On Remembrance Day it’s understandable that we, who didn’t witness World War 2, can feel disconnected from such remembering. But talking to a war veteran or viewing a dramatically realistic film, like ‘Saving Private Ryan’, can help us appreciate the cost of our freedom to freely walk our streets and speak English instead of German.
I was two when my dad died, shortly before mum gave birth to my brother. Daily I’m grateful to and for my mother who gave her life to raise us in faith, hope and love, and still prays for and supports us, aged 88. When you make the connection between your 21st century life and Jesus AD death, a new life of gratitude follows. We can’t meet eyewitnesses in person, but we have their accounts in the Gospels, vividly relaying the awfulness of Jesus death. Sometimes it takes a shocking movie like ‘The Passion of The Christ’ to move us as if we were actually there.
It’s why breaking bread and drinking red wine/juice is so important to Christians, giving thanks for Jesus dying for us. When the truth dawns that it was our human independence and determination to live without God’s Parenting Love, that killed Jesus, ‘gratitude for such amazing grace’ is the fitting response. Thankfulness overflows when you realise that Jesus, ‘God come in the flesh’, came to share our sorrow, suffering, dying, darkness and death, to remove death’s sting and switch the lights on in our hearts!
As Hebrews 12 reminds us, we should never tire of remembering and appreciating all Jesus went through to save us: “When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that (passion) story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves.”
In primary school I was once surrounded by a circle of class mates calling me names and dragging me to physically harm me. Occasionally since then I’ve been mocked by others, but nothing compared to what Jesus endured. I’ve been shocked by some life experiences, but I’ve never been rocked to my core the way Jesus was by his excruciating crucifixion. It is a comfort and inspiration to know that any darkness we face will never be darker than what Jesus went through with and for us, to restore our friendship with our Maker & The Lover of our soul. Feeling Guilty or Gutted? Please, be sure Jesus is ‘with you and for you’.
Yesterday we had some Sea Baptisms & Soaked Blessings, celebrating the personal connection some believers have made between their lives and Jesus’ death. They personally linked with something that happened 2,000 years ago, confessing faith in Jesus Christ as their Saviour & Lord. They identified with Jesus in his dire death and were raised up out of the waters: washed, forgiven and freed to live and continue learning the language of love, service and sacrifice, which Jesus is teaching them. It certainly shot adrenaline into their souls and those of the many from several churches who came to support them!