So, Holy week and Easter Sunday are once more behind us and we are now in the Easter Season where we continue to celebrate the resurrection and wait expectantly for Pentecost.
Somehow this year has been a bit different for me knowing that it’s my last Easter here and that I will be ‘surplus to requirements’ next year. This has brought a new dimension to my preparations. I feel split into many pieces at the moment – working full time, getting started on renovating our own house, packing up the manse and finding new homes for half the contents as well as preparing to hand over to Dee. There are also numerous special services as ‘it’s my last year’. This could be a very interesting three months. However, I’m determined to stay focused and make the most of every moment I have in this circuit with you.
At Easter, I thought I’d take a look at what our esteemed leaders were saying. Pope Francis condemned violence (‘vile’ attacks, he called them), discrimination and new forms of slavery. He also, rather movingly, prayed for all those trying to bring comfort and relief to people who need it most while criticising ‘paralysing and barren bureaucracies’ – he doesn’t mince his words.
The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury also spoke of those who face pain and distress, grief and death, but reminded us that Christianity is not ‘fake news’. Very apt considering Donald, sorry President, Trump’s outbursts on the subject.
This year, Theresa May joined in with her own words of wisdom reminding us that 6 out of 10 Britons class themselves as Christian (where are they, I wonder?). For her, the true meaning of Easter is about sacrifice and suffering being transformed into new life; it’s a festival of grief, self-examination and ultimately hope and redemption. This is a time to come together and work for unity.
Jeremy Corbyn (‘my faith is a personal matter’) asked us to contemplate the injustices going on in the world and the challenges we face in this country. He said ‘it would be easy to retreat into our own private lives because the challenges seem overwhelming, or allow ourselves to divide and blame others, but we need to respond to these challenges head on. Jesus’ example of love and sacrifice and the Easter message of redemption and peace.’
Tim Fallon (Lib Dem, also a Christian) pointed out that the Easter message is radical and disturbing.
I found all this quite encouraging; different people with different roles in our society all saying things that we can agree with. However, it struck me how un-multicultural this group of people are. I suppose that’s to be expected but perhaps we need to hear more of a diverse voice on these things. If we are to grow in respect for one another and crave unity and peace the only way forward is to talk to each other and grow in understanding.
That’s not always easy we watch as the story of the conversation between North Korea and the USA develops and wonder how that conversation can be turned round to thoughts of peace.
I have a few words for you all, ‘Pray hard and do what you can’. And as the Master Himself said, ‘Do not be afraid.’
PS: And now we have an election – hang on folks the madness continues.