Good Friday

It’s Good Friday and that’s great because (in the UK anyway) it’s a public holiday! But the original meaning of Good Friday, and why it’s a holiday, has probably faded in our national memory.

Good Friday is a remembrance of a significant event that was acted out just over 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. The Good Friday event, and what followed, have arguably effected the human world more than any other.

A radical teacher named Jesus was executed on the first Good Friday, because he upset the local religious and political authorities. But he wasn’t some hot-headed rebel, instead he claimed the authority of God in launching a new era that would see people being changed and the world being put to rights.

He taught about a robust lifestyle of compassion and peace and confronted the violent power of religion and state, not with more violence, but by submitting to capture, torture and death (on Good Friday).

This is where the whole Good Friday and Easter thing 2000 years later is weird, because why did something so apparently senseless cause so much change to future empires and civilisations?

Is this a demonstration that love and kindness actually are stronger than hate and violence? At ColVin, we believe that somehow (and this certainly is a big cosmic mystery!) Jesus was acting as the loving creator of the universe, decisively entering our world to demonstrate the way of love, causing victory over evil, and inaugurating a new age where all are challenged to let go of their selfish agendas. And then to empower people to live a new, life-giving agenda.

This job, though, is not over: many people and peoples still haven’t heard the Good news of Good Friday, the good news that dying to our self-focus, and following Jesus, surprisingly and amazingly leads to abundant human life (more about this on Easter Sunday!)

You can try this at home: read about Jesus in the Gospels (try the gospel written by Luke), sense how Jesus is challenging you. You might want to say to Jesus ‘I want to change my agenda and shape my life around you’. It will be costly to the ego, we warn you!! So it’s always good to journey with others on the same adventure of living, and we’d love to hear from you if you’d like to know more about Jesus and what we’re doing here at Colchester Vineyard. Here’s our contact page.

Clinical staff training continues with students progressing well

In partnership with Focus on Malawi (The Raven Trust) and mission hospitals in Malawi, we are currently sponsoring the training of three members of the medical staff, with a fourth to start soon. They are from Embangweni and Ekwendeni hospitals.

The first has recently completed successfully his general clinical officer training and waiting for final exam results. After a year’s internship, he will go on to a further 18 months of training, specialising in ophthalmology.

Eye clinic in Malawi
A student doing an eye test at Embangweni

Two members of staff at Embangweni recently completed successfully their first year in optometric technician training. They are currently back  working in their clinic until term starts. This coming year, another member of staff from Embangweni is set to commence a clinical-officer-in-ophthalmology course.

This training is being done at colleges in Malawi, and all students are local people who are committed to serving their local communities. Providing the funds for this training is a key part of Focus on Malawi’s objective to help enable sustainable eye care services at the mission hospitals in northern Malawi.