(They) made a crown from some thorny branches and put it on Jesus’ head… 

Dear friends,
In our garden shed is a particularly vicious looking object which was left there by our predecessors at the manse. It is a crown of very long sharp thorns, and just looking at it makes us feel uncomfortable. We think it was made for a Good Friday event, and it sits on a high shelf at the back of the shed so that it is safely out of reach and sight of anyone who might find it both interesting and lethal! However, we had not anticipated an invasion by interlopers – two nesting robins, who for the last few years have found their way in through a gap above the door, and have decided that the crown of thorns, safely tucked away out of sight, is the perfect nesting place for their small clutch of eggs.  They arrived again this week, and the sudden flurry of activity was soon apparent as they flew in and out carrying twigs and leaves, pushing bigger birds out of the way and generally acting as if they owned the place. Matthew investigated later and there was the nest, fully formed in its dangerously sharp encircling thorns and ready for their eggs and hatchlings in due course.

We are both amazed at their ingenuity and amused by the irony of finding a place of safety in something we would find so risky. But as we thought about it we became increasingly aware that this is a message for us: it is through the crown that Jesus’ majesty is demonstrated; and through His ordeal on our behalf that new life is nurtured and our place of safety is assured. Jesus wore the crown of thorns on the worst day of His life, when every place of safety was denied him. He wore it in spite of the pain and humiliation it brought Him, as He knew it was part of the suffering which would restore our relationship with the Father. His sacrifice provided us with the ultimate place of safety where our new life could grow and thrive, so that we can take our place in God’s mission for the world. It is not naturally an easy place to be, and for many around the world there are hazards to be endured simply for being a Christian, but our eternal home is secure through Jesus’ work on the cross, so it is worth the risks involved.

In our current trials, may we find our place of safety with our Saviour, so that the encircling thorns protect us from the dangers of this world, and bring us eternal hope for the days to come.

With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline