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Rector’s Letter – March 2018
‘Christ Centred – Community led’
‘Take up the cross and follow me’ (Mark 8 v34)
The Cross means different things to many people. For some it is a piece of jewellery, a fashion item, a good luck charm. For others it is a sign and symbol of their commitment to Christ, and for others it an experience that takes on the form of daily and life threatening persecution. Jesus died on a Cross, as a criminal, on the most horrific form of torture invented by the Romans. It was a slow and painful death and yet the Church puts the Cross as central to the heart of our faith and witness. Why? The Cross reveals to us this mystery of the weakness and vulnerability of God, his love for all.
In my ministry, I have found that some people have a hard time accepting God’s vulnerability, and if I’m honest, I do at times myself. Jesus was in pain on the cross, and felt abandoned by God his Father (Matthew 27 v46). On Palm Sunday, we recall Jesus riding on a donkey. A donkey was seen as a symbol of peace, while a horse was seen as a symbol of power and war. God’s ways are not our ways in dealing with pain, division and hatred.
Maurice Zundel, a Swiss Priest wrote beautifully and thoughtfully about the unexpected nature of God, ‘a fragile God is placed into our hands, a fragile God is entrusted to our conscience. This is the light of the Cross; God dies for love of those who refuse obstinately to love him’.
I believe that we are in the cusp of great change, and yet we are experiencing such acts of terror, inequality, pain and division. Jesus reveals that we can overcome Evil by taking up the Cross, which in all its true beauty and vulnerability can overcome the many deeds of darkness in our world. Easter, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, are ultimately God’s answer to Evil. ‘Love never dies’ says Victor Hugo (Les Miserablé), and that is our hope over all that seeks to destroy.
The Cross to me is not a sentimental love it is a self sacrificial love that gives not for its own gain or power, but enables us to freely live in light, in joy and in peace. It requires us to take up the Cross, and to follow him, so to release his saving love in all the dark places of our world.
Come and join with me
in taking up the Cross this Holy Week & Easter.
Yours in Christ,