As we worship our Almighty God, let us remember that His Holy Spirit connects us all. Even though we cannot at this time touch each other or see each other we are all connected as the Body of Christ, with Christ as our Head. let us all worship at 10 am on Sundays using this Blog service, this way we can share in worship, if not as we usually do.
Imagine all the faces of your congregation and say The GRACE
There is a powerful hymn that speaks of our theme today:
Great is the darkness that covers the earth, oppression, injustice and pain,
Nations are slipping in hopeless despair, though many have come in Your name
Watching while sanity dies, touched by the madness and lies,
Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Jesus, pour out Your Spirit we pray; Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus pour out Your Spirit on us today.
Scripture Readings for The Liturgy of the Passion: Psalm 31 and Gospel Matthew 26: 14-75 and 27: 1-54 MESSAGE: Today is the end of Lent for another year and Holy Week begins on Monday. This Lent has been like no other since the days of the World Wars when life for everyone became s strange and scary landscape almost overnight. We are all trying to find our way in this new darkness, carrying anxieties and fears of what will become of our lives, if this virus continues to spread. Many have had to confront their worst fears with being separated from loved ones as they are cared for in hospitals, too many have died alone without the comfort of loved ones or clergy beside them, although nurses and doctors do their best. There is not much to lighten the darkness as we read the Passion story of Christ. If you like me, gain strength from the sacrament of communion and daily prayer, our pillars of faith, yet on reading Matthew 26, gospel for this Sunday, we acknowledge how the first Lord’s Supper was shrouded in deception and abandonment. Judas had already sold out Jesus for a mere 30 pieces of silver, the first act of deception. Yetread again Matthew 26 verse 31, and discover Judas was not the only betrayer. Things do not improve as Jesus is left alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, even though he had asked the disciples to remain awake with him and to pray. Full of sorrow, Jesus prays alone in anguish, “take this cup of suffering from me; yet not what I want but what you want, Lord.” Yet God does not reply. How dark that night became for Jesus as he was left to confront his own fears. When the disciples finally awoke, Jesus is ambushed, arrested and dragged away for trial. How dark it must have been as He hung on the Cross and His soul descended into hell in our place because of our sins. This is the darkest the world has ever known as Jesus calls out” My God, my God why have You forsaken me?” This was a time many were struggling with darkness and ever since that day we have all called out” where are you God, why won’t you answer me?” Even in the silence we are required to keep praying and taking strength from Communion and our fellowship with one another to keep walking forwards until we encounter God’s light again and then fully know He is always with us even in the silence.
God created the dark first and then said “Let there be light” Genesis 1:1-4. We need the dark to show up the light. To God, darkness is as the day. Look inwards see if you recognize anything you know should not be there; times of betrayal, times of not being honest or putting your needs before others’ ; or even acting like Pilate, knowing the right thing to do, yet doing the wrong thing because you fear losing your reputation and respect. maybe you are more like the Centurion and soldiers who crucified Jesus and the robbers, only doing their job after all or so they thought. Yet when darkness covered the land at 3 pm somehow they stood in their enlightened space amid the dark shadows, able to say with confidence” surely He was the Son of God”.
The gem at the heart of this gospel is that God never behaves as we do and for God night is as the day. God is at much at home saving, forgiving and healing in the dark as in the light. He will meet with any situation or person no matter where they have been. Sometimes He even calls His Church into a dark cloud. Maybe this is where we find ourselves today; what might motivate you to open your eyes to seeing God in this strange new landscape? Know this beloved, we all stand at the foot of the cross, the big question is, is Jesus still hanging there waiting for you to see Him? Or is the Cross empty now because you have seen Him and believed He died for YOU!
Take a time of reflection and prayer. Close with Lord’s Prayer.
BENEDICTION; Hosanna! let us welcome the shining face of the Jesus who came to save and accept the guidance of light into the most shadowy aspects of real life. may we align our minds with Christ and be humble witnesses to the Holy Spirit in the world. AMEN.