(April 17, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…
This is a month of reflections and memories.
1. April Fools’ Day
This is what April 1st has been known as for several centuries in different cultures. Traditions include playing hoaxes or practical jokes on others, and then pronouncing ‘April Fool!’ at their end.
For example, managers would send clueless staff out on impossible ‘gofer’ tasks such as ‘Get me a lefthanded screwdriver’ or ‘Paintbrush that paints round corners.’ In 1998, after Burger King advertised a Left-Handed Whopper resulting in scores of clueless customers requesting this fake.
In 1976, BBC pulled off another of its many AFD pranks. Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told listeners that at 9:47 am that day, the temporary alignment of Pluto and Jupiter would cause a reduction in Earth’s gravity, allowing people to briefly levitate. At 9:48, hundreds of enthralled callers flooded the lines with reports that they had floated in the air!
1972 saw a widely published photograph convincing many that Loch Ness’ elusive ‘Nessie’ had finally made an appearance, but dead. Turned out that a prankster from Yorkshire’s Flamingo Park Zoo had dumped the body of a bull elephant seal in the lake. He had only intended to play a joke on his co-workers, but the ‘news’ quickly went viral.
On April 1, 1962, a supposed technical expert for Sweden’s one and only television channel made an exciting announcement. By stretching out a pair of nylon stockings and taping it over their screens, he reported, viewers could watch the usual black-and-white broadcast in stunning colour. Television owners rushed to implement the astonishingly simple hack, only to be disappointed when the hose did nothing but obscure the picture.
Haven’t heard about AFD pranks this year. Covid-19 souring?
April 2 was Good Friday, the beginning of Christian’s commemorations of all that Jesus achieved for us on Calvary’s cross. It’s considered beginning with a sad Friday but joyful three days later… Resurrection Sunday, rejoicing that our Saviour is alive! (Link: Carol Round’s Jesus-is-alive).
Reminds us of a double line sign we noticed outside an Anglican church, a with-it church that always has catchy signboards. Brief and quickly readable by motorists without causing dangerous driving. Catchy too because their messages are always thought-inspiring. Such was this Easter one… the first line stating 3+1 = 4!
Now most people know that 3+1 = 4, but everyone needs to know the reality of the wording that billboard’s other line stated: 3 nails + 1 cross = 4given!
Jesus the Son of God took on himself all our sins – the wrong things that break our relationship with the heavenly Father. He willingly–
- Paid the price of our sinning as we would never want to.
- Accepted the ramming of those three horrible long Roman nails into his wrists and crossed feet.
- Allowed himself to be hung on a cross like a common thief.
- Took on himself our shame and the punishment for our sins.
- Shed his blood and sacrificed his body for us.
The result is that we are forgiven of every sin when we genuinely repent of and ask God to forgive! There is no question about it… every sin is dealt with. We no longer have to feel shame or be fearful of any future punishment neither in this life nor in eternity. We are saved, redeemed!
Sadly many still think that our Father is a wrathful God and won’t grant us his favour because of past sins… or even something we did today. No! If we are quick to ask forgiveness, he will forgive because of all Jesus accomplished at Calvary. Good Friday really was a good Friday, and we can have good memories as we reflect on it any month of the year!
3. Our unsinkable Saviour
April 12, 1912, one hundred and nine years ago, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on the calmest of nights and sunk within hours. Tragically, of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died.
Like April Fools’ Day we really haven’t heard many comments as one normally hears each year about that colossal White Star liner, said by many to be unsinkable that even God couldn’t sink her.
But yet Titanic sank, and many thought it was an act of God because people had dishonoured and tried to belittle him. When I (Robert) first started in the business world as a 13-year-old and joined a Cunard company – the shipping line that took over the bankrupt White Star organisation – as a travel consultant, an Act-of-God clause was on every passenger’s ticket I wrote.
The term – ‘act of God’ – is still used to describe unforeseen circumstances resulting from natural disasters and reflected in insurance policies.
A positive Christian reflection here is that although that life is life and icebergs such as sickness, job and car problems, marriage and family upsets, financial hiccups and the unexpected can come along any day or night, even out of the blue, we can trust our Lord and rely on his word and prayer. And especially relying on the Holy Spirit’s power, we will not sink!
Oh we may get our feet wet at times, we may encounter stormy weather, but we can trust Jesus, the Rock of Ages to see us safely to the shore! He’s our captain in the ship of our life and when icebergs threaten will always be there for us. When we emigrated by ship to Australia, we were invited to the captain’s table for evening meal… once. There will always be a place at Jesus’ table for us! (See Maureen’s recent article What-a-Shepherd-What-a-Table).
Jesus Christ couldn’t be sunk by Satan at Calvary and because his victory is also ours, we too are unsinkable! We just need to believe it!
4. Prince Philip’s passing
Saturday April 17 saw the entrancing, moving funeral service of the late Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth11 for almost 74 years. Respected by many worldwide, many condolences have been sent to the Queen and royal family from all over.
MovieGuide reported: Sir Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons, said in a statement. ‘The Duke of Edinburgh has given his unwavering support to The Queen, both as a husband and as a consort. Described by Her Majesty as “my constant strength”, he served this country too, first with distinction during the Second World War and selflessly throughout eight decades during peacetime…
‘He will be remembered for his loyal devotion to service and his leadership of hundreds of ideals and causes close to his heart. Most notably, of course, is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which helps millions of young people around the world to achieve their full potential as team members and future leaders in their chosen fields.’
Although it was heart-rendering to see Queen Elizabeth sitting alone in her chapel pew because of covid-19 restrictions, it was continuously mentioned by the media that her Christian faith was substaining her as she faewelled her husband. Although the prince had requested no eulogy, the Dean of Windsor conducting the ceremony, with the Archbishop of Canterbury pronouncing the blessing, spoke highly of him.
A simple thought comes to us here: Will complementary comments be made about us? That we have made our mark in life… for Jesus Christ and his kingdom? After all, we owe allegiance to our royal King Jesus, to serve him with distinction!
It’s written that Nehemiah was determined to fullfil his God-given task of rebuilding the badly damaged walls of Jerusalem, standing strongly againgst enemies who tried tricking him into dropping his charge. Nehemiah 6:3 records his respone: ‘I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it …’
May we all continue to – as today’s YouVersion 1 Timothy 6:12 reading encourages – ‘Fight the good fight of the faith’ – in respect of whatever ministry task the Lord has entrusted us with, and so honour our king!
5. Anzac Day
This is always a remembered day in our southern hemisphere, when we give thanks for those thousands who died in war, and reflect on their bravery and self-sacrifice.
Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, wrote: ‘As Australians we grow up learning about the Anzac tradition and recognise those who have served and provided us with the freedoms we enjoy today… At its heart, Anzac Day is a time for personal reflection, and attending a dawn service or march is just one way we can show our respect, but there are a number of ways Australians can commemorate in the lead-up to, and on, Anzac Day… we value the contribution of those who have served our country.’
Yes, we are gratefull! We do well remembering our past heroes… and present veterans! But reflect too on the following…
Such reflections as the above make good talking points for both Christians and the non-churched as we move through April and beyond.
In remembrance of all that Jesus accomplished for us, let’s move ahead into all that God desires for us in the remaining months of 2021, fearing no opposition whatever!
Next month is the reenergising church celebration of Pentecost. This is a call to be filled full afresh with the Hoy Spirit’s anointing and swing into action for Jesus, his church and broader kingdom.
May we all move on!
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook (Scriptures mainly NIV/all emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources).