Bright Hope for Tomorrow

When all the worst stuff happens, and we are reminded that the rains do fall on all, we stand at a cross-road of decision.

Do we grieve without Hope or do we grieve as those whose Hope is sure?

Because we do grieve, we must grieve. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we live immune to the sorrows and sadnesses of the world. It shouldn’t mean that a platitude will clear away our grief. Our faith must sit with despair as much as it sits with rejoicing.

Jesus was described as someone familiar with suffering and sorrow. He stood at the tomb of a dear friend and wept.

As we acknowledge pain and disappointment, when prayers slip into a chasm of silence, we also have the opportunity to lean into Hope. To lean into the promise we are not alone and to remember again and again the promise that tells us we are never alone.

hope for tomorrow

I’ve been playing these old words over and over in my heart of late:

strength for today and bright Hope for tomorrow

Wherever you find yourself today may you have the strength of being able to do all things (big, small, mundane, magnificent, noticed and overlooked) through Christ. The One who strengthens you, the One who loves you and who even now lives to intercede for you.

May you have the ability today to rest in the love of the One who hovers over you, who never despises a broken heart.

May you find in today strength, and bright Hope for tomorrow. Beloved ones you are noticed, you are cared for, you are held and you are accompanied in your grief.

Be blessed, be held, be Hopeful.

In a desert land he found him,
    in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
    he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
    and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
    and carries them aloft.

Deuteronomy 23:10-11

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Friday Eleven – for Peace

Friday Blessing: For Peace

When sorrows come like waves on the shore and when your world is groaning under the weight of despair,

May Peace whisper quiet from the shadows and keep company with your heart in every beat.

When justice seems delayed and fairness denied,

May Peace give strength to your resolve to speak truth with love and courage.

When all feels unattainable and fear looms large on your horizons,

May the Prince of Peace gather you in His arms and reassure you the story is not finished and His Presence will be with you – always.

eleven peace

Thinking of you wherever you find yourself today. May the Peace of God be a fortress around your heart and keep you anchored in whatever storms may come your way.

All the love

Miriam x

Setting Our Hearts

From time to time I read something that immediately undoes me – usually I recognise it is because it has voiced some deep longing in my heart, or some truth I cannot put words to myself.

Today I read again this beautiful quote of Reepicheep (the talking mouse):

“My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

 

It made me cry, again!

Sometimes it seems as though are plans aren’t getting us somewhere fast enough. We feel like we don’t know the way. We feel, worse still, that maybe we have missed the way.

ba2c5-blsth8

Today maybe it’s time just to reassure your own heart that you will continue with all your heart in the direction your heart desires. And, if your boat sinks you will continue swimming and if all else fails you will sink with your nose to the sunrise.

Hope for you today dear heart.

Hope and courage.

Hope and courage and perseverance.

The story is not yet finished.

x

Good Friday

Today we celebrated Good Friday at church. This is one of the reflections I wrote for that service. The painting was done by a team of beautiful and clever people I get to journey with.

Thinking of you today – may you find life and hope in grief and despair.

easter crosses

While the drama of the crucifixion plays out in an intensely physical and earthly place we must lift our gaze to contemplate the great spiritual drama in play.

The lashings, jeerings and mocking are the least of what Jesus is enduring. At this time sin, sickness, defeat, despair, depression, oppression and brokenness is being transferred to Jesus, the final atoning sacrifice.

In the Old Testament we see sin atoned for by the priest laying his hands on the person and the animal brought for sacrifice – the sin passes from the sinner to the animal, often a lamb. On the cross we see Jesus, our great high priest, the mediator of a new covenant, take up all sin.

What once had to be done again and again to make atonement for sin is achieved once for all, on a wooden cross on a hill shaped like a skull.

None of the bystanders could begin to perceive the exchange at this moment – the chief priests as they justified their win, the disciples as they feared and agonised, the women as they openly grieved the one they loved.

How often do we walk past the cross without stopping to meditate on the truly cosmic moment when the Trinity was torn in two, where the final victory was achieved, where the words ‘It is Finished’ truly meant it is finished.

And then the curtain tore.

A huge and heavy embroidered curtain, reported to be up to 4 inches thick was torn from top to bottom – from God to man – the supreme gift, a way into the holy of holies.

What was once a dividing place between the holy and the unholy instantly accessible to all.

God’s holy presence no less holy, no less awe-some, no less powerful but because of Jesus we are now made holy and worthy to enter.

His blood the sacrifice we could not make. His broken body taking away our brokenness, our shame exchange for his garment of righteousness.

Jesus has defeated death itself – not for his disciples, not for Jews, not for good men but for all – for strangers, for the lost, for the sick, for gentiles and women, for children and for all of creation – right out to the edges of the cosmos.

This act of Jesus, conceived by God as the ultimate rescue mission, initiated in heaven, is for all of the created order.

In this divine exchange the whole of creation’s brokenness is taken up into Jesus and finds in him the answer and the cure.

May you know the Presence of God today and may your heart leap at the welcome into the Holy place.

