Saturday, April 25, 2009

B, Easter 3 - 1 John 3:1-7 "True Hope"

I hope I don't die! I hope I live! I hope I am saved! I hope God is there! I hope I've done the right things! I hope I'm going to heaven! I hope I believe what is really true! I hope God hears my prayer! I hope the bible is correct! Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again – well I hope he's risen, I hope he comes again, I hope I'm ready if he does come!

What is hope? How does hope happen in you? Ask yourself, "What picture of hope am I?"
Last Sunday, eight days after the day of resurrection, we reflected on doubting Thomas hearing Jesus' command him to see, touch, stop doubting and believe. Christ opened Thomas' mind with his word so he could believe and truly see his Lord had been raised from the dead.
Today we heard in the Lucan account of the resurrection, Jesus' appearance before the disciples whom respond with troubled looks and doubtful minds. This appearance comes after the women are confronted at the tomb by two men dressed in white, and two fellows unwittingly walk with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. What picture of hope do these people display?
Doubt, worry, and turmoil of the mind and heart, don't display much of what hope is: trust, patience, or eager expectation. It's as if the disciples' actions were saying, "I hope it's right!" But it seems their hope is gone! They had lost their Christ-centred sense of purpose!
Hope is one of those words we use all the time, but perhaps our society's use of it in the twenty-first century is with negative expectations. Just about every time we say we hope for something, we seem to be facing and fearing faithlessness and failure rather than the fullness of faith which calls us to face and revere with eager expectation the hope into which we have been reborn.
Negative hope, or hopelessness, is the product of worry and doubt. It's untrusting, makes one fidget with impatience, making one unstable; perhaps even leading the faithless into depressive thoughts and feelings, carelessness, panic, slander of others, debauchery on food, sex, drugs, or alcohol. Hopelessness even leads to crime.
So when we say we hope something might happen; that I might be saved, I hope I'm going to heaven, I hope I've done the right thing, I hope God is there, I hope our church survives. What am I really saying? Is our hope more like the hopelessness displayed by Thomas, the two fellows walking on the road to Emmaus, and the disciples troubled with rising doubts in their minds? Is your hope negatively geared; smothered in doubt and worry?
In the days of the Early Church, after Jesus had been raised and had ascended into heaven the church was tempted with doubt and worry when some began promoting a secret knowledge and higher way of gaining salvation. The words of Old Testament scripture and the witness of the Apostles were being put aside causing some to doubt they were going to be saved by Christ's death and resurrection through belief given by the Holy Spirit. Eager expectation was replace with hesitation and panic calling the Apostle John to encourage the young church to unashamedly and confidently remain in Christ.
Reading from 1 John 2:28 St John says, And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 Jn 2:28-3:7)
Hear St John's confidence in Christ, and here the rejection of worry and doubt. John addresses the hearers as those who have already been made children of God. He calls them to a hope built on trust, patience, and eager expectation of the things to come. He calls each and every one of them to stand and confess, "I am a child of God! I know the way the truth and the life! I know he is risen and I know he will come again to take me home! I know I am being recreated to be as Christ is, despite my sin! But I know my sinfulness and my sinful life is dying each and every day, as I am led to my eternal resurrection where I will see Jesus as he is."
John concludes this section by saying everyone who has this hope purifies themselves. This is the work of believing as we remain in Jesus Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to bring us to the forgiveness of the Cross through repentance and daily baptismal resurrection worked in each of us by the grace of God.
The next section of scripture use to cause me great angst at one time. It's quite blunt and confronts us, and so it should. But if we hear it out of context there's a real danger we might be placed back in the realm of uncertainty and doubt, leading us back into negative hope and hopelessness.
John continues, Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (1 Jn 3:4-7)
John here doesn't say that you and I are without sin. We know from elsewhere that if we believe we are without sin the truth is not in us. Perhaps you, like I once was temped to believe, see your sin and shame and seek to hid it, leaving it buried in your inner most being, where it rots and erodes the faith placed in you first at Holy Baptism, and every time you hear the Word, are freed through the forgiveness of sins, and receive the life-giving holy body and blood of Jesus in bread and wine.
What St John is attacking here is hesitation, panic, worry, and doubt which takes true hope in the things of Christ and ever so slowly distracts and leads us astray from certainty, trust, patience, and eager expectation. Make no mistake; John is calling this hesitation, panic, worry and doubt – sin!
So, what is true hope? How does hope happen in you? Ask yourself, "What picture of hope am I?"
Are you a child of God? Let God speak in you, "Yes I am a child of God!" Are you going to die? "Yes, I am! But walking with me to death and waiting on the other side is Jesus, ready to suit me in his robes of righteousness when death in me is finally dead!" Is the word of God the truth? "Sure is, not a truer word has ever been spoken and written, nor will there ever be!" Do you think you will be saved? "I know I'm saved, I know I am being saved, and I know I will be saved!"
God calls us to live in hope. So let the Spirit show you your sin, let Christ have your sin, and live each day dying to sin with all its doubt and worry so you see the person Jesus has made you to be — because this is who you are! This is who you will be forever with him in eternity!
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again! Amen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

