Tuesday 3 April 2018

Easter begins again...

Holy Week and Easter Day are past.  The new week, the Octave of Easter, is calmer and forward looking, the fifty days of Easter stretching before us. But isn't it all a bit backward looking, this commemoration of events nearly 2,000 years ago?

Good Friday is central, for me, to the flow of Holy Week.  It is hard and gritty and uncomfortable.  Lots of people stay away from the reading of the Passion, the starkness of the cross, the harshness of death.  This Holy Week I led the Good Friday service on Bute, in the little pisky church in Rothesay.  Inside, just over a dozen of us lived through the last hours of Jesus' life.  Outside it was an almost-holiday-Friday, with shouts and laughs, children out of school, swearing, police sirens, cars and seagulls squawking.  Normal life was running past the hard place of our remembrance.

I reflected, in the service, that this was just like that first Good Friday, so many years ago, from Pilate's court to the rubbish dump of Golgotha.  A normal bustling eve-of-the-Passover-sabbath was going on.  Shouting, children playing, shops selling wares, people getting ready for the holiday.  And a crucifixion, too - another bit of normality in a first century CE Roman occupied state.  A spectacle for the masses, suffering as a tool of population control and political expediency.  All very normal...

But Easter Day comes.  The New Light is lit.

Photo credit: Alan Mole

Is this still normal? The disciples' lives are about to be turned upside down (again) - but this time by the risen Jesus.  Can that same impact be found in the busy world that looks pretty much the same as it did on Friday?  Do the holiday makers of Bute, or wherever, really care about the empty tomb?  Can they see past the gothic buildings, anachronistic ways of talking and dressing, the rich traditions that can attract or scare: and can they see the love of God, embodied in blood and pain, and embodied in light and new life?

Well, that is what we are here to do, this Easter and every day, to help people see past the medium to the person of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Does anyone care? God does - and that is why we will continue to shout, "Alleluia, Christ is Risen", and watch as, life by life, the world is transformed into the Kingdom of God!

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