James’s Blog: What if it’s Already Happened?

James’s Blog:  What if it’s Already Happened?

Easter is a topsy-turvey time.  Everything is back-to-front.  Suffering brings salvation, death brings life; the established order of things is turned on its head.  Yet we spend so much of our time and energy trying to make things work in a world where we believe that death is stronger than life and that despair is greater than hope.

How much of our well-being do we invest in worry?  How often does the thing that we fear never actually happen?  What about the times when we worry about something we think has happened, only to find out that it didn’t happen after all.  How tiring it is to live in a world where God is a footnote rather than the title.

In the last chapter of Luke we read about two of Jesus’ followers.  They’re taking a long stroll, discussing the events of the past few days and the rumours of resurrection.  Suddenly, they’re joined by a stranger.  He’s not really a stranger, but they don’t recognise him because they hadn’t quite joined the topsy-turvey revolution yet.  They tell this stranger their story of disappointment.  “Jesus has been crucified,” they say, “but we had hoped that he would be one to redeem Israel.”

The two travellers were living under the burden of false disappointment.  They thought that their hope was an illusion, when it turned out that it was reality – a reality that was  standing right in front of them.

This is the way to live back-to-front in our world, the way to get some of the Easter thinking into our heads.  Instead of worrying about things that might never happen, start thinking about all the things that you hope for, and ask yourself if maybe some of them have already happened.

 

James’s Blog: While it was Still Dark…

James’s Blog:  While it was Still Dark…

Darkness does strange things to the brain. Sometimes, when you wake in the middle of the night, the darkness makes easily manageable problems seem insurmountable. In the darkness, all our fears and worries can sneak up on us unseen. It’s even worse for those of us who are blessed with an overactive imagination. But God being God, it doesn’t surprise me at all that He does some of His best work in the darkness.

Imagine being there at the start of the world’s calendar, surrounded by the rolling chaos of oppressive darkness, and then to hear that first command – “Let there be light”. God does some of His best work in the darkness.

One Sunday, Mary carried her grief all the way to the tomb where Jesus was buried and finds the stone rolled away. John tells us that this happened ‘…while it was still dark’. Mary is there, in the dark, both figuratively and literally, pondering what has happened. I’ll tell you what has happened, Mary. While people were asleep, surrounded by the light-smothering night, God was getting on with the business of resurrection. God does some of His best work in the darkness.

Imagine that.  God takes the night, which to us spells death and fear and suffering, and makes it scream of life and light and joy. Of course He’d do it that way. Of course He would. Do you not know Him?

Sometimes the lights go out in our lives and you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Don’t be afraid, because you know what happens in the dark.