From the Vicarage
One thing the past year has
reminded us about is the foolishness of making assumptions/taking things for
granted but, as I write this (Mid-April), there is a sign of better days to
This is heightened by lighter
days, improvement in the weather, and, above all, by the joyous events of
If ever there was a new
beginning and reason for hope, Holy Week and Easter scream it from the
Ecclesiastes 3 reminds of the
natural cycle of things and that there is a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to laugh and a time to cry, etc. It
reinforces the notion of past and present and the idea that, though we may need
to work hard, we are called to enjoy life.
It would be very easy to look back on the last year and focus on the
negative. I am not wishing to gloss over
the awful situations that people have found themselves in, and many still
do. I have had first-hand experience of
not being able to see relatives, of treatment and appointments being
cancelled/postponed and have accompanied several families through some dark
times indeed, as well as going through some dark times myself.
Whilst the past informs our
present and future and helps shape the people we become, we shouldn’t live in
it. I am not naïve enough to think we
can all always feel happy and walk around with a smile on our face. Indeed, I know it isn’t always easy to look
on the bright side; in fact, there may not always be a perceivable bright side
on which to look. However, sometimes we
are part of our own darkness and let ourselves be weighed down by feelings of
inadequacy, guilt, or regret but none of us are perfect and we can look forward
to nothing but disappointment if perfection in ourselves and others is what we
are looking for. We need to accept our
imperfection and vulnerability and, whilst not using it as an excuse for doing
wrong, we should try to find ways and reasons to rise above them and help
others who are struggling to do the same if we can.
In the Gospels, we hear about the
disciples waiting in fear in a locked room after Jesus has died. The assumption is that they are frightened of
the Jewish and Roman authorities and are in hiding. All of that may well be true but I believe
that there is another element to their self-imposed imprisonment: they are
worried about how Jesus is going to treat them, guilty about their failure.
These people followed Jesus
around, praising him, basking in the reflected glory of his triumphs and
popularity. They promised to always be
with him, to be there for him. but they weren’t. They abandoned him, betrayed him, denied even
knowing him. He had failed and they
weren’t going to be caught up in that, so they ran and they hid. Imagine then the shock when it’s discovered
that he lives. They have failed and abandoned,
not just a man they claimed to love, but God.
They were well steeped in stories of righteous indignation from the
Jewish scriptures (our Old Testament): no wonder they were scared. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been surprised
that Jesus, who brought himself back from the dead and escaped a sealed stone
tomb, enters a locked room. Surely
they’re for it now. Then he speaks
“Peace be with you.” No anger, no
criticism, judgement, or condemnation.
He knows they’ve failed, they know they’ve failed, but he doesn’t even
mention it. He speaks of peace and love
and moving on together.
Of all the people who have
ever lived, he is the one who least deserved to be let down by his friends and
let down to the extent that he suffered pain, insult, and death. Yet, he does not condemn, he accepts them as
they are, loves them, and offers them a future with him. If he, after all they’ve done, can still
treat them with love then shouldn’t we be able to accept that, although we’re
less than perfect, we are still loved and valued by the most important person
that ever existed. Equally, can’t we
then accept the imperfection of others and treat them with dignity, respect,
Easter – a new dawn, let’s grab it and make the most of it.