Rector’s News

//Rector’s News
Rector’s News2019-03-29T11:30:15+00:00

   Rector’s News April 2019

On my travels around the parishes, I’ve become increasingly aware these past few days of the buds on the trees and of the evenings lengthening and of one or two milder days (notice that I didn’t mention anything about rain!!!).  All of this means that Spring is almost upon us.  And this is something to give thanks for.

Thankfulness is an attitude central to Christian belief… it is a Christian virtue. The great medieval mystic, Meister Eckhardt, once said:

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

It’s an easy prayer to memorise. To say, “Thank you”, is simple and straightforward. But if the truth be told, it’s something we sometimes forget. As I was writing this article, I thought about this simple prayer of gratitude and I’ve been wondering if it’s enough. Is it enough simply to feel thankful for one’s blessings and to say so? Well, on one level I would say, certainly it is enough if it comes from the heart. But on another level I would say it may be enough, but it’s hardly sufficient to fulfil the full meaning of what thanksgiving is all about.

Thanksgiving is both an attitude and a response, it’s both faith and works. Thankfulness should spur us on to help to ensure that others can enjoy too the many blessings that we have received.  This might mean volunteering for something such as helping the homeless and marginalised.  It might mean campaigning for the upholding of human rights or for prisoners of conscience, to name but a few.  It might also mean a response which involves an increase in prayer.

On a personal note, on behalf of Antonia and myself, I’d like to thank you all for your generosity and good wishes and warm welcome on our arrival in The Crediton Benefice Mission Community.  Thank you too for making my Institution and Induction service such a memorable occasion.  Your many kindnesses have meant so very much to us.  Thank you!

One of my great interests is art, especially paintings, and one of my favourite works is Noli me Tangere (in English ‘Touch me not’) by Titian.  The original hangs in the National Gallery in London and is, to my mind, a powerful and moving image of the Resurrection.  In the painting Mary Magdalene reaches out to touch Christ, but as we are told in St John’s Gospel, Jesus says to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.’

Mary Magdalene, it is worth remembering, was the first person to discover that the tomb was empty and it is on that first Easter morning that she comes to faith, as she realises who Jesus really is.  She is the one who goes and tells the others that Jesus has risen from the dead. Mary is the primary evangelist and apostle, who is the first to receive the good news, the gospel, and who receives the instruction to ‘go and tell’. She is the primary bearer of the gospel given to her by Jesus – something that is sometimes forgotten by the Church!

Jesus listens to Mary Magdalene weeping at the empty tomb and then gently asks her why she weeps and then waits for and listens to her reply.  He does this because he cares deeply about her.

She comes to faith, not by the evidence of an empty tomb and a pile of grave clothes, not by the revelation from the two angels, and not even by the sight of the risen Christ, whom she mistakenly thinks is the gardener.  She comes to faith by his word, a gentle calling of her name, a word that resurrected the memory of a relationship that had already been formed and which, by the resurrection, was completed and sealed as a living one.

Like Mary Magdalene, the risen Christ calls each one of us gently by name, so that we may share the glory of his resurrection, because Easter is a confirmation of trust, a promise kept.

We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song and that is truly something to give profound thanks for!

When it arrives……………… a happy and blessed Easter season to you all.

Your friend and Rector

Matthew Tregenza

Photographs © Bill Jerman