Family Eastering – Nothing

Simply making more of DIY resurrection eggs.

Day 11: Nothing – the victory complete

nothing

Verse: Luke 26 v 6-7

Jesus isn’t here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, ‘The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.’ 

Activity:

Make medals together – who gets the medal? The winner. Break open a hollow egg together or open the oven and eat one of the meringue cookies – it is empty inside. Why?

Reflection:

Imagine how surprised the disciples and Jesus’ friends were to discover the tomb/cave was empty! That wasn’t what they were expecting at all. No one has the power to keep Jesus shut up in a tomb – not death, not soldiers, not people who hate Jesus, no-one at all. Jesus is the winner. He deserves not just a medal but all of our praise and wonder. Now Jesus shares his victory with us. He fought with death and he won so now when our bodies die it isn’t the end of the story – when Jesus returns our lives and bodies will be remade and live with him in joy and peace and love forever! Jesus is risen!

Prayer:

Wow God! What a great plan you carried out in Jesus. How surprising and mind-blowing it must have been for your friends and how exciting it is for us to know you are the winner. How we love you God. You are truly awesome and wonderful.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

These reflections are not exhaustive they are simply a way to add extra thoughtfulness to your Easter celebrations. I hope they bless you dear families.

Thank you for doing this journey with me. I hope that any of the reflections you have managed to do have brought life, deeper understanding and meaningfulness to your Easter journey.

All the joy and best of good news.

Miriam x

Family Eastering – Stone

Simply making more of DIY resurrection eggs.

Day 11: Stone – nothing can stop Him

stone

Verse: John 20 v 1

On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

Activity:

Look for really heavy things around the house – couch, table, tree… try to move these. Use different strategies. Now use the largest family member to guard these whilst the smallest family member tries to get to them and move them.

Reflection:

There were people worried that Jesus’ disciples would try to steal his dead body so they placed not just an enormous rock that would be impossible to move, but they also placed 2 very big scary guards outside the tomb/cave entrance as well. But! When Jesus rose from the dead there was nothing that could stop him – not a huge rock, not 2 big scary guards. It is just the same for us – sometimes we can think that God is far away or what we have done is too terrible to be forgiven or to tell someone. But nothing can get in the way of God’s love for us – no terrible sin, no scary thoughts, no faraway place. Jesus defeated death – there is nothing too big for him to deal with.

Today you could also do the Easter Meringues recipe in preparation for tomorrow. If you would like to do something extra. (You will need a hollow chocolate egg or blown usual egg for tomorrow).

Prayer:

Thank you for your power Jesus, power that raised you from the dead, power that defeated death, power that sets me free from sin. Help me to believe and call on you when I need your help.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

These reflections are not exhaustive they are simply a way to add extra thoughtfulness to your Easter celebrations. I hope they bless you dear families. x

Family Eastering – Spices

Simply making more of DIY resurrection eggs.

Day 10: Spices – an act of love

spices

Verse: John 19 v 40

Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

Activity:

Try wrapping one another in strips of cloth (or a roll of toilet paper). Smell different spices, essential oils, hand lotions etc.

Reflection:

In Jesus time a dead body was anointed with spices and wrapped in strips of fabric before being buried. Two men asked to be able to take his body to do this before he was buried. This was a great act of love by these men who both loved Jesus even though while he was living they were scared to admit that. They gave him proper preparation using their own resources, because of their love for him.

Prayer:

Jesus thank you that you accept our love for you, even when we sometimes get worried and scared. Thank you that these two men loved you very much. Help me to love you too.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

These reflections are not exhaustive they are simply a way to add extra thoughtfulness to your Easter celebrations. I hope they bless you dear families. x

Family Eastering – Sponge and Spear

Simply making more of DIY resurrection eggs.

Day 9: Sponge and Spear – definitely dead

sponge and spear

Verse: John 19 v 29, 33-34

A jar of cheap wine was there. Someone then soaked a sponge with the wine and held it up to Jesus’ mouth on the stem of a hyssop plant.

But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, and they did not break his legs. One of the soldiers stuck his spear into Jesus’ side, and blood and water came out.

Activity:

Experiment with drinking from different sources – from a flannel dipped in water, sipping through a straw, gulping from a cup, catching water from a hose/jug in your mouths.

Reflection:

When Jesus was offered a drink on the sponge some people say it was to help with pain but Jesus chose not to take it.

Later on after Jesus had risen from the dead some people would try to say that he hadn’t actually died he just fainted. First of all people saw he was dead and then the soldier also pushed a spear into his body which would have definitely killed him if he wasn’t already dead. Because Jesus actually died we know that he has taken our sins away and defeated death.

Prayer:

Thank you Jesus that you died and when you died you took away our sin and pain with you. Thank you that death was not strong enough to keep you and when you rose again you conquered death forever.

May we all come with fresh eyes to the story we know so well, may we let the truths soak deep down and take root, and may these truths breathe life into our daily comings and goings.

These reflections are not exhaustive they are simply a way to add extra thoughtfulness to your Easter celebrations. I hope they bless you dear families. x