Page 2 - Moravian Messenger April 2020
P. 2

Writing now is like looking through a glass, darkly:1 now I know in part, but what will be next Sunday or in a fortnight or a month's time, I cannot see or know. Covid 19 is breaking into totally unknown territory in its effect, and although the computer modelling on it's spread is sophisticated, we as a population have not lived through something like this since 1918. So, there is fear of the disease and uncertainty about the measures to be taken and the epidemic's length of activity.
In the midst of this we are trying to mark Palm Sunday, walk through Holy Week and then come to Easter Sunday with joy in our hearts. However, I wonder whether, in all the concerns and restrictions that are on us if we are not much nearer the New Testament experience than have been in other years. There was tension in the air in first century Jerusalem: it was not safe to be seen in the wrong company, and by the middle of that last week, the die had been set. Jesus would have to crucified to calm the people and satisfy the authorities both secular and religious. I cannot begin to imagine how that must have felt for Jesus or his disciples, family and friends as they felt the darkness, literal and metaphorical, descend. Then the horror and cruelty of the crucifixion, watching the suffering and death, feeling the grief and fear. There is a numbness the day after his burial and only the devotion of the women discovers what appears to be a grave robbery. The resurrection is an extraordinary event but to the disciples almost unbelievable and the joy seems to be on hold until 40 days later with the ascension of Jesus.
1) 1 Corinthians 13:12 (King James Version)
Sometimes we are in danger of making our faith sound like a comfort blanket or using it as a glib answer to deep and profound questions and challenges about human suffering. We can say we have no easy answers to what we face only that we chose to face it holding on to our faith. The book of Job in the Old Testament is a challenging read that turns on its head some of the conventional ideas of comfort, religion and understanding of what God's will is. Chapter 19 is the high point of the book in which it outlines Job's grief and humiliation, his pain and his feeling of being completely hemmed in: 'he has walled up my way so that I cannot pass ... he has put my family far from me ... my bones cling to my skin and to my flesh ... for the hand of God has touched me!' In the middle of this lament Job reaches out in faith, with words that speak across centuries of human desperation: 'I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God'.
That, in the end, is the Easter message, not that faith physically saves us from what is around
us but that in the midst of turmoil and
fear we cling on to the fact that we
believe our Redeemer lives and that we will see God. May we choose to hold on to this faith in spite and despite this current epidemic and its aftermath
With every prayer for you, your families, friends and congregations this Easter.
Sr Sarah Groves
Editorial Team
Letter to the Editorial Team
When I was at school there was a trick that could turn black into white simply by using a dictionary. It took about eight moves, looking up the more obscure definitions in turn until the final reference was 'white'. It seemed quite funny at the time yet something similar appears to be happening in the recent series in the Messenger on human sexuality.
For over six thousand years the Old Testament people of God, followed by the New Testament Church have been crystal clear in their condemnation of homosexual practices, with even the liberal theologians in recent centuries closely adhering to the traditional teaching on this. However, ideas which would have been anathema in my youth are now considered to be normal and instead of a call to repentance and holy living the western church seeks the world's approval through its endorsement of existing standards. Yet the way of the world is ultimately the way of death.
How many times does God have to say something is wrong before we think he really means it? 'Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!' [Is.5:20] The city of Sodom [Genesis 19] was destroyed because of this sin which gave us the word sodomy.
The forbidding of homosexual practices in Leviticus 18:22: and Leviticus 20:13: where it is called 'an abomination' is not a part of the civil law in the Old Testament which ended with the Jewish nation. Nor is it a section of the priestly law which finished with Christ's death. It is part of the moral law which is based on the character of God and can therefore never change. It is in the section which also forbids incest and sex with animals.
Homosexuality is a sin to be repented of and not a sacrament to be sanctified and celebrated. Yet we are not pointing the finger in judgement and saying that we are better than others. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness. We all have a fallen nature which needs to be justified and sanctified. The condemnation of homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6 ends with these wonderful words in verse 11: 'And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God'.
What authority can the Church ever have to bless it?
Br Richard Ingham
© Sr Sarah Groves

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