When I first started to attend church my children were aged about 5 and 2 1/2. When I went to the toddler’s church I was fascinated by the women there who sang with gusto, and heartfelt meaning the children’s song ‘Sing Hosanna’. They meant it. They had joy…. and I recognised that I didn’t have that joy. And I wanted it. I wanted what they had. It also solved the mystery of a song the older child came home from school singing: Zinga zanga…..
I am not sure when, but at some point I attended a Palm Sunday evening where Stainer’s Crucifixion was sung. Not my musical cup of tea. However, when I sat in the car afterwards I had one of those ‘penny dropping’ moments. Or epiphany. I recalled the words of one of the anthems based on Lamentations 1:12
12 “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering
that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me
in the day of his fierce anger?
I realised that it was directed at me. Is it nothing to ME that Jesus died on the cross? I think up until then I had believed that Jesus died for the sins of the world, but in a general sense. That evening I realised that he died for ME. He loved me so much that he went to the cross for my sins.
As I did my painting for today I listened to the anthem on YouTube – I haven’t heard it for many years. I started off by writing Unconditional Love, then added the cross. I then wrote JOY and Hosanna. The result of this prayerful painting leads the eye onto the shadow of the cross. It sticks out onto white paper. That is probably where tomorrow’s picture will go….. but we will have to wait and see.
Over the years I have experienced Jesus’ unconditional love through various Christians who have helped me in my journey of faith, but most of all through Valerie and Pam. They have seen the worst bits of me – and they have not rejected me. They accept me as I am and love me as I am. And most importantly have led me to Jesus who has taken my sin upon himself on the cross and through the power of his resurrection has turned my mourning into dancing, and enabled me to feel JOY ! I too can “Sing Hosanna” and mean it.
This is a picture I did a while ago that is now on the wall in the room where I pray:
When I checked my emails before finishing this off I noticed one from CPAS. It is their 185th birthday tomorrow and I’d like to share their video with you. I am thankful for their work, so gave a donation. I have benefitted from people who were determined to be messengers of the gospel, reaching out to me as a young mum. I also benefit from their support now I am a church leader working out how to reach people with the good news of God’s unconditional love. The world is very different from the 1980s when I had that penny drop moment, and we have to find different ways of conveying the message. But the message is unchanging. Nobody is beyond God’s love and Grace, no matter how far away they may feel.