B, Easter 2 - John 20:24-30 "Hear, Believe, then See"

Text — John 20:24-30

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. (25) So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (26) A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" (27) Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (28) Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (29) Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (30) Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
For Thomas — seeing is believing! Perhaps you've heard of a doubting Thomas. If not, then this is the text from where the phrase "a doubting Thomas" first eventuated.
We're not told why Thomas wasn't around that first Sunday when Jesus was raised and was seen by the other ten disciples! But on reporting to Thomas what they had seen he replied in disbelief, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (John 20:25) And so a doubting Thomas should be viewed probably a little more seriously than how we might relate to someone we might call a doubting Thomas today.
To doubt is to disbelieve; someone who is untrusting, doesn't want to listen, refuses to be united with a community of the same mind, and perhaps is even a maverick. For whatever reason, someone who doubts is lacking in trust and fails to believe.
Doubt does not stand alone! Doubt is closely connected with worry and pride forming three parts to paralyse a person's belief in something outside them. Its' when a person no longer trusts the judgement of others and in disbelief they only believe what they judge for themselves with their own senses.
Of all the senses we use to judge for ourselves, seeing is the one that seems to be what most people prefer. This is what Thomas did! He needed to see to believe and we're not that different today. Visual confirmation seems to be the greatest motivator of our judgement. Therefore, the rationale of most is this: To believe one must first see.
People want to see when something extraordinarily good or bad happens in the world, so we congregate around our televisions, computers, or buy news papers. Perhaps the unbelievable is not regarded as truth until we can see it for ourselves.
We only have to close our eyes and try to function in our daily routines to know seeing is extremely important to us. A world of darkness is foreign and frightening to those whom are threatened with the loss of their eye sight.
Similar to our individual sense of sight and need to see for ourselves, are the main senses of smell, taste, touch, and the generally overlooked internal senses of pain, balance, joint motion and acceleration, a sense of time, temperature differences, and in some a sense of direction. The four main senses together with these other senses are all very personal individual senses.
However, the fifth main sense, the sense of hearing, stands alone because it's different to the others.
The disciples tell Thomas of their experience with their Risen Lord. His sense of hearing is invoked but Thomas doesn't believe what he's heard and refuses to accept the testimony of others and wants to see for himself. And so we learn that the sense of hearing calls for greater trust then sight, smell, taste, and touch because hearing can be transmitted and received through a third person or a community. In this case the third person or the community is the disciples.
We can all speak on one's behalf so others might hear without being with them. But no one can see, smell, taste or touch on behalf of someone else. Only in recent times has sight become transmittable via an artificial third person in the medium of photography or video. Up until modern visual technology became available, if one wanted to experience something they had to be in the same place to see, smell, taste, or touch it.
But even before television or computers people have been able to hear what others have said via the reporting of events by other people. Even the sense of hearing has been helped by technology! First by the printing press, and then radio! But people's desire to see to believe meant that pictures were added to the printing presses of the modern era, and film and then video was co-joined with the sound of radio to be more believable.
On the other hand, smell, taste, and touch are not transmittable. No matter how good the sound and pictures might be, to experience the aroma, to satisfy the taste buds, and to feel with the sense of touch, we first need to be there. These all need the experience of the inner self!
