April '21 Sunrises

'Can't Buy Me Love' - 30/04/21

Last week saw the furore surrounding the creation of football's so called, European Super League. Depending upon who you chose to listen to, this proposed venture was designed to be the saviour of a game slowly losing its fan-base among the younger generation, or it was a cynical attempt by the richest clubs in Europe to divide future spoils amongst themselves, at the expense of those clubs whose finances don't currently allow them to buy into this exclusive club and who will never be able to do so if the scheme goes ahead.

 Many people felt that this was a step too far and protests by fans brought about the withdrawal of English clubs from the league. The thought that clubs could buy themselves a place in the league without earning it by their on-field performance was anathema to some. To others, the fact that the league was effectively a closed shop went against everything they believed sport should be. Personally, I found it interesting that in a time of national crisis, it was football that seemed to unite public opinion and that the public protests were allowed to take place with no restrictions, when other causes have had to struggle, sometimes physically, to make themselves heard. Anyhow, that debate, and the one about the future of football, is for another time and another forum.

 What got me thinking was the argument regarding buying into a better future, rather than earning it. In life, it is possible to both buy and earn your future – if we think of that future in simple terms, such as being better off financially. To buy it, you need to have the money in the first place... much like the twelve football teams who wanted to start their own competition. If you don't have the financial wherewithal to invest in your own future, then you need to work hard to earn the money to secure it.

 Of course, this doesn't give you any guarantee of happiness. There can be no doubt that not having to worry about where the next penny is coming from is going to relieve certain anxieties, but that doesn't necessarily equate to happiness... and let's not forget that the Beatles told us that, “money can't buy me love”. Still, we must surely have to do something, because let's face it, nobody is going to just hand things to us on a plate. You don't get something for nothing... or do you?

 The Bible tells us that eternal life is a gift and that it is for everybody, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. There is no mention of buying or earning salvation. In fact it is very specifically stated that you cannot buy any of the gifts God wishes to give us, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money”. Similarly, it is made clear that you cannot earn it, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast”. So, no exclusive, invitation only club based upon wealth; not even entry based on merit or hard work. Simply a gift. All that is required of us is to accept the gift. How? It's very simple, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. Why does God give us these gifts? Because He loves us and that love is free... it seems the Beatles were right.

'Have You Had Your Breakfast' - 29/04/21

We had our breakfasts--whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.”
Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone

​The Moonstone is a detective novel. A young woman (Rachel) has inherited a large Indian diamond of great cultural significance on her 18h birthday. However, it is stolen, and her uncle is determined to find the culprits.

What would your favourite breakfast be? Full English, Croissants and pastries, American pancakes and waffles, or cereal and toast? 

Many studies have shown the importance of having breakfast. It kick starts your metabolism for the day, reduces snacking, improves mood, and generally prepares our bodies for the day ahead.  Did you know that our bodies are most active between 6-9am as everything has to wake up and get going! So, breakfast gives us energy at a time when our bodies need it most.

Some people love mornings, leaping out of bed each day ready to go. I am not a morning person at all, my body needs several cups of tea and some food before I can make any sense at all! 

However we wake up, we all cope better with whatever the day throws at us if we are prepared.

God made us and he loves us and he knows us better then we know ourselves. He knows how we ‘tick’, and he reminds us in the bible that preparation is the key

Ephesians 6 

 'Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential.'

​God knows that life can be tough, but he is with us every step of the way. The closer we stick to God, love him, talk with him and follow his ways, the better prepared we will be for whatever we have to face. 

​Do you take time each day to just sit quietly with God? It’s a great practice to get in the habit of doing. It doesn’t have to be long, but just as breakfast prepares the body, time with God each day prepares the soul. Its as important as bacon and eggs!

'Careful !' - 28/04/21

“I woke up still not dead again today

The internet said I had passed away....” 

Willie Nelson wrote this song in response to reading the news that he had passed away.

 Last Sunday I caused great confusion with a text message I sent out. I was wanting to explain why there was no Sunrise posted on the website that day. The first day without one since beginning Sunrises in March 2020! I explained that I had forgotten to have the message posted, and that the “Sunrise Queen“ was now enjoying the afternoon in the park with friends. What followed was a whole host of messages being sent to me wishing me a happy afternoon in the park with my friends. How lovely! Except I would never, in a million years, call myself the Sunrise Queen! I have a wonderful group of writers who join me each week in writing them. We wouldn’t have Sunrises without them!!! But on this occasion I was referring to one of my chicks who faithfully uploads each Sunrise onto the website each day. After she went out I realised, no Sunrise! This was a funny incident and the text messages made me laugh. My poor use of words had confused many! Clearly no harm was caused but it is an example of how misunderstandings can happen. 

​When we are communicating with others it’s so easy for us to add details, take away details, exaggerate the situation and speak out of context. Before we know it, feelings have been hurt, relationships broken and sometimes whole lives have been destroyed. All because communication was careless and sides wouldn’t take the time to clear up a misunderstanding. 

I read recently about a young girl who had been horrifically bullied at school. It all started with a text message that had been completely written out of context about her. Had the message been written correctly there wouldn’t have been a problem but before anyone knew of the miscommunication, news had spread, words had been added, and a whole new story developed. This young girl who had done nothing wrong, went on to endure months of mockery and abuse at the hands of cruel and careless individuals. All because of one poorly worded text.

 And it’s not only text messages that are problematic, our tongues can be very dangerous. 

 Proverbs in the Bible has much to say about communication, 

 ‘An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing’. 

‘The tongue can bring death or life, those who love to talk will reap the consequences’.

 ‘Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish’. 

 And James had some wise advice for us all, ‘Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: you must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry’.

 Communication is vital to our daily lives. But before we jump to conclusions and possibly misunderstand a situation, may we seek to know the truth and do it with dignity and much grace.

