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March 2018 - The Strangest Victory

As I write this, the news on so many fronts seems appalling - a constant catalogue of inhuman acts of abuse and cruelty, whether by Hollywood movie moguls, leaders of a well-known charity, sports coaches, in another US school shooting and in other outrages perpetrated by individuals or groups. Believers in God, as well as unbelievers, might ask how a loving God can allow such ghastly things to happen, not only in our times but in every age.

God does not give us easy answers or theoretical explanations; instead he replies with the action of love by coming among us in Jesus to share all our sufferings.

Easter, the greatest Christian festival, starts on 1st April. But before the celebration of Easter there comes the commemoration of Jesus's passion (sufferings), his death on the cross and his burial in the tomb. This observance of the sufferings of Jesus comes to its climax in the last week of March - Holy Week. During this time Christian people think of Jesus's last week on earth - his entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), His Last Supper (Maundy Thursday), his death on the cross (Good Friday), and his burial (Holy Saturday, Easter Eve).

All this shows us, mysteriously and wonderfully, that God in Jesus shares all our human life and identifies with human suffering completely, for Jesus endured all this out of love for us all, the love which will never let us go. His death on the cross is not defeat, but the strangest victory, because it is the triumph of God's utter self-giving love for all humanity. Jesus gave himself to the very end so that we might be brought back to God and enjoy him forever.

This is God, in whom we can believe, because in Jesus he shares all our sufferings, right to death itself. At Easter Christians celebrate his resurrection and conquering of death. To put it another way Jesus came to share our sufferings so that we might share his glory and joy at Easter in a life that can never end.

'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.' John 3:16


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