Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Easter Rewind

For one reason or another I have mostly been out of town for The Religious Festival Formally Known as Easter. So I've not been to church much as a Christ follower during this time of the year. Ironically, I spent more time in church at Easter before I was a Christ follower, dragged along to a nominal Anglican experience by my mother. I saw it as an investment in Easter Eggs.

This year I attended 3 different services - a Good Friday service that was reflective and multimedia, a Sunday morning service that was mainstream contemporary with a solid message and LOTR video clip and a Taize service of prayer and meditation on Sunday evening.

It was a good mix and throughout I found the words of Paul resonating;

Phil 3:7-10
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Its been a tough start to the year for our family in many ways. But not so as you'd notice or compare it to the depth of suffering some people experience.

Even so, in feeling at something of a loss in preaching on how participation in the sufferings of Christ is is to actually experience Christ, something clicked for me. As Paul suffers for Christ, he in some way also suffers with Christ. There is an intimacy that is created - it is not intimacy with suffering alone, but with Christ himself.

It is one of those things we call mystery – suffering. And in the shadow of the Cross we can name our own suffering before God. It seemed to help.

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