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The Shock and Awe of Good Friday

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J. Lee Grady, CBN

April 15, 2022 – When Easter rolls around each year we tend to focus on the wondrous miracle of Christ’s resurrection. After all, the empty tomb is the cornerstone of our faith. It is not only the surest historical evidence that Jesus was the Son of God but also the greatest proof that He conquered the powers of hell.

But this Easter my thoughts have drifted to the events surrounding the Crucifixion, particularly the strange happenings that occurred when Jesus “cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit” (Matt. 27:50, NASB) on what we call Good Friday. Matthew’s Gospel, in fact, records three startling occurrences that made the death of Jesus unique in all of history. No earthly king ever died with this much frightening drama.

Three weird, astonishing things happened when Jesus willingly gave up His spirit:

The shroud of darkness.

This strange phenomenon happened from noon to 3 p.m.—normally the brightest part of the day. Luke tells us that darkness fell “over the whole land” (23:44). Some theologians have assumed that a solar eclipse occurred, but such events do not last three hours.

Bible scholar J. Hampton Keathley III noted that the Greek words used in the phrase “darkness fell” imply that this was a sudden event rather than a gradual one. This was not the kind of weather phenomenon caused by storm clouds, dust or volcanic ash. “It was just like someone had turned out the lights,” Keathley said.

The church historian Tertullian recorded that secular writers mentioned a strange period of darkness that occurred on that day. How far-reaching was the darkness? Could barbarians in France and Norway have witnessed it? What about tribal chieftains in Africa or slaves in ancient India and Iran? We have no reason to believe this thick gloom settled over only Jerusalem; in fact, it is not unreasonable to assume that the sun’s light was blocked all across the globe.

The rending of the temple’s veil.

Matthew tells us: “The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (27:51). It must have been terrifying for the Jewish priests who witnessed this while they were serving in the Holy Place. These priests had never peered into the Holy of Holies. Suddenly, at the moment that Jesus announced, “It is finished” from the cross, the thick curtain that symbolically separated men from God was ripped down the middle by an invisible power. And the priests could see the ark of the covenant exposed!

The great British preacher Charles Spurgeon suggests that the priests must have been overcome with dread: “I wonder whether the priests at the altar had the courage to gaze upon the mercy seat. I suspect they were so struck with amazement that they fled from the altar, fearing sudden death.”

Just the sound of the thick linen tearing probably sent shockwaves through the city. Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote of that holy moment: “Now, at the death of Christ, all was laid open, the mysteries were unveiled. … The rending of [the veil] signified that Christ by His death opened a new way to God.”

The earthquake. “The earth shook and the rocks were split” (Matt. 27:51). Matthew Henry points out that this was not just a local geological event—it was felt in adjacent countries. There were no seismic instruments back then. But we know from the biblical record that the epicenter of this quake was a bloody, hallowed plot of ground known as Golgotha. The voice of Jesus split the rocks.

The earthquake,” Henry wrote, “signified the mighty shock, nay, the fatal blow now given to the devil’s kingdom. So vigorous was the assault Christ now made upon the infernal powers, that the earth trembled.”

We often romanticize the Easter story, painting it with pastel colors and muting its meaning with graceful choir music. But let’s remember that Easter is much more than a peaceful sunrise. Christ’s resurrection came only after the earth itself groaned in violent agony.

The first Easter was not quiet. It was marked by strange weather patterns, eerie noises and geological upheaval. When Jesus died, the earth experienced the most dramatic power outage in history. God shook the foundations of the planet. Then with His own hand He ended the old covenant system and invited us to boldly enter His presence by a new and living way.

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Dog Tales to rescue 500 dogs from the Turks and Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Stray dogs in the Turks and Caicos will be getting a new lease on life in the coming months as Dog Tales Rescue will be coming to the islands. Up to 500 stray Dogs will be recovered from Grand Turk and flown to Canada in a bid to control the dog population and give the existing strays better lives. The visit has been approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands government who revealed the project in a cabinet meeting on May 31st.

Dog Tales rescue is a Canadian-based rescue mostly focusing on dogs, cats, and horses. The sanctuary is massive, sitting on over 50 acres of land. It was started in 2014 by husband and wife duo Rob and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg.  The animals at Dog Tales Rescue get the 5-star treatment (as they should!) while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes.  The rescue provides a space for neglected and abused dogs to heal with resources including kilometers of walking trails, therapy pools, a grooming spa, and medical care if needed.  Dog Tales does not put dogs down, those who are not adopted immediately remain with the sanctuary permanently.  Since 2014 more than 2000 dogs have passed through the sanctuary.

Rather than kennels the dogs at Dog Tale have rooms that they share or occupy alone and the sanctuary really jazzes up the spaces making them as luxurious as possible.  The volunteers at the sanctuary also actively use social media to campaign for potential adoptees by doing photoshoots to entice families to take the chance to adopt animals. Soon strays from the Turks and Caicos will be in that number.  You can see Dog Tales’ most recent photoshoot here.

Dog Tales even had a TV show back in 2018 that lasted for 2 seasons!

The TCIG says they will provide “logistical and regulatory support” for the program but Dog Tales will be funding the recovery and everything else on their own. You can donate to Dog Tales here

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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