Last month the Revd. Michael Bigg invited us all to take time to view the T V series The Chosen, about the life of Jesus and those whom he called to follow him. I happily endorse this commendation. The production avoids overly pious portraits and brings to life real people with whom we might identify, facing the normality of dealing with ordinary domestic decisions and dilemmas whilst encountering the breath-taking and extraordinary miracles and ministry of Jesus.

Several of the actors, and the producer have given interviews describing the dawning of their personal faith. The result is an insightful series, treated with dignity, respect and honour. It helps the viewer to empathize with the fine actor, taking on the weight of the role of Jesus.

The undistinguished lifestyles of the chosen disciples of Jesus, reassures us that we do not need a mighty academic record or celebrated talent to respond to the call of Jesus in our own lives. The Gospel narratives open the door of our understanding and offer us the way of faith and hope and redeeming love. Faith and hope are like twin towers on a building constructed by love.

Out in the bushlands on the edge of a sprawling township , two teenage girls were sharing their dreams of the future. Faith was the daughter of English parents who had set up a clinic and a small school. Hope, five years younger, had been adopted into the family after her grandmother, her only carer, was diagnosed with Aids. Now, as the years had passed they shared a spiritual bond as well as a sisterly affection. It was time for Faith to take the journey back to England for a while, to begin medical studies, whilst Hope had set her sights on gaining a place at Teacher Training College.

A parcel had arrived from an aunt, so the girls were eager to discover its contents.

Faith explained, “Whilst I am away, I want you to have my sun hat, so that you will think of me when you wear it. This parcel contains the new decorations, in flower symbols of the life of Jesus, so that you can use it as a visual aid to the amazing story.”

Inside in tissue paper, were neat little bunches of silk wild flowers.

“Look, here is the pink Mallow to tell of his birth in Bethlehem and beside it, a beautiful purple Pansy for the royal line of King David. For his work and ministry, we have sweet Jasmine, a white Rose for purity and Periwinkle for his compassion and love.”

“Then come the Poppies,” said Hope, “to remind us of the Cross.”

“Yes, and finally”, Faith added, the golden Zinnias, for his glorious resurrection.”

In his first letter, chapter 1, the Apostle Peter sums up the story of Jesus with clarity and grace.

“You have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him and so your FAITH and HOPE are in God”. Free viewing.

Iris Niven.

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