It's an embarrassment how long it has been between blog posts. But we're all forgiven and forgiving people, right? (Discuss the finer points of that theology in the comments section perhaps...)
Anyway, we're rapidly approaching Easter. That most glorious of festivals. So many things strike me afresh about the passion narrative every time I re-read through it. One such thing this year being the appropriatness of the timing during the Passover festival. The story is so rich in detail - many small points that add together to a story greater than the sum of its parts; a story greater than any re-telling could ever render it; the greatest story ever told. The fact that we're preaching through Mark's gospel just now makes this all-the-more apparent: that for a man whose breeze through the life of Jesus lasts just 16 short chapters, even he has so much to say about the finer, final details.
And it is with much sadness that I reflect on Easter as a story so unfamiliar to our world at large. One which, for many and complex reasons, we have not told and re-told and passed down the generations. The Easter story remains one largely unresponded to - because people haven't heard it. There is a passing familiarity with the ideas in the story: Jesus; a cross; a death; possibly a rising from death - that's a start. But how many people have heard and responded to that crucial event - the life-giving self-sacrifice of a betrayed creator so in love with His errant creations as to pay the ultimate cost for them?!
In Acts chapter 8 Philip meets a court official from a far-off country with a scroll in his hands - he asks "do you know what you're reading?" The man responds "how can I, unless someone guides me?"
I won't spoil it for you, but there are multiple reasons for pointing you to that particular conversation - one of which is that they are looking at a scroll of Isaiah (the Old Testament prophet) who was predicting Easter hundreds of years before it came about. Another reason being that, like Philip, we have a privilege and a responsibility to guide people through the good news of Easter.
With that in mind I am inviting you (to invite others too) to our Discover Easter event on Good Friday. Or to explore wherever may be most convenient for you the Easter story afresh this year. After all, how can we respond to that which we have not heard?