The latest monthly letter from our Minister, Revd David Hookins.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Lent has begun! You may have chosen a personal Lenten discipline, refraining from something, or following a spiritual path. For you it may be very significant but the world continues to spin and our business and our leisure continue to carry on. Nothing seems to have changed. This month takes us into Holy Week, but Easter Day comes next month so we can concentrate on the Holy Week story.
I have often pondered that first Holy Week, when a spiritual teacher in a troublesome backwater of the Roman Empire was taken, tried, tortured, and executed. It was just another day in the life of most people. It may have made the conversation in Galilee or Jerusalem, but life just went on. What seems to us a massive event did not appear, at the time, to be anything of any significance.
Jesus’s suffering was no more significant than those who are being tortured across the world today, Jesus’s death no more significant than those who will die from violence today. Some of our current events do catch our news media’s attention but much does not. We hear of the shooting in a school in Florida but have heard little or nothing about the other six mass shootings in the USA already this year. Even Syria and Yemen seem to have dropped out of our consciousness.
So it is right that Jesus’s arrest, trial, whipping and crucifixion should have been of no account to the wider world, because he comes to us in our insignificance, in our weakness, in our brokenness, and shows his mercy to the end,
‘Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’’
(Luke 23.34 NRSV)
Of course we want to be significant, we want to be recognized, we want to be praised. In our culture some young people simply want to be famous, without considering for what they might be famous. Reality TV shows such as ‘Big Brother’ and ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of here’ feed this desire, as does blogging and other forms of social media. You can gain thousands of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’.
As those who follow Christ we are called to do what is right, with no expectation of reward. Like our Lord we are called to a life of faithful service wherever that may lead us and whatever that may cause us to do. This will not always be popular.
As we journey through Lent I hope that you will discover the joy of faithfulness to a God who loves us unconditionally.
Your brother in Christ,