‘May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing to you, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer’. Psalm 19:14.

 

'What's In A Name' - 27/04/21

“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”

Exodus 20: 7

​Did you know that there is a word specifically to describe a word which we use in everyday language which has its origins in someone’s name?  Apparently it’s called an eponym.  For example, the word ‘cardigan’ comes from the 7th Earl of Cardigan who designed a woollen kind of waistcoat for his troops to wear to keep them warm.  The name stuck and we now recognise the item of clothing by his name.  Likewise, apparently the sandwich which so many of us regularly enjoy came from the 4th Earl of Sandwich.  He had a serious gambling problem and in order to allow him to carry on playing at the tables and not need to stop to eat, he asked the cook to prepare him something that he could eat from his seat without having to move.  The cook presented him with some slices of bread with meat in between and the sandwich was born!

​Our names matter to us don’t they?  We take great care in choosing names for our children wanting their names to reflect something of us and our personalities or perhaps the personalities that we hope they will become.  “Oy You!” just doesn’t cut it and we much prefer for someone to be bothered to know our name and use it.  

​There are many names for God – Creator, Almighty, Father, Prince of Peace, The Rock, Deliverer, King of Kings, Shepherd… the list goes on and on and on but all of those characteristics and names we give Him are summed up in one name – God.  That’s what makes it so special.  It isn’t simply one name that describes one character trait or one thing that he is known by, it describes the all powerful, all knowing, all loving God who created all things.

​So when we come to this 3rd commandment that says that we mustn’t misuse His name, there is good reason for that.  When we use his name as an exclamation or a curse we are removing all of its value making it seem insignificant and worthless.  In the book of Proverbs we read these words : “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe”.  The name of God our father represents love, power, protection, peace and joy; His name represents so much that is good, loving and gracious – let’s not take the meaning out of His name by using it thoughtlessly or carelessly.  Let the next time that you speak His name be in humility and thankfulness for all that he has done and continues to do for each of us.

'Who Is The Man' - 26/04/21

Probably you all know this story in the book of Mark chapter 4. It describes the day that the experienced fishermen who were Jesus’ disciples were so battered in their boat by a violent storm that they thought they would drown. They woke Jesus up who didn’t appear to be concerned about their situation and He simply and quietly calmed the storm. Mark records that the terrified men asked each other this question, “Who is this man.” If we had been there, we would be asking the same question. Mark was keen that everybody who wasn’t there should understand the truth and so in the next chapter he relates three stories that are meant to provide the answer to that question. Once on dry land the hugely relieved disciples watched Jesus at work again. He cast out multiple demons from a possessed man who terrified everyone, then he healed a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, and as an encore He brought a young girl back to life. All of that would surely answer the disciples question “Who is this man.” Jesus is God in the flesh, He is the one with power over nature, the spirit world, our bodies, and he has power over death itself.

 Many of us have had very stormy days in recent times and have felt the same fear that the disciples felt. Maybe your storm was, or is, connected to fear or sadness or illness, loneliness or depression. Sometimes it looks as if there’s no way out; that’s what the fishermen on Galilee thought, but Jesus came to their rescue. The Bible teaches that, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.’ Even in the 21st century He invites us to trust Him in our storms; sometimes He quietens the wind and waves in our lives but sometimes our storms continue unabated but He provides peace that is beyond human understanding. He said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Against all the odds, Jesus gave His disciples peace that the world could not match; if we can accept who He is and what He has done for us, then He can calm our storms or bring us peace. It would be good to hear each other’s stories of calmness and peace when we didn’t expect it.

I Moved Office! - 24/04/21

It is a peculiar thing to say at this time, since my office has been at home since March 2020. But yes, I have moved office. 

Well actually, I moved room, from the front room to an upstairs bedroom.

It is only a small move but it has changed my perspective. From my front room, I can see the road outside my house, I can watch the cars and buses going past, I can watch people out walking their dog or getting their daily exercise running or cycling. I can see who is at the door before they ring the bell.

Now, my view is different, I can see the motorway with cars and trucks on longer journeys, I can see traffic lights as switch island, the big advertisement signs near Aintree retail, the massive cranes at the docks. The trucks bringing our supplies to the shops. Sometimes, I can see the blue lights of emergency vehicles rushing to help someone. On a clear day, I can see the hills across into North Wales.

I only moved a short distance, not moving east or west or north or south, just up one flight of stairs. I am in the same spot but I have lifted my view.

Sometimes, we do need to lift up our view, we can be limited to seeing a small view of what is going on and not seeing a bigger picture. What is happening around us is very important and so is seeing something of what is happening further afield. But seeing what is happening from another view can help us realise how we are part of a bigger thing.

In the Psalms, there is a reminder in a song, believed to be sung by pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, reminding themselves of the bigger picture of how God was with them. 

Psalm 121

 I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?

 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber;

 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

  The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

 As we go about our day to day lives, let us remember to lift our eyes to the Lord. Let us remember that whilst we are busy in our small places, the very maker of Heaven and Earth is watching our every step, providing shelter and comfort to each of us.

'Design' - 23/04/21

Now that restaurants have opened their outside spaces to paying customers, I took the opportunity one afternoon this week to sit at a table and enjoy a nice meal al fresco in the Spring sunshine. I like to have a table with a view and, on this occasion, I was able to secure one that afforded me a splendid vista that took in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral.

 It is a truly impressive sight. The huge sandstone tower looms 331 feet above St James' Mount, dominating the skyline. It is the longest cathedral in the world, as well as being the largest in England and fifth largest in the world. It's central tower contains the largest gothic arch in the world and the bells of the cathedral are the world's highest and heaviest ringing peal. Construction began in 1904 and the building work was finally completed in 1978, meaning that it is strictly the newer of Liverpool's two cathedrals.

