Audlem Saint James The Great Church

Helen's Letter

Dear Friends,

I wonder what Easter means to you?

A Bank Holiday? Daffodils and new born lambs? Extra chocolate?

The Easter part of the gospels is both bleak and joyful - the betrayal of Jesus, his suffering and death, then the disciples' discovery of the empty tomb, Mary, one of Jesus's closest friends, meeting Jesus in the garden.

Why would anyone want to kill someone who brought hope, healing and a sense of belonging to people who had felt forgotten and ignored? For that is what we read about in the gospels.

Perhaps, because he threatened the people in power by his quiet authority, his integrity alongside his humility? And in so doing he showed up their selfishness, their pride and mistreatment of others - and nobody likes it when that happens to them. Let's be honest none of us like our faults and weaknesses being pointed out.

Of course, Jesus could have escaped, he could have run away and saved his own life, made a new life somewhere else.

But that is not God's way. At Christmas we celebrate Jesus as "God with us". And this "God with us" does not run away and hide, but understands all that we go through, betrayal, pain, suffering, even grief and death.

Jesus took in the hatred and gave back love, he took in the anger and gave back graciousness, he took in the envy and gave back blessing. Everyone has a breaking point - but God, in his love for the world, doesn't. And he invites us to be part of the love he has, rather than the hate we see all around. *

So this Easter celebrate the love that is stronger than hate.

And the God who is with us at Christmas as the vulnerable baby, is with us at Easter with his arms outstretched in love.

Yours,   Helen.                                          * from Five Events by John Pritchard