Welcome back to our new term. We have done it… having gone through the journey of Lent we have come out the other side to live out the Easter experience. I also failed in the hectic end of term to stick to the last few weeks of reflections in the blog so I have come back refreshed and committed to sticking to trying to write something each week. I hope it is useful for you in some way. My summary has always been…
- Lent is time to change
- Easter is light and hope
This Lent I aimed to get into the routine of trying to have a short moment of reflection and prayer each day. I was helped significantly by finding a website called 40 Acts which challenged people to do Lent “generously” and each day provided some reflections and a challenge of practical things you could do.
75,000 people signed up to the challenge and I am sure this helped to inspire people to change their lifestyles in a small way or have a positive impact on others. This helps us grow in faith on our journey to try and be a better disciple in some way. Easter is a time of real contrast for Christians. We remember and mark the suffering and death of Jesus. At times in the modern world we have sanitised this image and account when we look at the crucifix. This was a brutal, public and humiliating death often prolonged to lead to death by suffocation and exhaustion. In a very human we can feel that in our times of suffering God walks with us helping us “carry our cross” in time of challenge and need. The film “The Passion of Christ” depicts this in a graphic yet moving way. I watched this in a Brighton Cinema with my Mother on Holy Saturday, the day after Good Friday, when it was first released. It told the story through the eyes of Jesus and Mary of the final days of Jesus’ life. This was surreal in that it is clear in the cinema some had just come to watch a film with their pop corn and snacks… I’m not sure they knew what to expect as the film is totally in Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic! It was a controversial yet significant hit at the box office and in some way brought the Easter accounts to a new audience and profile.
It was very touching and moving to watch this with my Mother for the first time as we wept through some of the scenes of Jesus’ suffering and death. It was equally inspiring to see a beautiful depiction of the Resurrection and Jesus walking free of the tomb. This leaves us with the image of “light and hope” and this is the resounding message of Easter – we are called to take this message out to he world around us. In the Gospel account this week we hear the account of how the risen Christ appeared to the disciples and challenged them to take this out to the world and spread the message and good news or Gospel. Unfortunately one of them had chosen this one moment to pop out… Thomas. When he returned he is incredulous that Jesus had appeared to them saying that he would not believe unless he could place his hands in Jesus’ wounds. He needed proof and evidence and thus earned the title “doubting Thomas”. In fact he was doing what all of us would probably have done and just asked a good question to establish whether it could really be true. He wanted proof and evidence for faith which we all look for in a very basic and human way.
Jesus returns and appears to Thomas and says “happy are those that believe and do not see”. We can look to wait for physical proof and experience or we can take the leap of faith to believe. I think we are in fact surrounded by evidence of the “light and hope” of the Easter message in the communities we live and breath in. All we need to do is find the time and space to stop, reflect and believe. Happy Easter.