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Viewpoint fron Brian Thorne 29/04/11

Brian L. Thorne
Lay Minister at St Mary Magdalene Church, Gorleston
Dove right 
We have just celebrated that most special and sacred time in the Christian calendar – Easter
What did Easter mean to you? Was it just that time of year when we have two bank holidays over a weekend, or was it a time to indulge in an orgy of chocolate and good food? Or perhaps a time when you can get stuck into the garden?  In this secular world, the significance of Jesus dying a horrible death, nailed to a cross, for us, tends to be overlooked or forgotten completely
Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion” was criticized by many as being too graphic: too gory. It was probably the nearest we will understand to the reality of that day. A living human being made to carry the instrument of his forthcoming death – a cross – whilst being scourged with whips the dove leftends of which had sharp slivers of bone tied to them, designed to inflict the maximum pain and draw blood. Then having a ring of thorns pushed down on his head, again to inflict pain and draw blood and finally to be nailed to that cross through the wrists and feet. The final agony was when the cross was raised into the upright position so that all Jesus’ weight was on those nails
Jesus knowingly went through all that for us, so that the sins and wrongs of the world, past present and future could be taken upon himself
Now I ask you to think for a moment. We as a society honour someone who gives up their chance of life for others in times of conflict or disaster. We award them a posthumous medal, celebrating their bravery and sacrifice. So why can’t we do the same for Jesus. I don’t mean award him a medal, but we should all remember that sacrifice he made for us – not just the church and those who regularly attend church. Jesus’ sacrifice was for us all, he loved and continues to love us all so much. Who do you know who would put themselves through that for you – not just to save your physical life, but to enable all your sins and wrong doings, past, present and future to be forgiven – wiping the slate clean
So if we think about that sacrifice, that gift of love and forgiveness, what do we do with it? Do we just say – thank you and carry on as before, or do we use it as a positive influence of change in our lives
When we look at our world, at all the injustice, conflict and wrong, we surely can realize that to account and forgive all that, the sacrifice had to be huge – and it was the greatest sacrifice ever.  We just have to look round our local neighbourhood, let alone our country or the rest of the world to realize what pain, suffering and injustice abounds
Jesus ’ministry was among such people. Maybe it is time to stop putting ourselves first. We tend to walk around not seeing the world in pain around us – not seeing the plight of others in need
I think the time has come in all our lives to think of Jesus’ sacrifice and remove the blinkers and scales to see our town as it really is – a place of hurt, fear and need for so many. Look out for your elderly neighbour, offer help or even a kind word where-ever it is needed. It may be the only kindness that person has received in months
Sometimes it means getting out of our comfort zone. If Jesus can give his life for us, then surely it is not too much to ask of ourselves to sacrifice part of our nice comfortable lives to get alongside others not so fortunate and extend the hand of friendship and love. You will be surprised at the joy it brings to the giver