 Cathedrals tend to be a focal point for tourists. Visitors to any city that boasts a cathedral seem drawn to them. St Paul's in London; St Peter's in Rome; St Patrick's in New York and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona will be high on the list of attractions for anybody spending time in those cities. People flock to marvel at the architecture, the grandeur, the wealth. Incredible statues, paintings, mosaics and tapestries adorn the chapels and walls of these magnificent buildings and are rightly admired. The architecture and design is beyond compare, but I wonder if people stop to ask themselves why they are there.

 They are there as a testament to the greatest designer of them all. This is man's attempt to build a monument to God to celebrate the wonders of His creation. To thank Him for all that He has done for us. To put our all into creating a space worthy of His name. Despite how truly awe inspiring some of these buildings are, they are nothing when compared to the works of God's hand. The opening passage of the very first book in the Bible tells us of creation. Of a time when God made everything from nothing. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". Light, water, earth, sky, plants, trees, vegetation, fruit, the moon, the sun, stars, birds of the air, creatures of the land and sea and finally, mankind. God made them all and when He had finished He declared that it was very good. Not only is God the creator of everything, He is also the master of understatement. We can never hope to come close to His wonderful creation, but I'm glad that we try; because not only can the wonderful cathedrals seen across the world be enjoyed for their inherent beauty, but they can also help to point us towards the real beauty of creation and more importantly, towards its creator.

'Laughter Lines' - 22/04/21

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

​As a little girl, whenever we visited my grandmother, my sister would take great delight in counting her wrinkles, to see if she had any more from the last visit! My grandmothers response was always the same. She would explain that she had lived a very happy life, and the wrinkles were a sign of that. 

Shakespeare clearly had the same idea, the more you enjoyed life and laughed, the more wrinkles you ended up with.

I am not sure it works exactly like this, but it is lovely to think that all the happiness and joy we have experienced somehow shows up on our faces.

Can you remember the last time you laughed till you cried? Or the time that something silly made you giggle, and every time you think of it you giggle again? I love the fact that we have this wonderful gift of laughter and fun from God. 

When Jesus was explaining why he had come to his followers in John Chapter 10, he describes himself as three things.

Firstly, he describes himself as a gate, which may seem strange but he was trying to explain that it was through Jesus that everyone could find a way back to God.

Secondly, he describes himself as the good shepherd, who looks after his sheep and is prepared to die to save them, just as Jesus died for us on Good Friday

Thirdly Jesus said this; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus came so that with him, we could have the most amazing fulfilling life possible, living life every day with God. Whilst that doesn’t mean that there won’t be tears and sadness, there will also be a lot of love, care, community, fun and laughter along the way.

And the more time we spend with Jesus, the more that his love shows in us, maybe not in laughter lines, but in our actions and words.

Now I don’t suggest that when we meet up again you start counting everyone’s laughter lines, as you may get into trouble, but let’s enjoy the laughter and fun that comes our way, and choose each day to really live life to the full with Jesus.

'What Day Is It???'  - 21/04/21

It’s Wednesday. I think. Yesterday on one of our WhatsApp chats there was some confusion about what day it was! Actually there was quite a lot of confusion on that chat about several things yesterday. It was very funny and entertained us a lot throughout the day. But as far as I know it’s Wednesday today. Just Wednesday, plain old Wednesday. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for a brand new day, but before lockdown last year, Wednesday was not plain. Not at all. Wednesday was ‘Bacon Wednesday’ and the day was met with a ‘Wake Up Everybody!!’ message and a suitably, lively song that would get people moving! It was one of my favourite times of the week when we would have our coffee morning, complete with copious amounts of coffee, sausage and bacon rolls, pastries and a whole lot of chat!! The hall would be filled with the sound of laughter, discussion, support and friendship....along with the regular announcement of, ‘I didn’t order this’! This was a time of food, friendship and family. I miss Bacon Wednesday!! Of course I can fry bacon at home and make a pot of coffee but it’s simply not the same. The people are missing.

 The bible talks about the early Christians and how they met together for every day activities, encouraged and supported one another and ate together. 

 “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” 

 There are many occasions in the bible where people meet around a meal. Eating together was a big deal. And I can understand why. Bacon Wednesday was a straightforward, morning. Eat and chat. But it was more than just that. It was a place where church came together. I’m looking forward once again to the good coffee and the bacon roll that I didn’t order! But along with the food, I simply cannot wait to be together again with such incredible people who turn up to do life together! The good bits, the bad bits and the ugly! And when we do come together again, I have no doubt in my mind that there will be tears, shared memories, grief, gratitude and laughter. Wednesday is just Wednesday, at the moment. But Bacon Wednesday is getting closer and church will come together, in person, once again. And until that time May we all remember that, 

 “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

'Being a Super Fan' - 20/04/21

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them…”

Exodus 20: 4-5​

At the age of 13 a young man attended his first football match at Fratton Park, the home of Portsmouth Football Club – that was the start of a lifelong love affair with the club that has without doubt taken over his life and brought him the reputation of being their most recognised and notorious super fan.  Today, at the age of 58, John Westwood has 60 Portsmouth tattoos across his entire body; the club crest is shaved onto his head and ‘PFC’ is engraved onto his teeth!  If you Google him, he’s quite a sight and there would be no question as to which side he had turned up to support.  In 1989 he even changed his name by deed poll to John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood.  His home has become a shrine to his beloved club with everything from the cushions, teddy bears, curtains, wallpaper and carpets bearing the name of his precious club.  We may find this kind of devotion amusing but it has also had tragic consequences – by his own admission, his finances are in a mess due to the excessive spending on PFC merchandise and his marriage broke down with his wife leaving him and taking his children.  His obsession has become his religion, it has become an idol that rules every area and every moment of his life.

