From the Minister
From the Minister
These are strange times and I hope this issue of the Herald finds you safe and well? You are each very much in my thoughts and prayers and I look forward to catching up with you by telephone in the days to come.
It seems very odd to be preparing for Holy Week and Easter without the thought of large numbers of church services, but the enforced time indoors has given me time to reflect on that first Holy Week and to draw a number of comforting messages for our situation today.
Firstly, it strikes me that the disciples during that week found themselves in the midst of a rapidly changing and often confusing situation, just as we have through the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic. The week started for them in hope and expectation, but then they found themselves threatened, jeered at, uncertain and on the run. The week ended with them locked in the Upper Room, feeling that they had lost everything and that the future looked bleak. Yet when they were at their lowest, hope crept in through the rumours of resurrection and finally burst the locked door as Jesus stood in their midst, alive again! In the midst of these dark and bleak times when it seems like life will never return to normal, let us trust that God will burst in and bring new hope.
Secondly, it is during Holy Week that we are reminded of the true nature of Immanuel, God with us. In his suffering there is no depth of human frailty that Jesus does not share. He undergoes pain, exhaustion, utter loneliness and despair. His friends desert him, he is beaten, mocked and exposed and ultimately even cries out in the fear that God has forsaken him. Whatever happens during these uncertain times, we know that God in Christ is with us.
Finally, we remember that the Easter story is a story of resurrection, new life and hope. After Good Friday all seems hopeless, but on the third day Jesus returns to life overcoming death once and for all. We remember this with joy and celebration, but for the first disciples the news took some time to sink in and there was doubt, fear and uncertainty. Their view on the world had changed and Jesus, although still their teacher and friend, was transformed. In the midst of the current crisis we remember that we are a people of the resurrection, that new life will come and that we will share the good news when that day arrives. We acknowledge however, that we will be changed by this time. Perhaps there are new ways of doing things that we will wish to continue and almost certainly there will be things that we once took for granted for which we will hold a greater appreciation. And, just as Jesus bore the scars of the crucifixion on his resurrection body, there will be marks of this time that we will not forget, but from which we can learn and grow.
May this Eastertide, a very different one for us all, be nonetheless a time of hope and of new life in our faith.