Monday, 28 March 2016

A wonderful time in The Lakes

Just before Easter , Rachel and I had two fantastic walks in the Lake District. We stayed at West View Guest House on the Heads in Keswick.... fantastic

Easter 2016 sermon

Easter Day 2016 
Today we celebrate new life, the possibility of it in Christ, the promise of it and the fact of it.
Now is eternal life if risen with Christ we stand.
Today we celebrate the Dawn of hope, the light breaking into the darkness…. The light of lights.
Today can be an exciting Day for all sorts of reasons… a contrast perhaps to the Days of Maundy Thursday the betrayer at hand and the nails crushing through any hope of a kingdom rising on Good Friday. That day we say everything became dark.
I can remember years ago when Hannah and Simon were at primary school and at this time they had eggs in an incubator in the classroom.
It became very exciting indeed just before they broke up for the Easter Holidays when one of the eggs began to tremble and shake. Soon small cracks appeared, and as if on cue for the children being in school the small beak of the chick broke through and then the head and body soon appeared. That was such an exciting moment in the school. (you can possibly imagine everyone came for a peek) It took over an hour for the small chick finally to break free from the egg.
Palm Sunday saw us proclaiming “Hosanna”, today we shout and sing “Hallelujah”  Save us O God, Praise the Lord.
Easter is about fulfilment and hope, light and peace. Today is about yellow chicks, yummy easter eggs, special food, A day of liveliness and fulfilment. The Day we have been waiting and praying for. Good triumphs over evil.
We need to be cautious and real. Today we have to do some careful holding, otherwise we cannot be true to God or even to ourselves.
That day the chick broke free from the egg and enthralled the school, both adults and children alike something else happened. The new life wonderfully witnessed was soon to be pecked to death by its brothers and sisters who took exception to one being born on a different day.
For Hannah and Simon and the others that day they had an Easter experience,,,,, but in reverse.
One  hundred years ago this Easter an event took place in Ireland which has continued to shape the lives of the people there  ever since. The Easter risings.
It is of course not insignificant the more recently hope has begun to arise through something known as The Good Friday Agreement”
Today I expect many people are discovering new hope as they settle into a new country far away from the war and persecution they hoped to escape from. Today I expect many thousands are discovering hope dashed, either in stormy seas or by being sent back to the home they ahd fleed from.
Easter and Good Friday are intimately linked and tied together. Neither one can take away from the other not matter how you experience them.
Jesus was I believe always a realist. He never denied suffering, he never even ran away from it. He did not avoid it.
Jesus I also believe did hail the possibility of a new order, a new vision of what life could be all about. Jesus did bring hope and life and light, both to his world and to ours today.
Jesus did bring a new commandment and said we should love one another, he showed us that to tolerate and to trust was good.
Jesus did show us that the sap of life flows through the vine to the branches and how this makes the rich and full wine of the kingdom.
Yet it is also true that Jesus offering this new order gave his followers a challenge, and one we sometime want to duck out of. He showed that this new order had to be lived out within the old order.
Jesus Kingdom may not be of this world, indeed it isn’t, but we do have to live as citizens of the  Kingdom within this world.
And so our alleluias are sung today amidst the pain and struggle of our world. Our alleluia is sung amidst our own lives of “self enwraptment” and smugness, and we still need to see the challenge that now is eternal life if risen with Christ we stand.
Easter is not, nor should it become, a sentimental celebration. New life, hope and light always come with realism and challenge.
Peace and wholeness is anything but easy sentimentality, neither is it a pipe dream.
Let Easter be real for us
Alleluia Christ is risen…. We are risen.