Easter greetings to you all at a very different Easter.
Usually at this time of year we would be having a baptismal service, the church would have been crowded and we would have been celebrating the bringing in of the harvest, the fruit of the gospel in our midst and many professing their faith in Christ and the wonderful truth that Christ has died and has risen again.
The text in my mind for today is a well-known and well-loved one;
‘We would see Jesus.’ (John 12:21)
It’s probably one of the earliest texts that I remember seeing because, as a very tiny child, I was taken to services in a pub in Port Glasgow - I would have said ‘converted pub’ but it wasn’t very converted! It still had wines, beers and spirits across the windows, but inside on the wall behind the platform were these words, ‘We would see Jesus’ and I studied them as a child many times.
They were the words that were spoken in John’s gospel by the Greeks that came to Philip shortly before the crucifixion and said to him ‘Sir, we would see Jesus.’
They have also been made particularly meaningful to many of us in Struthers Memorial Church as they were the last sermon spoken by our minister before he died, two or three days after preaching this sermon. As he spoke on that occasion I remember he held his arms wide open and said that he longed to embrace us all in the love of Christ. His own natural sight by then was growing dim but two or three days after saying these words; ‘We would see Jesus,’ he saw Him face to face. As his earthly vision had grown dim, his spiritual acumen and seeing had grown sharper as he brought to many of us the awareness of the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For many of us, where we are now, much has been stripped from our normal lives and we have been deprived of our gatherings together. Solitude with Christ is wonderful; to find Him in the aloneness is exceedingly precious but when we come together it is like the putting together of live coals and there can come an intensity of God’s presence and, for those who are newer to the faith, there is tremendous strength that comes from gathering together. But just as these people came to the disciple Phillip and said to him ‘Sir, we would see Jesus,’ that is the cry in many of our hearts, probably an increasing cry for many of us - we would see Him. We have had glimpses but we would see Him far more clearly.
We long to see some of our loved ones again but this is nothing compared to our longing to see Him. But we do not choose the way he reveals Himself to us, that is His choice.
For some currently working in the danger line there will be an increased awareness of that Man of Sorrows who has carried our griefs, who has borne our burdens, who understands the need of this present hour and that none of us are unaffected by it. We are all affected in different ways. For many of us in the church we have friends or relatives who are deeply involved in the caring services and for whom our prayer goes up continually to God.
And so, at a time like Easter, we are particularly aware of that Man of Calvary who shows Himself, to us in His crimson robes, dipped in blood, but robes that speak to us of His victory, speak to us of forgiveness and cleansing and righteousness and we are aware of that Man who has tasted grief for us; The Son of God.
However, this resurrection day, we cannot but be joyful in the knowledge of that risen Christ - in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, He has arisen again. His garments are white, they are splendid, they are glistening.
He is still Lord. He is Lord of this world in its brokenness, in its grief, in its perplexity. He is unmoved, he is unchanged. His arms are wide open to embrace us, to embrace you, to embrace those who are seeking for help and asking, perhaps for the first time in their lives, ‘Where is Peace?’. Asking, perhaps, some of you in whom they see that peace, asking for its source and echoing these words to Phillip; ‘We would see Jesus’.
We lift our eyes and we see Him - we see Him as He lives at the right hand of the Father and makes intercession for a world in need. He has not left our world. He is making intercession for our church, for our lives and our prayer is that increasingly we will show Him forth that others may say to us; ‘We would see Jesus.’
'I will take Him' sung by Gordon Tyler
'When I Survey' sung by Emma Rukin
Blessed be His name,
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Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.