Turning our hearts towards holy week

Dear Friends,

Over the last few months, we have reflected on Reasons to Believe and have, hopefully, equipped ourselves to be a little more confident in our own faith and in sharing it with others. I’ve been uplifted and encouraged by the many conversations I’ve had on this subject and the ways you have been putting this into action. Our faith and knowledge of God, revealed to us in Jesus, is a treasure beyond measure and not one we want to keep for ourselves.

It’s been wonderful to see our children and young people grapple with the Reasons to Believe series and to learn that it is not just OK, but actually vital to air our questions and doubts and that church is just the right place to do this. The conversations around our dinner table on this subject have been encouraging as Justin and I hear more about what it’s like to be a Christian at school and the kind of objections to faith that young people raise. How vital it is to raise a generation of confident Christians who are secure enough in their faith to be able to share it, but wise enough to recognise there is always more to learn (and much we may never fully understand this side of eternity).

Now we turn our hearts towards Holy Week. Every year I look forward to Easter with the anticipation of a child (and not just because of the chocolate eggs to which I am rather partial!). I anticipate this season because it allows us to go on a journey with Jesus and, through our acts of worship, ponder and marvel once more at the depths of his love for us. We are reminded, on that journey, that in the midst of despair there is always hope and that God has a bigger purpose than we can see at first glance. The cross symbolised everything that was cruel, broken and final…. until the sun rose on that first Easter morning. Now I wear that symbol around my neck as a sign of love, hope and victory.

At this time of year I often find myself singing the words of this hymn, which begins with the line Jesus Christ I think upon your sacrifice….

Once again I look upon the cross where you died
I’m humbled by your mercy and I’m broken inside.
Once again I thank you, once again I pour out my life

I hope that you will be able to attend as many of our Easter services as possible and to properly go on the journey of Holy Week. Let’s wave branches on Palm Sunday to hail Jesus as King. Let’s sit round the table together on Maundy Thursday and eat the last supper with Jesus and his friends. Let’s walk the long and painful road to the cross and keep watch with Jesus’ mother. Let’s awake on Easter morning to the dawning of hope itself and declare ‘Christ the Lord is risen today, Hallelujah!’.