A letter from Steve - Our Rector
Easter – a foolish story?
April fools day is on Easter Sunday this year, and so we will have the chance to
play practical jokes and pranks on one another as we come to church. Maybe that’s
an appropriate event for April Fools’ Day – some may feel that we are fools to celebrate
a King who was put to death on a cross!
We Christians are used to being made fools of. Even two thousand years ago most
believed that the humiliating death of the ‘King of the Jews’ on a brutal cross alongside
common criminals was foolish. To suggest that God would actually come to earth to
die in such a way is just ridiculous!
When we lived in Crewe we were part of the Good Friday Passion Play, where we would
go out on the streets to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I remember
always feeling a little foolish as we went out to begin this act of witness with
crowds of shoppers looking on bewildered.
But then I remembered how Jesus must have felt, being arrested and put on trial –
then flogged and marched through the streets carrying his own cross. How humiliating
for the King of the Universe to accept such treatment for you and for me. Compared
to that, my embarrassment is a small thing.
This Eastertime we can join with Christians in Alsager, out on the streets, giving
Hot Cross Buns out on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. And then at dawn on Easter
morning we can gather to sing hymns and celebrate the resurrection together. It
might be cold, but this is our big chance to stand up and be counted as Christians
in our town – and that is far more important than how I might be feeling.
Getting out and sharing the story like this is important because so many in our society
don’t really understand what Easter is about. Perhaps that’s why Easter has become
just another time to share presents – especially of chocolate.
If you look at the shops they have been full of chocolate eggs from the beginning
of January – so a visitor to this planet would say that it's all about chocolates,
sweets and over-eating. Of course, there are rabbits and lambs and other small furry
things as well – that speak of Spring and new life.
So there you have it – a nice comfortable festival to mark the end of winter, the
new life of Spring, and a chance to eat too many sweets. Is that the truth about
The truth is something far more gritty, a story shot through with deepest darkness
and with glorious light. It is a story that takes us through all the emotions, from
betrayal and abandonment, torture and death – all the way to dizzy joy and laughter.
After the searing loss of Good Friday, when hope seems lost and evil triumphs, Easter
rises as the most joyful day of the year for Christians. Christ has died for our
sins. We are forgiven. Christ has risen! We are redeemed! We can look forward
to an eternity in His joy! Hallelujah!
The Good News of Jesus Christ is a message so simple that you can explain it to someone
in a few minutes. It is so profound that for the rest of their lives they will still
be ‘growing’ in their Christian walk with God.
This poem by Megan Carter captures the range of emotions that make up this story:
Chocolate eggs and cuddly bunnies
Mark the start of Easter time.
But where’s the cross, the Lord’s
That took our sin both yours and mine?
Once a babe but now a king
Born of David’s royal line
See the crown of tangled thorns
Rammed upon the head divine.
Jeering now they strip and beat Him
Nail Him to a cross on high
Throwing dice they shout and mock him
Watching there for Him to die.
Little did they know the outcome
That it was the Father’s plan
That the Son should give His life
Our sacrifice, the Paschal Lamb.
Taken down and wrapped in spices
In a borrowed tomb He’s laid,
Stone rolled hard against the entrance
Guards and seal securely made.
The women and disciples seek Him
He who death could not hold down
Risen now, forever living,
Wearing now the victor’s crown.
He the firstfruits of the Father,
Secures for us a heavenly place
What great joy and celebrations
When we see Him face to face.
I hope we can put aside our chocolate eggs and sweets for a while, to really appreciate
the journey Jesus took to the cross, to death and to resurrection life. Because
he took that journey, alone, for you and for me.