April 2013

April 2013

Making everything new

This feels a bit strange: I am writing this in the week before Holy Week when we travel with Christ on the path to Calvary but this edition won’t appear until Easter when we will be celebrating Christ’s resurrection. Making that bridge is neither easy nor natural. I realise that, just as there is a tendency to celebrate Christmas from the end of November, so also Easter eggs can be all too prominent long before Lent starts, let alone before Easter itself. And while celebrating Christmas early is merely a sign of impatience and the unwillingness to take personal preparation seriously, celebrating Easter early is to rejoice at coming to the end of a journey without actually bothering to go on that journey in the first place.

There can be a tendency to assume that, as we know what happened on that first Easter, we need not worry too much about the signficance of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but that is an attitude which simply denies the message of the whole Gospel story, for the one thing that came out so clearly from our Bible course during Lent was the transforming power of Christ’s love and ministry, a transformation which can infect the lives of all those who are open to it. But nobody can be open to it who does not enter fully into it and who does not travel the whole path with Christ, experiencing the lows as well as the highs and recognising that in Christ we are made new. And we will not be made new if we cling clam-like to the status quo and refuse to accept that Christ calls on us to transform the world, including ourselves. 

In Easter, our song is Alleluia! - a cry of joy from the lips of those who celebrate the transforming power of Christ’s love. But that song is empty unless it comes from the heart and not just the lips, unless it comes from those who want that transforming power to grow wider and wider through the way they live their own lives. The pilgrimage we went on through Lent and Holy Week continues through Easter, but it is no longer the pilgrimage of penitence and self-examination, no longer the pilgrimage taken with Christ on the way to Calvary, but rather a pilgrimage of confidence and joy enlivened by the knowledge that life is eternal and love cannot die, a pilgrimage taken by those who recognise that you cannot truly appreciate the light unless you have experienced the dark as well.

Let us all this Easter make our lives transforming: let us recognise that in Christ all is made new, and let us make sure that ‘all’ includes ourselves.