|Lexden Link – Easter 2012 Issue No 36|
|From our Minister“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with Good” Romans 12:21
Ever had that feeling that nothing is going right? Perhaps a chance remark gets taken out of context and is blown out of all proportion, perhaps several things go wrong at the once leaving you wondering what will happen next or perhaps an ongoing worry seems set to take over your life. In these situations it is very tempting to give up, pull up the barriers and to try to protect ourselves at all costs.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul expresses this struggle with evil in terms that we can probably all identify with ‘when I want to do good, evil lies close at hand’ He is very honest about the power of temptation and the way that wrongness can seem to overwhelm us, but throughout he is also clear that this is not the case, evil will not have the last word, but will be overcome by good. His evidence for this is the event that we celebrate at Easter, Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The story of the cross at first seems to be a story of despair as Jesus, an innocent man, faces every kind of violence and abuse before death seems like the end of the story. His followers and friends must have felt like there was no hope left and yet, after three days Jesus offers an answer to sin and evil that cannot be overcome; new life, new hope; his resurrection. God’s goodness cannot be kept down; it will always have the last word.
Paul emphasises this victory over evil to his readers and in turn calls on them to challenge evil where they meet it in their lives, not by building barriers, but by breaking them down. Instead of seeking vengeance they are called to treat their enemies with kindness, instead of fearing the unknown they are to offer hospitality to strangers and instead of holding grudges they are to forgive.
I wonder if any of you, like me are fans of the Archers? If so you will know all about Alan the vicar’s Lenten challenge to his flock – to give up gossip and instead to indulge in random acts of kindness. This seems to me to be one modern day outworking of Paul’s advice; instead of sharing rumours that can hurt, to think of what we can do each day to build one another up. It is not an easy challenge to seek to overcome evil with good, but in Jesus Christ we have one who has done the hard work for us and his power will give us the strength we need.
May God bless us all this Eastertide.
|Greetings from SomersetRik and I are enjoying life here in the West Country, and although we don’t drive out each sunny day, we do like to take our holidays locally and explore the area. One rather cloudy wet day last summer we went to Buckfast Abbey. I’d heard of the amazing stained glass windows there and I wanted to see them.
It was true – it was brilliant! It sparkled richly even though outside the day was wet and dreary. Rik and I sat in the quiet Abbey and listened to the monks celebrating mid-day prayers. The calming words of the prayers and simple chanting of the plainsong were soothing and restful.
The Abbey was cool and dim but just visible above the top of the screen behind the altar was a band of glorious colour.
After the prayers were over, we sat for a while thinking – then curiosity got the better of me, and we walked towards the magnetic stained glass windows – they draw you to them, you just have to go to look and gaze in amazement.
As we walked behind the screen we were caught up in “wonder, love and praise” as the true richness of the wonderful colours shone before us. In front of us was Christ at the last supper, and either side windows glowed red and orange, and green and blue. Where did the sparkle come from on such a dull day?
The artist, Father Charles Norris had his workshop at the abbey. He made his famous window of the Blessed Sacrament in 1996. He worked using coarse pieces of glass rather like that used in medieval times. The uneven thickness, the angles on the surface and the flaws in the glass itself all work together to create the shining light as it is bent and refracted to sparkle so brightly even on the darkest days.
What a reassuring thought that just as the light shines through the imperfections to glow in the window, so God can use us and our imperfections – to show His light and His love to the world.
May we be glad to show our true colours!!!
|The Real Easter EggI have just bought a real Easter egg. What you may ask is a real Easter egg. Well that is a question I asked as well.
I was looking for a nice plain egg that I could get for Alan and I was rather pleased with the one that was giving a charity donation for Baby Lifeline and Traidcraft from every egg. It was also Fairtrade so I thought that’ll do.
Then I noticed something unusual. The picture on the box had the usual fluffy chicks and bunny rabbits but, there on the hill top, were three crosses.
I turned the box over and read all about the real meaning of Easter. This was amazing – an Easter egg that actually mentioned Jesus. Fascinated I went on their web site to read all about the Meaningful Chocolate Company and their ethical approach to chocolate. How in 2008 one of their co-founders, with a ten year record of promoting ethical trading and even longer working for the faith and voluntary sector, came up with the idea of The Real Easter Egg.
The Meaningful Chocolate Company Ltd developed the egg and with the help of bishops, schools and parents it was launched to a warm welcome in September 2010. Not all shops and supermarkets agreed to stock the product but amazingly they still managed to sell tens of thousands of them. They have proved that there is demand for an egg that tells the Easter story on the box and they hope that next year they will be able to produce even more to meet demand and customers will have more choice on where to buy the egg.
I got mine from the Co-op.