The Vicar's Letter

Vicar’s Letter

“When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.” John 19:30 

As you read this letter, St. Catherine’s Church will have celebrated Easter and all that goes with it but I would like to write about what I found myself reflecting on, leading up to Easter.  Often I have found myself thinking about the silence that Jesus experienced whilst He hung on the cross.

Although heart-breaking and brutal, the death of Jesus is hands down the most beautiful act of love the world has ever seen. And while the scriptures paint a beautifully epic timeline of this event, there is one part that has always seemed to create curiosity or a lot of people… the time of God’s silence while Jesus was on the cross.

Why was God silent? Where did he go? Why did he forsake Jesus?  I remember being very confused as a child about this, I couldn’t understand why God would leave His son alone on the cross.

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Matthew 27:46

These words that Jesus cried out as he was hanging on the Cross have been the source of much debate among Christians down the years. Some people teach that because Jesus became sin, God had to turn away from Him, while others speculate that God was present, but the sin that Jesus was bearing, blinded Him from the presence of God Himself. Whatever the truth was… it is clear that God’s voice was absent in the heart of Jesus.

I write this because perhaps many people struggle with finding God’s voice… and they ask themselves that deep question - does God actually hear my cry?  Yet I believe that even in God’s silence there is power.  Even in the silence we experience, God is working for our benefit - if we allow Him to.

We may not always understand what God is doing in the moment, but scripture tells us that we can trust that God is working in and through our lives, again - if we remain open to Him and let Him, in other words - if we give Him free reign and there’s the rub… sometimes we don’t actually want to. 

There have been many times in my life where I felt God to be silent, but later realised that in the silence God was actually doing something within me - I just didn’t realise it.  Oftentimes, what we perceive as God being silent isn’t always the reality, and it’s especially then, that as children of God,  we’ve to put our trust in Him… that God really does know what He’s doing when it comes to working within us.  Whatever you are going through, ask Jesus for that you might trust that God is present even among what you perceive as silence.  He is still there.  He is still God.  

Often the time when we most experience this silence is during the night… yet this silence of the night has an uncomfortable way of helping us remember just about everything we are trying to forget.  Might God be in this uncomfortable time of silence?  Stress and worry for instance, can accumulate over time like blown leaves against the outside corner of a house.  Then suddenly, without warning, circumstances arise, and the night will get even darker.   It seems almost unfathomable that in these moments we might forget to remember Jesus… the name above all names.  But we often do.   Not purposefully, not for lack of love - but so often because the accumulation of life’s stresses and worries is overwhelming.

Then it comes to us… just the softest of whispers at first perhaps.  Maybe we’re praying for an offspring or a grandchild.  Perhaps we’re thinking about that difficult rock in our lives that we can’t see a way around… and then it comes… softly… that name… the name that is above every name…  Jesus… His name can be the penetrating ray of hope that we need.  We remember it.  We lift our head and look towards Him and hope begins to reappear because we have allowed Him into the picture.  

So… in these moments of silence, try to remember the One who always remembers you.

Your friend,

Vince Fenton