Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tears on Easter Morning ... but more beyond

Our theme for the Sundays leading up to Easter and through Holy Week has focused on the tears.

Jesus wept at the death of his friend, Lazarus.

Jesus wept when he saw Jerusalem. "Would that you had known the things that make for peace, but you did not."

Peter wept when be betrayed Jesus three times.

The women of Jerusalem wept as Jesus passed by.

The women who had accompanied watched and wept as he was crucified.

What I like about the Christian faith is that it is realistic.

It does not offer an escape from a world of weeping.

Instead, our Christian faith, offers us a way through that world.

Through Holy Week we have laid bare the cross at the front of our church. It has cast a shadow on the wall.

That shadow is a reminder to us that at times we all have to walk through the valley of the shadows.

But in the valley, in the darkness of the shadow, God is there, in Christ to accompany us along the way of weeping.

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me.

It is only through the valley of the shadow that we can reach the glory of resurrection victory.

But that resurrection victory is assured ... and it is one we may share.

Yet even in the moment of resurrection victory there is still weeping.

Mary Magdalene weeps in the garden.

The two on the Road to Emmaus are 'downcast' and saddened with, maybe, tears in their eyes.

There is weeping on Easter day too. And the presence of Christ is with us in the weeping.

In our prayers we remembered those we know to be sad in bereavement. But we also remembered those who are in places of conflict, not least in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, in Palestine and Israel. Especially as we received greetings from friends in Bethleehm and the Scout group we have partnered with. A reminder that Bethlehem has been closed off this Holy Week to those wanting to worship in Jerusalem. And we shared the tears of those who were bombed in the Good Friday bombing attacks in and around Gaza.

Our commitment is to heed the Christians of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, of Israel and Palestine who through the Kairos Palestine document urge us to support them in their commitment to peace and to oppose those bent on violence, not least the violence of the settlement regime in the West Bank.

We walked again the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, the Way of Weeping, following the stations of the cross we had set out in the church.

Even on Easter Sunday we walked through the way of weeping to the cross and beyond to resurrection glory. And in doing that we shared that confident faith that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Nothing in the present or the future. No height, do depth. Nothing in life or in death. Nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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