Easter – March Newsletter
‘Well that came round quick!’ Every year there’s always an untruth that all clergy tell themselves – after Christmas it all slows down for a bit. It’s not true! In fact all those things you put off in the run up to Christmas suddenly come back to bite you and you end up having twice as much to do, which wasn’t the plan at all. I wouldn’t mind but I’ve been doing this for a while now and I never learn. What then happens is you get to the end of January and think you’re just about on top of it and suddenly Ash Wednesday is looming and Lent begins and before you know it Mothering Sunday descends. Palm Sunday is all triumphant and Holy Week looks incredibly daunting before we’re pulling the party poppers on Easter Sunday. I spend my days saying ‘well that came round quick!’
There’s also another untruth that clergy hear all the time in the run up to Christmas – ‘Christmas must be your busiest time of the year?’ Well it is busy, but actually Christmas is when everyone else rocks up to church, our busier time is usually Lent and Easter. Easter is the focus of our faith. Christmas is like the amuse-bouche, of the Christian feast. It’s a tasty morsel that wets our appetite for the wonders to come. Then we have the starter, the prawn cocktail if you will of the season, Ash Wednesday and then the bit that is an acquired taste, the fish course, Lent. You know you have to go through it, and some people really like fish, but in the main it’s leading to something else. The real meat, the beef wellington, is from Palm Sunday through Holy Week.
The Passion, the triumphal entry of the Messiah into Jerusalem, the heady days of Jesus turning over the tables in the temple, through to the intimate meal shared together with his closest friends. Judas the one who betrays his Lord, like the sour taste left in the mouth of an undercooked sprout. At this point I run out of meal analogies, but we live through once again, Jesus treatment by the guards, the unfair hearing of Pilate, too pre-occupied and not brave enough to release the man who he clearly knows is innocent. Then we find ourselves once again at the foot of the cross, gazing with wonder and let’s face it, guilt, as we see a man prepared to die for others, for me!
Had the story ended there though we would never have the opportunity for the final course. The decadent pudding with all the sparkle, so tempting and delicious it seems hardly believable that it could be for us. Surely we don’t deserve something as wonderful as this. I’m talking, to mix my metaphors, the Rolls-Royce ending, the strawberry pavlova, who doesn’t love a pavlova? On that Sunday so long ago, a few woman grieving and sad suddenly confronted by angels telling them they’re looking in the wrong. ‘Jesus you say. No not here – you’re looking in the wrong place. He did tell you – he has RISEN, he is ALIVE!’
The wonderful news of Easter is that Jesus died for you, for little old you. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, how unworthy you feel, Jesus died for you. But like that oh so tempting pavlova, people look at the cross and what’s on offer and think, ‘I’m not sure I can fit that in’, ‘it looks gorgeous but should I really?’ The thing is when you have a bite it’s delicious. The only thing you have to do is reach out to Jesus and take a bite and Jesus grabs you, holds you and never let’s go (there I go mixing my metaphors again).
By accepting Jesus into your heart you can be assured that YOU are a forgiven and loved child of God. Unconditional love that will change your life. My advise to you is don’t stop at the amuse-bouche but embrace the whole thing and see how wonderful and fulfilling living with Jesus can be. I hope we’ll see you this Lent and Easter time at some of our services but may I wish you all a wonderful and inspiring Easter. Alleluia, Christ is Risen – He is risen indeed, Alleluia!