Happy Easter from all of us! Bo's school wanted the pupils to create an Easter Chick or Bunny from re-cycled materials but the gang thought we could do better than that. This rugged cross, the nails, the impression of a blood-stained body, the 'green hill' (as per the famous hymn, 'There is a green hill far away, outside the city wall, where the dear Lord was crucified, who died to save us all'). As it's the holidays, we had family worship later than usual this morning and Pads was pretty bright when I went in to deal with the feed pump and give his meds so he descended to the kitchen to join us. Following Mr Higham's excellent sermon yesterday on Watching the Crucifixion we read the latter part of John 19 and thought for a bit about different opinions that people have of the cross. Everyone has an opinion, what's yours?
Where I was staying in Holland, near the Belgium border, shrines like the one in the picture below are everywhere...
4km west of the campsite is Mariadorp where there is a church with a massive neon cross that can be seen for many miles around at night especially. But it is not merely seeing a cross which we need, it is the Person who died upon it. We thought about the significance of the blood and water which flowed when Jesus was stuck with a soldier's spear. A couple of weeks ago I was at the Birmingham conference with Jonathan Stobbs preaching from Zechariah 13. He made the point that blood and water were key to the temple and tabernacle sacrificial systems of the Old Testament. The water for cleansing, the blood for atoning - both of these are richly supplied in the Saviour, whose conquered death through death, once for all. Bonar's hymn sums it up well...
No blood, no altar now, The sacrifice is o'er! No flame, no smoke ascends on high, The lamb is slain no more, But richer blood has flowed from nobler veins, To purge the soul from guilt, and cleanse the reddest stains.
We thank Thee for the blood, The blood of Christ, Thy Son: The blood by which our peace is made, Our victory is won: Great victory o'er hell, and sin, and woe, That needs no second fight, and leaves no second foe.
We thank Thee for the grace, Descending from above, That overflows our widest guilt, The'eternal Father's love. Love of the Father's everlasting Son, Love of the Holy Ghost, Jehovah, Three in One.
We thank Thee for the hope, So glad, and sure, and clear; It holds the drooping spirit up Till the long dawn appear; Fair hope! with what a sunshine does it cheer Our roughest path on earth, our dreariest desert here.
We thank Thee for the crown Of glory and of life; 'Tis no poor with'ring wreath of earth, Man's prize in mortal strife; 'Tis incorruptible as is the throne, The kingdom of our God and His incarnate Son.It was great to be back together again, I'd returned from Holland on Thursday afternoon. It was the 'networked learning' conference, which doesnt sound very exciting but I had enough of an adventure with rambling, camping, cycling, and trains in Maastricht, AirBnB in Brussels, etc. etc. Photos are here.
Pads' visiting psychologist had been sharing with Ally some of the work he'd been doing. It was along the lines of trying to help Pads see that he feels better for having got up. He certainly does try but often it is only through terrific effort and will-power that he can overcome the desire to stay put in his room. When he really cant manage to come out he finds it hard to bear.