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Forsaken? (A Good Friday meditation on Psalm 22:1-5)

Lament

I have been forsaken by God.
Do I even know what that means, how that feels?
He has forgotten me.
I have been abandoned.
I am being ignored.
He has left me for dead.
I feel so alone.
I am afraid and close to despair.
Is this how it all ends?
Is this my fate?
Have I got it all so wrong?
A groan wells up from within, not a whimper, literally, a bellow. It comes from the gut.
This is lamentation.
To lament is to groan.
But there is no resignation here.
Instead there is rage and resistance.
This is not how it should be.

There is resilience and a refusal too.
Despite a brass heaven, the bellows continue both night and day without rest.
There is no let up. No respite.
God may be deaf, but I cannot settle for silence. Not yet.
So my wide-eyed insomnia goes on. A statement of faith.
Surely there will be an answer, perhaps one day.
So I keep on asking.

Protest

This lament is a protest, make no mistake.
Why, why, why? There is a question that demands an answer.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Why do they always happen to me?
Can I really say that God is good and God is great?
Isn’t it easier just to disregard God altogether?
Perhaps there is no why, it just is.
Atheism makes suffering so much easier. There is no meaning, no purpose. Stuff happens.
Why don’t I just own my own fate, my own suffering?
Why do I complicate matters with hope, with the possibility of deliverance, of salvation.
Anyway, do I even care about the why?
Does it help at all?
I don’t want an explanation; I want action.
I want my suffering to end.
I want my pain to ease
Don’t just sit there on your throne in heaven, do something.
There it is again – a prayer.
I know he is there.
If I’m honest, in forsaken moments, pondering the existence, or otherwise, of God seems an indulgence.
The question is not ‘are you there’ but ‘will you come and help me?’
He must act, like he has done before.

Trust

I remember. God was good once, and great.
It didn’t used to be like this. It used to be different.
In a place of slavery, of suffering and torment, God saved my people.
He rescued us. He gave us a new home.
We felt safe, we felt honoured by our God
How we loved him for it. How we trusted him.
Why is it God seems faithful in another age, in another place?
What happened? What went wrong?
Where is that liberation now? Where is deliverance; salvation, rescue?
Where is forgiveness and freedom?
I am desolate, abandoned, forsaken.
Is this deliverance?

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Irresistible Servant

This talk, part of the series ‘Irresistible: Jesus in the Gospel of Mark’ is called ‘Irresistible Servant’ from Mark 10:32-45. In this talk I ask three questions: Are we playing it safe or following Jesus to Jerusalem? Is Jesus enough or have we done a deal with God? In what ways are we serving those around us or are we just expecting others to serve us?

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We are Friends

This is the second talk in our vision series ‘We are SPS’. It is a vision for Connect Groups our primary vehicle for discipleship. I wanted to root it in a common experience of London life and the need for social spaces to make friends. I also wanted to clarify the vision and inspire everyone to make membership of Connect Groups a real priority.

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How to be Shrewd

In this series called New Year’s Revolution we explored the practical aspects of the Christian life. In this sermon I look at what it means to be shrewd with the way we use our money. It was a tricky sermon as I wanted it to be very practical and applicable. But I also wanted to focus on Jesus. All the time working through one of the most confusing parables Jesus ever told!

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