John 20:20

THE CHALLENGE OF EASTER

(April 02, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, shares great Easter truths…

Many years ago when I was ministering in the north-east England, I received a phone call from my brother to tell me that our father had died. In deep grief my wife, Jean, and children got in the car and drove overnight to Stranraer in Scotland to catch the ferry to Northern Ireland. During the drive in the dark of night I was consumed with sadness.

As dawn arrived and the sun began to rise and dispel the darkness, I remembered that in a few days Christians throughout the world would be celebrating Easter with is message of Jesus’ resurrection – death had been defeated and its darkness had been overcome! 

That glorious message penetrated my despair as I realised that the sting of death had been forever removed when Jesus rose triumphantly from the tomb. Of course the sadness remained but the bleak darkness had been defeated, and I was comforted by the knowledge that because of Jesus’ victory over the death, I would see my father again.

I love Easter!  I love its glorious affirmation of the triumph of God over Satan, the triumph of life over death, the triumph of good over evil.

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DARK NIGHTS OF THE SOUL

(March 10, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan touch on something not many are open about…

The poem Dark Night of the Soul begins with ‘In an obscure night…’ and the third line mentions ‘a hapless plight.’

Written by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St John of the Cross (although he didn’t actually title it himself), it has been regarded by many as some deep spiritual, painful depression.

Depression, as Geraldine Brandt points out (The-Too-Hard-Basket) indicates, among other things that a person is low in their spirit,pressed down.’

In modern terms… hampered by what we term a downer!

Reality
As we’ve ministered to church people at the altar prayer line sometimes someone – wrongly feeling ashamed and not wanting anyone else to hear – would whisper that he (or she) was suffering from depression, experiencing dark nights of the soul.

And, not just what’s badly termed as ‘ordinary Christians’ but as it happens, we’ve had to encourage a number of leaders to look beyond troubling dark nights of the soul experiences that have (are) hindering them in their ministry.

Geraldine Brandt writes about hampered ministers needing our prayers. And theologian Dr Jim McClure points out that Depression – or any aspect of mental illness – is not something of which we should be ashamed. Nor should it be kept hidden’ (Mental-Illness-Realites).

We would add this – If depression were to hit, it’s definitely not something to be quiet about in case someone accuses us of having lost our faith. If they do, that’s their problem, not ours!

The reality is that anyone – church attender or leader – could become afflicted with depression. (more…)