Thought for the Month (April 2011)

Dear friends,

Robert Browning wrote in the 1870s 80s:
O to be in England
Now that April's there
and goes on to talk about tiny leaves on the elm tree bole and the chaffinch singing on the orchard bough.

Living in Italy I might think about such things. But living in England my mind turns towards warmth and sun. We had a Sunday School song:
I love the sun, it shines on me
God made the sun and God made me.
Eric (who drives me to church) and I sing in the car, especially on these dark miserable days:
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam
A sunbeam, a sunbeam
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I'll be a sunbeam for him.
Yes, I'd love to be – and soon.

Recently I went on holiday to Benidorm. I thought I would be cheered by the sun. It was, however, showery, cool with a cold wind. And I caught a cold!! So I'm back in England in April.

April 1st is All Fools' Day, which was a fun day when I was at school. Now it doesn't seem very relevant, except it got me thinking on St. Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 1 v.18: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

In April this year, after the forty days of Lent we have to think about the agony of the man on the cross – and not just any man, but God's son. We have these days of Lent to try to work out the whys and wherefores.

v.24 "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."

I think of the silly things we used to do for April Fools' Day – tying the school bell under the teacher's chair so as she moved the chair to sit down, there was a dreadful noise.

v.27 "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise….It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus who has become for us wisdom from God."

We celebrate Good Friday on the 22nd – spare a moment to think why we call it Good Friday as you meditate on why Jesus was crucified, and why we continues to celebrate his dying 2,000 years ago.

The Good News translation is good. V.30: "God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God' we become God's holy people and are set free." Wow! That sounds like a bit of foolishness – but no, it's true, true, true – the wisdom of God.

Wonderful April has another bonus. After being in the grave for three days, foolish women, wanting to show their love, did a foolish thing and went to the tomb on the first day of the week. They found it EMPTY and an angel said to them "Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here for he has been raised, as he said."

Another WOW is called for, together with a huge Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. He's not hanging on a cross but is set free to be with us all.

I pray that we all experience a wonderful April – praying through Lent, experiencing Holy Week and Good Friday, and rejoicing at Easter. (And maybe with a bit of sun!!)

Audrey Mitchell

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church