April 2019

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 05:27 Be the first to comment!

"Imagine Easter ....."

Dear Friends,

Some years ago I saw Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of Christ’ with its very graphic depiction of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution. I sat through it wondering what someone with little knowledge of the Christian faith would have made of it. It was all about the cross, but never really got to Easter, nor to resurrection hope which transforms death, his and ours.

The images we use to explore the Easter story can significantly affect our responses to it. Eastern Orthodox Easter artworks focus mainly on Jesus’ victory over sin and death, whereas Western Easter art focuses much more strongly on his suffering and death. How does this affect us?

A copy of my favourite Easter artwork hangs in my study. It picks up on God’s resurrection work transforming exploitation, destruction and death into resurrection life, hope and the Kingdom of God – all flowing through the cross. It is a picture of hope which is particularly special, coming as it does from Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries.


What is your Easter image? What makes it special for you? How does it illuminate your understanding of God and of his saving love in Jesus?

Happy Easter,

Revd Stephen Cooper

Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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