted by the fact that an angel spoke to them. But all that angel did was remind them of what Jesus had already said.

“Do not be alarmed”, the angel said, “I know who you’re looking for. Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified; nailed to the tree; taken down dead and carried right here! Well, ladies, you are lookin in the wrong place. He has risen. He is not here. He’s alive! You didn’t really think that death could hold Him down, did you? I mean, you knew Him! You saw what His Word could do. Off you go. Go tell His disciples that He is going ahead of you all to Galilee. You’ll see Him there, just as He told you.”

Just as He told you! If the ladies had simply remembered Jesus’ Word, they would have spared themselves a whole lot of heartache! But so often we forget what He has said, and even when we remember the words, we forget how reliable they are. Jesus’ promises come true no matter what. The problem lies with us forgetting or doubting what He has told us. Today we are encouraged to give up arguing with Jesus and believe and rejoice in what He tells us. You’ll find that every word of the Lord proves true. The ladies did, and when they remembered the words Jesus had told them, their fear of the unknown was now mixed with an overwhelming sense of joy. “Just as He told you.” How many of the anxieties and worries of our lives would evaporate if we always remembered what our Lord told us and what He has accomplished?

But, of course, wrapping your mind around the resurrection is no easy task when the reality of life starts to bite. Death and all sorts of other hassles seem to be the only things that are guaranteed in this world. We’re used to carrying each other to the grave. We’re used to saying “goodbyes” that are forever in this age. We’re used to trying to sort things out ourselves. Feeling responsible for our failures. Overwhelmed by the sin and shame that still weighs us down. Feeling condemned that even after celebrating a life time of Easters, you still don’t have your act together.

But remember what Jesus has told you. Remember what His word declares has taken place over these three holy days. He is the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in Him, even though they die, will live forever. He came not for the healthy, not for those who had their act together, but for the sick and stumbling like you and me. He has swallowed up your sin and shame and left it lifeless in the tomb. His blood has washed you clean as snow and He has promised to keep you in true faith as you simply listen to Him. Jesus has conquered death and the grave and is risen to reign eternally for you

Listen to these words of the risen One. He told us that death couldn’t hold Him – and He was right! And He tells us that He will meet us today to fills us with His resurrection blessings as He comes to us in bread and wine. At the altar this morning, He will pour more life into you than you’ll ever need; more forgiveness than all the world’s sin; more joy than all the sorrows of this age; more peace than all the fretting of your life. Just as He told you! Amen.

Easter Sunday

1 Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

  Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Resurrection Sunday the Great Celebration of life over death, Jesus bursting from the grave to new and vigorous life! He, just like all people descendent from Adam, died; died on the cross. He was buried, but death could not hold Him, death is defeated and in Jesus there is no fear of that final enemy. Still today we search for ways to delay death, try to fight that enemy that comes for all people; many intelligent people are searching for a way to prolong our lives here on earth, to improve the quality of life as we age and even to try and find a way for immortality in this life. Certainly much good has come from this, but this world is not perfect, it is sick with sin and suffering. Our forefather Adam and Eve the mother of the living, turned away from God and went their own way; they left the source of all life, God Almighty, and tried their luck with the serpent and knowledge. And still today all humans are good children of that couple, seeking for more, for immortality, stability and power in this life, going our own way and rejecting God’s love and life itself. We all face death because of our sin and like an addiction we cannot get out by ourselves.

            But we are not by ourselves. Jesus is with us. The Holy Spirit was sent to walk alongside you, to advocate and encourage you. In baptism God promises that we are now His children, restored to His family like the prodigal son. In baptism we are together with Jesus, we are joined back to the source of life, so now death has no power over us (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)! Jesus says that those who believe will not perish, even if they die, still they will live (John 11:25)! Glory to God our Father! This is the wonder of Resurrection Sunday, that Jesus rose from the dead, not to die again as Lazarus, the widows child, or any number of people who have come back from being dead. Death no longer has any power of Jesus, He rose from the dead not just for His everlasting life, but for yours. If we are joined with Him in His death to sin, surely we will rise again in a new, everlasting and glorified life like His (Romans 6:1-14; Philippians 3:21).

Jesus rose, and as certain as that is, you who are joined to Him in baptism and Holy Communion have life everlasting. On Good Friday we see our sin and evil destroyed, wonderful thing that this is, without the new life of today we are left suffering in this evil world. But this world is not the end. Those scientists that seek to extend life, even if they are successful will not reach the peace, joy and love that only the Triune God provides. With Jesus we are truly free from sin, from guilt and shame, free from the destruction our desires bring on ourselves, freed from sin, death and the devil. Yes will still suffer temptation and evil in this world, just as Jesus did, but just as it was promised that we would be freed from the power of sin and death, so He has promised, that just as He died and rose, so too you and I will be renewed when He returns at the resurrection of the dead, when sin, death and the devil will be destroyed. Now this wonderful comfort, you are forgiven, you are in Jesus a new creation a new life, this is not just for you, but for all people!

