How to Overcome.

“My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”

Thank you for joining as we have arrived together to Holy Week.

In this week we go from the highs of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to that night in the upper room. where they gathered in fellowship and bonding, a time where an eternal promise of Jesus’ abiding with us is given, to the garden where Jesus plunges into deep prayer and pleading, where the vision of what is to come crushes everything in Him except His dedication to His Father’s will, and as we heard throughout the Passion narrative His arrest, trial, cruel murder, and burial.

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”

You will notice throughout all this, as in each part of the gospel’s proclamation, Jesus faces what we face, experiences all we experience, celebrates and cries, feels anger and compassion. 

Not only that, but Jesus faced multiple levels of temptation attacking at every moment and seeking that He give up, quit, go home. We face that too, the push to give up, to walk away.

Like Jesus, sometimes we fall to our knees and cry out:

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”

Use Holy Week as an opportunity to consider our view of all this, its meaning for us.

Some may view Jesus’ Holy Week journey as disinterested observers, standing at a distance. Yeah, sure I know what happened, and it did me some kind of good, let’s move on.

Some may see Holy Week’s events as theologians might, trying very hard to explain the mystery, to delve into theories and to place what happened into neat compartments of cause and effect. Figuring it out as best as they can they say: It did people some kind of good, let’s move on.

Holy Week is shared experience. If these moments bring intimacy with Jesus, if we stand with Him, and watch with Him, we come to see ourselves in Jesus’ life and how He shared life and death with us. Our moments, whether joyful and glorious or painful and sad take on new dimension and we now face them differently.

As we bind ourselves to Him in great love, we finally realize that Jesus did not come as God distant and apart, but as God with us. Yes, Jesus did me eternal good and I will not move on, but I will remain with Him Who faced this too, Who understands and offers me strength. We remember how far His love goes and are ever thankful to overcome in Him.

Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent



Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Today we listen to words of joy, encouragement, gladness, and exultation. We hear of God’s provision for His people. We are reassured that we share in love because God is among us. We also share in the wonderful gift of forgiveness and renewal. We follow John the Baptist’s admonition to repent before the coming of the Lord.

The events of this week in Newtown turn the message of rejoicing on its head. How can we rejoice? How can we be glad and exult? Faced with these words we turn to God with hearts and minds full of questions, maybe questions tinged with anger.

Philosophers and theologians have explanations for all this, but what good are explanations when our hearts are filled with sadness and grief? Can explanations help when our hearts are downcast and our minds fearful? What has happened? God, couldn’t you have intervened!?!

Then we consider our confession and repentance. We look at our sins, and we think, my sins are so small, so insignificant, so trifling. Why should I feel guilt and remorse for my small sins, to have to repent, when there is such serious evil and so much sickness in the world?

In a few days, the next ugly thing will happen. Some person, claiming to be Christian, will burst out with blame for one group or another, and say that God is purposefully punishing us.

We, who follow Jesus can be reassured that God’s peace surpasses our human understanding. Christ came to live among us, not just to appear and go back. He did not come to punish, but to bring healing and renewal. He is not just an antidote to evil, someone we can conjure up in hard and sad times, but the light that destroys evil.

In our confession and repentance we bear witness and re-align ourselves with right and truth. We stay on the right track and call the world to do the same. Renewed, we set out to be God’s light, bearing Christ with us. We bring love where there is little, joy where there is none, comfort where there is despair. Healing to the sick.

God has not left us abandoned and alone. He is intervening every day through us. This Sunday let our hearts take comfort and overcome. Stand up and rejoice in the face of despair and sadness because in the midst of horrible tragedy we will bear the light of Christ to the world – a light that no darkness can overcome.