Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Beautiful Day at the Foot of the Cross

After yesterday's involuntary incarceration, it was great to be able to finally get out... and what a glorious day it has been.

First of all I ate properly for the first time in over 24 hours... okay it was just a bowl of Weetabix... but it got me started.

Normally on Easter Saturday, some of the locals travel up to a giant daffodil cross that was planted several years ago and emerges every year in time for Easter. Unfortunately, I missed the announcement of what time people would gather... because I was too busy being ill in bed yesterday.

Undaunted by this, I set off for the town centre at about noon, to see if I could ascertain when (from the various noticeboards outside the church and around town), people might be meeting to travel up to the cross. Unfortunately there was no information in town, so I set off for the outskirts with absolutely no clue when anybody else would arrive... or whether or not they had already been and I had missed them.

As I crossed the dual carriageway I was greeted by a "Wahey!!!!" and a two fingered salute from some lads travelling from Stratford-upon-Avon towards Evesham. I've got no idea what that was about.

I climbed the steep hill and reached the foot of the cross at about 1pm. It was a sunny day and I marvelled at a wake of buzzards that circled high above my position. Despite the traffic far below me on the bypass, it seemed very peaceful. It is very strange, but the time I spent up there alone seemed to pass very quickly... and it was no time at all before a steady exodus of roughly 20 townsfolk ambled up the hill.

We worshipped... singing a good mixture of relevant songs and listening to a few short extracts from scripture. Then Simon Hodges, pastor at the local Renewal church preached for a few minutes on the importance of the resurrection message... and how people needed to know that life was to be enjoyed and not just endured - that the people far below us needed to know that Jesus Christ came that we may have life and have it in abundance. One of the verses he quoted, is pretty much a scripture that is the foundation for my own church - the mission it has been called to when the season is right (Isaiah 61).

The other verse he quoted is from a passage that is dear to my own heart - John 10. A lot of the Gospel message can be summarised by what you read in that passage, Jesus lays it all out for you there. He even has the audacity to tell people exactly what is going to happen to him and why. It is powerful and beautiful - life saving stuff. Simon quoted this part:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

It reminds me of the promises we have in Jesus Christ, and the need that the people of this planet have, to hear them. Too easily are preacher's tempted to preach hellfire and damnation... they fail to recognise that many of the people who are lost are not prideful and arrogant.


There are many who are broken people. People who know the great distance they have fallen, people who are crushed and broken, people who feel the tendrils of despair creeping in and driving out all vestiges of hope. The people who cry out "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man". Such people do not need to know of hell, because they feel it already. These people do not need conviction, for god has already seen to it... these people need one thing.


So I want to finish by quoting two more verses. Messages of hope to a fallen people and a lost generation. The words of God that cry out "I love you... come home".

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." - John 3:16-17


"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." - John 10:10

May you have a blessed Easter, full of hope and joy.


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