Be still; stand firm

Dear Friends,
Several times this term we have reflected on God’s call to us to ‘stand still’ or to ‘stand firm’, as found in the story of Jehoshaphat in 1 Chronicles 20. Is it a passive act of submission, as implied by the translation, ‘stand still’, or a proactive stance of defiance and determination, as implied by the alternative translation ‘stand firm’? Either way, what does it mean to ‘be still and know that I am God’? (Psalm 46:10).

This Easter, we can do no better than look to Jesus for our example.

Sometimes it means getting away from the battles of everyday life for a few minutes, hours or days, as Jesus often did during his ministry, so that we can listen to God and hear what he’s saying to us.

Sometimes it involves battling in prayer for something or someone, as Jesus did at Gethsemane, so that we can say with him, ‘your will be done’.

And sometimes it means carrying whatever cross or burden God gives us to bear, as Jesus did at Calvary, even if it means feeling that God has forsaken or deserted us, so that in the end we can say with him, ‘it is finished! I have done what you called me to do for you.’

Whatever it means for us, this Good Friday offers us an opportunity to stop and to stand still and firm in the midst of life’s battles. Whether you need to hear God’s directions, to pray ‘your will be done’ or to give something over to God having done all you can, the church will be open for personal prayer and reflection throughout the hours that mark Jesus’ crucifixion. There will be brief readings at the relevant times, covering the crucifixion events of 9am, 12 noon and 3pm; and there will be a short service at 10am for us to reflect together on the cross.

The events of Calvary offer us an opportunity to stop, to reflect on the depth of God’s love for us, and to ‘see the victory of the Lord on [our] behalf’ (2 Chronicles 20:17). Whatever other Bank Holiday commitments you may have, I encourage you to spend at least some time that day being quiet and finding out what it really means to stand still or firm while God does what he does best and brings the new life of Easter!

With my love and prayers
Matthew Scott

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