This Month's Message
My Life is my Message." Mahatma Gandhi
Reverend Judith Pollard
April 2017. Vicar’s Letter for April Easter Message.
A German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, once wrote: “The Christian is not a ‘religious person’ but simply a human being, as Jesus was, a human being profoundly this-worldly, characterised by discipline and the constant knowledge of death and resurrection.”
Death and resurrection; death is not the end. This quotation reminds us that Easter is as much about life before death as about what happens when we die. Our attention is drawn to the here and now, and what matters to us in this world.
Think of those occasions when you have felt truly alive, tinglingly ‘recalled to life’. It may be through a stirring piece of music or a walk in the countryside on a beautiful Spring day, or a new friendship or reading something inspirational. There is a quickening of the spirit, a sense of renewal. These instances can be seen as part of God’s resurrection at work in our lives.
Conversely, there will be other occasions, significant to us personally, when hope is absent, when all seems bleak, dead and buried. We may have lost our way or had a dream crushed or been let down; something inside us shrivels and dies. This is when we enter a bleak landscape without hope and former things no longer hold the significance they once did. But then things begin to change, perhaps over a period of time and we begin to breathe again. This is a glimpse of resurrection too.
For resurrection has to be preceded by a kind of death - a dying to old habits perhaps which prevent us living life to the full. That’s the ‘discipline’ bit that Bonhoeffer refers to – getting through each day, keeping on keeping on. We are all human, we are ‘this- worldly’, we all fall short of perfection!
There was once an eminent doctor, a heart surgeon, who employed a gardener. The surgeon was an atheist, the gardener a devout Christian and sometimes they would have discussions about God.
“You know,” said the surgeon, “I have cut open many human hearts in my time but I’ve never found a soul inside.”
“ Indeed,” said the gardener, “and do you know: while digging in your garden I have sliced through many a daffodil bulb in the soil - but I’ve never found a daffodil inside!”
Do you remember that lovely old hymn? “There is a green hill far away without a city wall, where the dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all.” At Eastertide we can all rejoice in the new life and hope that Jesus brings.
Living in faith and in the hope of resurrection, we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song.
I wish you all a very happy Easter.
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