April letter from Revd. Canon Simon PitcherMarch 31, 2017
In April we celebrate the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. On Palm Sunday we hear how Christ entered Jerusalem to an enthusiastic welcome. There were all sorts of hopes and expectations placed upon him by the people who cheered and waved. This provoked jealousy & resentment among those keen to hold onto power. We will hear the story of the friend who betrayed Jesus, the disciple Judas, who was tempted by money & disappointed by not getting his own way. We will hear how the temple authorities, anxious to protect their own interests, plotted to destroy Jesus & how the Romans brutally crushed any suspicion of an uprising, denying their victims justice. We will see the fear and heartbreak that overwhelmed Peter, and how the other disciples ran away, and we will sympathise with Mary as she watched her son die. All human life is found in the story of Holy Week.
At the centre of the action is Christ himself. During this week he is the one person who is faithful, courageous and true. In love he washed his disciples’ feet, a demonstration of the love of God, setting aside self importance for the sake of the friend who is loved. He prayed to God that the horror of the crucifixtion might be lifted from him, yet he remained faithful. In his suffering and death he experiences the reality of pain, illness, suffering and the brutality that humans are capable of inflicting on one another. In his death and burial he goes with us to the grave. Here is God with us. In the person of Jesus Christ, God is at the centre of the human experience in every possible way.
The glory of Easter is the glory of celebrating risen life. Suffering and death is not the end of the story. In raising Christ to new life God holds before us the promise of eternal life and the possibility of transformed life here and now. Forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, friendship and service of one another in love are a foretaste of the kingdom of heaven that is to come. That kingdom grows on earth as it does in heaven and it grows within and among us here and now, in Jesus name.