Tag Archive: cross


this is a long psalm, so may just do it in two parts…

starts off with a very familiar statement: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ [verse 1]
Jesus groaning from the cross… or me, sitting and chatting with my wife on my bed last nite…

i seem to be able to relate to a lot of the groany [whiny?] stuff of this psalm which i appreciate for its raw and rough realness’ity:

‘Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?’ [verse 1]

‘My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.’ [verse 2]


‘All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. let Him deliver him, since He delights in him.” [verse 7-8]

followed by this desperate cry: ‘Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; You lay me in the dust of death.’ [verse 11-15]

i mean, that’s pretty dramatic – you lay me in the dust of death? and yet when everything around you starts looking bleak, that can be how you feel. a sneak peek into tomorrow’s well known psalm reminds us where God is, when we hit the ‘dust of death’ [or even the ‘valley of the shadow of death’] and i guess this psalm does a bit of that as well – God, it feels like you are nowhere near at the moment, but i am going to trust on the experience of the past and my faith in You and who i believe You to be and that will be enough to get me through.

i have been feeling very distant from God [well the feeling always manifests as ‘God is distant from me’, you know] for a long time now and last nite in particular just a whole bunch of stuff hit and i had a really good chat with my wife, tbV, and was able to b’lurgh a lot of it out, and then this morning i received an email from a very random source completely encouraging me for something i had been a part of in her life years ago at some camp i spoke at, and was just completely encouraged by that. huge coincidence, for sure, excepting that those kinds of coincidences just seem to happen every single time i get to that point of just wanting to throw in the towel and run far away [or more honestly probably slap someone in the head with the towel] and it’s like God swooping in to remind me that, “I’m here. I haven’t forgotten you. I certainly haven’t forsaken you.”

and so the reminder of the writer’s past connection to God: ‘Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.’ [verse 9-10]

and a reminder of the writer’s national connection to God: ‘Yet You are enthroned as the Holy One; You are the one Israel praises. In You our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame.’ [verse 3-5]

and lastly, the reminder that the last time that first verse was groaned, well proclaimed, from the cross, in the midst of apparent hopelessness, chaos and confusion, it didn’t turn out so badly…

we serve a faithful God. one who allows us to ask the difficult questions and be hurt and scared and confused when we need to be.

to continue to part ii…

i am busy trying to get inspired to write some more of my book which looks like it is heading towards the end quadrant of it’s being writtenment [just for you, Lisa!] and i have half an eye on Twitter where @sharnefinn and @mattnixonjames are keeping me well upto date on how well the DA is doing most places… my other half eye and click finger keep bouncing to the game of http://www.news24.com/maps which has a map of election results which shows you who is doing what where in terms of winning different wards and cities and provinces.

[my best at the moment is Amahlati [Stutterheim] where in the middle of these regions where 74000 votes have been counted and 36870 votes have been counted, it says “The ANC is leading in Amahlati with 48.72%” which sounds really impressive until you carry on “of the 312 votes counted thus far.” – is it a tiny region peoplewise or are they just counting really, really slowly i wonder?]

and then i decided to get properly inspired by picking up my purple Bible and reading on where i’ve been reading in John. i have been reading more recently than i have for a while which is great cos i went through a bit of a not-getting-round-to-it patch and then was quite inspired recently by a bunch of big name Christ-following writers who have been talking about working through one of the gospels in their time with God and so i decided to go for John and try read a few chapters at a time and it’s been great.

and also contained the answer to who i voted for, which is why i assume you were reading this in the first place.

John 13 must be one of the most powerful pieces of Scripture in the Bible and the kind of passage that backs up the authenticity of the Bible to me – if you were going to be making up or fabricating a religion to try and con a bunch of people into following you, you wouldn’t write John 13.

This is what got my vote: ‘Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.’ Before that, it describes the actions that are about to happen by saying, ‘Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.’

The passage continues with this command from Jesus: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

And a little bit later: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. BY THIS SHALL ALL MEN KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, if you love one another.”

In John 14 Jesus makes His party statement, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” But He has already set up His party ethos and strategy and it is an enticing one.

And so Jesus gets my cross. Fitting, really, since that’s the call He makes on my life and yours – “If anyone would follow Me, He must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me.” [Luke 9.23]

so for anyone out there not familiar with the Christian faith, this is what this holiday is all about in the shell of a nut:

# mankind is sinful – this is a pretty easy one to verify – read a newspaper, watch the news, hang out with yourself for a 24 hour period or anyone else that you like or specifically some people you don’t – you don’t need test tubes in a lab to verify that we are not perfect, none of us – we mess up, we hurt people, we hurt ourselves, we do stupid things, and we often fail to do good and right things

# the punishment for sin is death – this is a harder one to verify [our reasoning is ‘because the Bible says so’ and that is enough for me, but it may not be enough for you, and that’s okay, this is where faith and belief start to kick in] although i would say not completely. if you follow the natural progression of sin in someone’s life it always leads to a death of some type – death of trust, of relationship, of good health, of life possibility etc. however, we are talking about a spiritual/eternal death – we believe that one day every person will stand in front of God and be judged and that those who have not dealt with their sin will receive an eternal death or punishment

# that paints a pretty bleak picture because if all of us have sinned and the punishment is death, that means we all have to die – if the story ends here, we’re all in a lot of trouble and that is kind of the picture of Good Friday – Jesus Christ, who many believed to be the Messiah who had come to save the world [many of the jews believed He had simply come to free them from roman control and persecution] hanging on a cross, dying the worst kind of death known to man. It all looked like a bit of an epic universal fail.

[which is why you should not stop reading here – it gets better – click somewhere over here]

at our enGAGE gathering last nite, MJ reminded us of this vineyard song where the chorus goes something like:

Bring me back to the place where i love the cross

Bring me back to the place where i’m on my knees

Bring me back to an undivided heart

Oh Jesus, bring me back to You

it’s a fantastic reminder of a phenomenally good place to return to regularly

i attended a funeral last nite for one of my ex youth guys (well a pre-funeral actually as the funeral is on saturday but this was called a ‘roer diens?’ or something and was an opportunity to celebrate his life and give testimony) who was stabbed to death on the weekend

tbV and i were two of about 4 white people in a hall filled with coloured people fromJamestown where he lived and where it happened – i had not really known him that well but what stood out to me was that he was a really good natured young dude with great manners and a consistent (with a hint of mischief) smile and positive attitude – but when his mom got up and spoke it almost floored me

she basically got up and said how Adrian is safe now and he is with God and so there is no need for revenge and then basically begged his friends and guys from the community to not add to the bloodshed and tragedy that has already happened

i would imagine when your precious child is taken away from you that the natural response would be that someone must pay and that the guy responsible must suffer –  his mom is a follower of Jesus though and i know that is what prompted that kind of response

i hear the voice of Jesus, hanging bloodied and beaten from the cross, designated Roman instrument of torture and slow death, gasping out, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ and just pray that more of us will really ‘get’ that heart and live it for real in a broken and hurting world.

as Gandhi said, ‘an eye for an eye ends up leaving the whole world blind’

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