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JOSEPH’S CROSS

By April 26, 2017 One Comment

Andrew White was kidnapped in Baghdad, gave all his money away, adopted six Iraqi children and suffers from MS. For more than ten years, Canon Andrew White presided over the only Anglican Church in Iraq, a role that led him to be known universally as the “Vicar of Baghdad.”

With the invasion of ISIL, Baghdad became too dangerous, and today he splits his time with his displaced congregation – many of whom are children – in Israel and Amman, Jordan.

Andrew helped his young charges understand the meaning of Easter.

Joseph’s Cross

To make the story real I gave our children an olive wood cross made by a friend, a carpenter in Bethlehem called Joseph. One little boy called Yuseph started to cry when I gave him his cross.

I asked him what was wrong and he said that he wanted a cross for his daddy but Daesh – ISIL – had killed him. I gave him another cross and told him that this cross was for his daddy; that he should put it on the altar and one day Jesus would be coming back and his daddy would get his cross. It was a very simplified explanation of the meaning of Easter.

Tell Them We Love Them

Not so long after this day, I was leaving Jordan to return briefly to England and visit the US. As I always do, I asked the children what they wanted me to say to all the people I met.

“Tell them that Jesus loves them and thank them for giving us a school.” Then Yuseph stood up and gave me his cross and said “Abouna” – Father – “will you give the people you see my cross and tell them that we love them?”

I gave him back his cross, but promised him that wherever I went I would give away one of the crosses and tell people why I did.

This I have done: all over the world, I give out the cross, and all over the world part of the Easter story becomes real – “He who had nothing gave everything so that we might live.”

A Good Friday World

So here I am, living and working with my Christians in the Middle East. We are an Easter people, but we are living in a Good Friday world. Still, though nearly all have had loved ones killed, persecuted and tortured, yet they are not without hope.

And their hope is based, in the words of the great hymn: “…on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness”.

Canon White’s Easter video (below) from 2016 is inspiring any day of the year.

APPLICATION: Make now to pray for Christians in Syria, Iraq and Jordan.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Carole Schlachta says:

    A deeply moving account of a man’s life in spreading the gospel.
    I thought to myself, we have life easy here. Just look at the beautiful faces of the children.
    A thought: children who have had little, seen much turmoil, we see the love of Jesus shine through them.
    God bless the leaders, teachers and others who have stayed the course with the story of our Savior, at any cost.
    How are we doing in Canada? Take a good look at the faces of our children. Do we see Jesus?
    Family of North Pointe Church, I ask God to bless you and all the lives you reach, in the work of the Lord.
    God bless you, Pastor Bob, and all who lead and work with you to reach the lost and needy.
    Being a house bound senior, don’t forget the seniors.
    We are not to be forgotten.
    Blessings in the love of Jesus.

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