APRIL POYNTON POST
Last Friday, as I sat planning the content of this month’s article in the Poynton Post - the edition that covers the Easter period, I was meditating on the brutal yet triumphant story behind the Easter weekend celebrations - the story without which there would be no Christian faith at all. And I knew what I wanted to say but hadn’t yet put pen to paper. While visiting an elderly relative on Sunday, I spotted her church’s monthly notice sheet pinned to the kitchen notice board and there I found exactly what I would have wanted to write, and rather than reinvent the wheel, here is an article that I really rather wish I had written first! I could probably have disguised it sufficiently to pass it off as my own by using a different format and moving the words and paragraphs around. However I quickly recognised the pointlessness of that particularly when the truth is that I like this just the way it is, and am touched by the sincerity of its message. So I give all credit to Revd Jane Parry of St Philip’s Church, Alderley Edge, with whose kind permission, this article is reproduced.
CAN WE TRULY UNDERSTAND THE EMPTY TOMB WITHOUT GOING FIRST TO THE CROSS?
It is not often you will find a church minister telling people not to come to Church … but the reason one might could be seen to be obvious! If we have not, in some way, engaged with what Jesus Christ suffered for us on the cross, how can we celebrate with a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude, the wondrous, fantastic, amazing, incredible event of the resurrection, and all that this implies in the overcoming of death and breaking the bondage of sin. The Easter story!
That is not to say that everyone must first come to a Good Friday service to hear more about the Passion of Christ. No indeed! Just sitting down with a Bible to read the final few chapters from the end of the Gospel of John gives a clear picture of what happened. The fear, the agony, the anticipation and the final release - “It is accomplished!” and then the quiet, the quiet of the calm, the stillness when all seems waiting, ready … and the expectation and hope of what is to come …
It is not to depress that I say this. Nor do I want to dispirit or distress, but rather so that we all truly grasp, truly seize, truly understand what you and I caused God to have to do. What you and I caused God to suffer, so that when we find that tomb empty, we will rejoice and give thanks from the bottom of our hearts as we grasp an appreciation of God’s astonishing depth of love for each one of us.
It is neither self-indulgent, nor is it wallowing in a mire of pain and grief. But it is at one end of the spectrum to show to God that we do value, we do give ourselves to this event, and that we want to acknowledge what Jesus did for us, and at the other, it is at very least, a sign of respect that we do not just turn up on Easter Day as a habit, a duty or an obligation because ‘it is what our family does at Easter’.
So come to the cross! Come you who have much faith and you who have little. You who have stood at the cross often and you who have not been for a long time - if ever. Come those who have tried to follow God's way and you who have failed. Come not because you are encouraged or influenced by reading this invitation, but because it is our Lord's call for those who love Him and want to know Him more.