From the Vicarage May 2017
as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life
Christ is still Risen!
That's what a tutor at theological college used to say when things were getting tough; people had fierce disagreements, money was tight, the news on the TV screen continued to speak of 'wars and rumours of wars' (Matt. 24:6). 'Times are tough, and getting tougher - but Christ is still risen!'
And it is true, Christ is risen. The universal and eternal battle between the destructive power of evil and the creative power of our Loving God has been decided - and Love has conclusively won. That's a thought for us to hang onto when times are tough... and when times are too tough for us even to hang on at all, then God's love still hangs onto us
However, though heaven awaits and Christ is undoubtedly Lord for all eternity, here in our daily lives, Destruction and Creation, the power of love and the withering atrophy of hate continue to have their effects on our the communities in which we live, and in the human relationships with friends and strangers whom we encounter
So what are we to do? It's a bit of a balancing act, the Christian life, between the real and powerful hope that we have in God's loving mercy, and the costly path of suffering that we, like Christ himself and all Christian disciples after him, continue to have to walk. We won't (thank God) all have to walk a path of loving, peaceful witness that leads to a martyr's death at the hands of others!
For many of us, the costly path of discipleship will be full of the daily tests of patience, gentleness, peace, generosity, and self-control, amongst our neighbours, where we will either make hard-won progress and grow our soul, and encourage the growth of others' souls in freedom and love, or where we will stumble and find ourselves crumbling and downcast. The path is hard for all of us, since it challenges us to move from where and who we were, to where and who God is calling us to be - and we all struggle together with that obedience and constant change
But if we take our journey seriously, not just travelling one day in the week, but steadily through each and every day offering our lives to God, then even in the midst of earthly trouble and confusion, God can use us as lights along the way, to guide others to that place of eternal hope and salvation where, no matter what, we can say together 'Christ is Risen! Jesus is Lord!'
Revd Jemma Sander-Heys
Team Vicar, Great Yarmouth Minster
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