Dear Friends

Last week I went on retreat.  The Moderator invited all the Ministers in the Synod to spend a day at the Crowhurst Christian Healing Centre near Hastings – a day out of the busyness of Ministry to rest and reflect and to enjoy time together.  robin in treeWe were really lucky with the weather – on what was officially the first day of spring, it was warm and sunny.  I spent most of the day sitting outside in the sunshine, listening to the birds, watching the butterflies and other insects, and enjoying the beauty of the trees, flowers, and clouds drifting across the blue sky.


Although I was tired after a long day, and a long train journey, it did feel like I’d had a day of rest, a day of healing, and a true sabbath.  I’d been able to leave everything behind, even for a few hours, and spend that time with God.   


Throughout the day, one word kept coming to me – the word ‘trust.’  Trust God, and trust myself to let go, and to let God lead and direct my journey through life.  Perhaps it’s a word that you need to hear too, and that we need to hear together, as we reflect on our journey as a church, and where we might be going in the next stage of our life together.


God wants us to trust him – the Bible is full of passages reminding us of that, and the Easter story is no exception.  Jesus had to show complete trust in God to do what he did, to offer his life for ours as he died on the Cross.  It wasn’t easy for him to do – we know that from his words in the Garden of Gethsemane, words that showed both his humanity and his divinity, as he begged his Father to take the cup away from him, “Yet not what I want, but what you want.”  Jesus had to trust his Father, to follow the path that had been planned from the beginning of time, to save us from our sins, and allow us to enjoy eternal life with God.  He had to follow that path, even if that path involved betrayal, pain, and death.  


 And yet, death wasn’t the end of the story.  Death was defeated by Jesus as he rose from the dead on that first Easter Day.  The women had to trust the words of the angel, when he told them that Jesus was alive.  The disciples had to trust their words when they excitedly shared their news, and we have to believe and trust that the stories we read in the Gospels are true, as we follow the teaching and example of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.


Thomas gets a bad reputation for struggling to believe and trust his friends when they tell him that they have seen Jesus, that he has appeared to them in the Upper Room, behind locked doors.  He has to see Jesus for himself, to see and touch the holes in his hands and feet and side, before he will believe that Jesus is truly alive, and that he has risen from the dead.  And yet, are we not the same – do we not struggle to believe and trust in God?  Sometimes it is only when we open our hearts, when we let go of our own control, of trust in our own abilities, that we truly see God and know him for ourselves.


I pray that the joy of the resurrection will be real to each one of us this Easter, and that we will truly see and know Jesus as we remember his death and celebrate his resurrection.


May God bless each one of us in this joyful season.