April 2019

Is it all coming together?

I am writing this in the middle of March and cannot know for sure, when this publication comes out, whether or not we will still be in the European Union or, far less importantly, who will be our Prime Minister. We live in interestingly chaotic or chaotically interesting times.

What I do know is that half way through the period covered by this issue, we will pass through the regular annual pilgrimage of Holy Week and experience the glorious triumph of Easter, when all will be made new.

So this might be an opportune moment to look at just one aspect where for Christians at any rate - and I suspect for others - things need to be made new.

An absolutely central message of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection is about reconciliation. Through Jesus’s living with human beings as one of us, he reconciled and continues to reconcile us, with all our faults, failing and inadequacies, to God: he reconciled and continues to reconcile people of different faiths: he reconciled and continues to reconcile hostile nations, communities and families: he reconciled and continues to reconcile the marginalised with the powerful through the latter acting with justice towards the former. And if we are truly going to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, then we must continue his work of reconciliation in our community, country and world.

And there can have been fewer times than the need for reconciliation has been greater. Whatever one’s views about the 2016 referendum, few people can doubt that the campaign, the result and the fallout afterwards has exposed huge and dangerous rifts in our society. And the major tragedy has been that the behaviour and example set by our leaders since has only widened those rifts. This cannot, for the health of our society, continue.

Reconciliation will not be easy, but it will not get easier of it is postponed. And reconciliation is never the responsibility of someone else. It is never the mark of someone calling him or herself a Christian - indeed, I would hope it is never the mark not an adult - to say ‘It is up to the other person to make the first move’. If we want the different members and groupings of our society to be reconciled, then it is up to each and every one of us to start the process going. and it begins with each of us being prepared to show the unconditional love forgiveness and compassion that Christ continues to show to us. In short, it will require all of us - and not just our leaders - to show the humility need to make ourselves vulnerable and put the interests of others before our own.

And if anyone thinks that that is asking too much of them, would say that Christ was prepared to travel to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the tomb and to the resurrection to show the strength of his love and his call to reconciliation. How far are you prepared to go?