Rector's Letter - April 2015

Dear Friends,

We had a faithful old dog called Chunky. Some of you would have met him. One day I was fiddling with the car outside our house in Barnstaple, with Chunky as usual, keeping me company. A rather well built girl jogged past. Chunky made a move to go after her, so I unthinkingly shouted out "Hoi! Chunky come here!" The poor girl stopped and looked most annoyed. My obvious embarrassment and our face-to-face explanation convinced her that I was calling the dog and not her and no offence was caused! It is easy to cause unintentional misunderstandings. They say that some 80% of our communication is through "body language" and words alone are often not enough.

This could be why the church's message of Easter is often dismissed as outdated and irrelevant. The impression is that Christianity seeks to condemn and judge and make everyone feel that they are guilty "sinners". This is tragic because nothing compares to the Gospel message in its relevance to life today. Nothing is so life-affirming and liberating! Jesus "came that we may life, life in all its fullness" (John 10:10). He comes not to spoil life, but to set us free from all that holds us back from living life to the full. But this amazing message is not getting through.

He wants us all to know that each one of us is a beloved, unique child of God and we can choose to live in that relationship. To communicate that message properly requires the right "body language". It requires personal, face-to-face interaction to show that message is true and relevant. That is what the church family is called to do. It is a challenge!

The wonderful good news of Easter is that Jesus has fought mankind’s most feared enemy, death, and defeated it. He rose from the tomb! He is the expert! Indeed, He is the Lord of Life, and He comes to us, as He did to His surprised disciples that first Easter, with the greeting, "Peace be with you!" and helps us find the power to change and to live life to the full, as God's children should. The resurrection is the proof that His promises can be trusted. He has the authority and the power to make those promises. But that wonderful message is not getting across!

It all depends on the truth of the Easter story. Many people find it quite literally "incredible". It is a nice idea, but it just doesn't happen in the "real world", they would say. But there is much evidence to make it reasonable to believe that this "incredible" event actually occurred. For a start, this truth has changed countless lives for good. We are holding an Alpha Course starting on Tuesday 21st April. This is a tried and tested and enjoyable way of exploring what the Christian faith really has to offer, to really discuss things in a friendly, open-minded way over a meal. (Places are limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us.) We can come to know the reality of Jesus in our ordinary lives, now, as our Friend and Saviour.

Do you see what a remarkable difference this can make to life? Then, we can begin to face life, with all its anxieties and frustrations, knowing that we are loved and valued and have a unique place in God's plans. That is our birthright as precious children of God. Living in the light of that truth allows us to live life well, with confidence and faith.

The Peace of the Risen Lord Jesus be with you!

With my prayers and love,
Yours in Christ, John.

Verse for the Month

“Jesus said: "Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house there are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? You know the way, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me".”
John 14:1,6

Webpage icon Rector's Letter - December 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - November 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - October 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - September 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - August 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - July 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - June 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - May 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - March 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - February 2015
Webpage icon Rector's Letter - January 2015