2017 April

April 2017

Dear Friends,

Having come from Glasgow, I am aware of the Glaswegian connection with the Orpheus Choir, conducted by Sir Hugh Roberton. One of the well-known songs whose music was composed by Sir Hugh is the Easter hymn: All in the April Evening. In it, the song-writer muses on the young lambs gambolling in the fields. As she looks at the young lambs and hears their weary, almost human cry, she ponders on the Lamb of God as he prepares to die.

Whereas the lambs would have pasture and rest, the Lamb of God was offered just a cross of shame. The song finishes with the lines, “I saw the sheep with their lambs and I thought on the Lamb of God.”

Through Lent we have been considering in our Lent liturgy, the symbols of the story that led Jesus to the cross, from the thirty pieces of silver via the towel and basin, and the bread and wine, to the whip, the crown of thorns and the nails. We have also watched the 2008 BBC series called The Passion as an ecumenical Lent study.

You may have conducted your own reflections through Lent on what it was for Jesus to be the Lamb of God.

Why is this important? Paul reminds us that we have been bought at a price: that price was paid by Jesus on the cross. He was willing to give up everything for you and for me. We are not our own, free to do as we wish. Yet it is in that purchase by Jesus that we are indeed set free from all that would prevent us from being our true selves in Christ.

During a time of meeting up with other ministers, I was reminded that God calls us not just to a relationship with other people, but to a relationship with God. Yes, our faith is worked out in relation to other people, and Jesus calls us to show that we are his disciples by our love for each other. Our Christian faith, however, is primarily wrapped up in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

A marriage certificate may pronounce the partnership of two people, but that in itself does not describe the quality of that relationship. We would hope that it would proclaim the start of a life-long relationship of love, but it could also represent a tired, strained or even abusive relationship. In the same way, our church membership may indicate a link between ourselves and God. It does not, however, indicate the quality of that relationship. God seeks a high-quality relationship with us, one based on love and joy, filled with two-way communication: God to us and us to God.

That relationship is made possible by what Christ, the Lamb of God, achieved on the cross for us. Without that, there would be a mighty chasm between us and God – one that we could not cross.

Fundamental to our Christian walk is our relationship with God. Jesus described that relationship as a branch grafted into a vine. Without that graft, we would wither and die. With the graft to the vine, the branch receives the vine’s sap, energy and goodness, enabling it to produce leaves, flowers and fruit.

As we approach Easter, I encourage you to take time to consider what Christ, as the Lamb of God, has done for you. As we come to Easter Sunday, celebrate with joy the power of resurrection, remembering that Paul tells us that that same resurrection power works in us in our day to day lives as individuals and as a church.

May you have a blessed Easter.

 

David


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