Rector’s Letter March/April 2016

Matters of life and death are to the forefront of all our minds as we approach Holy Week and Easter – the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Liturgies of these days, we will progress from the ‘Hosannas’ of Palm Sunday, through the joy of the Last Supper, the agony of the garden, and the desolation of the Cross, to the triumphant ‘Alleluias’ of Easter Day. Throughout the week Christ, and his sacrifice will be central to our thoughts and prayers.

But the mystery of Holy Week and Easter is also about our lives and our deaths.

As I write this, my 95-year old father is seriously ill in a London hospital – so the vulnerability of human life and matters of life and death are naturally at the forefront of my mind. When a loved one is ill we are, of course, deeply anxious for them, but at the same time we are likely to find ourselves pondering more deeply than usual the meaning and purpose of our brief lives here on earth – and what happens to us when we die.

The events of the first Holy Week and Easter have changed the expectations we can have for ourselves and for our loved ones. The merciful loving-kindness of God manifested in the person of Jesus Christ and most of all in his death and resurrection, mean that we see our lives and our deaths in a completely new light. ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ and ‘I will come again and take you to myself’ are both key phrases of Our Lord as reported by St. John. The Christian hope is not some vague belief in life after death – it is about Resurrection and Life with Christ and these are possible only because of Christ’s victory on the Cross and his Resurrection.

Make no mistake, what we will be commemorating and celebrating in Holy Week and Easter are very real historical events – but they are events which have an impact on our lives here and now. When someone we love is in danger of death or when we contemplate our own death we do so in the light of the Cross and Resurrection and we are filled with Hope.

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