Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter in Baghdad

I don't think I can do better than quote from Andrew White's Easter letter headed "We have seen glory and forgiveness":
"Hallelujah, Christ is Risen. [In Arabic] Masieh Cum [and Aramaic] Cumle Mar an.
Andrew's new book
Today we celebrate the most amazing truth that our Jesus is no longer dead but alive. Here, amongst a broken country and much danger, we celebrate the fact that the Lord is here and his Spirit is with us.

As we look at the story of the resurrection in John Ch 20 we see that Mary Magdalene was the first at his tomb and the stone at the entry had been removed. Jesus was not there, but the grave cloths were. There were angels there and outside there was what was thought to be a gardener. Peter and John joined with Mary and they witnessed what she had seen - the empty tomb and empty grave cloths.

All these signs of the glory and resurrection were there but not seen. So often the signs of resurrection and glory are around us but we fail to see them.
Mary, the first to the tomb, was not only a woman but one with a past, who had been forgiven much. Suddenly the first words of Jesus from the Cross ring true, 'Father, Forgive.'
We have seen glory and forgiveness. Inside the tomb we also see something most significant: the napkin around the head of Jesus was separate and folded on its own.

Our mind goes to every official meal in Jewish culture. Each person would have a napkin and, when they left the table permanently, they would leave the napkin crumpled as it was used. If they were just leaving the table for a short time they would neatly fold the napkin. A folded napkin meant, 'I am coming back.' That was what the folded napkin was all about. Then Jesus said Mary's name and all was revealed. He was not dead, he was alive.

Here we have a message of Glory, Forgiveness, Resurrection and hope."
Palm Sunday in St George's, Baghdad
I must recommend the BBC programme about forgiveness. If you have an hour for an Easter sermon, do watch it. If you have half an hour, watch the last half. If you have 15 minutes, watch the last quarter! Cheryl McGuinness has an impressive story. "What's the point of Forgiveness?"


  1. Happy Easter old chap!

    Good blogging, we'll check out the forgiveness programme.

    See you in a few days.

  2. I'm so glad you explained about the napkin, I had no idea it had any special significance. You've enriched what has already been a wonderful Easter. Thankyou.