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From The Vicarage
It is mid April and the daytime temperature has risen to double figures probably for the first time in 6 months. No wonder we feel it has been a long winter. It is good now to be on the other side of it. Other winters will not be so easy to shake off; the winter of recession, the lack of affordable housing or insufficient employment opportunities especially for young people. These are testing times for everyone and politicians are an easy target. The nine days between the announcement of Margaret Thatcher’s death and her funeral has seen an immense amount of media coverage drawing all kinds of responses.
Peaceful and lawful protest is one thing, but partying as a way of marking someone’s death reminds me that as a society, in places, we are losing some of the important threads of the reality of what it is to be human. Lose too many and the possibility of us living alongside one another well declines with it. Life is a gift in creation, and each and every person’s life is precious and worthy of respect. Life is also fragile and we all have limitations and vulnerabilities. Overall we seem less keen to acknowledge this and more keen to find someone to blame or to build up our ideal heroes and heroines who suit us; so unlike us and our real life that we lose all connection with them, which can open the way to inhuman behaviour of all kinds; bullying, corruption and violence.
I remember that Jesus died a brutal death unjustly, but that it wasn’t the end of the story. We celebrate with joy Jesus coming among his disciples, but the Gospels record a lot more than this. The disciples were confused, uncertain, questioning among themselves each time Jesus appeared to them. He became known to them through his actions and the drama of each meeting; a personal greeting, touching the scars of his wounded body, cooking breakfast on the beach and sharing in a meal.
Jesus chose twelve disciples. They had little status in the eyes of the world, but were very real and hugely influential through their lives. They were witnesses to the living presence of Jesus, revealing God active in the world. We can idolise the powerful, moaning or getting cross while we wait for them to sort out the future. Or each of us can imagine the future we want to see. Living our vision and communicating it to one another is the challenge we face. The good news of God in Christ Jesus is a great story to keep us focused on a life changing way to live. May our lives be creatively empowering, so that the spring we long for will come to pass around us.
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