This is my thirteenth Easter Letter (though not all appear on this site). In previous editions we’ve talked about pilgrimage, transformation, Easter eggs and bunnies, new life and new beginnings, among other things.
For this edition I’m going to revisit transformation. The other day my husband and I had to say goodbye to a much loved. if rather irritating, member of the family – the car. It hadn’t been well for some time, poor thing, and eventually it died… on the way to Eastbourne, unfortunately. We became quite well acquainted with several lay-bys and two very nice AA men, the first of which took one look, put the car in ‘limp home’ mode and whizzed off to his next job. So we limped – it started off all right but after two miles started coughing and spluttering again. We waited 10 minutes and tried again but after a few more miles and several more attempts it became obvious we weren’t limping anywhere, anymore. Hence the second AA mechanic.
“Could you please just send a tow truck?” we asked pathetically.
You can imagine our disappointed faces when after quite a long wait the van turned up and it wasn’t a tow truck. An hour later, having tried a few things and written out a long report the official verdict was that it was dying, if not dead, and we would need to be towed home. Our hearts sank.
“Please don’t say we have to wait another hour!” we moaned loudly.
“Ah ha!” said the man in the overalls, “Just wait and see what I have in the back of the van”.
He opened the door with a flourish but all we could see was a big metal cube. Little did we know that it was a transformer! After a while it was turned into a towing device, the car was loaded on and we got home six hours after we left – what a waste of time.
I’d like to be able to say that we took the car to a garage and they mended it, but no – it is officially dead and is now in the great scrap heap in the sky. The new car arrives sometime this week and I have to get used to driving a manual after many, many years of having an automatic. So if you see me coming you’d best get out of the way for a while!
Why on earth is she rambling on about all this at Easter? You may well ask.
Like the car we all limp along sometimes, don’t we? Life happens, we get tired, we carry things with us. Some of those things we’re not proud of. Faith can seem a part of life that has little relevance to our everyday existence. Perhaps we’re missing the point. It’s too easy to forget that the Easter story has the power to transform lives – even ours.
We all need to be rescued and salvation is the message of the cross. On that day that we call Good Friday an innocent man was crucified. Humanity threw everything at him. He was misunderstood, denied and betrayed by his friends. The religious people, waiting for the Messiah to come, didn’t recognise him and sought to destroy him. Pilate washed his hands of it all and had him beaten and crucified just to keep the peace and keep the troublesome Jewish leaders off his back when they blackmailed him. I don’t know about you, but that puts my troubles in perspective!
He didn’t argue or fight it, he spoke words of forgiveness on the cross, told a criminal that heaven was waiting for him and made sure his mother was looked after by John.
It’s an amazing story and in Holy Week we’ve followed the journey he took from entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the joyous shouts of ‘Hosanna’, sharing a time of reflection and the last supper in an upper room, to the cry of ‘Crucify him’ a few hours later. It’s an amazing story even if it were to end there, but we would probably never have heard of it if it had ended there. It was what happened on that Sunday morning that transformed the darkness of the world into radiant light. On Eater Sunday the mood changes and hope is reborn as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
There is one last thing. When I pick up my new car I will need to look after it, just as we need to nurture our faith and remind ourselves sometimes of what God has done for us. Happy Easter.