Rector's Ramblings: April 18th 2021

                                                                                        

 

                                                                                  

 

   

 

                                                                        

Jesus says: I am the Resurrection and the Life' 

 

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed. Alleluia!  

   My last Rector’s Ramblings (April 4th) invited you on a garden tour. Do have a look if you missed it because my thoughts have, in one way or another, continued to focus on that garden which is the destination of the whole creation at the end of God’s story; perhaps also because I have been so aware of the disharmony that persists in the meantime as we have spoiled the first garden.

   To this week. Last weekend, after the announcement of Prince Philip’s death, I found myself watching ITV for the whole evening as people spoke of their experience of him and as we were shown more of his life story. I had expected to be cross and switch off because I get fed up when the TV just goes on and on and on over the same ground. Instead I found it thoroughly heart-warming – to hear such positivity without all the carping and blaming, and to learn more of a long life well lived.

   It underlined how unusual it is to hear such a positive story. We have grown so used to hearing about wars, disputes, verbal attacks and physical attacks – all dwelt on and picked over by the various media. I know we humans are so good at falling out and fighting, and sadly the church has been no exception; yet there seems so much of it now. By contrast the sheer ‘niceness’ of the way Prince Philip was spoken of warmed my heart. How can we live well in an environment where there seems so little peace and so much anger? So much injustice and fear?

    I can only answer for myself  but I hope there may be some pointers for others in what I say. My journey towards becoming a Christian started with this: I was all too well aware of profound unfairness and injustice. I was all too well aware that that unfairness and injustice was not always put right in this life. I felt that if there was not a place where things were put right, if we just lived this life and then were dead, you might just as well stop now as all the heartache and so forth wouldn’t be worth it. There had to be somewhere where it was all put right. I found out that that instinct in me was true as I explored the teaching of the Bible and Jesus Christ. There is somewhere.

     My thinking has developed from those beginnings but that certainty that there is ‘somewhere’ has been a vision that has kept me anchored and moving ahead. This world and this life is not all there is. The Book of Revelation has it as the new creation, paralleling the first creation, as St John says ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth’. St Paul puts it like this: ‘creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.’ (Romans 8:21)

   The risen Lord Jesus is the guarantee and promise that this new creation will come to be (even if we have no idea when). He rises from death to life: his body is a body that is flesh and blood, he can eat and be touched; but this body is different. Now imperishable.  He is the man of heaven and the man of earth. As is the promise for us too. I hold to that vision of a new world that God will bring to be.

     It gives me the strength and love to live in the present. It is poppycock to believe we humans will suddenly reform and be able to live together well and peaceably all the time across the whole world. I always remember that at the turn of the century, it was suggested all would be better because of the change of number when in fact there have been ever more wars. We are each one of us a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. Not one of us is wholly good or wholly bad.

     That promise and vision of the future energises me (and I can feel that as I write this): to do the work that is mine to do for Jesus Christ. To work where I can to share God’s love and forgiveness. To offer where I can the good news that Jesus brings healing and reconciliation of all that would draw us apart. It’s worth striving for because of where we are going: to that wonderful new world creation.

     Might this vision hold all of us and be the vision we work towards in our everyday life?