​There is nothing wrong in supporting your favourite sporting club or athlete, it can be a wonderful pastime to experience the highs and lows of being a fan.  But God is very clear with us on one thing – we must not bow down and worship any god, any idol, any ‘thing’ or person other than Him.  This doesn’t stop us enjoying the thrills of being a fan, but it does set some limits.  Limits that mean that nothing and no one should ever come before God.  

​Our idol may not be a football club, it could be a celebrity or pop star, it could be money or cars or a career – in fact we can find that we can put just about anything in the place where God should be.

In Matt 6 we read these words:  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

​I recommend being a super fan of God and putting him before everything else – one day John’s cushions and carpet will be gone and his tattoos will have faded but the treasure we have stored in heaven will be there for all eternity.

'Sing Because You Can' - 19/04/21

 I’m a great singer although you may think that’s unlikely. That doesn’t bother me because I have no plans to sing to you, and you cannot make a judgment about my ability because you’ve never heard me sing. I sound brilliant in the bath and sensational in the car singing along with the radio. Sometimes I’m so good I turn the radio off because whoever is on is ruining my performance. I turned Alfie Boe off last week for the same reason. Clearly singing is personal and it’s possible that there may be a few people who don’t understand why I’m so impressed with my own performance. 

The last year has not provided us with many good reasons to sing, and the Melling Choir have not even had the opportunity to sing together, so some feel dispirited, almost strangled. To be a choir member does require that you can sing in a way the members are happy with, so that probably rules me out. But real singing is meant to be an expression of your personal feelings not a demonstration of choral excellence. In the Bible book of Acts, we read of Paul and Silas being thrown into prison after magistrates illegally had them ‘stripped and beaten with rods.’ How did they respond to this? ‘About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.’ This was not intended to be a concert; it was just their way of expressing faith in God and gratitude for all His blessings. 

 We do need to understand how blessed we are, even with a pandemic rampaging around us. There are literally hundreds of millions of people worldwide who would love to live where we are. No organization is perfect but we do have the NHS, and a police force, and fire fighters, and supermarkets, schools and teachers, heating and lighting and a million other things. Christians don’t see these services as accidents but provision from a God of love. So let’s express our gratitude by singing, not necessarily in tune, but singing honestly and joyfully. Forget the latest pop song, Psalm 98 starts with this advice, ‘Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things’ and tomorrow morning take the advice given in Psalm 118, ‘This is the day that the Lord has given, let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ 

 As Jo says, “All together, after three.”  

'Let's Dance'- 18/04/21

Confession time: I love dancing and singing and jigging around. However, my family beg me not to, apparently it is not a pretty sight, which I can well believe. I have not missed the gym at all, but I have missed my Konga dance class where we did a mix of zumba, boxercise, and general jigging around whilst pretending to exercise. When we go up to Scotland, there will occasionally be a village  ceilidh and it is is an awesome occasion. It brings the community together. It is full of joy and laughter as well as dancing. There is a book by Richard Rohr called The Divine Dance;in it he likens our spiritual journey with Christ to a divine dance, full of joy as well as a lot of missteps! However, like all dances, the steps are not always easy and sometimes we really get it wrong, stepping on toes and causing hurt.

​In the book, Richard Rohr tackles the subject of sin: “Sin is what stops us from dancing. It blocks out the joyful, hallelujah chorus of Heaven that provides the backdrop to our divine dance. Sin, the block, is unforgiveness, negativity, violence, anger, hatred of others ( we could probably add a big long list here)…you just can’t afford to do it. It stops you dancing, it stops you from loving one another.”

​ ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

 When we read these words of Jesus,there is no wriggle room, no gaps for unforgiveness, negativity, anger or hatred. This is not a dance that we dance alone, it needs a partner; we need to love our neighbour as ourselves. This is community. It is hard work. Celtic Prayer has a wonderful prayer to help when we mess up and step on each others toes:

‘Lord, let our memory provide no shelter for grievance against each other.

Lord, let our heart provide no harbour for hatred of each other.

Lord, let our tongue be no accomplice in the judgement of each other.

Amen.’

'The Presence of Absence' - 17/04/21

“Absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

 The Time Travelers Wife is a story about a man (Henry) who has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and how his wife (Clare) copes with his frequent absences and dangerous habit of reappearing in strange places.

I am sure all of us have an idea of where we would go if we could time travel. The possibilities are endless and sound very exciting if you get to choose. In this book however, Henrys’ time-travel exploits are beyond his control. This is quite a scary prospect, and his wife often has long stretches of time when he simply isn’t in the same time and place as she is. She misses him deeply, so much that she describes his absence as a living thing.

We may well have all had times when absence has seemed a definite presence. It may have been in the sense of having to do something alone, like a difficult task or journey. I know that when my children first went to school and also when my daughter first went to university, the house seemed very quiet indeed, even though it was still very busy! 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Royal family this week and especially the Queen, as they start to come to terms with the loss of Prince Phillip. I am sure that the presence of his absence is very keenly felt at the moment. 

Thankfully, we can be reassured that whatever circumstances we are in, we never have to feel to absence of God. God is with us, and its actually recorded in the Bible at least 25 times, God speaking to his people the words ‘I will not leave you’

From the Old Testament, God reminds us:

'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’

To some of the last words that Jesus spoke before he went up to heaven,

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

God is not going anywhere, and he wants us to share our lives with him. To walk with him, our hand in his hand, through each day, knowing that we never have to face anything alone.

Let’s take a moment today to be still and be aware of God, the Presence of his Presence so to speak, and know that you are loved by a very awesome and present God.

'Curve Ball' - 16/04/21

Baseball is an interesting sport, I don’t watch it very often, but do enjoy the skill of the players. It is a team sport but also an individual sport. The way to score the most points is to “load the bases” so that you have more players in the field and then when you hit the home run, you can get them all home again. But there are individual battles as well, the pitcher and the batter. The pitcher will throw the ball in many different ways to try and stop the batter from hitting the ball. The batter will try to hit the ball in such a way that they can get a player on each of the bases and ultimately hit a big shot to allow all the players to return home. Some may call it “rounders” in this country but then that may offend those who study and are fascinated by baseball.

