The Courage of Easter (April 2017)

Dear Friends

I found a little story … in a section marked ‘humour’! It said :

“Just before Easter one year, this item appeared in a police log: ‘8.26pm, church – lights will be on throughout the village church for the rest of the weekend; vicar trying to speed up the Easter lilies.’ ”

And sitting in my study just half way through Lent, searching for what to write here, this little story made me smile. With four weeks still to go before we celebrate the festival of Easter … the temptation is to speed ahead and reach out towards ‘resurrection’ … the energy, the positive, the renewal at the heart of Christian faith. We all need a bit of that! But, there’s a long way to go before we get there. And the journey towards Easter, following the footsteps of Jesus, will take us to and through some dark and challenging places. If we were to give into the temptation to skip over the gathering shadows that met at the cross, that slow walk through the difficult days, then ‘resurrection’ will have about it an air of un-reality, hold only a practiced religious meaning and bring little real hope.

We do live in difficult days. The world we live in is conflicted, fragile, struggling to sustain life itself in some places and grappling with frustration, change and vulnerability on many fronts. And if we are to find ‘hope’ for the world in which we live it is to these real situations that people experience that we, with our faith, must speak.

Another writer, said this: “Easter, like all deep things, begins in mystery and it ends like all high things, in great courage.”

The lent course some of us are sharing, suggests that the Cross upon which Jesus died on Good Friday is just too much to gather up into a neat definition or understanding. Much more realistic and helpful to let the cross stand as ‘mystery’ at the heart of our faith, and let it speak to us in unfinished sentences ….. as we reflect upon it’s meaning.

Let ‘the cross’ be the place where we wonder about the God who comes deeply into our life experience, to share our darkest places and journeys. Let ‘the cross’ ask us where God is, how God is, who God is with, as we look at the world we live in. For if we can welcome the God who shares our deepest struggles … then we can look for the courage to seek the God who brings new life, renewed, resurrection … to the world.

The courage to hope, with a faith that embraces the real mystery of living … could this be what ‘resurrection’ challenges us to find?

For the rest of lent, and Easter ahead of us, may we find that courage as we walk our journey with Jesus.