We heard from Acts Peter’s realisation that salvation was not just for the Jews, but for all people in all the world, for us and every different type of person. This offer of forgiveness and new life is for all people. So Jesus told the disciples to preach, to speak of His love to all people, to testify that Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead and that everyone who trusts His forgiveness is forgiven. It does not matter if you are Greek, German, Tigrinya, Australian, rich, poor, the nicest person down the street, a rapist, or even a politician; this message, this Good News, is for all people. For all people have turned away, all have sinned, all people face death, but God rich in mercy, many times more merciful than us, does not wish our destruction, rather that all people turn back to life, to love, to Jesus Christ, the King of kings, Lord of all and saviour of sinners. In sin all die, but in Jesus all will be made alive.

And the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and forever. Amen.

Pastor Joseph Graham

Easter Sunday


Matthew 28:1-10


Dear Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit on us so that we do not fear, but trust in the words of our resurrected Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hands up all those who have ever felt an earthquake? Our brothers and sisters in New Zealand are all too familiar with feeling the earth shake beneath their feet.

I’m sure they would tell us that this can be terrifying, because there is nothing firm, nothing staying still and secure for you to stand on. The best approach is to get to a place that at least might offer at least some protection from falling objects, or to keep you safe from the walls toppling down on top of you.

But there’s another type of earthquake that most of us have felt, or will one day feel. This is where our life gets very shaky. The things that we have trusted as firm and secure have suddenly become very insecure. For example, you may have had a good job, secure investments, and a great house to live in. But how did, or would you feel, if you lost your job, all your hard earned investments or your house was lost?

Or, perhaps it’s not property, but you may have had good health. You do everything right, you look after yourself, eat and drink the right things, but then your health fails. Your strong legs, hands, or heart become very shaky and you feel you will never be the same again and you grieve for lost opportunities.

Maybe you lose friends or family. You may have had a good spouse that was taken away by tragedy, or through bitter and gut wrenching divorce. You may have lost siblings or close friends that you think you will never be able to replace.

Whatever it is, we have either faced it or will one day face it. We will be faced with times of upheaval, turmoil and our future will look very shaky. The things we had previously put our faith in, or relied upon, are snatched like a rug from under our feet, and we grasp at anything that promises even a glimpse of security.

Now imagine you are Mary Magdalene or the other Mary. Your world has been tossed up, shaken and torn. The man, who promised so much, had been gruesomely killed and laid to rest in a tomb. This man had performed miracles, he had stood up to teach those in authority how to live according to God’s Word, and he had even raised people from the dead. Yet, when he died without a whimper, your hopes and dreams are shattered. Where is your hope now?

As you try to cope with the emotional earthquakes over the past few days, you go to the tomb to see it once more. On your way, you experience a physical earthquake.

The guards at the tomb also feel the earthquake. Along with the shaking of the ground, they see an angel of the Lord in shining white who rolled back the stone in front of the tomb. Most appropriately, they did the only logical thing when faced with such strange sights – they shook like an earthquake themselves and fell over as if they were dead.

It’s strange that St Matthew alone focuses so much on earthquakes and shakings. There are several times in his gospel account where he points out a violent shaking. For example, when Jesus died, the earth shook and rocks split. The guards around Jesus saw the shaking and bore witness that Jesus is the Son of God. When Jesus rose from dead, the earth shook once more and the guards witnessed it again.

Matthew is trying to tell us something.

He is trying to point back to other times when the earth shook. As we look in the bible, we see that when the Israelites were around Mt Sinai, the earth shook. God sat on Mt Sinai and the ground shook. Perhaps Matthew is pointing to the fact that when the earth shook at these times, God was present on earth? These were times when God acted. These were times when God sent his judgement.

God was in action at the time of Jesus’ death and at the time of his resurrection.

Yet earthquakes bring fear. Where is our security when everything has changed, moved all around and been taken away from us? As the two Mary’s walked toward the tomb and felt the earthquake, did they think, ‘Oh, it’s ok, God’s at work?’ No, in fact they were terrified. Their whole world had been turned upside down.

At the time when they thought God was absent and defeated, the angel said those wonderful words; ‘Do not be afraid.’ Later, when they hurried from the tomb with mixed feelings of fear and joy, how did Jesus himself greet them? ‘Do not be afraid.’

Why shouldn’t they be afraid? Why shouldn’t we be afraid?

Because God is at work. In the midst of turmoil and upheaval, God is at work. As Jesus is raised from the death, God’s judgement has been carried out. Our wicked foe has been defeated. Jesus rose triumphant from the grave. Death has been defeated.

Yeah, yeah, so what!

We’ve heard this a hundred times before.

Every year, and even a few times during the year, we hear those words. We hear Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. We hear death has been defeated. But what has that got to do with my struggles at work, my struggles at home, my fading health and my loss of friends and family?


It’s when the physical, emotional and mental earthquakes surround us and we feel like we are on shaky ground, the words the angel and Jesus spoke to the women are the most welcome and reassuring words we want to hear: Do not be afraid.


Because what’s the worst that can happen?

We could die.

Well, in this case, do not be afraid! Death is defeated and life is victorious.

Since we are joined to the body of Christ through baptism, we have already risen. Jesus has already died our death for us. He carried our shame, guilt and punishment for our wrongs to the grave with him. He entered that great devouring mouth called death. But instead of being swallowed by that gaping and hideous mouth, he devoured death itself. Death now has no teeth. Previously our picture of death was this huge mouth full of rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth, waiting to gobble us up. Instead, the mouth is no more harmful than a newborn baby with those massaging soft gums.

Now, since he has risen to new life, we too have risen with him. Through Christ and his resurrection, we have already crossed over that dark chasm and now live in the light of eternal life.

This is the reason we do not fear – because death has lost its sting. Because Christ lives, we live also.

This helps us face our daily earthquakes. We discover that when we think we only have shaky ground, we instead have the most secure ground available. We have a secure ground that can never be shaken.

We have the secure ground of God’s precious Word: those wonderful words that come in the midst of our earthquakes. Words like ‘do not be afraid’ and ‘your sins are forgiven.’ Here in this church, we have a sanctuary from the world’s earthquakes. Here we gather in a sanctuary which provides peace, comfort, and forgiveness.

We have secure ground in Jesus Christ and his resurrection. Those wonderful words ‘He is risen’ reassure us that there is life after death. There is light after darkness. There is hope after hopelessness. There is security and peace even when all things are shaken about. Here as we celebrate his glorious resurrection, we receive that joy and hope in Christ.

When our world seems to shake and quiver, remember those wonderful words of Jesus: ‘Do not be afraid.’ Take his Word for it. He has gone ahead of us to heaven. He waits to meet us there at the appointed time. There we will see him with our own eyes and he will greet us again with grace, joy and peace.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

The napkin is still folded


John 20 : 1 – 18

Looking at verse 6- 7

6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings.

In bible days, when someone died, it was the duty of a family member to close the eyes and kiss the cheek of the dead. When Christ died, it was the duty of two men, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus.

 They went to Pontius Pilot and begged that they be allowed to take the body of Jesus. As they were given permission they removed the body from the cross and placed it into a new tomb that Joseph had prepared for himself. They washed the body and wrapped it in white linen, closed Jesus eyes, kissed His cheek, and placed a napkin over his face.

 As they walked away from the tomb I’m sure they would have been silent, sadness would have overcome them, and they would have felt like there was lead in their stomach and a lump in their throat. I’m sure they would have thought that it was all over, the end of a dream, and it only lasted three short years.

 The next days must have passed like an eternity for them, however, for those days I am sure the devil and his demons would have rejoiced, the forces of darkness, thought they had won. The Jewish leaders, as well as the Roman government, congratulated themselves on their brilliant scheme.

 But, on the third day, something wonderful and miraculous happened, on the third day God the Father said to an angel in heaven, “Go and bring my Son”.          And as the angel’s feet touched the ground, the stone rolled away,    and up from the grave,  Jesus arose…. He lives!!!!!!!!!!

 In the Gospel message Mary, Peter and John all went to the tomb and saw that it was empty,  but there was something interesting in the tomb,     something that caught their eye.They saw that the grave clothes had been tossed in a heap, BUT THE NAPKIN  that was placed over Jesus face was folded neatly and placed at the head of the stony coffin…… Is that important?……….Absolutely!!

 The Gospel of John tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of the coffin.

 In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little of the Hebrew custom or tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the master and servant and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

 Now if the master had finished eating, he would rise up from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and then would screw up the napkin and toss it on the table……… The screwed up napkin meant,…………. I’m done……….. The servant then knew, he was to clear the table.

 But,…. If the master got up from the table, folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant WOULD DARE NOT TOUCH   the table, because the servant knew that the folded napkin meant, “I’m not finished yet”.                 The folded napkin meant, “I’m coming back”!!!

 Peter and John spent three years with Jesus; they watched Him as He opened the eyes of the blind, as He literally raised people from the dead. They saw Him heal the sick, the compassion He had for the poor and the lonely, the outcasts……… Then…….. They watched Him die.

 As they saw Him die all their hopes and dreams would have shattered!!     All they could think of was, “IT’S OVER……..IT’S ALL OVER”. …….For three days they were in the depths of despair, the lights of their soul had gone dim……. Peter even said I’m going fishing;                      I’m going back to what I used to do.

 After three days they saw the empty tomb, BUT THEY ALSO SAW  the folded napkin.              “He’s not finished yet;……..He’s coming back”.

 I thank God today that “He’s not finished yet”

 Right now Jesus is busy saving souls; the bible says that Jesus came into this world for one reason,……to save sinners. John 3:17 “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”.        

In the eyes of God there are only two kinds of people, those who have already been saved, ………. And those who need to be saved.

 Some mistakenly say that good people are saved and bad people need to be saved. This is incorrect as all need to be saved; there is no-one so bad that they cannot be saved.

