I hope that you are having a relatively stress-free week readers. I certainly hope so; you deserve it with the trying times we are living in.
I’m afraid I might be like many of you and certainly have been having my share of anxious moments. But, then, most all of us have lived long enough to have learned that life was not meant to be lived as a carefree one.
If you watch or read the news often enough you have probably found it to be a rather depressing experience with little or no good news thrown into the mix.
I’ve been listening closely to the prayers of those at the church I attend. Pain and suffering have been prevalent in them as we entreat our Lord for help and assistance.
The Christian season of Lent is upon us, those 40 holy days that precede Easter.
Many of you, including myself, attended a church service on the evening of Ash Wednesday and had the sign of the cross painted upon your forehead by your minister or priest as a symbol of your commitment to engage yourself in a true Lenten journey to accompany Christ along his difficult path to the cross. The culmination of Lent is Easter when Christ arose from the dead.
If you are observing the time of Lent it is supposed to be one of self-reflection, penitence and perhaps fasting, in our own attempt to live our lives somewhat as Christ did along his journey to the cross, when he went off into the wilderness for constant prayer with his Father and resisted the temptation of Satan. This was all done in preparation for His public ministry.
I have found during this time of Lent that I have been more attuned to the suffering of friends around me, in my church, my own life, and the rest of the world. More importantly, I have found myself thinking that if our Lord suffered to the degree he did during those 40 days, why should not we?
Without suffering or pain in our lives how could we ever fully realize and experience the joy of not suffering or happiness?
One of the hymns I have considered singing as a solo at my church for next Sunday is “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone.” Music by George Allen, 1844, and words by Thomas Shepherd and others, 1855. I had sung this as a solo a few years ago while attending Riverside Baptist. Our pastor, Ward Bradley, myself, and others had not been familiar with that particular hymn and were quite moved by its message.
In verse one, read carefully the lyrics: “Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free? No, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.”
The fact that Christ was not meant to have borne that cross to Calvary alone is stated quite clearly in this verse. It’s a very profound statement.
In verse three of the same hymn: “The consecrated cross I’ll bear ‘til death shall set me free; and then go home my crown to wear, for there’s a crown for me.”
From those verses it sounds like all the suffering and pain we will have endured during our time on this earth will all be worth it in the end, when we will have our own crown to wear in a better place.
Another hymn I have considered singing next Sunday is “Why Should He Love Me So?” Words and music by Robert Harkness, 1925. I sang this one last year at this time at my present church, Lake Jackson United Methodist. I did not know this one either, until our hard working, choir director, Sandy Tyer, introduced it to me.
Read carefully the moving words of verse one of this hymn: “Love sent my Savior to die in my stead. Why should He love me so? Meekly to Calvary’s cross he was led. Why should He love me so?
Verse 2: “Nails pierced His hands and His feet for my sin. Why Should He love me so? He suffered sore my salvation to win. Why should He love me so?”
It is comforting to be reminded in those two beautiful and poignant hymns that Christ loved and died for us.
My wife had recent surgery and has been suffering from severe pain for over a month now. I believe she has turned the corner when she attended our church service this morning.
I’m afraid that I have failed her at times for not being a good care giver. My own prayers and the prayers of our family and friends, especially at Lake Jackson and Riverside Baptist, have sustained us through this uncomfortable and trying time. Thank you.
Next Friday Judy and I are happily looking forward to attending “Grease.” I trust you have already found that we have some pretty wonderful musical and theatrical entertainment right here in our own little town.
Perhaps we’ll meet a few of you there. If not then, there is a road race coming up in March in Havana. In fact, part of it will be run (or walked) right “Along Twin Ponds Road.” Hope to see you there also.
God bless you.
Send comments or suggestions to me at email@example.com.