Here’s a link to our April 2019 church magazine:
The hard copy version is now available in both our churches, St John and St Mark’s Bury and Christ Church Walmersley. If you want to come and pick one up then we’d love to see you!
It includes news and views as well as prayers, reflections and what’s on. And there’s a lot on!
The letter this month is from our Authorised Lay Minister, Nigel Silvester:
At last! It’s April and finally Easter is here. The eggs started to appear in the shops almost as soon as January began. It has been a long haul! I noticed in a certain large supermarket a notice reminding customers that Easter was on 21st April – and that was at the beginning of March. They must have been worried that after nearly two months of eggs on the shelves customers would be getting concerned about sell-by dates and/or whether, after all this time, they might have missed Easter altogether! Or, may be, that the power of the supermarket was such that Easter would not happen until all the eggs were sold!!
I wonder if Jesus had a feeling of ‘At last!’ as he rode into Jerusalem on that donkey. As the crowd cheered him on did he say to himself, “Well this is it; the final act is about to take place – the culmination of all that I’ve said and done is reaching its climax!” Assuming that there was, maybe, a feeling of elation at that moment I suspect it would soon change to fear and trepidation – knowing what was to come.
Despite warnings to his disciples during times of teaching and debate the disciples had no real idea that the time had now come; that this was THE crunch time for Jesus. At the Passover meal they had no idea that this was the last meal. They were enjoying a pleasant, social time together. I wonder if Jesus was able to maintain that air of enjoying the social occasion? Did his face betray what emotions were racing through his mind and heart? As he broke bread, passed the cup of wine, told Judas to go about his business; did the disciples really understand what was going on?
In the Garden of
Gethsemane, as he prayed, Jesus could no longer hold the fear within him. At
last he had to let it out and in desperation he pleaded with God to be released
from what was to come – “take this cup from me.” But then realised that he was
in God’s hands and what must be, must be. If the disciples looked at his face
at that moment they must have seen the fear in his eyes.
And that fear translated to them as soldiers arrived and hauled Jesus away. They fled, scattering to find somewhere to hide, somewhere safe, a place where they would not be associated with Jesus. Peter hung around, waiting and watching, but he too denied any association with Jesus. Fear, terror even, must have swept through many of them in the hours and days which followed. The authorities believing that at last they had broken the Jesus’ crusade which had threatened their own authority.
Jesus, tried and tested before Jewish and Roman leaders; beaten, abused, and finally nailed to a rough cross. And there on the cross as he hung dying he broke down – “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The anguish, the despair, in his voice must have been terrible to hear. Then Jesus said “it is finished”. At last it was over. Or was it??
As dawn broke over the hills on that third day, the tomb was empty, the stone rolled away, only the grave clothes remained. He is risen! He is risen indeed!! Jesus victorious. The price paid. The fear, the despair, the doubting, all overcome. At last, it was accomplished. At last this was the end of the Easter story. Surely, at last, it really was over. Or was it??
No, it’s not over. We have become a part of the Easter story. Jesus lives in us. We live on in the hope and promise that the Risen Jesus gives us. We proclaim his resurrection and we carry the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations; to teach and work for God’s Kingdom. Jesus promised to be always with us. The ‘At last’ is yet to come!
May the eternal blessings of Easter be with each one of us. Nigel.
[For more about St John with St Mark, Bury please follow this link.]