By Rev’d Preb Julian Ould
It is almost Easter again and the year is already running away with us! Well, this is how it feels as I sit at my desk, looking through the programme of services for Holy Week and Easter this year. The year is running away and time does move quickly and therefore it is important from time to time to pause and reflect on what our lives are about and what we are doing with the time that is ‘running away’. The Holy Week and Easter story very much answers this in that Jesus came to us, as God made man, to open our eyes to the real qualities of life.
On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem and was hailed a king, but was certainly nothing like any king our world might recognise. The following days had an air of speculation, of something imminently about to happen, which ultimately came to a head on the Friday when Jesus, who for most was seen as nothing more than an itinerant preacher, was crucified, having apparently pushed his luck with the Jewish religious leaders and been condemned. There was something strange about the death, in that he didn’t linger for the usual agony of crucifixion and the Roman leader, Pilate, had surprisingly taken an unusual interest in Jesus and even been troubled by the clear injustice of his condemnation, but apart from this, it was all something of nothing. It was the Passover festival again and time was running away quickly. Well, no it wasn’t for some and even though the religious leaders tried to prevent any claims of a resurrection getting out, it did and started to make a significant impact and so the story needs to be looked at again.
Jesus was indeed a king and Pilate could see it and therefore put an inscription on his cross for all to see that claimed King of the Jews. The religious leaders objected, but the inscription remained. On the Thursday, Jesus had been with his disciples for what they had assumed would be their own celebration of the Passover, only to find Jesus first washing their feet and telling them that real greatness was to be found in service to others, and then offering them bread and wine and claiming these were a new Passover of his broken body and shed blood which would enable the sting of death to pass over them. It was all incomprehensible at the time and this quickly being followed by his arrest, mock trial and crucifixion, just too much to cope with; it was a disaster! But then on the first day of the week Jesus appeared to them, living beyond the grave and all their sadness was turned to joy. They suddenly found a new confidence in that they had grasped something special and life changing, but what?
The disciples had found the ultimate happiness. They had happily gone along with Jesus when he called them because He had given their rather humdrum lives some purpose and meaning. It was exciting to be with him and hence had been so earth shattering when he was killed and it all came to an end, but now this was not the case. Jesus lived on, physical death apparently not being an obstacle, and they realised in the ongoing resurrection appearances that it was the power of Jesus love that made a difference. They had never experienced such a feeling before and it made them feel as though they really mattered and discovered that when they loved others that they in turn felt the same and loved back.
It all sounds very simple and twee, but in reality it is what we all seek and would like and yet it is there for the taking. So as we come to Easter again, let us take time to pause and reflect that Jesus our King, a King of love, calls us to share this wealth of life now and for always.
With every blessing,