 The individual battle between the pitcher and batter does come up with a great expression about being “thrown a curve ball”. 

Life can be very much like this, in that we are going through life together and there are many people who will support us, but we do face our own individual battles. Sometimes when we are doing our own day to day things, sometimes we get thrown a curve ball, something we were not expecting but we have to deal with it somehow. It’s not always easy, but remember that we are in a team. Whilst we have individual things that we do, there are also many who will help us. It may not be our role in life to hit the home run, it may be our role in life to support others and prepare the way, to load the bases. It may be our role to guide or coach people to help them to deal with what life throws at them. Together, we can make a difference.

 As we are encouraged in Corinthians, “Now you are the body of Christ”, “If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, if one part flourishes every other part joins in with it”. As we go through life individually, remember there is a team around us who can help, encourage, guide and support, through practical help and through prayerful support. This is God’s church who calls us to love one another. As we recognise that we are all parts of Gods family, we will see His love for us and see how we can share God’s love with those around us. Thank the Lord for His family.

'Perseverance' - 15/04/21

I happened to be sitting on the beach today at high tide. I like high tide; it reduces the available space and consequently compresses all the beach related activity into a small area that is easier to observe. Families building sandcastles must do so within easy reach of dog walkers, kite flyers, horse riders and metal detectorists. When all these people no longer entertain me, I can cast my eyes out to sea and watch the ships plying their trade across the Irish Sea and further afield, or follow the gentle rotation of the blades of the wind turbines or the murmuration of the lapwings. All of this can be enjoyed from the comfort of my little beach tent, sheltered from the wind and the harsh rays of the sun.

As I reclined, sultan like, in comfort and warmth – sandwich in hand and flask at the ready – the highlight of the high tide entertainment began to arrive. In ones and twos they appeared at the top of the boardwalk and made their way to the main stage. The top of the bill! The moment you have all been waiting for! Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your delectation and delight, the Triathletes!

 This bunch of lunatics... I'm sorry; this bunch of dedicated athletes, are here for one purpose alone. To swim. Open water swimming is one of the three disciplines of the Triathlon; together with cycling and running. To be precise, the Triathlon comprises an open water swim of 1500 metres, followed by a 40 kilometre bike ride, topped off with a 10 kilometre run. High tide is their playground. Bedecked in wetsuits and tethered to orange inflatables, they plunge into the water with not a care for the weather. Only a Coastguard's red flag will stop them. They are dedicated. They are determined. They persevere. I overheard one of them stating that the water had been that cold last Saturday that it had numbed her brain. She had been so cold that she had been dizzy. Did it stop her? No; she simply pressed on and had a tale to tell at the end of it.

Why do they do it? Because they have a goal. They know that talking about it doesn't get it done. If they want to be Triathletes, they have to put in the work. They have to set aside everything that would hinder them, such as cold weather and even colder seas and press on toward that goal.

 The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible speaks of a similar approach to our faith; “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”. He tells us that many have gone before and have had to endure difficult times, but they pressed on and did not let hardship dissuade them from their true course. We too should focus on the goal and persevere to the end, where the greatest prize awaits. We don't need wetsuits and inflatables, we just need to recognise that sometimes things will be difficult and will cause us to feel disheartened, but that Jesus has been there before us and He walks with us now and in the future and that if we have the confidence to persevere and walk with Him, we too will reach our goal.

'Room For One More' - 14/04/21

This coming Sunday, I will be introducing a new theme for the next couple of months of Zoom Church. Spoiler alert!!… It’s World Cultures. We live in the most incredible world where not just nature, art and science can regularly blow our minds, but also the differences in cultural practices from one region to another and one country to another. Cultures are simply fascinating.

 In Japan, I have been reading about the ‘subway pushers’. These are people employed to do one particular job....during rush hour, they are paid to push more and more people onto the already crowded trains. Just when you thought that someone was already invading your personal space, another three turn up as well!! These subway pushers must have been trained to know when to stop, atleast I hope they have, but the idea intrigued me! Room for one more!!

 One of my absolute pet hates is cliques! I’m not talking friendship groups that form easily and openly with common interests, but the friendship groups that form in a tight knit, exclusive way. If you’re ‘not the right kind’ then you don’t get in. Cliques are often found in schools and can cause much hurt and isolation. But sadly we also find them in the workplace, in social settings and even in the church! Maybe your look isn’t right, or your lifestyle isn’t picture perfect, maybe you don’t sound the same, or you’re simply ‘not good enough’ to be part of the group! People get left out, just because.

 The bible has such a lot to say about this! Paul writes these words, “Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody”.

 Can I suggest that here in Melling we adopt a gentler form of ‘Japanese subway pushing’?? Wherever we are, whoever we’re with, as church, we get alongside others, tell them that we’re in this journey of life together, hold the doors wide open and ALWAYS make room for one more

'Do You Need a Toilet Roll' - 13/04/21

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20: 2-3

Remember the great toilet roll shortage of 2020?  As the government announced the first lockdown a portion of the nation went into panic mode and began to buy up huge quantities of toilet rolls, pasta, hand sanitiser and tinned goods.  We can look back and laugh now but suddenly some of those most basic items became the most valuable to seek out.  Now don’t misunderstand me, some of that panic buying was done out of fear – we were beginning a period of our lives that was uncertain and a little scary.  However, when you then discovered that there were people out there that had bought up stocks and stocks of basic items just to sell them online at vastly inflated prices – well the selfishness infuriated me!

