So, we are nearly there, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and then Easter Day.
I know that not all Christian Fellowships keep Lent or mark Easter in the way mine does but all of us will be remembering that it was for us that Christ suffered, died and rose again, John, the Guest Speaker at the Tuesday Ladies Class wanted to direct our thoughts to the prophetic picture of Christ drawn for us in two particular Psalms.
Psalm 22 and Psalm 40
Psalm 22 includes a note for the Musical Director, i.e. The psalm is sung to the tune of ‘The Doe of the Morning’ a lovely name for a tune, but the words describe graphically what David saw in spirit many, hundreds of years before Christ was born, we read the whole psalm through as the altars are stripped Maundy Thursday … Together we read,
“He trusts in The Lord,’ they say, ‘let him deliver him, since he delights in him” the very words which onlookers shouted scornfully at the foot of the cross. We read the heart aching cry, “But I am worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.” I say heart aching because they are to us the heart cry of the King of Glory.
Dare I ask you to read the whole Psalm through, reach for your favourite bible, read it out loud and let it speak to you of the things which our Saviour suffered. Then turn to a Psalm 40 and read particularly verse 7 and 8:
Then, I said, “Here I am, I have come – it is written about me on the scroll. “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
Seeing Jesus is not the same for everyone. The second person of the Trinity is portrayed in many, many ways by artists, sculptors and writers but Holy Spirit knew him, before all things were, and truly bore witness to his death and sufferings beforehand. John our speaker pointed out that it is easy to delight in God when all is well and life is easy but quite another thing to delight in God when to do his will means we suffer. I think if you have read to this point, you would say Amen to that, and yes we shrink back, and we find it difficult to see God at all in our testing times, perhaps it is good at such times to hear the words of Jesus himself,
“By your endurance you will gain your souls” (Luke 21:19)
The picture we have been thinking about in church this week is another from Marc Chagall, this one hangs in the 3rd a Floor of the Modern Wing of Chicago Art institute and was painted in 1938. Here is another way of seeing Jesus, a Jewish Jesus, wearing a tallith (prayer shawl) instead of a loin cloth. There are many descriptive symbols in this painting, I leave you to ponder them, the figure in blue wears a placard stating, “Ich bin Jude” – I am a Jew.
This is a stark reminder of the cruel persecution of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany and others. What speaks to me is the white light thrown out by the dropped scroll of the Torah in the foreground, see how it travels up the ladder to the cross.
To see Jesus in every person is a very difficult thing, because first we need a pure heart, washed clean from all sin, bitterness, hatred, pride, greed these should have no place in hearts that belong to Christ, they are the things which make us blind and prevent us from seeing the Love Who is God.