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Woodstock Baptist Church

Mark 15.33 - 41

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?' which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'

We come to Easter early this year, the clocks are moved forward on Easter Sunday, light coming to us that bit sooner; Spring is on the way.

All signs of hope, of better things coming, but to get to these better places we must sometimes travel through worse.

I don't think it is talked very often in Church but depression & loneliness, a sense of abandonment, God forsakenness, are not uncommon experiences in the Christian life. The bible faces this squarely and honestly in writings found in Job, Psalms & Ecclesiastes.

Jesus, who shared our humanity, knew of dark despair - and can therefore empathize and walk with those who travel through shadowed vales of the soul.

The Christian life isn't always wonderful and although we may choose to mask our emotions, God knows the reality of our struggles and loves us even when we feel unlovable & forsaken.

The prayer of George Appleton may help give expression to such times & a glimmer of hope for what lies beyond the darkness of the tomb

"O Christ, my Lord, again and again
I have said with Mary Magdalene,
"They have taken away my Lord
and I know not where they have laid him."
I have been desolate and alone.
And thou hast found me again, and I know
that what has died is not thou, my Lord,
but only my idea of thee,
the image which I have made to preserve
what I have found, and to be my security.
I shall make another image, O Lord,
better than the last.
That too must go, and all successive images,
until I come to the blessed vision of thyself,
O Christ, my Lord."

To be found in our loneliness by Christ is a wonderful healing encounter. To be found we must know ourselves lost; and cry out to God "why have you forsaken me" and in time discover the dark night of the soul comes to an end with the dawning of resurrection morning.

Nick