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Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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A plane crashed into a bridge on take-off in Washington, D.C., in 1982, killing 78 people, with the plane going down into the Potomac River. One of just six people to survive the crash, 50 year old Arland Williams Jr. helped the other five escape the sinking plane by handing life vests and the lifeline dropped from a helicopter to others, until he slipped under the water, the only passenger to die of drowning. He handed his life over to strangers.

Isn’t is a wonderful feeling to think that a stranger out there is willing to die for you?

After entering Jerusalem to Hosannas and waving palm branches, Jesus is approached by a group of Gentiles. John 12.20-33 You might expect Jesus to be ‘chuffed’ knowing that his ministry is now attracting people from beyond the Jewish faith, but Jesus is anything but pleased. It’s as if their approach casts a pall on his glorious arrival in the holy city. Suddenly he feels the shadow of the cross over him. Many will believe and follow, but first Jesus must travel to Calvary and be ‘lifted up’ on the cross.

“‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’”

Now is the time for Jesus to take on himself the humiliation of the cross — and this will lead to glory. The ultimate paradox. Jesus reveals what ‘glory’ means: dying to self. Jesus glorified God by his death and resurrection.

  1. Jesus dies on the cross: the ultimate shame.
  2. Yet the self-giving of Jesus reveals him as the Son of God. By obeying the will of God, he is an example of glory.

A colleague said that she had a member approach her on Palm Sunday last year and say, “I’ll see you on Easter Sunday. I don’t do Good Friday.”

Well, it’s a good thing Jesus did Good Friday.

Sadly pain is real for Jesus. Through Jesus’ pain on the cross we are forced to look at ourselves, as if in a mirror and see the truth of human evil.

The cross is a place of truth about love, about hate, about humanity, about God. This is not the kind of mirror we naturally want to look into. To look into this mirror sensitizes us to destruction in society and depletes from us any force which leads to destruction.

Butt’s only when we experience the cross draining us of evil that we can see in this horrific event a moment of God’s glory.

As William Loader wrote, “God always comes closely attached to the worst violence and greatest evil, stuck to it as its obverse in compassion.” When we see the world through the lens of the cross, we can’t stand the evil in our own lives; we see God’s will for our lives; and we become transformed to produce the fruit that Jesus spoke of:

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

As Jesus was obedient to God’s will, we become obedient and produce good works.

His death bears fruit for us.
We didn’t even ask him. But he gave himself up for others, just like the drowning man who passed his lifeline to strangers.

Jesus stated his glory in plain terms. It was the cross.
That is Glory. It’s not for the faint of heart.

The Sign for Glory
Sign language is a different language from spoken language. Often a sign conveys meaning that is more than the one word it replaces. Here is the sign for glory: ‘Glory’ in American Sign Language

It starts with half of the sign for Christ — which is to touch the palms where spikes were nailed into Christ’s hands.

You cannot sign ‘glory’ without being reminded of the cross.

Remember that when you sing those great songs of glory like ‘Mine Eyes have Seen the Glory’:

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
as he died to make us holy, let us live to make folk free;
while God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.



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