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Principal’s Blog – April 2024

The Next Chapter Changes Everything

I recently attended the funeral/thanksgiving service for the life of a dearly loved older friend who has gone to be with the Lord. As I listened to the family sharing in the eulogy, they rehearsed many amazing chapters of her life. She was an incredibly talented musician and a wonderfully godly woman whose love for Jesus and endlessly cheerful disposition continually pointed others to Him.

Yet, as they shared, they also rehearsed the somewhat painful chapter of seeing her health decline. For any of you who have known a similar experience, it can be difficult to journey with a loved one as they approach the end of their earthly race. Sadly, we have had to do that on number of occasions with the premature deaths of two of Wendy’s sisters. Yet, the thing that impressed me, yet again, was the incredible sense of hope that they shared about the next chapter of her journey. As the pastor lead the service, he quoted familiar passages of Scripture such as 2 Corinthians 5:1-8. Here, the Apostle Paul speaks about the temporary nature of our present earthly life as being like living in a tent. He says, “for while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we wish to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4). Indeed, he goes on to confidently affirm that, for him, “to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).

How can we have such certainty? Well, it is simply because of the reality of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. As I have been preparing a message for the Sunday after Easter, I have been drawn again to the wonderful conclusion of Luke’s gospel account.

At the start of Luke 24, we are reminded that on first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took spices they had prepared and went to the tomb” (Lk 24:1). What did they expect to find? Clearly from verse 3, they had expected to find the body of the Lord Jesus. But when they arrived, his body was not there. They had been witnesses to the brutal crucifixion of Jesus. They knew, or thought they knew, where this story had ended. It was all over.

But, as they were soon to realise, this was, in a sense, just the very beginning! They did not realise then, but a new chapter had been turned, and this chapter would change everything! In Luke 24:5 they encountered the angelic visitors who asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” This indeed changed everything. Little wonder that the Apostle Paul would later write, “Death has been swallowed up in victory!” (1 Cor 15:54). The promise given right back in the Garden of Eden that the seed of the woman would one day crush the serpent’s head had come true! As Jesus himself had earlier promised while sharing in the last supper with his disciples before he went to the cross, “Because I live, you also will (future tense) live”(Jh 14:19).

If the Easter Friday grave was the last chapter of the book, we would have absolutely nothing to hope for. As the Apostle Paul again says in 1 Corinthains 15:17, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” But “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” This is the glorious new chapter in which we live. This reality gives us not only a hope for the future but a hope in which we currently stand, because day by day, as we continue to surrender to him, he continues to write his glorious new chapter across the pages of our lives.  

Peter Francis (Principal)