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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

11 April 2014: Monica Ditmas, St Mary's Buriton

Coping with the ups and downs of life

This Sunday Christians will be remembering the occasion when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to a huge welcome from crowds and loud applause. Yet a week later he was to be reviled and crucified. Sometimes we too may experience such an abrupt change of fortune. All may seem to be going well, then we suddenly have to face the unexpected death of a loved one, or are made redundant, or indeed, as many have recently experienced, become homeless through flood or unforeseen financial disaster.

Such changes often come very slowly. We can see difficulties lining up ahead. We or a loved one may clearly be in decline through age or ill health. We know we will soon have to exchange a good salary for a much smaller pension, and worry about the necessary changes in our lifestyle. Sometimes too our real position is not understood by others. Others may think we are happily married but the reality may be very different; we know this must shortly become apparent and there may have to be a break in a relationship. This difference between reality and appearance was the case for Jesus on Palm Sunday. He knew that he was entering Jerusalem not to be applauded and accepted but to face rejection and death.

So how are we to cope? The scriptures again and again give us an answer. Either God will shield us from suffering or give us unfailing strength to bear it. If we can really take this message on board we can have confidence that we will never be alone or abandoned but will be brought safely through everything that may befall us. The crucifixion was followed by the triumph of Easter. What a wonderful reassurance is this.

This article was submitted for publication in the Petersfield Herald on 11 April; it is possible that it was published earlier or may be published later.

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