 We are all sinners in need of saving. In God’s eyes there is no difference, there are no big sinners or little sinners. In God’s eyes, there are sinners like you and me who have been forgiven, and then THERE ARE the sinners who have not yet been forgiven, but certainly CAN BE.

 ‘The napkin is still folded,            He’s still saving souls”

 A few days before Christ died, He took the disciples aside and told them what was about to happen. He said, “I’m going to be betrayed, arrested, beaten and crucified. Then He looked at the disciples and said, “All of you are going to desert me when the heat is on”.

 Peter in true fashion rose up in typical style and said, “Not me”.

 Can you see Jesus shaking His head saying to Peter, “You are going to deny me three times before tomorrow”?

 Now let’s go forward in time when they found the empty tomb and the angel tells Mary and the other women to tell the disciples to meet with Jesus in Galilee.

 Mark 16:7 “Now go and tell His disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died.”

 Can you imagine how Peter might have felt.  Jesus wants to see him, what for? He not only denied Jesus three times, but he also cursed and he ran off deserting Him.

 Peter was in total despair, He couldn’t have meant him, He would have meant the other disciples,    not me.                            But they replied that the angel had named him,the disciples and Peter!!

 Why did Jesus want to see Peter?………. To rebuke him? ……………No to restore him!
One of the sweetest scenes in the Bible is Peter and Jesus coming together, and Jesus hugging him and saying,“Peter do you love me”?

 Did you notice!!.. Jesus does not mention anything about Peter’s denial, .. Jesus does not mention anything about Peter’s Dessertion of Him,……… Did you notice that Jesus didn’t mention anything about Peter’s cursing?
Do you love Jesus?Jesus loves you.The napkin is still folded.

 Are there friends, neighbors or maybe even a member of your family that you are concerned about…… It’s not too late……… Go to them……. Tell them about Jesus. Do it in love, be gentle, understanding compassionate.

 We are to imitate Jesus and He was always gentle and loving with ordinary people like you and me. Nowhere in the New Testament will you find an account where Jesus was abusive or scolded an ordinary person like you or me.               Yes He was critical of the Pharisees and Sadducees,         but not the ordinary people they were the leaders, AND THEY BURDENING THE PEOPLE TERRIBLY.

 Jesus wants you and me to be a part of His great commission,.. ……we are to be the messenger,………. He will do the rest. ………God does all the real work, we deliver the message, God opens their heart so that they can hear the truth. It is Jesus who will bring them home.

 Now let’s look at the key issues. When Jesus arose from the dead,…He folded the napkin to let us know He is coming back, His work is not finished.

When Jesus met with Peter in Galilee He didn’t remember any of Peter’s sins. He hugged him and asked him “Do you love me”.Do not be concerned, Jesus won’t remember your sins either. I beg of you, don’t wait until it’s too late.right no.. the napkin is still folded.

 Jesus won’t scold you; He will hug you like He hugged Peter and ask you, “Do you love me”. The napkin is still folded                    Amen.


Let’s pray.  Dear Jesus, you suffered so much to save us, help us to remember all that you have done for us. Help us never to forget that you love us, and you are coming back for us. Amen.

Pastor Ian Kotzur

Easter Urgency

Text: John 20:1-9

We have, unwittingly, set a tempo with our current Easter celebrations that is quite contrary to the nature of the event.  We have the longest of long weekends…  A break…  People go away…  Switch off…  Shift our focus from the everyday and escape into wall-to-wall footy, or family get-togethers, or a lounge-chair, chocolates and a book…

Our weekend, even if it is ‘busy’, usually lacks the sense of urgency that drives the story in the Gospels:  secret plotting, finding the right moment to make the capture, money taken and then almost immediately returned, the repeated plea to “keep watch!”, a rushed trial full of movement between three courts (two of them uncomfortable and unwilling), a hastily considered trade-off for another criminal, and even a hurried crucifixion constrained by the Passover regulations and timetables, a nearby tomb procured quickly, and incomplete burial rites.  It is an urgent business.

…and no less urgent on the Sunday morning, as today’s Gospel makes clear.  At the first light, they run!  The waiting during the Sabbath and the darkness has been an agitated waiting.  They are not resting.  They are disturbed.  They are uncertain.  They are distressed.  They have been dragged—urgently—through the trauma of the previous days and they are unsettled about the “what next?”.

And…as you will know from hearing the Easter story over the years…when they are confronted by the fact and by the message—“He is risen!”—they do not calm down, or become less agitated.  The urgency continues.

The implications of Jesus’ resurrection necessitate urgency.

This was not the first miracle.  This was not even the first healing in which someone who had died was made alive again.  But this was an event in which the worst of human injustice, oppression, hatred, and cruelty had been offered by religious and secular authorities alike, as a public statement, as an assertion of power and authority.  And over and against this powerful, public statement Jesus had said, “Father, your will be done”; “Father, forgive them”; “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.  And the one who openly identified with the weak, the ill, the poor, the displaced, the outcast, the hated, the oppressed, the suffering, and the dying—the powerless—the one who openly identified himself with those who suffered the worst of sin and evil in the world—he didn’t assert power and authority, but offered himself over to the will of the Creator.  He gave his life into the hands of the one who created all…in the beginning…and said, “It is good.”  In the middle of the mess, of all the ugliness of sin, he handed it back to the one who said, “It is good.”