So too was seeing, one once had to be there to see for themselves. Now we pull out the photos, and videos to give others the sense of being there. Yet hearing still stands apart from seeing and it involves more than one. Sure the tone and quality of sound is individualistic but the information hearing brings can be brought by others, especially when it's what someone else says. Such is the power of words both written and spoken.
However, words are only powerful if those who hear them believe them. And Thomas didn't believe what he had heard; he wanted to see to satisfy his inward senses, he wanted to see before he could believe.
There are problems with words too as they can be altered by the one who brings them. But there was a greater problem for Thomas in that first week after the resurrection and it's the problem we have today. What happens if there is nothing to see, and for that matter nothing to touch, taste, or smell? Thomas didn't see Jesus the moment he was told about Jesus' resurrection, and we have never seen Jesus the way the disciples saw him in those forty days before his ascension.
The other problem with seeing is that sight can be deceptive. What one sees is not necessarily what is there to see. As sight fails things are seen differently, and similarly are the senses of touch, smell, and taste. These senses are very personal and can change as the body ages and fails!
Then there are optical illusions that occur naturally, such as mirages on hot days and the end of rainbows which always seem to be impossible to catch. And when it comes to the electronic realm, there is a whole bunch of tricks used to lure us to believe things that really don't exist. So sight can be deceptive.
Furthermore, believing what one sees while living as God's children can also be deceptive. In fact "seeing to believe" is the oldest deception in the book.
What looked good to the eye in the Garden of Eden, we all know now was not that good after all. Time and time again the Israelites saw no way out of looming destruction or destitution, yet over and over again they had heard of God's prominence and he continually proved to be faithful. Thomas sought to believe only what he could see, yet Christ had risen from the dead although Thomas hadn't seen him.
Moreover we are told by Saint Paul in 2 Corinthians, we live by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Our sinful nature taints our whole being, including our senses. Living by sight or our other senses leads us to live like Adam and Eve. This living is living with doubt, worry, and pride. This living is living contrary to the First Commandment. What we see, touch, taste, and smell is open to corruption, is failing, and is dying because of sin. So too "how" we hear can be corrupted.
But just say the person does report correctly what they first heard or saw, the next person receives the same regardless how bad their hearing might be. What they do with it once heard is a different story. But it's only when hearing is completely gone that one fails to hear.
On the other hand, hearing God in truth can never be corrupted. When we hear the word of God, especially the word of Christ, the gospel, we continue receiving faith that enables us to see and walk in the darkness of our humanity with infallible footsteps. As we receive faith we see with the light of our Risen Lord shining on us exposing what darkness once hid.
And so Thomas who doubted the word of his fellow disciples and sought to believe only what he saw and touched, didn't need to touch or see Jesus once he heard the Word of Jesus, the Resurrected Word Made Flesh, telling him to stop doubting and believe. So in faith Thomas responded, "My Lord and my God!"
Similarly for us, God calls us out of darkness into his light with his Word. He does this by the power of the Holy Spirit breathed on us, giving us ears to hear, and hearts to receive his written Word spoken. And these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Therefore, it's impossible for us to see before we believe. But rather in being still and hearing, we receive faith so we might believe. And in believing we who were once blind to the unseen realm of God now see the hidden kingdom of God is near with the perfect twenty-twenty vision of faith. Amen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

