Tag Archives: Jesus

Preparing for Easter

Wendy and I are going to be in the Halifax area for Easter – guests of the city officers – so I have been pouring over the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John listening to the writers, noticing their context, trying to smell the aroma, sensing the emotions, attempting to detect the fear, the tension, the courage.

Here’s my challenge to you – can you read it afresh? Can you approach it like you have never heard it before? What do you notice?

Here’s a line I think I had not quite heard well before….

18 After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove.
Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked.
“Jesus the Nazarene,”they replied.
I am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said I am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground…  (John 18:1-6)

I’ve read that dozens of times and I can’t ever remember noticing that they drew back and fell to the ground….imagine up to 200 Roman soldiers with the Jews coming with torches, lanterns and weapons falling down after Jesus declares that He is the I AM.

It is as if Jesus has to coax them in to following through on the arrest. What happened there? What force was at work that created a physical response?

I remember a few years ago I was sitting in a service….it was likely many other ones, the music was good, it was comfortable….I was sitting on the aisle when suddenly I felt a warm breeze pass us. It was so powerful I turned and asked Wendy if she had felt it? She said she had…within minutes people got out of their seats and went and kneeled at the mercy seat. Not a few – many. Dozens and dozens of people, many of whom had not done so for a long time. The service took on a life of it’s own, not directed by an order of service, but directed by The Holy Spirit.

A spiritual happening invoked a physical response.

Here the Spirit of God is visiting – perhaps to strengthen Jesus, perhaps a mere mention of the I AM. Whatever is at play, it is an act of God. Jesus submission to the will of His Father has power.

So too ours, when we submit we begin to understand “my strength is made perfect in weakness”.

Perhaps our preparing for Easter really only requires one thing. Submission.

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Paris Attack

The news out of Paris gave me, and likely you, a rather ill feeling. It’s dread, it’s sadness, it’s anger, it’s a desire for revenge, it’s a feeling that there is nothing one can do so far from Paris and so far from being able to stop such an act.

I think it’s also the realization that despite the ongoing wars that have followed the first invasion of Iraq the forces of evil continue to have the ability to dominate the world scene.

Now don’t mistake my comment. When I say forces of evil I do not mean American or allies or Arab or Muslim. I do mean that the Prince of this world, the Father of all lies, the evil one (as Jesus called him) continues to breed hatred and violence in every corner of the world and almost every corner of every heart.

So what is the answer to all this despair and who can stop this tsunami of violence that continues to sweep around the world?

The answer strangely enough is Jesus – the one who can make hearts new, the one who came to begin a world wide renovation plan of His world, of His creation. What he needs is people who are willing to wage a war of love, to demonstrate that without sacrifice there is no future of peace, without a willingness to love those whose hearts are filled with hate, there is not chance of change.

So start with a prayer: Dear Lord, into the hearts of all who would do evil we pray you will pour the oil of your spirit and use your Church to speak truth and love wherever it is.

Thunder Bay in a day

 It was a quick visit to Thunder Bay arriving and leaving on the same day but very worthwhile. Our facility there is a significant one in this part of Canada with the nearest ministry units being 3 hours west or 8 hours east of Thunder Bay. The sky was clear and blue and the temperature unseasonably warm.

My new role gives me much opportunity to meet some wonderful people and to see some great programs. It is always a joy to witness good work being done in the name of Jesus.

Yes that’s right – it’s all in the name of Jesus.