And to that, God answered with the resurrection.

And to that answer, they ran…with urgency.  To that answer.  To that declaration.  To that new creation.  To that new “it is good”.

We have developed a bit of a tradition in the Church—(and even if we don’t really ‘own’ it we will have to, at least, recognise that it is a perception held widely)—that the only time we get urgent about things is when we are facing the grave.  Historically, we ‘evangelise’ (which means we ‘tell the good news!’)—we evangelise with some sense of urgency if we think that someone might miss out!

But the urgency of the first Easter springs from a much more immediate question:  What are we going to do tomorrow?  How are we going to live tomorrow?  We, who have followed the one who serves, who keeps forgiving, who releases from guilt for sins past and into new opportunity, who is generous in time and spirit and gives all he has to those in need, who distinguishes not on the basis of ‘who belongs?’ or ‘who deserves?’ but on the basis of ‘to whom can I show love?’ & ‘to whom can I be neighbour?’—we who have learned the day to day reality of grace from God walking with us…how are we going to live tomorrow?  As they ran to the tomb they wondered!  Is it over?  Is it gone?  Or is he alive, like he said?  Is he still loving, and giving, and forgiving?  How are we going to live this next day?  This is the immediacy and the urgency of Easter!

Those same followers of Jesus would, in the coming days and years, focus their Easter urgency into proclaiming a message of “hope”.  The New Testament term “hope” has a very definite meaning:  We know that God, in Christ, has forgiven us, and given to us eternal life.  This is made certain in the resurrection of Jesus—his life for us.  There are no ‘ifs’ or ‘maybes’.  This is certain.  Hope is the certainty of the fulfilment of God’s promises.  Easter is the Christian foundation for hope.  Easter is the moment in which the Christian says “I know that my Redeemer lives”—and because he lives, I have life, his life, my life, all bundled into the one.  I am God’s new creation.  Hope is the certainty that looks forward in life because God has demonstrated his absolute power and authority and victory over sin and death.

I think Easter should be our ‘moveable feast’.  Easter should be the Christian celebration we have the day our family welcomes a new baby—a day filled with a sense of urgency over the fact of this new life, this new life created by God.  Easter should be celebrated on the day a new marriage begins.  Or the day we begin a new job, or a new course of study.  Easter should be our celebration at the moment we buy a new home, or build one for someone else!

Easter is the celebration that marks our living in the presence of the God who has declared absolute grace, declared eternal love, declared that he is with us and for us in every circumstance and every stage of life—one with us from birth through all the realities of living, through death and the grave.

And we, like Mary and Peter and John—we can declare “Christ is risen!” with the joy of recognising that our neighbours, like us, have lives to live—and they can live them in the knowledge of God’s loving presence, today!

Urgency comes about at the point of intersection between a question or uncertainty, and an answer.  In our world, in our society, and in our very local communities and families (and selves!) there is often much agitation and anxiety:  Can we save the world from ecological disaster?  Can we save the world from economic disaster?  Can we survive on-going hostility and war?  Can we survive on-going injustice?  Can we survive our own individual weaknesses and the hurt they cause?  Can we live past the next generation?  Or the next day?

Today God proclaims again, and reminds us again, that he has heard our prayers, our cries, our dying breath, and has made his statement:  I am the resurrection and the life.  Believe and me, live, trust, hope, be certain.  I am for you.  And trusting in me you will always live.

Urgency comes at the point of intersection between a question and an answer.  We are surrounded by a world with the question.  You know the love of God and the life of God for the world.

I urge you to be urgent in celebrating and proclaiming the answer of life in God’s grace.


Sounds too good to be true

Luke 24:5

StMarksThere is a saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” and in this day and age of scams that is pretty good advice. Interestingly, yesterday when I was researching that saying on Google, I was directed to another statement or saying to that of “Opportunity knocks but once” in which alongside the English explanation of such a phrase- was an advertisement from “Charm Date.com” inviting me to date beautiful Russian girls. How in the world this saying was linked on the World Wide Web to the previous saying about being “too good to be true” I’ll never know, because if you had seen how that young lady in the advertisement was dressed and looking at me-you too would have known it was not a scam.

Obviously, I had to turn her down but at least I did reply to the email I received from a compassionate Nigerian General promising me great wealth if I gave him my bank details.

When I receive it I might send some to that girl so that she can buy some more suitable clothing for the Russian winters.

From the book of Proverbs: Chapter 31, verses 4-6: “It is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish!”

And the Apostle Paul’s words to “Pastor/Evangelist” Timothy in the 1st book in his name: 1St Timothy Chapter 5, verse 23: “Do not drink water only, but take a little wine to help with digestion and illness.”

It’s like looking in a mirror: Beer for the struggling, wine for the Pastor. Twenty four hours in a day and twenty four beers in a carton: co-incidence-I think not.

Words used for myself out of context and most unlike those of the two angels at Jesus’ empty tomb who after seeing Mary Magdalene and friends looking to tend to His body greet them with a quizzical: ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?’ and then continue with ‘He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you that on the third day he would rise again.’

And as we heard from the scripture reading: Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.  But these words seemed to them ridiculous – too good to be true – and they did not believe her (Luke 24:5b-11).

We face the same challenges today.  People will believe in just about anything.
Pills that burn fat so you don’t have to diet or exercise.
Creams that make you look younger.
Ancient secrets to living longer.
People will spend money to take the risk in case it is true.  But try to tell them about Jesus, who rose from the dead and now offers eternal life to anyone who believes? I’m sure you would off heard some more than once: ‘It’s all make-believe.’  ‘I’ve never heard of such a thing!’  ‘It’s too good to be true.’

And, you’ve may have even heard other, not so nice responses to the news of the Resurrection.

Believing in the resurrection was never going to be easy.  It wasn’t then; it isn’t now.

But why?  Isn’t this what everyone wants?  And if it’s true – isn’t this then it is the answer to all of life’s concerns.

Life is full of suffering: death; grief; worries.  Knowing that at the end of this life we will experience eternal life means that the hurt is limited.  The emphasis of Paul in his writing today is that the resurrection of Jesus is victory over every oppressive power in our life, including, and especially, death (1 Corinthians 15:19-26).  The last enemy to be destroyed is death!  And so whenever we doubt or disbelieve in the resurrection of Jesus, death is still the power in our life.  That is when we and others look for anything that will help relieve the suffering, pain and death.  For many it becomes their life search – their job, their wealth, their success.  And when these fail, as they ultimately do, then so does hope for the future.

Even as Christians, these other things can all too often become the focus to bring hope and meaning into our lives.  But when we look to anything but the resurrection then the message of the angels is spoken to us too: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”  Nothing in this life can bring us any comfort despite the promises they make.  When we listen to the media telling us about how to find true meaning and happiness in the idols of this world, then we are looking for the living among the dead.

Amos, the first earthly prophet announced to the Jewish people that: “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.  People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east: They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.”

Words said to those awaiting the Messiah in Old Testament, and yet, Words that could be said for those looking for the meaning of life still in these days, and Words said to us when we seek the idols of our world that never stop asking for more and more of the same.

Copy a recipe from the endless cooking shows: but still hungry the next day. A world traveller: but still weighed down with those 22 countries I “haven’t done yet.” The latest and greatest gadgets: that are already outdated by the time they’re released. Good things in life that we know are gifts from God, like that of the Gift of God truth’s truth that shows that they still are only things.

Because our hope is in the resurrected life. Our hope that changes the way we live our lives from as if our earthly life is the only life we have, to a life living as witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and declare with absolute joy and confidence like that of Mary Magdalene that  “We have seen the Lord.”

It’s natural to feel the pain and heartache of this life.  When we suffer, we hurt.  When a loved one dies, we grieve.  When we lose a job, we are concerned about paying the mortgage and other bills.  But it’s where we go to for comfort and assurance that matters.  Mary went to the right place, but was looking for the wrong answer.  She went to see Jesus, but didn’t understand the meaning of the empty tomb.  Mary was despaired, but was pointed to Jesus.  When we face our own empty tombs – when we face those times when we feel loss and despair, pain and grief – we are pointed to Jesus.  The empty tomb meant that Jesus was no longer in the grave but is now living with us and in us.

Jesus said before his death, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it” (John 2:19).  On the third day Jesus rebuilt his temple – His risen body, His Holy Church and in His people

We are now living witnesses to the Lord. We have seen the Lord and now we share this living hope in a dying world that has put its hope in the wrong things and still looking for the living among the dead.

Proverbs Chapter 31, verse 6: “Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish.”

Yes there is an element in that proverb of deadening the pain of life, but greater the element of deadening the pain of death.

The death faced by the criminals on their way to execution on the cross who were given by  the ladies of Jerusalem a drink of medicated wine to help deaden the pain of suffering.

The wine like that offered to Jesus said to be of vinegar, gall and myrrh.  A cheap Roman wine mixed as a drug to dull the senses of the person being crucified that they may a little easier endure their cross.

The same pain relief offered to but rejected by Christ who willed to taste the full bitterness of death and suffering, that we when bearing our cross see not hope in the perishable of the world, but in the imperishable of Himself, the Risen Lord Jesus Christ here with us today as we will be with Him in eternity.

The Easter story is our story and as He has risen, forgiven in Christ so shall we.

So whether you are here each week, each month, each year – or whether it’s your first time here – let this Easter Story be your story.  Let it renew your life and hope in the living Lord, so that you no longer look for the living among the dead but become the place where others can find life. Amen.

I’m confused

“Nothing in my hands do I bring,
simply to the cross I cling”

Acts 16: 16-34

Two of the most confusing years of my life were my first the seminary studying to be a pastor. For an older student the languages and doing assignments it was a culture shock and difficult. So yes, the doing “stuff” was at times difficult. But the confusion was from within because I continually self-doubted whether I was meant to be there. I wanted so much to do what God had wanted me to do but kept thinking that maybe I had misinterpreted just what that was, and maybe it was my own human construction that had led me there.

So one day I asked to see one of the lecturers and told him of my situation-of being torn daily and the anxiety it was bringing me. His answer was not one of let’s look how you got here or working through things but simply “it seems you have a faith problem”.

I’ve been called many things in my life, but that hadn’t been one of them. But over the following weeks and months I got it. Yes, I knew who Christ was and what he came for. The son of God, the saviour of the world and even me. But I got it. I was so wanting to follow what he wanted that it was getting in the way and yes I was continually asking Him, but also myself and then rationalising it with my human mind and I’d be back at the start again which was like, maybe I was only there because I was like Whoopi Goldberg in the movie nuns on the run where she only went to the nunnery because she was boxed in by the stuff she had done and was there by default.

And maybe I was right, but maybe also, that’s what had to happen.

Maybe that’s what had to happen to see through the eyes like the jailor in today’s reading from acts. To where you are brought to the brink, think of all the options and realise you have none and have a seemingly simple but nevertheless, unfathomable choice. To either follow what seems the logical outcome to destruction, or just give all that has gone before and lay ourselves at His mercy-say “what must I do”.

I’m done-What must I do to save me from myself? What must I do to take away the guilt? What must I do? I’ll climb mountains. I’ll do anything to start again. I’ll beg for mercy and if the only way to see some peace is to end it, then let it end because this world is too hard for me, no rather-I’m not strong enough to fight the world, to fight what I’ve done and what I’ve become. To be trapped like the jailor in Acts.

To the horror of the jailer, he awoke at the commotion, thinking his worst nightmare had come true. Believing the prisoners had escaped he reached for his sword to end his life, but Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:28)

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. (Acts 16:29-34)

What must I do to be saved? The question “what one must do?” is perhaps a very natural response for humanity. The jailer faced death, because the prison had become unsecured under his watch. He was frightened, humiliated, and his immediate response, before Paul stopped him, was to take his life.

No more excuses or lying up the sleeve. When there’s nothing left but a broken spirit-we look to the Lord and ask “How can a person like me be saved, how can a person like me go on?”

And His answer “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved”.

Saved eternally-Yes, but also saved today-from yourself.

As Christians we often place ourselves back under bondage, as did the jailer. Instead of our freedom in Christ allowing us to be who we are called to be, we get caught up worrying what we and others must do to be Christian – what we must do to be saved and save others. However, “being a Christian” is exactly that, “being” rather than “doing”. When one faces the question of doing — failure, depression, and death follow hot on the heels of our defective human deeds. It’s not so much a question of “what I must do to be?” but rather, “my being in Christ allows me to do what he wills for me.”

Martin Luther wrote that: “In the matter of faith one must let everything go and cling to the Word alone. When we have gripped that, let the world, death, sin, hell and every misfortune storm and rage. But if you let go of the Word, you will be doomed.”

If you let go of the Word you are doomed because then it comes back to us, of how we feel inside.

The Word of God comes from outside and is not accountable to how we feel-it remains resolute and does not change.

I would like to read a passage from Revelations. Revelations Chapter 7, verses 9 to 14:

“9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 14 (I asked who they were)

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “

We are in the great tribulation-trouble, trial and ordeal. And in that things get confusing to us but not to the Lord.

He sees every self-doubt and burden we carry-and that he knows they are heavy-he offers no catches or tricks. That we make it through this great tribulation still in faith even astonishes the angels. Our Lord’s offer is simple because there is no other way but belief in Him, the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour and to be washed clean in his blood.

We ask our Lord for forgiveness and most certainly are given eternal life.

We ask each other for forgiveness that we may be free today, and today-I beg of your forgiveness.


What now

“Now what?”

Acts 10:34-43, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, John 20:1-18.

There have been many cases where extremely gifted sportspeople have retired to only make a comeback later. Boxing is one that certainly comes to mind and when we see it, one of the first things many consider is that it’s from the lure of one last big payday and that may be right in some sense but I’m sure that for most, it is that sense of loss and maybe even belonging when something they have dedicated their life to comes to an end.

James Hird, one of the finest players to grace the football field who is now the current coach of Essendon, several years ago while still playing and after having received steel plates in his head from a serious injury was asked by a commentator “You have won a Brownlow medal, won premiership’s and captioned your side. There’s nothing in football you haven’t done and nothing left to prove. You have four young children, you’re a smart man-you have a degree in civil engineering and have many flourishing investments and your doctor has warned that should you play on you risk grave irreversible damage”. His response, “yes-but I’m a football player, that’s what I do-that’s what I am” and in one of his last games he swapped his guernsey/footy jumper with an equality respected footballer of great ability and great courage in Glen Archer from the North Melbourne Kangaroos. The next day Glenn after noticing his wife in the laundry and putting his footy gear in the wash, with some urgency said “don’t ever wash that guernsey”. To which came her obvious question of a puzzled why? Only to hear, “Because that jumper has the blood and sweat of James Hird on it”.

Today the stain of our sin has been washed from us through the work, sweat and blood of Jesus Christ. His work, sweat and blood that has set us free, yet his work, his saving sweat and blood that cannot be removed from us by (Romans 8:38) “neither by death, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

A person told me that his friend having lost a young child was in mourning and when visited by his pastor was so stricken that he could not get out of bed. After the pastor arrived and was ushered into the bedroom he simply took off his shoes, laid down next to him and they wept together without a word spoken. Sometimes what’s best said is to say nothing. When trying to write the Good Friday address I felt like I had nothing to offer and had a constant, almost overpowering feeling to just turn up, announce and hear the Word of God and say nothing. Not out of disrespect, but out of respect because when we stand at the foot of the cross we see we have nothing, not one thing other than sin and at best we go on just to trying to put one foot in front of the other.

In today’s Gospel verse 19 the disciples had assembled together in fear, and the risen Lord Jesus “came and stood in their midst and said “peace be with you”.

Peace be with you. This is the peace we offer each other every week in our liturgy when we say “peace be with you, and also with you”. This is not just said for the fun of it. This is the peace that Christ has brought to us in his resurrection. The peace that overturns our fears. A living unjudging peace, a peace that says you too are alive again, free from the fear of sin and free from deaths consequences. A peace that finally allows us to truly rejoice. To rejoice in our Lord and to rejoice for every second of the life we are given this side of heaven. It’s the peace of the Lord that makes things look different. It’s the peace of the Lord that make things different and instead of wandering and ambling along placing one foot in front of the other, we now walk with purpose and in the sureness as expressed by our brother in Christ St. Paul in today’s reading from Corinthians. Paul, a fierce opponent of Christians until he met Jesus Christ for himself. A meeting that changed his whole being from persecutor to being persecuted and was a loyal soldier to the end who amidst the constant storm of opposition against him, the clamour of his enemies and the desertion of his friends would look back to what happened on the cross and be given new enthusiasm and zeal to press on and tread the blood-stained path that Christ had trodden before him to spread the knowledge of the Saviour crucified and the saviour risen.

When leaving the sem. a lecturing pastor said to us “as pastors and Christian’s you are not asked to go looking to suffer persecution and death, but if it finds you and you are ‘ásked’ to be a martyr, you face it in Christ”.

Every person who walks this earth will at some time and at some level face persecution. And all will face death. That’s just how it is.

But in Christ what may happen is not what we dwell on; we dwell on what he has done. What has happened? That he has brought us forgiveness, has brought us eternal life, has brought us freedom and has brought us life here today, on this earth.

His love that cannot be taken from us by neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation.

His love for us and joy of life he has given that cannot be taken from us by neither those who ridicule us, nor those who turn from us and treat us unfairly, nor the knowledge of our own sin, nor our self- loathing. For we are now free.

Free to cry and free to mourn, and free to live. Free to build up those who look to bring us down and free to love those who love us not. Free to climb the highest mountains or free to rest at the bottom.

“Born down in a dead man’s town the first kick I took was when I hit the ground, (and) you end up like a dog that’s been beat too much till you spend half your life just covering up”. The opening lyrics from Bruce Springsteen’s song “Born in the USA”. A protest song about his country that he doesn’t much sing anymore since the tragedy of September 11 and instead wrote a song called the rising.

A song with biblical overturns directed towards his country, a song of rebuilding and a song of hope

“I make my way through this darkness

I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me….

There’s holy pictures of our children

dancing in a sky filled with light.

May I feel your arms around me

May I feel your blood mix with mine

A dream of life comes to me.

Come on up, lay your hands in mine

Come on up for the rising

Come on up for the rising tonight”.

Pain upon pain yet that brings hope.

A young boy who at age four or five in the middle of the night was more than once woken by his loving mum and told to run the two miles through the wheat crops to the neighbor’s house for safety. In some ways that boy, now a man is still running through the paddocks. But now he does not run along with only the light from the moon to guide him, but in and under the light of Christ.

Our pain upon Christ’s pain, that has brought hope.

Our rising upon Christ’s rising, that has brought life.

On Good Friday looking up at Christ I had no words to offer. Today looking at the raised Christ and knowing that there is nothing more I can do other than what he’s done, I see that I have everything to offer.

In Christ your sins died on the cross and in his resurrection so too have you been raised up. Towards eternal life you have nothing to offer as it has been done and in that knowledge and in that freedom-today, tomorrow and the next you have everything to offer-so wether the moments you have remaining are many or few-live, truly live and bask in every moment this side of heaven in the sure knowledge of what awaits for you on the other side.