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Lyle Kirk 31 Union Street Greenock PA16 8DD

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Scottish Charity No. SC010818


Rev Owen Derrick's Easter Message

I get a lot of e-mails!  Some of them I enjoy receiving.  E-mails that amuse, encourage, bring glad tidings – all of these e-mails are always welcome.  Other e-mails go straight in the virtual trash bin.  These e-mails vary from the annoying to the disgusting.  Unfortunately, humanity’s propensity to be inventive in its attempts to extend the bounds of depravity seems to know no limit.  Sometimes, it seems that this is the principal purpose of e-mail – to be a vehicle through which twisted minds can share their contortions with the widest audience possible.  Then there’s another group of e-mails.  They provoke us to think.  Sometimes they annoy us.  Sometimes they entertain us.  Sometimes they prod us to action.  Sometimes they simply get noted and left in our inbox with no further action taken.  These are those e-mails, forwarded from friends, and the friends of friends, that contain “words of wisdom” or “cute stories.”  Often, we pause when we receive them; read, assess and decide what to do.  I received one such e-mail recently.  Here’s what it said.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.  They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.  They may seem like a godsend and they are.  They are there for the reason you need them to be.  Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.  Sometimes they die.  Sometimes they walk away.  Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.  What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.  The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.  They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.  They may teach you something you have never done.  They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.  Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.  Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.  It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.

The e-mail concludes with the usual “send this on to everyone you know…” stuff at the end.

Now, be honest.  How did that make you feel?  Did it brighten your day?  Did you feel glad when you read it?   That’s how you were meant to feel, but I have to say, when I received it, I felt deeply SADDENED.   Read it again.  Can you see why?  The entire e-mail is predicated on the assumption that everyone in your life is there for YOUR benefit.  Whether it’s REASON, SEASON or LIFETIME, according to the writer of this e-mail, your entire circle of acquaintances exists only so your life can be better.  It even sounds like the writer is taking umbrage at those friends who have the audacity to die – especially at a time that isn’t convenient for you!! Unfortunately, all too often, this is how we view the people in our lives.  They’re there to make life better for us.  Their value is only measurable in respect to the benefit we can derive from knowing them.  This is so counter to what Christianity teaches.  The book of Acts shows us a vision of Christian community where “all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44).  The image is one of selfless commitment to one another, not selfish expectations of each other. 

In a few weeks, we will celebrate the crux of the Christian faith – the death and resurrection of our Saviour.  Christians believe that Easter demonstrates God’s love for humanity.  The Cross of Calvary is not some divine e-mail in which God tells you what you can do to make God feel better.  Precisely the opposite.  The way chosen by Christ is the way of self-sacrificial love.  It is a road along which He calls us to follow Him.  Unlike the e-mail above, the way of the Cross does not see our needs as the central driving force in our lives.  At the Cross, we become servants rather than the served; last rather than first; humble rather than proud. 

Easter is a time of great rejoicing.  And rightly so!  God gave so that we might know the extent of God’s love for us.  If we simply absorb that love into our selfish selves, then we miss the message.  We must reflect His love and live in that love by sharing it with those we meet. 
Now, pass this on to everyone you know......