B, Easter Sunday - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 "Passive Power"

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (with the original Greek passive "he was seen" put back in)
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he was seen by Peter, and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he was seen by James, then by all the apostles, 8 and last of all he was seen by me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
Humanity has always had a thing for power. To have power is to have control! When the going gets tough, the tough get going! An economic downturn seems to have taken the wind out of the sails; the things we depend on for stability seem to have lost their power. Far be it that we should have to suffer under a weak economy!
So governments borrow big, and we're encouraged to spend up big to save and nurture the monolith in which we've trusted for our stability and strength.
Our unquenchable thirst for power reveals much about who we are, as individuals and as a society. It seems no one wants to be seen as powerless, and so we easily fall into a game of one-up-man-ship - having to have the best of everything, to seemingly look better than the next person.
And so an imbalance appears very quickly in society. Life becomes more about me - "look at what I've got" - rather than the wellbeing of our community's weak - locally, nationally, and globally. And so the top dog proudly stands on a pyramid of beaten broken people.
Today we celebrate God's power! His power is found in the passion of Jesus Christ. And this power is counter-cultural. It doesn't work in the same way as does the power of humanity, whether it is collectively as a community, or individually through the achievements of one.
The power of God is not revealed in success, potential, productivity, or in the collective power of the populace. No! The power of the passion; falls on the shoulders of one man, who became powerless and passive to all that went on around him. God's power is found in the passivity of the passion; God's power is found in the obedience of Jesus' death, where in the tomb Christ had no power to bring himself back from the grave.
Before his crucifixion Jesus told his disciples, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:42-45)
Jesus told his disciples that power is not enforcing one's rights over someone else, or keeping up with all the latest fads, but rather true power is trusting God's power, in our weakness, in our service - in sacrificing our rights for the sake of others.
Death is the weakest state in which any person will ever be! Nothing is all we can do, when we die. You can't do anything when you're dead. Yet this is exactly from where the power of God is revealed - from death in the grave. In Christ's totally humiliated state he was stone cold dead. The Son of God, an eternal divine being, lifeless in the grave! Jesus listened to his Father, and so he was obedient unto death.
Imagine government saying "Don't spend up big, rather sacrifice what you've got! In fact you don't need any more consumables, what you have is good enough. We will make do with what we've got. Give up the niceties of life; it's ok if our economy looks weak!"
But we don't hear this, nor do we want to. A part of us would die if we had to give up our most loved consumables. Humility has never been a strong point of humanity. Unlike Christ, we, with the disciples and all people, are more concerned with prestige and power.
However, Jesus is honoured today because of his humility - his submission. Saint Paul tells us of Christ's passivity in his first letter to the Corinthians. Unfortunately most English bibles lose the passive emphasis which Saint Paul intends for his hearers. But listen as the passive emphasis is reintroduced, "For what I (St Paul) received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he was seen by Peter, and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he was seen by James, then by all the apostles, and last of all he was seen by me also, as to one abnormally born." (1 Cor 15:3-7)
Jesus died! We know he was passive in his death. He said nothing against the false accusations made against him, nor did he nail himself to the cross.
He was buried. He didn't bury himself! Now praise the Lord, he has been raised from the grave. He was raised from the dead, something he had no power to do in death!
He was seen. He didn't rise from the tomb at Easter and reveal himself in a show of almighty power! Rather he was seen by God and by those whom God allowed to see him. Jesus' power is revealed in weakness, both before and after his resurrection.
The passivity of the gospel is the source of great hope for us, for when we are dead we will not be able to raise ourselves either. The passivity of the gospel is also a great template for our lives as we move towards death. Our power is not in our productivity, prestige, or popularity. In fact while we focus on these things, Jesus is not to be seen.
However, the power is in the passivity of the passion of Christ and his subsequent resurrection by God the Father, seen only by faith, which is also a gift of God. We are called to lay down our authority and power, surrendering ourselves to Jesus Christ, as he did for his Father.
And the good news is this: That when we were powerless to lay down our sinful natures, God came to us in baptism. We don't even need to have power or the ability to come before God. In his power God came while we were totally lost in our sinful natures - while we were completely powerless.
So as we continue in this life, baptised into Christ's passive death, we know there is no need for us to prove ourselves through popularity and power in this life. That in itself is liberating.
We don't need to keep up with the Jones; we don't need all the latest gizmos and gadgets. Like Christ we can be passive; trusting only in God the Father's love and justification, through God the Son's grace and means, by the power of God the Holy Spirit's gift of faith and fellowship.
We know that Jesus is risen! We know that he is glorified! And God calls us to trust him, even while we struggle, to be truly humble and to rid ourselves of our desire to be popular or powerful. God calls us to rest in the hope of our resurrection to eternal life. Just as Jesus trusted in God and was raised; we are called to trust in the grace of Christ so we too might be raised to life with him together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Like Saint Paul, consider yourself as the least. Allow yourself to be empowered by God's power in the resurrection, bring glory to him. Know that by the grace of God you are what you are, and his grace towards you is not without effect, even though you still struggle with sin in this life. When you work harder than all people - know it's not you, but the grace of God with you. Just as Jesus trusted and was raised from the dead; trust that you too one day will be raised from the dead to be glorified with him, but only because of his death and resurrection.
Today we celebrate God's power in Christ over, our weakness, sin, and death. We are called to repent for our desire to be top dogs and hear that we are forgiven for Jesus' sake. We live totally dependant on the Holy Spirit's power, to bring us into the power of Christ's death and resurrection, so that in hope, one day we will be powerfully glorified and live forever with our Father in heaven in peace. Amen.

