Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Holy Week. 2016 23rd March -betrayal is always painful

23rd March

Francis rejecting the world

Scripture John 13: 21-32

21 When Yeshua had said this, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Most certainly I tell you that one of you will betray me.”
22 The disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was at the table, leaning against Yeshua’s breast. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.”
25 He, leaning back, as he was, on Yeshua’s breast, asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Yeshua therefore answered, “It is he to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judah, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the piece of bread, then Satan entered into him.
Then Yeshua said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
28 Now no man at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judah had the money box, that Yeshua said to him, “Buy what things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 Therefore having received that morsel, he went out immediately. It was night.
31 When he had gone out, Yeshua said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately.


A betrayal is always painful, especially if it is done someone close to us. We ask questions that often have no answer, we can be left wondering, bewildered and hurt. Forgiveness is difficult, for some perhaps almost impossible. We can remain trapped in the emotions of the betrayal, or we can move beyond them. A difficult choice, but one we can make, remembering, of course, that Christ who knew betrayal, will accompany us on this life saving path.

Your thoughts:

(C)Br. Luke Efo 2010
Final Words:

We have reached the end of our Lenten journey with the Scriptures.

Through these past weeks, there have been challenges for us to face. Perhaps some difficult questions that we’d prefer to avoid, or not think about. Yet, our faith, like our lives, is never static. It is fluid, constantly changing, reminding us of a flowing stream.

The Scriptures we explore will mould us. When we read them, we may get a new insight, or different perspective on what we have read, or experienced previously. We may be reaffirmed in what we have read before. We should not be concerned about this movement. For when we open ourselves to the Scriptures, we open ourselves to the movement of the Holy Spirit. When we give ourselves, space and time, then the eternal message of love will be renewed and reborn within us.

We rejoice, that we have the presence, the ever the revealing nature, of our loving God in our lives.


Do you worry if you get a different perspective on the scriptures each time you read them? If so, why?

Your thoughts:

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Holy Week. 2016 - be “children of light”

22nd March

Francis rejects the world

Scripture John 12: 20-36

20 Now there were certain Greeks amongst those that went up to worship at the feast. 21 These, therefore, came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we want to see Yeshua.” 22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn, Andrew came with Philip, and they told Yeshua. 23 Yeshua answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there my servant will also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honour him.
27 “Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But I came to this time for this cause. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
29 Therefore the multitude who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
30 Yeshua answered, “This voice hasn’t come for my sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgement of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die. 34 The multitude answered him, “We have heard out of the law that the Messiah remains forever. How do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?”
35 Yeshua therefore said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn’t overtake you. He who walks in the darkness doesn’t know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.” Yeshua said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them.


In verse 36, Jesus encourages us to be “children of light”. We can be swamped by the darkness that seems to be all around us. We can become confused into believing, and the world desperately wants to believe, that the light has been extinguished, or is very close to it. This is, of course, not true. The light has not gone out, it is still burning brightly. We see darkness when we take our eyes off the light. Look at the light, and draw strength, courage, confidence and love from its unquenchable source.

Your thoughts:

Monday, 21 March 2016

Holy Week. 2016 - Judas could not see the act of love

21st March

Francis rejecting the world
Scripture John 12: 1-11

1 Then six days before the Passover, Yeshua came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him. 3 Therefore Miriam took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed Yeshua’ss feet and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 Then Judah Iscariot, Simon’s son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said, 5 “Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?” 6 Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it. 7 But Yeshua said, “Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of my burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you don’t always have me.”
9 A large crowd therefore of the Judeans learnt that he was there, and they came, not for Yeshua’s sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Judeans went away and believed in Yeshua.


Judas could not (or would not) see the act of love, he saw only a waste of money. So he castigated Mary, perhaps expecting Jesus, or the other disciples at least, to support him. Imagine then, his surprise when Jesus defended Mary. Have you followed a course of action, certain that yours was the “correct” interpretation, only to discover you were wrong? What caused you to be “wrong”? Pride, arrogance, stubbornness, or narrowness of mind? Would you do it again?

Your thoughts:

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Lent 6. 2016 20th March - St Luke’s telling of the passion

20th March

Scripture Luke 23:1-49

1 The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate. 2 They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Messiah, a king.”
3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
He answered him, “So you say.”
4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
5 But they insisted, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place.” 6 But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he found out that he was in Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days.
8 Now when Herod saw Yeshua, he was exceedingly glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle done by him. 9 He questioned him with many words, but he gave no answers. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him. 11 Herod with his soldiers humiliated him and mocked him. Dressing him in luxurious clothing, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before that they were enemies with each other.
13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and behold, having examined him before you, I found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. 15 Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore chastise him and release him.”
17 Now he had to release one prisoner to them at the feast. 18 But they all cried out together, saying, “Away with this man! Release to us Barabbas!”— 19 one who was thrown into prison for a certain revolt in the city, and for murder.
20 Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Yeshua, 21 but they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify him!”
22 He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no capital crime in him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.” 23 But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. Their voices and the voices of the chief priests prevailed. 24 Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done. 25 He released him who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Yeshua up to their will.
26 When they led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Yeshua. 27 A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him. 28 But Yeshua, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to tell the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and tell the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?”
32 There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
34 Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Dividing his garments amongst them, they cast lots. 35 The people stood watching. The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
38 An inscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
39 One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, “If you are the Messiah, save yourself and us!”
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Don’t you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 He said to Yeshua, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
43 Yeshua said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 45 The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 Yeshua, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last.
47 When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous man.” 48 All the multitudes that came together to see this, when they saw the things that were done, returned home beating their breasts. 49 All his acquaintances and the women who followed with him from Galilee stood at a distance, watching these things.


This is St Luke’s telling of the passion. It is painful to read and moves us, like those who witnessed it, from bewilderment and anguish to grief. Jesus’ death and resurrection is important for Christians and has been a focus of Christian art for centuries. It is also the event that people who stridently reject the faith will deny, reject and perhaps even ridicule. But these strident aggressive reactions simply mirror, echo, those of the people who centuries ago foolishly thought that by crucifying Jesus, they had removed Jesus and God’s message from the earth.

If we are seduced into seeing Jesus’s crucifixion as an ending, like the thieves and those calling for Jesus death did, or his resurrection as a beginning. then we completely miss seeing the path of salvation. Jesus’ life and ministry on earth was, and is, not simply a unique event, but rather it is part of God’s relationship with us and with creation.

God’s love didn’t start or end with Jesus’s life on earth. It started at creation and is still going. In Jesus, God gave to us humans the practical example of how to live a life of love. This practical example is something we needed to have. Sadly, today it seems that we have forgotten the example. We are being seduced into believing other journey’s and paths are more important, more meaningful, more relevant and more valid. These other paths don’t speak of love but the opposite and strive to make themselves the predominant message, or way of life.

Remember what Jesus said. “even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 28). So, the practical way to live the two great commandments (love the Lord your God and love your neighbour) is through service.

Your thoughts:

Lent 5. 2016 19th March-Jesus threatened the power and authority of the religious leaders

19th March

(C)Br Luke Efo. 2010
Scripture John 11: 45-57

45 Therefore many of the Judeans who came to Miriam and saw what Yeshua did believed in him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things which Yeshua had done. 47 The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, “What are we doing? For this man does many signs. 48 If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
49 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51 Now he didn’t say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day forward they took counsel that they might put him to death. 54 Yeshua therefore walked no more openly amongst the Judeans, but departed from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim. He stayed there with his disciples.
55 Now the Passover in Judea was at hand. Many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought for Yeshua and spoke one with another, as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that he isn’t coming to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had commanded that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it, that they might seize him.


The power and authority of the religious leaders had been threatened, and in some ways challenged, by Jesus. They had to act to re-establish, or enforce, their control. It is the same today. When our leaders feel challenged, they react by removing those they object to, often justifying their actions by first demonising the group or individual. Have you seen this process at work recently? How did it affect you?

Your thoughts:

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Lent 5. 2016 18th March -the Father is in me, and I in the Father

18th March

(C)Br Luke Efo 2010
Scripture John 10: 31-42

31 Therefore the Judeans took up stones again to stone him. 32 Yeshua answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?”
33 The Judeans answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
34 Yeshua answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can’t be broken), 36 do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’ 37 If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me. 38 But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
39 They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand. 40 He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where Yochanan was immersing at first, and he stayed there. 41 Many came to him. They said, “Yochanan indeed did no sign, but everything that Yochanan said about this man is true.” 42 Many believed in him there.


“But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” (verse 38) It is in the way we live our lives that people will become to understand and believe we are followers of Christ. There are, or course, always going to be people who use our faith to accuse us, when they consider that we have fallen short of their ideals. Yet we are not asked to be perfect, just to believe and do.

Your thoughts:

Lent 5. 2016 17th March - Jesus was challenging their faith

17th March

(C) Br. Luke Efo 2010
Scripture John 8: 51-59

51  Most certainly, I tell you, if a person keeps my word, he will never see death.”
52 Then the Judeans said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?”
54 Yeshua answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God. 55  You have not known him, but I know him. If I said, ‘I don’t know him,’ I would be like you, a liar. But I know him and keep his word. 56  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.”
57 The Judeans therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham?”
58 Yeshua said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM.”
59 Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Yeshua was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through the middle of them, and so passed by.

Jesus was challenging their faith.  He confronted their understanding of God and then of who he was.  It was for them, blasphemy.  They became angry and wanted to be rid of him. Have you ever told someone about your faith and then found yourself facing an angry, perhaps violent person? Do you know why they became angry? What was it your profession of faith, the manner in which you told them, or a recognition that perhaps you had something they lacked? How did you handle their aggression?

Your thoughts: