In the Shadows of Victory – Ride the Rollercoaster of Holy Week

In the Shadows of Victory you are invited to ride the rollercoaster of Holy Week.

We now begin the journey, remembering that already we stand with Jesus Christ our Saviour in the shadow of the cross, remembering that for him, it was a very dangerous day.

Jesus knew exactly what he was doing mounting the donkey at Bethpage, as this was where the priests had calculated the city limits. For Jesus to mount here was a statement that spoke volumes to all that were there. It was, in effect, as if He was shouting from the rooftops that He was the Messiah.

Now, position yourself at the side of the road, having first run and chopped down a palm branch that you are waving frantically.

Picture if you can the Roman army standing there, thousands of them, making it very clear that you are part of an occupied people. Look up at the temple on the hill, and look beyond it. There overshadowing the holy place is the fist shaped Roman fortress. Built purposely taller than the temple just to remind you who was in charge.

Listen to the crowd hailing him as their King. But He does not come on a war horse, only a humble donkey. And He does not come with swords and clubs; He is armed only with God’s words of peace and love.

Wave your branches, as they are the national symbol of your people. Wave them at the coming Messiah, showing your defiance to the Romans, believing that this Jesus would send them packing once and for all.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Picture the children laughing and playing around your feet. In your fear, you push them forward. Somehow this fear is always lurking beneath your joy; your fear of the Roman soldiers and the power they hold over you.

The children – they are young, surely these soldiers wouldn’t launch an attack against them, no matter how unruly the crowd become. Push them forward, put them between you and the soldiers, not because you do not love your children, but because you fear for your own safety.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

Sing your hosannas, not just a song of happiness, but also a song of rebellion, a song that speaks of freedom, and of victory over your enemies. Stand tall in the face of those who persecute you. Hold firm, ready to take up arms and fight, ready to rally around this new king and take back, by force if you have to, your land, and your home.

Jesus knew that for Him, it was a very dangerous day.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

A Dusty Room

They came unexpectedly. Two of them following a man with a jar – he pointed me out, and then disappeared as the others hurried towards me. I recognised them immediately; they were followers of Him, the teacher.

We had spoken before, this teacher and I, He spoke wisely and seemed somehow to be able to look inside my very soul.

We had discussed money, something that I was very fond of, but He seemed to think that I should give more away, help the local poor, reach out to those in need around me. I was a little taken aback; after all, who was this man to tell me what I should do with my own money?

But He sowed a seed, and it really got me thinking. It was as if He knew it would, as if He even knew the outcome of my thinking.

Then of course it happened, his two disciples arrived and asked for my upper room so that they and the teacher could share the Passover together.

Here was my chance, to show Him that I had been thinking about our conversation. I welcomed the party and told them I would prepare it for them.

They went back to give Jesus the news and I went straight to the room that had not been used for a while and needed a good clean. I spent the afternoon cleaning everywhere, making it ready to receive Him.

It was not too long before they showed up. Everyone looked hot and bothered, He smiled at me as I had said nothing about charging Him for the use of the room. He knew I was beginning to change.

He asked me for a bowl of water, which I provided and then to everyone’s amazement He bent down and washed his disciples’ feet. I have never seen a teacher, a leader do that before. Who was this man who turned the norm on its head and changed everything from the inside out?

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

For Thirty Pieces of Silver – the Voice of Judas

My name is Judas Iscariot and it is a name that will be remembered for centuries to come. I was there, you see, following Him, I was there when the crowds hailed Him as king and He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey – let me tell you all about it.

We had spent three years playing at it, living as occupied people in an occupied land. The Romans dominated everything; we lived under their rule, but secretly we dreamed of regaining our homeland.

I joined a small group of freedom fighters, but our numbers were few, our weapons were fewer, and before long our enthusiasm began to fade. But then, about three years ago He arrived – Jesus of Nazareth. A carpenter by trade but He could really tell a story.

Somehow, He spoke with authority, crowds gathered around like bees to a honey pot, and they hung on his every word. Hope began to rekindle; maybe this was the man who would call us to arms, form us into an army, and reclaim our land, by force if we had to.

However, He had preached love and kindness, He had rebuked scribes and priests, He had eaten with tax collectors and sinners and healed on the Sabbath. I was beginning to doubt His qualifications, maybe He wasn’t the revolutionary I had hoped for after all.

But then… then I was surprised, as He turned His face towards Jerusalem, the city of our God and centre of our homeland. On the day we entered the city, the streets were lined with people, waving palms, shouting Hosannas and hailing Him as king. And I was there too; part of the throng, maybe it would happen after all, maybe this was the beginning.

 

 

The Romans looked on, spears in hand, just to make sure that the crowd did not overstep the mark. And He, He rode a donkey, not a white horse, like a king, or a war horse like an army general, but a donkey, plain and simple, placid and peaceful, what did this say?

I walked into the city with mixed feeling; half of me was full of excitement, maybe this was it – the beginning of the end for our oppressors. The other half was full of anger; perhaps revolution on my terms was not what Jesus planned.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Holy Bible Key Rings

We have two types of Holy Bible key ring available (all from South Africa).

Each key ring has a miniaturised copy of the Holy Bible included as part of the key ring.
 
Each key ring costs £3.95 which includes post and packaging to anywhere in the world.
 
For further information and to purchase one or more keyrings please go to:-
 
With many peaceful blessings
 
Geoffrey

A Mother’s Cry – The Voice of Mary

I listened, but only because I had no choice. I heard, but only because I needed to.

I watched, but only because He was my son, and I winced and I crumbled inside, because of what they did to Him.

He was and is my son, He always will be. I held Him, cared for Him, and comforted Him when He cried.

Now, I could do nothing. Now I felt helpless and useless. I hid my eyes, but I could not hide my tears, as they flogged Him, mocked Him, and drove Him out of the city with a cross upon His back.

I followed, close enough, but not too close, in love and pain.  As I did so, I began to remember his birth, the presents from the strangers, and the man in the temple. He told me my heart would break, and now it was breaking, with every step He took to His death.

I looked on in horror as they pushed Him to the ground, stripped Him of his clothes, and nailed Him to the wooden cross.

I could hardly breathe as they lifted it skyward, and jerked it into place.

I felt His pain, almost as if it were my own, and in some strange way it was.

The crowd was full of anger; they who only days before had hailed Him as their king now laughed and ridiculed Him.

The priests ordered Him to save himself. The Romans rolled dice for His clothes, and His friends – they had deserted Him long before.

Only I stood watching, near enough to hear Him cry:

“Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”

I saw and felt His agony. The nails in His hands and feet, the crown of thorns upon his head, but more that that, the moment of separation from His Father’s side.

I watched the sky turn black, and heard the temple curtain rip, as He uttered:  “It is finished!”

I cried every tear I had left to cry, a mother’s heart broken in two, and the hope of the nation dashed. They dragged me away; nothing left to see, just my son’s broken body, hanging on the tree.

(Deacon Becky Lovatt)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Another Roll of the Dice – the Voice of Marco, a Roman Soldier

And it was just another roll of the dice, or so I thought. Just another game. Another criminal, another crucifixion, another job and another day at the office.

But I was wrong. This was unusual; this was more about life than death. He was distinctive, the way He looked at me, not with hatred in his eyes as I had come to expect, but with love and forgiveness.

I was on execution duty that day, not my favourite part of the job, but we all have to take our turn. The prisoners had been placed into our hands at the city gate and it was our job to escort them to the Place of the Skull and crucify them there. There were three that day, two others and Him.

Who was he? This man from Galilee, who had succeeded in bringing the wrath of the whole Jewish nation upon himself and the rage of all of Rome.

Who was He? This man, who when the crowd shouted crucify, uttered “Father, forgive.” Who was He? This man, that when we drove nails into His hands and feet, said we didn’t know what we were doing.

We lifted him skyward upon that wooden cross. It was our job, we were under orders. How could we do anything else? We had bills to pay, families to feed, and quotas to meet.

And it was just another roll of the dice. The crowd shouted, the priests mocked, several women wept, and we played dice. Rolling for His coat, a part of Him, not because of who He was, but because it was a nice coat.

He cried out that He was thirsty; so I took a sponge, soaked it in vinegar, put it on a stick and lifted it to His mouth. His broken eyes met mine. I was transfixed; it was if He almost smiled at me.

Suddenly, it was not just another roll of the dice, another game, it was real.

And as He bowed His head and died, I found life.

Who was this man, who changed our game into reality, who rolled a different dice, and through His death, gave me life?

Truly this man is the Son of God.

(Deacon Becky Lovatt)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

A Second Mother – The Voice Of John The Beloved Disciple

Everything changed that day – no, that’s not quite true. Everything changed the first day He came into our lives. The day He called us to leave all that we knew and loved and follow Him. We were all so unsure initially, but there was something about Him, something compelling and worth fighting for.

However, it wasn’t long before we were glad to follow Him; we knew that He was unique, that He had more to give than anyone before or since. He had the gift of life to give, and He gave it freely.

We followed as He moved  from  place  to  place,  teaching,  healing, and offering a chance to all, regardless of race, creed or colour, to meet and walk with the living God.

Thousands journeyed with us – wanting Him to touch them, bless them and change them and He did. Hopes ran high; many believed that He would raise an army and fight to set people free from the tyranny of Rome. Yet there were no clubs, no spears, no talk of hatred at all, only compassion and love.

In spite of that, there were people who hated him; they were wary of his talk of God, and the relationship He claimed to have with the Almighty. They arrested Him, we were there that night and we ran and hid. They tried him, in a manner of speaking, and they sentenced him to death on a cross.

I was there that day, standing at the foot of His cross, cradling his mother in my arms, as her pain was so hard to bear.

I was there, as He looked down at us, somehow smiling through His agony, and He spoke to his mother in hers.

“Woman, behold your son.” That’s what he said. He wanted me to be that son; He wanted me somehow to take His place, but I did not know how.

Then He turned His head to me.  “Here is your mother,” He said, and then I began to understand, I knew what I had to do. I held her tight, and wiped her tears from her eyes. I would look after her from here on in.

Now I would love her the way He loved her, the way He loved all of us. I took her home, just like He told me to; life would never be the same. But why would I want it to be? Through his death, life and hope live on.

(Deacon Becky Lovatt)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey