March 2021: From The Minister’s Garden
Spring, Easter, signs of growth in the garden the hum of the lawn mower, all say that fresh beginnings are on the way. In short, new life is dawning. Inconveniently it may be a while yet before it’s a statement true for our world as restrictions are still in place. At the time of writing we are scheduled to get certain businesses up and running and have more freedom around Easter.
The word resurrection has been tossed around for the High Street and hospitality. There is hope and expectation. Hopefully, Sidmouth Methodist Church will be able to be a venue for a service for Easter unlike last year when everything was shut. It felt such a sad day and the pictures of deserted places where services would normally have crowds emphasised the emptiness of what should have been the annual celebration.
Of course Easter weekend (the first one) was not exactly what the disciples had hoped for. Their kind, calm, charismatic leader taken and given one the world’s most cruel deaths. Soldiers and religious leaders stood, welcoming back their influence and power with no one to challenge them or make fun of them. It was a few days before they heard different.
We have all read the stories of those who made the discoveries but didn’t get the drift of what was happening. For some of their number it took days. In John chapter 20 Thomas refused to believe without prodding his fingers into the nail marks of Jesus or thrusting his hands into Jesus’ side. Bizarrely he gets the invitation to do this a few days later. He doesn’t take the invitation but replies ‘My Lord and My God’. Jesus then observes his faith and commends ours “Thomas, because you have seen me, you believe: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe”. Incredulity is no bad thing when people are ringing up saying your bank card has been copied and someone is making merry with it in a casino. I was embarrassed when someone rang and sounded like they were launching into this sort of call. I said “No Thanks” to three calls in a short space of time. Turned out they were from head office but she didn’t mention the Methodist Church until the fourth call.
Christ’s resurrection may embarrass us each year because we don’t give the call long enough to hear the identity of the one making it. We may not be in a tearing hurry to admit to anyone we perhaps believe or do believe in the resurrection. Why be afraid of such a statement. The flat earth society is booming, millions love Trump; gracious, even the Jab has a for and against crowd. “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet believe.” Take time to ask for God’s peace; wait to know God’s risen Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says he is raised from the dead. Few have actually seen him out and about from the tomb but so many have believed over the years as they gave time in prayer to know his healing and strength. People have said recently they desire a deeper faith but are not sure how that comes. It comes from seeking God’s presence. Of making time to hear the newness he provides if we seek him.
We pray for resurrection for our lives and the business’s that all ceased because of the virus. Pray for resurrection in heart, mind, and spirit that people may have joy in this life and in the next through Christ. Part of the answer to prayer might be having the courage to speak about it.
Happy Easter .