Two Titles

“Christ conquered death bringing new life to all” or “New life dims the Cross”

 

 

 

 

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Restored

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Restored

What was it he said? Ah, yes I recall

“Knock down this temple in three days,

it will rise,

it will return”

And so it was,

It could not be broken

Stone rolled away

Cloth discarded

Tomb empty

“Why do you weep” said he

“My Lord has gone” Said she

She could not see, She could not hear

Through her tears, Through her sorrow

“Mary” said he

She heard

“Rabboni” said she

The temple restored

An earthly friendship resumed

For but a short while

Christ is Risen

Alleluia Alleluia

Margaret Preuss-Higham

John 20;15 & 16

Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

Judas

judas-window-hanging-3

I have sinned; I have brought an innocent man to death

Words spoken by the repentant Judas but not often heard

This is not easy to write about. Traditionally Judas is seen as the figure of evil,the betrayer who put Jesus on the cross. However without this betrayal the Messiah could not have fulfilled the scriptures foretelling of a trial in rejection by his people. Judas was instrumental in bringing about the peoples ultimate salvation from Rome only he did not comprehend the enormity of his actions at the time. The angry return of the money only solidified his guilt and his decision to commit suicide was a last, desperate human effort to allay his shame. By providing the mechanism by which the Resurrection could be fulfilled, some suggested Judas became the first martyr for the church.

Judas was handpicked by Jesus to be a disciple empowered to preach the gospel. Given authority to heal the sick,to cast out devils however he had weaknesses as did the other disciples. He was not among the most intimate of the group as Peter James and John. Judas might have felt one reason for this was because he was an outsider and not from Galilee, coming from Kerioth in the district of Jerusalem. On this point I asked you to consider whether Jesus may have specifically chosen an outsider that’s the one whom he knew would betray him in order that they would be no recriminations against the remaining 11 disciples and their families as they all came from Galilee.

Scripture tells us that Judas was a man of financial ability,, trusted to keep the common purse even though Matthew, the tax collector would have been better qualified.Judas was a man persuasive reasoning reflected by a scene in the home of Mary of Bethany. Mary had anointed Jesus with a rich appointment. Judas saw this act of love as a waste of precious money and should be sold and the money given to the poor. He was above suspicion by the other disciples after the final hours of his own life. At the Last Supper Jesus is that in the place of honour.. Maybe climbed near the Lord on the left so they could talk quietly. The composite picture of Judas as an ordained apostle of financial competence, with persuasive verbal abilities and the persona to command personal respect has compelled some to have compassion for him. Judas has been portrayed as almost virtuous, presented as a merely misguided patriot who actually love the Jesus and only hung himself because his scheme to force Christ into political leadership against Rome did not materialise.

It has been suggested that Judas used his reason in a clear sighted and call manner to discern that the Ministry of Christ was over I’m Judas saw a head on collision with the Roman authorities so he simply arrange to have the Lord arrested with the expectation that Christ would be out of harms way. Or was Judas so caught up in the hype of being one of the chosen is one, and by bringing about a confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees, Jesus would be provoked becoming the leader of a politically motivated uprising against Roman occupation. Judas would in turn become one of the select few and therefore become the master of a very large common purse. But when Jesus didn’t fight back and the Romans took control of Jesus judas lost his resolve. The 30 pieces of silver he received was only a small amount which would not having surety safety following the betrayal, nor would it has provided him with a lifestyle free from guilt. Is this an indication that his motive was was financial? Probably not as he wanted to return it but then what was his motive for the returning of the money was it to distancing from the event. We know that he knows he made the wrong choice and regretted it taking his own life. The second century Greek teacher Origon suggests that as soon as Judas fully realised just what he had done he rushed to commit suicide in order to meet the Lord in Hades replace of all the dead and there he intended to break the Lord’s forgiveness.

One final observation: didn’t the Apostle Peter also betray the Lord by his denials? So, what’s the difference? Sure, Peter wept in bitter remorse for his betrayal, but Judas too confessed, “I have betrayed innocent blood” and gave back the thirty pieces of silver. So what’s the difference?

The difference is in the way that Peter and Judas see the crucified Lord. Peter had confidence in the mercy of Christ, and Judas did not! Judas’ greatest sin was not in having betrayed Christ, but in having doubted his mercy.

And so, here is what the story of our brother Judas should move us to do: to surrender ourselves to the one who freely forgives, to throw ourselves likewise into the outstretched arms of the Crucified One.

He sought out Peter after his denial to give him forgiveness, so who knows how he might have sought out Judas at some point in his way to Calvary! When Jesus prays from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34), he certainly does not exclude Judas from those for whom he prays.