​Sadly we see acts of selfishness all around us on a daily basis.  The person who blocks everyone in with their parking simply so they don’t have to walk that little bit further; the person who will jump in front of everyone else in a queue simply because they seem to think they are more important; or the person who drops their litter on the floor because surely it is someone else’s job to pick it up?!

If we are honest, we are all guilty at times of putting our own needs and desires first but today’s verse is a reminder that none of us should ever put ourselves or anything or anyone before God.  The verse starts by reminding the Israelites where they had been and who had brought them to where they were – God.  We too need to take a moment to remind ourselves today that God has walked with us through the last 12 months and has brought us to where we are today.

​However tough life may have been God has journeyed with us and has remained with us and will remain with us.  We have pulled together over the last year and grown as a community but we have grown as a community because God has been at the heart of it.  When we hold God in his rightful place and put him first, that is when our relationship with him will grow and our relationship with one another will grow – so much so that we are told to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is this: love your neighbour as yourself”.  

​This first commandment isn’t about a God that wants us to put him first and not care about those around us; this is about a God who wants us to put him first in our lives so that he can show us how to live well together, caring for one another, helping one another and meeting each other’s needs.  

​So if you do need a toilet roll, let me know, I’m happy to share my modest stock!

'Shhhhhhh' - 12/04/21

The life of a student today studying for a degree can be incredibly challenging; the debt that they can amass is almost more than the degree is worth. There’s no guarantee that they will get the job they deserve but assuming that they get some kind of occupation, there is an enormous amount of money to repay! Many students are trying to survive from week to week on a paltry amount of cash to keep their debts down. 

 I read recently of a student in that situation who was shopping one evening for food for the month. She filled her basket in the supermarket and when she got to the checkout realized that there may be more food in the basket than she had money for. She asked the lady who was scanning her items to stop at fifty pound, so her bill amounted to £49. 62p. She walked out leaving behind three tins, a bag of potatoes, and six oranges. Feeling a little dejected she was walking out of the car park when a man approached her, “Excuse me young lady, you left these behind” and handed her a bag. He smiled and promptly walked away into the crowd before she could say anything. 

 This lovely story reminded me of the teaching of Jesus, “When you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the places of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. But when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it. Then it will be a private matter. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.” 

 I believe that this is happening in Melling constantly and very many people have been blessed because others have given their possessions, abilities, time, and prayer, just for the benefit of people in need; never for show. As we continue in these difficult times to practice, quiet generosity, let’s remember that we can only give because of the blessings that God has already given to us. Jesus said, “Don’t ever worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or  ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them.” So as we share our blessings, let’s remember where they come from.

'Ouch, I Think I Might've Dislocated Something!' - 11/04/21

As lockdown restrictions gradually ease I am becoming aware that whether our lockdowns have been a breathing space or a period of terrible stress, for many of us it has been , at times, like having a dislocated limb ;painful, not quite connected and in desperate need of healing. We have been removed from our normal location/place, particularly with meeting as a church. 

​When on a retreat with The Northumbria Community many years ago, I arrived and was told that my shared room was nearly ready. I was most unhappy as I had expected a single room and did not fancy sharing my space with a random stranger…even if they were lovely. It was my first ever retreat and I had to learn to adapt to living in community for just a week. I had to fit in with a different pattern of meals, worship and work in the community. In the end, I was given a single room but I do remember finding it hard adjusting my routine to fit in with the needs of the wider monastic Celtic community.

​Walter Breugman puts it like this: “Dislocation (i.e. living in a strange place or time) comes with it a temptation to be preoccupied with self; to flee the hard task of community for the sake of private wellbeing.” As we emerge from our various lockdowns, those of us who have been used to our own little routines, ways of doing things etc need to learn to fit in with the needs of our community. We need to , not only ,love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind but we also need to love our neighbour as our self. In Acts 2, we are told that the early church lived like this:

“And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.”

​Living in wonderful harmony sounds so lovely but the reality was probably a lot tougher. Changing our plans for the good of others is never easy. Putting aside our own wants and needs can be very tough. However, the joy of doing this , is seen when we come together as community. The joy of serving one another far outweighs the loss of personal space or time and ultimately, as we serve others and the world, we are serving Christ.

 ​​​​​We have heard on Friday of the sad news of Prince Philip passing away, as we begin, let us remember the Royal Family, mourning the loss of a husband, father, grand-father. As a family, they will be coming to terms with this loss, as a public family they will share that grief with us. Please do offer a prayer for them all at this sad time.

'Life Journeys...' - 10/04/21

Sometimes on my commute (remember those? when we had to drive or get a train to work rather than just go to the spare room) I would sometimes get to work and I could not remember some of the usual landmarks, I have arrived safely but maybe it was more on autopilot than I would like to admit. Sometimes we end up at a point in our life and if we had been asked about it previously, we would not have chosen to end up at this place. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but where we are can present us with different opportunities than if we had chosen our own “safe” route through life. However, there may be times when those life journeys and choices take us down a route that we would not want to be. But, when we look at where we are, we need to recognise the opportunities that are open to us now.

​I recently heard a slightly different version of the “footprints in the sand” story, where the image of our life is show in footprints with ours and God’s footprints side by side, but through the tough times, there was only one set of footprints showing that God had carried us through. The alternate ending given was that in those times, that’s when we decided to hop. It made me smile but also encouraged me that even when our life journey does not take a route we would expect, there are still opportunities to smile together.​Our life journeys will be adventurous, with excitement and challenges alike. Sometimes we won’t understand how we ended up where we are, but let’s remember to look around us, at those who are with us, lets support each other and give each other hope and give each other a smile. Supporting each other is about showing compassion and can also be about sharing a smile. ​When did you last hop and skip to bring a smile to yourself and those around? (please only try this if you are able – don’t want any injuries being reported!)

​God will laugh with us and He will cry with us, God is with us, wherever we venture, let us embrace that and embrace Him.

​Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age and grey hairs, I am God, I am God who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you

'Getting To Know You' - 09/04/21

Good morning and welcome to today's Sunrise. This is the forty-ninth Sunrise I have penned and perhaps the forty-ninth of those Sunrises that you have read. If so, thanks for sticking with me through all of my ramblings. Given that we have been meeting via this web page every Friday, you may have begun to get to know me. By now, you will be aware that I like Baseball and history; particularly 20th century American history. You will know that I like cycling and Italy and that my favourite flowers are poppies. You may remember that my middle name is Andrew, that I have four grandchildren and that I have a particular dislike of bag-less vacuum cleaners. The more of my writing you read, the clearer the picture of my life and my character becomes. I have never met some of you in person and these random thoughts are the only way I have of connecting with you. One day, “when the bug goes away”, as one of my grandchildren would say, we may actually meet face to face. I wonder if you will be disappointed in the real thing?

 There is no substitute for spending time with somebody if you want to get to know them. Of course, that usually involves actually being with them in person. The disciples were able to spend time with Jesus as he went about His ministry. For three years they went everywhere with Him. They ate with Him, prayed with Him, witnessed His miracles, His teaching, His death and His resurrection. They also saw that Jesus took time to be with His Father. He would regularly take Himself off to a quiet place to continue His relationship with God. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”. Jesus understood the importance of knowing God and of taking the time to be with Him.

 We are not able to be with Jesus physically, but we have a large book filled with writing about Him and His life and character. The Bible is our opportunity to learn about Jesus; to get to know Him better. If it was important for Jesus to set aside time to seek His Father's presence then we must accept that it is vital for us too. If we want to know Jesus and want to understand what God would have us be in this life, then spending time with them is the way to do it, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you”. Spending time with Jesus through the words of the Bible will reveal to us His character, His love, His grace, His mercy, His compassion, His patience and His glory. One day, we will meet Him face to face and on that day I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

'A Giraffe In Melling!' - 08/04/21

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four, Arthur Conan Doyle.

​This very famous quote which appears in many of the Sherlock Holmes books, explains how Holmes makes his amazing deductions. By keeping his mind open, and not making assumptions, it enables him to solve the most baffling of crimes.

​I could have done with his help a few years ago. When my girls were all much younger, one day on the way to school, my youngest, aged 4 at the time, told me something quite unbelievable. Whilst we were driving past the end of weavers lane, she informed me that they was a giraffe in the field to the left of us. Like any good mother rushing to get her children to school, I responded in the most appropriate way, ‘yes dear, that’s lovely’, and paid no real attention.

​The following day she told me the same thing, and the following day. By this point my other children had joined in with her, telling me that there was indeed a giraffe in the field. I was intrigued. Though highly improbable, I wanted to find out what on earth was going on. So we took a detour round the other side of this field, and discovered to my surprise, that there was in fact a large 8ft stuffed giraffe in the field. The reason for its appearance was a mystery, but it was there. It was unexpected, nearly impossible, but true nevertheless.

​When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter day, when he beat death and came back to life to give us a hope and a future and a way to have a wonderful relationship with God, this was humanly speaking impossible. It was highly improbable, and unexpected, but I believe it was true, and I believe he is still alive today.

​In the book of Acts, Luke summarises what happened after Easter Day in Acts 1-

After Jesus’ death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together.

​This risen Jesus changed the disciple’s lives, and the course of history. Not only that, but throughout the next 2000 years, Jesus continued to change people’s lives, including mine. 

​So today, take a look at the risen Jesus. Just like the giraffe in Melling, it may seem highly improbable, but like Sherlock Holmes, let’s be open to the idea that the truth is often just that, and embrace the wonderful loving God who loves us and died for us.

'So What's Next?' - 07/04/21

OK that’s Easter gone until next year, so what’s next? Many of us with family members were looking forward to the Easter weekend. Some of us wanted to remember and celebrate the real meaning and significance of those events 2000 years ago, which sadly our culture is trying to ignore, and increasingly our children are being told less and less about. Many people of course just wanted a weekend off work and most of us were certainly looking forward to enjoying the full chocolate experience. But Easter has gone, although hopefully some of the chocolate remains, and we are left with memories. Certainly our memories of the last two Easters are significantly different from all the other Easters we have lived through. We all hope that we can look forward next year to open churches where we can actually sing, family meals in restaurants without masks, Easter egg hunts, and the freedom to hug each other. 

It was different for the disciples because they had no previous Easters to look back on, and the weekend that we read of in the Bible would live in their memories for ever. It is a fact that for many people living in the UK today, the truths and meaning of the original Easter have faded and been replaced by a celebration of Spring and thoughts of holidays. For the Disciples however and for all Christians through twenty centuries the significance of Easter has never changed and remains as shockingly amazing as it was first time round. For us, the question ‘what’s next’ usually relates to work, family life, and personal activities, but to the followers of the man who died and came back to life, the question was much more about living dangerously and losing your job, home, and family. How easy life is for us today. 

Jesus met with the Disciples several times before He left them, and they must have been wondering ‘what’s next’, so He gave them this instruction, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” That was tough and dangerous but they made a start and subsequent generations of Christians have carried on to reach all parts of the world, although we may have to start again in the UK. Jesus however gave this encouragement, “I am with you always to the very end of the age.” 

Whatever we think about Easter, it must surely be obvious to us all that there’s more to it than eggs and bunnies. What do you think? 

 

'Rules' - 06/04/21

“Moses returned from the mountain and called together the elders of the people and told them everything the Lord had commanded him.  And all the people responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” 

Exodus 19: 7-8

​I was a stubborn child and I think it is fair to say that on many occasions I would resolutely refuse to do something that was asked of me – often for the very simple reason that it had been asked of me and I didn’t want to do it.  I recall one occasion when I hadn’t pronounced a word correctly and I was asked to repeat it – for no good reason other than sheer stubbornness I refused and wasn’t allowed to watch any of my favourite TV programmes until I said it the word correctly.  I sat all evening refusing to say it.  When I think back, it made no sense whatsoever to refuse, I simply didn’t want to be told what to do despite it being for my own good.  I hope I’ve grown out of that behaviour trait although it possibly came in useful at times when dealing with my own stubborn children!  

