Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Vicious Victory

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So, Good Friday. I’d imagine we pretty much all know the story, we’ve all heard the phrase “Jesus died to save us from our sins” or if you’re really on it and up with the Bible, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” However, after a while, questions about this start festering. Questions like why. Why exactly did Jesus have to die? Why exactly is it called Good Friday? Well, as it seems like a fairly fundamental question to the story, it might not surprise you to know that a lot of people have spilled ink and spent breath trying to answer this and that is why a lot of what is to be said in this blog is not not entirely my own words and ideas, more a collaboration of many things I’ve heard and read over time.

Either way (and this is just me), when thinking about Good Friday, I like to think about it in terms of past present and future, however in this case, present being the first Good Friday itself (the past being what came before, the future being what came after). It’s also sometimes easier to think of His death as a symbol rather than cause and effect to try and figure out just why Jesus had to die and whether it really achieved the initial goal.

So, the past…

1. Before the ‘New Covenant’ you may have heard about, Jews had to sacrifice animals as an offering to God as repentance for their sins. They would pick the biggest, healthiest, fittest, most pure animal they had in order to show God just how much he meant to them. This was good, but quite frankly, not quite good enough. Because, realistically, we can pick the best we’ve got but nothing is perfect. At least it wasn’t until God showed us how to do it. God sent an absolutely perfect sacrifice to show us just how much we meant to him.

2. Fulfilling scripture. If you look through the Old Testament, you will find countless descriptions of the Messiah to come, descriptions conveniently all fulfilled by Jesus. These prophesies explained how Jesus had to die, a symbol of just how much God loves us. It’s easy to see Jesus’ life as just saying “It’s Me. I am The One”. Quite simply, in terms of scriptures, it had to be done, this was telling us that actually yes, this is the Christ they’ve been speaking of for hundreds of years.

So what about on the day…

3. Quite a simple point but many people believe that Jesus physically took our sins down to Hell. Makes sense, the Bible does indicate that Jesus endured total separation from God (Hell). On a practical level, it really does help if you die if you’re trying to pop by Hell.

4. There is pain in forgiveness. There is also a big difference between tolerance and forgiveness. Tolerance is saying you’ve done something wrong but that’s okay. God doesn’t tolerate sin. He’s saying you’ve sinned and that’s not right but you’re forgiven. But when someone really hurts you, it hurts to forgive. It hurts to say, this is not okay, but I’m going to let it go. Now imagine you have the whole world hurting you. Jesus’ death is a physical embodiment of the pain of His forgiveness. The thing is, he’s still effectively being crucified today. Still we are sinning and still it hurts to forgive. I think this one helps me come to terms when people say it was our sin that held Him there (even though it was thousands of years before we were sinning) – The serious physical pain on the cross represents the serious pain of Christ that is still going on today. Remember, God doesn’t get anything out of forgiving us, it literally is all for us.

5. Also, when Jesus breathed his last, the curtain in the temple tore in two.  The curtain that separated the holy of holies from the rest of the temple that could only be entered once a year by the high priest to talk to God, I’ve heard it was quite dramatic. This was hugely significant, God sent his Son to create a new relationship with us. Jesus died. The curtain was torn. Anyone can talk to God.

6. The wages of sin is death. This is what it says in the Bible, meaning the legal sentence for sinning is death. Jesus was the only man to walk the earth that never sinned and yet He still died. He took our punishment for us as the only one who didn’t deserve it. He took one for the team if you like. Jesus died so we don’t have to.

But even with all this – forgiveness, a relationship, realistically it still seems quite a mess. Jesus came to save us and then He died. People told him to save himself and he didn’t. He left not with the intention of simply starting a religion. With seemingly minimal instruction. The truth is, Jesus died for a whole multitude of reasons, if only there was a way that this all could happen without having to die.

Which brings be on to the future…

7. Jesus died to conquer death. He literally died and rose back to life – Death has no grasp on him. Jesus died so we could have eternal life (just ask John) by physically showing us that he is bigger than death. He rose to show us it can be done and that through Him, we can do it too. Death is not a worry anymore.

So no, there may not be one answer as to why and no, this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface as to why, but I can’t think of any other act that would have fulfilled all of this in one. So yes, it may have been vicious but it’s only when you start to uncover more and more reasons that you can start to make sense of some of the so called cliches – Jesus died simply because he loves us, because he loves us, because he loves us. The point is, Jesus is alive now and so are we. And thanks to our good friend, a few years ago to this day, we always can be and that’s pretty cool. 🙂

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Outrageously Organised Fun

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This weekend, Onesound were up in Dorridge, West Midlands for three days of rehearsal and fun fellowship, although unlike most events, the journey was particularly uneventful and actually, on the whole, really quite successful (much to the surprise of many of the other members). So, we arrived on Saturday morning and began rehearsals for everything from Charles Wesley to Elvis before retiring to watch Disney’s Frozen in the evening, with continued singing all the way through of course.

Then, in the morning we were all up for more rehearsals before the Sunday morning service. As always, we made a few amendments to the songs in rehearsal like when we were singing the worship song “Blessed be Your Name” and someone asked the question “did you know this can be sung to the “Don’t Stop Believing” backing?”  Challenge accepted. During the service, we mostly just lead the hymns, however we did sing one of our own songs which lead to the quote of the weekend from the preacher – “And so, we’d like to give a big welcome to One Direction! Oh, sorry, I meant Onesound!” I’m not sure if we can quite live up to that. So, after being introduced as One Direction and starting the next hymn by singing Glee’s introduction to “Don’t Stop Believing”, the congregation were no doubt left wondering just what they’d got themselves in for.

After the service, we got in touch with our more childish sides, taking full advantage of the sun and going to the park. Let’s be honest, who’s day isn’t brightened by climbing frames, seesaws and zip wires? And everything is made better by sun and friends. With lots of childish hilarity, running around with muddy shins and grazed knees, I suddenly heard my friend on one of those spinny pole things shouting “Wooo! Physics in action!” Yeah, we know how to party. This then led to a deep (and weirdly slightly theological) debate about shapes, with something along the lines of “If you care about Christ you care about saving the world because he made it” … “Actually, if you care about Christ, you care about triangular based prisms because he made them too.”

But after that, it was back to our serious minds (as if) for some more hard core rehearsing. That was all before we were informed that that evening we would be embarking on “organised fun”. Because of course, up until that point, we had not been having fun at all and so fun simply had to be organised. So at exactly 8 o’clock, after preparation, fun commenced. Consisting of team quizzes and of course, the classic chocolate game, which obviously wouldn’t be complete without some mild violence of which I think the fork took the worst of it, being bent in half after just a couple of goes. This was then followed by a much more sophisticated evening of eating posh cheeses into the small hours. It’s times like these that I realise just how lucky I am. People say ‘count your blessings’ but I think if you really try, you’ll realise there are far too many to count and this is quite simply an impossible task, because no matter how old you are, you just can’t get much better than watching Disney films, going to the park and playing the chocolate game.

But, all this fun, and the following day of rehearsal, wasn’t for nothing. In May, we’re joining up with nearly two hundred ex members for a fantastic fortieth anniversary concert in Coventry central hall. It’s going to be incredible. So, if you live anywhere in or around Coventry, or if you don’t, get yourself over to the central hall for what will be a truly memorable night, you won’t regret it. 🙂