Horrible was the nature of my sins,

but boundless mercy stretches out its arms

to any man who comes in search of it.

This is what Christ’s Passover can do for each and every one of us.

The Cock Crowed

AVA--12--2

“Following the Denial’

by Chris Higham

The Cocked Crowed

While all this was going on, Peter was down in the courtyard. One of the Chief Priest’s servant girls came in and, seeing Peter warming himself there, looked hard at him and said, “You were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
He denied it: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He went out on the porch. A cock crowed.
The girl spotted him and began telling the people standing around, “He’s one of them.” He denied it again.
After a little while, the bystanders brought it up again. “You’ve got to be one of them. You’ve got ‘Galilean’ written all over you.”
Now Peter got really nervous and swore, “I never laid eyes on this man you’re talking about.” Just then the cock crowed a second time. Peter remembered how Jesus had said, “Before a cock crows twice, you’ll deny me three times.” He collapsed in tears.     Mark 14:66-72   The Message ”

                                    

As Jesus predicted, Peter denies his association with him. Jesus also predicted the same for all his other disciples, but Mark doesnt narrate their betrayals. Peters is interwoven with Jesus trial, thus contrasting true confessions with false ones. Peters actions are first described at the beginning of the trial, making this a sandwich narrative technique employed so often by Mark.In order to emphasize the faithlessness of Peter, the nature of his three denials increases in intensity each time. First he gives a simple denial to a single maid who claims that he was with Jesus. Second he denies to the maid and a group of bystanders that he was one of them. Finally, he denies with a vehement oath to a group of bystanders that he was one of them.It is worth remembering that according to Mark, Peter was the first disciple called to Jesus side (1:16-20) and the first who confessed that Jesus was the Messiah (8:29). Nevertheless, his denials of Jesus may be the most vehement of all. This is the last we see of Peter in Marks gospel and its unclear whether Peters weeping is a sign of repentance, contrition, or prayer.

This painting  by Chris Higham captures the broken Peter following his denial of his friendship with Jesus. Chris  has  painted  the disciple in as low a position as he can get. Down the steps in an dark alleyway , a desolate Peter his hiding away, crouched in a doorway. His hand against the door stopping him totally collapsing on the ground.

http://www.christian-art.org.uk/cgi-bin/ca.cgi?page=home.html

Good Friday

DSCF0635

The day is near, the time has come

Bread is broken, Wine is drunk
The deal is done,

Fate has been sealed
Sealed with a kiss, the sign of love, no less
How times have changed, how people change
From cries of love, to cries of hate
The awaited one came, they couldn’t see
He healed, taught love but, still they did not see
Now time has passed, they’ve had their chance,
they chose their path.
Hand are washed, backs are turned
The cross stands high, one of three, for all to see
Bang, bang, bang,
Nails,
one, two and three
The crown of thorns, to crown a king
Spills blood for sins He came to bear
The sky, it darkens
Father
Forgive , forgive, forgive
It’s over
BUT NOT THE END

by  Margaret  Preuss-Higham

Betrayed

PENTAX Image

The Last Supper

by

Chris Higham

MAUNDY THURDAY

Most evenings we sit down for a meal with our family and tonight Jesus sits down in the upper room with his disciples who have become his family, his friends, his travelling companions, who have witnessed his miracles, who have heard his teachings but still they did not quite understand. But this wasn’t just a meal, it was to be jesus’ last meal with these friends and he knew it.
For on this very night Jesus will be betrayed by one of his friends, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver but for me the biggest betrayal was that Judas a used of a kiss, a sign of love to identify Jesus.
Before the meal began, Jesus knelt down to wash the disciples feet. This disturbed the disciples as it was the task of the humblest slave, whereas Jesus their master took it upon himself. Jesus got to know the disciples more closely by taking upon himself the role of their servant if you remember he said to them whoever wishes to become great among you, must be your servant and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.

In the “old upstairs downstairs” days good servants probably knew a lot more about their Masters mistresses then they let on. This however made them better servants, for by keeping their eyes open they can understand their employers needs and anticipate their demands. Was there something of this in our Lords decision to washes disciples feet? For he told his disciples to become servants of others just has he had become their servant: “if I your Lord and teacher have washed your fee”t he said” you also ought to wash one another’s feet for I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done. And to serve somebody you must learn about them what makes them tick, what their life experiences have been, who they are and how they think of themselves.
It’s very easy for a “do-gooder” to rush in and give someone what they think they need without taking the time to learn from them what they really need. You must get to know them and understand who they think of themselves to be and as we say where they are coming from for this you really need to look at them listen to the town of the voice and you may well learn a lot about them that they would never have been able to put into words themselves.

Jesus calls us to follow his example and to learn our neighbour stories by serving them he calls us to serve our neighbours as he himself served his disciples by washing the messy places in their lives with the love of God. Ask yourself whom Jesus is asking you to serve in all humility today.

They tried, but didn’t succeed.

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Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”

He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.  Mark 15;2

They tried and tried to tangle our Lord in barbed wire with questions ,clever questions they thought.

But nothing they said could hold him fast upon the wire.

He replied to their questions not with the answers that were hoped for,

for he answered not with words that would condemn him,

he answered with questions  which challenged their authority and understanding of the scriptures.

They tangled him in the wire because he knew his hour had come.

Nailed to the Cross for us and for our salvation,rising on the 3rd day, no longer held by the wire.

Escaping  the wire that held him,   setting us free to bear witness to his teaching here on earth.

Margaret Preuss-Higham

Easter Sunday Sermon

 Christ is Risen

 He is risen indeed

 Alleluia,alleluia

Last Sunday we heard of jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the crowds voices ringing with the words “Hosanna to the son of david”. on Thursday we remembered our lords last meal with his disciples and on Friday we read the passion according to Matthew where the words Hosanna changed to the “crucify him, crucify him” and now here we are on The day following the crucifixion a day that was a black for the followers of Jesus. Not yet realisingfully the truth of the resurrection, their hopes lay in ruins, Jesus the man who performed miracles ,who healed the sick ythe man who chose not to  run away and save himself. he chose humiliation he chose nails and the cross  he chose death to save us, to bring us back to God, healing our sins.
 the disciples they were on their own. Their Lord was dead. All that theycould do for him now was grant him a decent burial,so thewomen went to work preparingembalming spices with which to anoint the body.
Among the women were Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. With others they had travelled with Jesus on his journeys, takingcare of his day-to-day needs. They had followed him to the crossand stood beside him throughthe long day of hisdying, and had clung togetheras they shed tears of bitter grief.
According to some historians, Mary Magdalene and Mary ofBethany were one and the same. It is commonlybelieved that Mary Magdalenewas a prostitute though in fact no mention of this is found in any of the Gospels.She had been delivered by Jesus of ‘sevendevils’ – though this could also have applied to many that he encountered. Whateverthe facts, it seems certain that Mary Magdalene had found forgiveness and new life in Jesus, that she loved her Lord and had served him faithfully.
Now, heartbroken, early on the morning of the third day while it was still dark , Mary goes to the tomb to discover that  the stone has been rolled away.  The body she had come to tendis gone, so she does what I think we would all do and she runs for help, but to be honest the disciples that come don’t seem to provide much support, they looked saw that the body had gone and left. then  I ndespair, through her tears  asks the man standingoutside to tell her when i t has been taken.
At first she does not recognize his voice. may be her grief is so overwhelming that her senses are dulled, she is confused. It is only when he says her name “mary” that the she realizes to whom she has been speaking to all the time.
How many times have you walked along the street and uttered the words “oh ,sorry I didn’t recognize you”
I read a story the other day
a 6 yrs old girl was drawing a picture one day. her teacher said “what are you drawing”.the little girl said”I am drawing a picture of God”. The teacher was surprised and said”but do you know what god looks like”. the little girl carried on drawing and said “they will in a minute”
this morning morning prayer included the Song of Christ Glory
Christ Jesus was in the form of God, •
but he did not cling to equality with God.
  He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,
and was born in our human likeness.
 Being found in human form he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him,
 and bestowed on him the name above every name,
 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth;
  And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father
Chris took on human, he became one of us.
 we, you and I are made in God’s image, so would recognize God if you meet him in      Bridport, of course you would.
He is in you, he is in the person sat next to you, in acts of kindness you receive, he is in the person who supports you in times of difficulty,
Isaiah  41.13  reading from the message
That’s right. Because I, your God,
 have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
 I’m right here to help you.’

Good Friday

The day is near, the time has come

Bread is broken, Wine is drunk
The deal is done, Fate has been sealed
Sealed with a kiss, the sign of love, no less
How times have changed, how people change
From cries of love, to cries of hate
The awaited one came, they couldn’t see
He healed, taught love but, still they did not see
Now time has passed, they’ve had their chance,
they chose their path
Hand are washed, backs are turned
The cross stands high, one of three, for all to see
Bang, bang, bang,
Nails,
one, two and three
The crown of thorns, to crown a king
Spills blood for sins He came to bear
The sky, it darkens
Father
Forgive , forgive, forgive
It’s over

BUT NOT THE END