As I write this, we are already coming up to the Third Sunday of Lent, soon clocks will go forward, Spring is in the air(despite the cold wind blowing outside), the daffodils are in all their glory and the shops have been full of Easter treats for several weeks.
But what about our personal journeys towards the cross and beyond? Perhaps you have decided to fast in some way, giving up that glass of wine or biscuit; maybe, you have taken something on like ‘doing a good deed for someone else’ each day – popping in to see an elderly neighbour; giving someone who is feeling a bit down a bunch of flowers; offering to get someone’s shopping, etc. Or you are setting time aside to read the Bible – just a chapter a day or just being still in the presence of God, taking in the wonders of his creation around you. All things which help us to grow and mature as followers of Christ.
Before we know it, Palm Sunday will be here and then we begin that final week towards Easter Sunday. However, Easter is a bit like reading an exciting novel – if you just skip to the end of the book and not read the build up to the climax you will not fully appreciate the story. Yes, you will know the ending, but you won’t have engaged with the characters, got to know them, journeyed with them through the story. Easter is the same. If we just jump to Easter Sunday, we do not fully appreciate the whole story. We, unlike the disciples, know the climax of the Easter story, we know what happened on that Easter morning. But to really begin to understand what it is all about we need to walk the road to the Cross alongside Christ: to think what the washing of the feet means to us today, the importance of the Last Supper, to stand at the foot of the Cross and then to experience the wonder of the empty Tomb. There will be different opportunities in the different churches during Holy Week for you to immerse yourself in the story including a Sedar Meal and Watching with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as well as a creative morning for families at our Good Friday Messy Church.
The difference for us is that Easter Sunday is not really the end of the story because we are still trying to live out that story day by day in our everyday lives. The Easter story is the ultimate in love stories – the story of love that knows no boundaries and no end, a love that forgives unconditionally, a love that is healing, the love of God who loves us for who we are and who we are created to be. All we need to do is to accept the offer of that love. It is the meaning of the cross, the promise of Easter and all we need to do is to reach out.
I wish you a blessed Lent and then a glorious Easter.