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Further Along My Passage

April 2013

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Spring Farm

Once again wisdom from the pulpit of James Stewart occupy my thoughts as Easter Sunday draws near:

 “How is it that this thing has impregnated humanity with such a dynamic, deathless hope?  Why have all the greatest revivals of religion down the ages thrust the cross before the outcasts’ eyes?  Why do all the noblest hymns of the cross tremble with a kind of inexpressible excitement and breathless wonder?  Why has that green hill far away become for millions the center of the world?  Why can the thought and the memory of it move me today to the very depths of my being?  Surely the reason is this – this glorious paradox – that in the very place where I become aware of a guilt that breaks my heart, there comes to meet me a love that passes knowledge.  For Calvary was not Pilate’s deed, nor the deed of Judas, or Caiphas, or the crowd; nor was it only my deed, and yours, and the deed of all the stubborn, sinning sons of men.  It was God’s deed, God in action to take the tragic wrongness of this wayward, warring world upon His own heart, God defeating the principalities and powers of darkness at the very point of their proudest triumph and shattering the shackles of their tyranny, to set the prisoners free.  And so the beam that shines from the cross, the very light which pierces and condemns, and wrecks my self-defenses, heals also and blesses and gives life; and the shame of the despairing becomes the joy of the reconciled.  James S. Stewart, The Miracle of Reconciliation.

Daffodils

“At that time ye were without Christ... aliens... strangers... having no hope and without God in the world. But now ye who were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ....Ephesians 2:12,13  “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead.”  I Corinthians 15:19,20

...now a new world has arrived!...Something has happened, says Paul.  Something tremendous has got a foothold on this darkened scene, something that changes the face of the world forever, and makes it wonderful to be alive!     That means that now, this very moment, we can be living a new quality of life, with the dimension of eternity in it.  For we belong, not to the old hopeless treadmill of man’s irreparable pilgrimage towards disillusionment, but to a new exciting era, the era God launched into history when He gave us Christ.  Once sorrow, sin, corruption, death had the last word with the hopes of humanity.  Something has happened to man’s sin.  But now!  Now the hands once pierced on Calvary have torn that chain of the past away.  Now the indelible stain is obliterated by the forgiveness of God....It is wonderful to be alive, because something has happened to man’s setting sun .  Do not send,’ cried John Donne in the pulpit of St. Paul’s, ‘to enquire for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee!.  One-two-three –and doom in every chime.  All this once.  But now, and with these words the apostle sets the resurrection trumpet to his lips, ‘now is Christ risen from the dead!’ ‘Death,’ Said Aristotle, ‘is a fearful thing, for it is the end.’  Yes, once –but now!  Now is Christ risen.  Now death is ultimately irrelevant.  Now sunset floods the whole horizon with the promise of the resurrection dawn.”  Excerpts from a sermon by James S. Stewart, Life in a New Dimension.

 Now What? 

I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.—Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor and Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Vienna Medical School; from his book, The Doctor and the Soul

 

 

 RareGreatGray                                                          

 

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9