Friday, April 03, 2009

B, Palm Sunday - Mark 11:1-11, Philippians 2:8 "It's not April Foolishness"

Click here to download as a WORD doc
Is it too good to be true?
There's a study that suggests if women and children eat chocolate for breakfast, weight problems usually associated with eating the sweet at other times of the day will be avoided. It's believed the bodies of children and women digest differently in the morning. In fact, when eating chocolate at this early time of day, for a prolonged period, the study candidates actually lost weight! Perhaps it's too good to be true!
In 1976 it was reported that the planet Pluto passed behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that counteracted and lessened the Earth's own gravity. If people jumped in the air at the exact moment this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. Apparently when 9:47 AM arrived, radio stations received hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even testified that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room. Too good to be true? Hmmmm!
Did you know that stretching nylon stockings over a plasma television makes the picture standing out in front of the screen in three dimensions! It's as if the people on the tele were actually standing in your lounge room. This effect was first discovered back in the black & white days when stretching the stockings over the TV screen would make instant colour TV. The nylon in the pantyhose chemically reacts to the light a television produces causing the amazing results. Wow! It sounds too good to be true?
There are also rumours that local footy clubs are in a bidding war to import Frenchman Lirpa Loof into Australia. He was born with the amazing ability to kick a ball further than anyone else in the world. Lirpa no longer plays soccer because every time he kicks the ball it flies right out of the stadium. His ability comes from his legs having similar qualities and strength to that of a frog and it's hoped that the man's talent can be taken advantage of on our larger football grounds! He'd be able to kick goals the full length of the ground. Too good to be true?
What's even more amazing is all these things were discovered or occurred throughout history on the same day - the first day of the fourth month. Yes, it is too good to be true, because the day is "April Fools Day"!
The first of April rolls around year after year and time and time again pranks of various size and effect are administered on family, friends, and work colleagues with various degrees of success. Those who have not noticed the date of the day can be sucked into the gag. The more gullible the recipient the greater the laugh others have at their expense.
It's not really known how April the first, came to be known as April Fools Day. One view is that the day came about after the Gregorian calendar was changed to the Julian calendar. May Day was recognised as the start of summer or the spring planting season. An April fool was one who did this prematurely after the calendar had changed.
Then again, in the eighteenth century people believed that the day was connected with Noah at the time of the flood's ebb when he released a raven too early. He did this on the first day of the month in the Hebrew calendar which coincides with April the first.
Unfortunately many believe the gospel is too good to be true. One might think Jesus Christ - both Son of God and Son of Man, the cross, his death, his resurrection - the Word of God offering forgiveness and peace with no strings attached, is just too good to be true. And therefore, it's believed one has to either add to or water down God's grace to make it a little more convincing. Or, on the other hand, one might be temped to discard the gospel as a laughable foolish faith to sustain those who have nothing better to do with their time.
We human beings with our understanding and nature find it very difficult to understand the being of God, his nature, and his ways. The crowds on Palm Sunday thought they knew exactly what Jesus was doing as he walked into Jerusalem. They cried "Hosanna" as the man rode a donkey into the city, reminding them of a bygone era when Israel was strong under David their almighty king. But Jesus' exercise of almighty power came in an unexpected way, in that he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
Imagine the fickle crowd, seeking Jesus as the new King David, believing he would march into Jerusalem and dethrone the Romans as they cried "hosanna", "save us, we pray". But rather witnesses saw him confront what Judaism had become and then take his throne on the cross in death.
It sounds like the greatest hoax of all time; definitely too good to be true! How can Jesus be God if he can bleed and die in the most disgraceful way on a cursed cross? How can a king reign when he's dead? And so on Good Friday the broken body of Jesus became a laughing stock, to the Romans who saw Jesus as a fool, and to the Jews who saw in Jesus' death something too good to be true.
But as Jesus entered Jerusalem, hidden in his motives and actions, was a way that seemed too good to be true, but in fact is the only way that's too good not to be true. Jesus confronted what Judaism had become and overturned their corrupted means of righteousness. He faithfully took hold of the law and kept it, and in doing so, set a benchmark that nobody could match.
In Luke's Gospel we hear Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he marched into the city. The crowd whipped into a frenzy calling out for victory - "hosanna" "save us, we pray". To which Jesus tears and actions said, "Amen, let it be so", as he went to the cross to give victory to all people, saving them from their sins, once and for all freeing them from the condemnation of the law.
Do you wonder if it's all too good to be true? Maybe you want to discard the Word of God like a trite April Fools Day prank! Or perhaps you believe you need to bolster what God did with good deeds in the hope you might get the victory you're praying for. Possibly proving to God you're no April fool!
However, Jesus' death and resurrection is no prank! Discarding him or being caught in deeds of self-righteousness, treats him as a fool, and shows that we as humans are naive and gullible. If left to our own senses we are doomed.
But God is faithful. As we remember his walk to the cross this Good Friday and see that it really should be you and me nailed there, God calls us to peace in the knowledge that the day of his crucifixion was too good a Friday not to be true.
Thankyou Lord for cleansing us and making us holy with your Word, your Word is truth, Amen.