If we are honest, even as adults, we often have a tendency to think that we know best and what is good for us and we don’t take instruction well if it doesn’t fit with what we think is fair and reasonable.   Do we trust the person giving the instruction?  Do we have confidence in their ability to know what is good for us?

I think most of us would agree that rules are important, without them we would live in chaos.  The problem tends to be that we disagree which rules we should follow and which ones we are going to dismiss as irrelevant.  In the Old Testament we read about how Moses climbed Mount Sinai in order to meet with God and receive his commandments – his rules for living well.  The people agreed to do what they were told but needless to say, they failed on many occasions with dire consequences and all because they thought they knew better.  The question is, do we still think we know better than God?

​We have just celebrated Easter and given thanks to God that he sent his son, Jesus, to die for us – to pay the price for all the things that we have done wrong.  Not because he had to, but because he loved us so much that he wanted to.  In the book of John we read these words, “For this is how much God loved the world: He gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”  If we truly believe those words then I think God has proved his love and that he knows what is good for us.

​In the coming weeks we are going to take a look at the 10 commandments that were given to Moses so long ago - but you will have to make your own mind up as to whether you choose to accept them or stubbornly refuse. 

 

 

'Which Paper?' - 04/04/21

If you are in the habit of reading a daily newspaper, I know which one you get. It’s the one that you agree with, politically. Nobody buys a newspaper that constantly mocks their favourite party and never stops praising that party that you consider to be populated by sadly mistaken individuals who don’t understand the real issues, like you do. Or maybe it’s the sports coverage that persuades you to part daily with pounds and pennies. Some people follow a particular columnist, believing that he or she has great wisdom and doesn’t suffer fools gladly, so will always deliver what you know is the truth. As we work our way through life, we collect opinions and attitudes that we feel comfortable with; these then determine who we will listen to and believe and leads us to reject certain people and thoughts, and we settle into a comfortable rut. I can think of many people who I see on TV and I know before they open their mouths that I’m going to disagree with them. Constantly I’m proved right. King Ahab, one of the Bible’s nasty kings could always find people who agreed with him because they discovered that it was safer to tell the king he was right. But Micaiah, a prophet, was one man who lived dangerously by constantly saying things that were critical of Ahab’s standards and behaviour. When the king was considering going to war he asked his 400 wise men if they thought he was right. Not surprisingly they said, “Of course you are, mighty king.” When someone suggested asking for Micaiah’s opinion, Ahab was not pleased ,he said, “Micaiah never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad.” The prophet told Ahab not to go to war, it would end in tears. Ahab hated Micaiah so he refused his advice and went to war and it ended in tears. 

 We have spent the last twelve months listening to advice and instruction from our government and also our friends and families. Often what we heard was not what we wanted to hear and many people have rejected the advice and some have suffered as a result. The Bible constantly tells us that God always tells the truth whether we like it or not. There are many people around us, like Ahab’s 400 mates, who have different opinions to God. And like Ahab, we get to chose who to trust. Solomon, Israel’s wisest king wrote these words, ‘With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow.’ Like Ahab we can choose who to trust; he got it wrong, good job he doesn’t write in my paper.

'He Lives!' - 03/04/21

Happy Easter to you all!!

On this precious day of celebration and thanksgiving may you all know something of the love that our risen Lord Jesus has for each one of us. Jesus changed lives 2000 years ago and He continues to change lives today.

The words below sum it up perfectly. They are the words of the beautiful song, ‘He Lives’. Click the link below to hear it.

Have a good day everybody, lots of love to you all ️

 More than a baby in a manger 
To whom nobles would humbly bow their knee
Or the young Man who Heaven knew as saviour
He is alive in me 
More than the man who walked on water
Or the one who caused blinded eyes to see
Greater than all the signs and wonders
He is alive in me
He lives He lives
Conquered the grave, covered our sin
He lives He lives
Death could not hold the promise within
He lives
More than the man who heard, ‘Hosanna’
From the same who cried, ‘Crucify the king’
Freely he gave as they demanded
Yet still He’s alive in me
More than the man mankind rejected
With nails in His hands and through His feet
But the end told much more than they expected
For everyone knows in three days He rose
With power forever to redeem, you and me
He lives He lives
Conquered the grave, covered our sin
He lives He lives 
Death could not hold the promise within
He lives
He’s alive
Death where is your sting?
Grave, your victory?
Jesus holds the key
He reigns forever and ever 
He lives

https://youtu.be/8rDlHIsAUPM

'The Wonderful Cross' - 02/04/21

And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha. (Golgotha means skull.) Wine drugged with bitter herbs was offered to him there, but he refused it. And then they crucified him—and threw dice for his clothes. It was about nine o’clock in the morning when the crucifixion took place.

Mark 15:22-25 

‘When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only person in the world’.   C.S Lewis

 The Wonderful Cross - Chris Tomlin

https://youtu.be/oaO3XOI8P6w

'Worthy Is The Lamb' - 01/04/21

‘....the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, gave thanks to God, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup and said, “This cup is God's new covenant, sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me.” This means that every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.’

1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

​The night before Jesus was crucified, He chose to spend it with His disciples eating the Passover meal. It was during this time He asked the disciples to always remember the sacrifice He was about to make. This simple meal of bread and wine is still taken today as a symbolic reminder of just what Jesus did for all of us on Good Friday. Lest we forget.

 https://youtu.be/LAplJ0_jDFc