BY REV ANGELA C BOSFIELD PALACIOUS
DURING the crucifixion, there are several wounds that our Lord received: Two in hands/wrists, two in his feet, his side from the spear, the whipping and the crown of thorns. This is the price that Jesus paid for our salvation. How grateful are we? How grateful am I?
Why did Jesus have to die like this? Many have asked this question over the centuries. This is the plan of salvation. This is the price that Love was willing to pay for us.
In gratitude, we seek to give our lives back to God and become holy. The way to become holy is:
To follow Jesus as your Lord, having accepted him as your Saviour.
To read, study and emulate the instructions given in Holy Scripture.
To allow God to heal you.
To allow the Holy Spirit to take control of your life.
To forgive and be forgiven.
To pray and enjoy the permanent presence of God.
God offers us forgiveness but we have to accept it. I John 1:8 tells us that if we confess ours sins we will be forgiven but if we pretend that we are already righteous we make God out to be a liar. John 3:16-17 reveals that God’s plan of love was to give Jesus to save the world. Jesus has come first as Saviour and then will come as Judge.
In Matthew 6:14-16, we are challenged to forgive others so that we may receive God’s forgiveness. In order to be forgiven we may use the following steps:
Confession using passages such as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), 1 Corinthians 13, and Colossians 3.
Meditation on the cross as your penalty paid and the need to accept the free gift of grace. Study of passages that speak of God’s plan of redemption (Gospel of John 3:16-17, letters of John, Roman).
To forgive others we can pray, use imaginative meditation (speaking to the person in the presence of Jesus) and/or pastoral counselling.
Jesus suffered and his suffering was a part of God’s plan. Suffering is the result of the Enemy seeking to destroy truth, beauty and goodness. Why do we suffer is an age old question:
We suffer because of our own sins.
We suffer because of the sins of others
We suffer when Satan attacks us because we are serving the Lord.
Situations that may cause suffering are found everywhere: Incest, family violence, crime, injustice, war, human trafficking, poverty and illness. We are called to alleviate suffering as much as we can. None of us want to suffer, but we may accept that it is the consequence of speaking truth to power as Jesus did. God has created the world to be a place of harmony, beauty, love and worship. How do you respond to life?
In the Eucharist we see how Our Lord has given us a memorial of His passion (His suffering) to cleanse and strengthen us. Know that our Suffering God feels our pain, understands what it is to be betrayed, and weeps with us as He did with Mary and Martha, with the widow of Nain and as he wept over Jerusalem.
If we allow God to use our suffering, we can be changed for the better. Do not allow your suffering to be in vain. Ask God to heal you, bless you and use you to God’s honour and glory.
During Lent, we share in Christ’s suffering by using the Stations of the Cross on the walls of the church or on the church grounds to walk the Via Dolorosa (road of suffering) with our Lord. We recall the painful incidents along the path to Calvary. On Good Friday, some churches include the Veneration of the Cross (kissing the cross) during the litany for the day.
As we seek to be forgiven, to become holy, to make sense of suffering, let us pray for persons to live with courage, cope better and grow in grace. May the wounds of Jesus cause us to be more sensitive to the wounds of others and to respond with love.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.