Monday, February 25, 2013

Easter Time

The world family of those who follow the Christian faith crosses many boundaries of culture, colour and nationality. Nevertheless, whether it be the traditional churches of Western Europe or the ancient fellowships of the Middle East, the indigenous communities of faith springing up in Asia or the local congregations of Africa, the Orthodox cathedrals of Eastern Europe or the emerging base-communities of Latin America, there is one sign that they all hold in common—the cross.
The cross is the one universally recognized symbol of the Christian faith. It is carried high in liturgical procession, it is worn prominently as jewellery or ornamentation, and the sign of the cross is made to bless the faithful or to ward off evil. The cross defines the shape of the lowliest Christian church and sits atop the steeple of the grandest cathedral. Whether made of stone or wood, marble or precious metal, the cross signifies to the world the central event in the story of Jesus Christ—an event that stands as the turning-point in human history. The cross tells a story, one of a gruesome execution that has nevertheless been greeted by many as a triumph rather than a tragic failure. This is a story that has had an impact on the lives of millions over the past two thousand years. It is a story that continues to inspire and shape the lives of individuals and societies around the globe.
It was the moment when a holy God of love made it possible for unholy people to be reunited with their creator. It was the moment when death’s full stop was turned into a comma for those who believe. It was the moment when a high and mighty God tasted the full horror of the worst that human beings can do to each other.
In the course of Christian history tensions have often arisen between those who preferred the crucifix (a cross with the figure of Christ on it) to the empty cross as a symbol of their faith. Perhaps a more helpful approach is to recognize the need for both these symbols—the first reminding believers how Jesus totally encompassed in himself the suffering of the human race, with the second emphasizing the empty tomb and the truth of his resurrection.
As we continue the journey through lent, we come to Holy Week during the last week of March. Through the services of that week we make the journey with Jesus from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, through the Last Supper, the pain of Good Friday to joy of resurrection on Easter Sunday. Central to the whole week is the cross - with and without Jesus. The journey of holy Week is a journey of faith, please come and journey with us, whether to find a faith or to deepen your faith.