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Dear COA Family,

“‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’… Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’” John 11:21-40.

From here, we learn of two diametrically opposite perspectives held by two persons towards the same event.

Martha viewed Jesus’ late-coming to the sickness of her brother Lazarus as an unmitigated disaster. If Jesus had arrived earlier, he could have healed Lazarus and not let him die. There was even an element of blame that Martha placed on Jesus for not responding in a timely manner!

On the other hand, Jesus viewed all that he had done as according to the will of God and for God’s greater glory. There was a reason why he arrived when he did – which was to show God’s power in raising the dead when Jesus raised Lazarus before the entire crowd.

And, of course, this was the better way.

We are often faced with different perspectives to the same event as well.

Just last week, we had a very blessed Holy Week where about 1000 people (adults and children) came for one or more of our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve Baptism and Easter Sunday services. We saw the Lord’s hand of blessing upon us as a church not only in reaching out to others but also in our leaders and members stepping up to serve. For example, we had our Lay Readers leading a blessed Good Friday service and members washing one another’s feet.

Yet there was some feedback that the Good Friday service was too long and that COA never had such a long service before.

I am not putting guilt on anyone for feeling this way but would want to lovingly provide another perspective. Our services are meant this year for us to grow deeper in our faith and love for God and others. This includes growing in our experience of what Jesus went through. A service of three hours for Good Friday is traditional for us as Christians all over the world to tarry with Christ as he suffered on the cross. As Victor Wu (one of our Lay Readers) summed up aptly in his devotion, “If Jesus suffered on the cross for three hours on Good Friday 2000 years ago, can we endure our “suffering” seated on our pews for the same three hours?”

Beloved, a renewed perspective is crucial to growth and maturity in our lives. The same event in our lives can be seen in two ways: either from our human perspective or from God’s perspective. As we renew our minds to see from God’s perspective through the help of the Spirit, we will be transformed to be more like Christ each day (Romans 12:2).

Have a blessed week ahead in this season of Easter!

Revd Ian