(This is Neil. I’m sorry that I was unable to post this yesterday.)
Theme: Witness through suffering
Text – Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26)
Isaiah 50:5-9 The one who vindicates me is near
Psalm 124 Our help is in the name of the Lord
Romans 8:35-39 God’s love shown forth in Jesus Christ
Luke 24:25-27 He interpreted to them the things about himself
In recent years two events which took place in Scotland led to this small country suddenly becoming the centre of attention of the world’s media. The bomb attack on the plane above Lockerbie and the massacre of children in Dunblane school brought attention to the nation which will always remember these terrible losses of human life. The two events caused suffering and unimaginable anguish to a large number of people and the consequences were felt well beyond the physical borders of the two places. Innocent people met their death in horrifying circumstances.
The reality of suffering is something that the Prophet Isaiah speaks about forcefully in today’s text, in which he reminds us that God is never resigned to seeing humanity suffer. In response the Psalm proclaims the trust that believers must maintain in their Saviour.
The letter to the Romans proclaims the certainty that love is always strongest and that suffering and sorrow will never prevail. For before offering the resurrection to the world, Christ entered into a terrible death and into the dark depths of the tomb so as to be completely with us at our very lowest ebb.
In the Lord’s footsteps, Christians who seek full unity show their solidarity to those amongst them who are confronted in their lives with tragic situations of suffering, by confessing that love is stronger than death. And that it was from the extreme humiliation of the tomb that resurrection came like a new sun for humanity; a clamouring annunciation of life, forgiveness and immortality.
God our Father, look with compassion on our situations of poverty, suffering, sin and death, we ask you for forgiveness, healing, comfort and support in our ordeals.
We give you thanks for all who manage to see light in their affliction.
May your divine Spirit teach us the greatness of your compassion and help us stand alongside our sisters and brothers in difficulty. Filled with its blessings, may we in unity proclaim and share with the world the victory of your Son who lives for ever.
1. How can you show empathy to those who suffer and are in difficulties?
2. What wisdom and deeper understanding have you gained through suffering you have known in your own life?
3. How do you live out solidarity with the suffering and oppression that so many people living in poverty in our world experience, and what is your own experience of it?
4. How would you bear witness to the mercy of God and to the hope you find in the light of the cross of Christ?
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