Rector’s News May 2022

Human life is incredibly beautiful. It is also fragile, frail and finite. At some point or another in all our lives we ask or are forced to ask questions about the meaning and purpose of this beautiful life. The world is full of light and darkness: despair and hope.

In the Easter season, the resurrection of Jesus Christ faces our questions head on and sets them in a wider and larger context. The resurrection sets life’s experience within the perspective of God’s purpose for our lives from beginning to end. God’s great purposes for the whole of being and time: his acts of creation, redemption and salvation.

In this greater perspective, Christ who is risen becomes the touchstone for meaning: he is the light in our darkness, our hope in despair, the triumph in tragedy. For in the resurrection, we see the truth that God, in Jesus Christ, has entered our deepest darkness, bringing new light and life. He is the one who gives hope for us and for our world. This is the God who leads us into light.

The event of Christ’s resurrection, which we celebrate in the Easter season until Pentecost with extraordinary joy, embraces past, present and future. Yes, it is an event in the past. At the heart of each of the Gospel accounts there is the surprise discovery by the women on that first Easter Day that the unexpected had happened – Jesus whom they had buried in the tomb on the evening of Good Friday, now stood before them in the Garden.

But it is an event also for the present. Christ is risen, this day and every day. The freedom for life, the transforming power of the same good news continues in the Church, through the Church, by the Church for the sake of the world. We proclaim life; the power of God; the presence of God. What other motive or reason could there for those who are still prepared in self-sacrificial ways to give of themselves and their lives to others? The Church puts into practice this love through the work of ordinary Christians across the world.

I think of those people who put themselves on the margins by working with the homeless, drug addicts or those who risk life to bring comfort, support or aid to those in need in developing and impoverished countries abroad. Or I think of those people who are called into the life of a religious community to live out the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Or what about those Christians who give themselves in service to others in every place and among every kind of person, rich or poor, young or old: there is always a cost to that service, some form of sacrifice, which witnesses to the Spirit of Christ alive in their hearts. So many people in so many ways living out the abundance and truth of God’s life and eternity present in the world and in other people.

We live lives so utterly immersed in the increasing drivenness and activity of the ‘now’. In this Easter season, the resurrection of Jesus Christ bids us raise our hearts and our eyes to that altogether larger and fuller vision and all that it encompasses. Our happiness and the joys as well as our pains, the struggles, the frustrations and our questions – in the resurrection these different experiences of life find their place in the light of eternity.

The Easter season is extraordinary. First because we remember God changed the universe when death was defeated in the resurrection. Secondly, because He says to you and me, be converted, become fully human and know me and see what I will do. And lastly because if each of us co-operates with him, receives what He gives us, lives a fully human life with Jesus in every part, we will change the world. There is nothing beyond the possibilities of a human being fully human, because being fully human means being fully open to God.

So, far from being so focussed on what seems pressing and immediate in our lives at present, Easter calls us to see with new eyes - to look in the light of God's loving and eternal purposes for us and his entire creation. We need to be attentive to those deeper spiritual values which let Christ's eternal life flourish in the here and now among us - not just in Church, but also among our neighbours and in the communities where we live - looking for where God is replenishing our own aliveness and seeing where God is replenishing the abundant life of others too.

Your friend and Rector

Matthew Tregenza