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April 2018

Dear Friends

Over the past few months I have been reading a book on Christian Saints. It has 365 saints, one for each day and at the time of writing I am up to Dunstan of Canterbury (909-988). It has been a fascinating but also though-provoking journey to read of how these saintly people responded to the call of Jesus Christ. I used the word “saintly” with caution. They certainly wouldn’t have used the term for themselves in the way that we now use it, any more than we would about ourselves.. But the original usage would be of any follower of Jesus., ie. someone who was called into a new fellowship, the Body of Christ, by their acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour. So we are all saints , even today.

When we read of their stories we catch a glimpse of just how much of an adventure being a Christian can be. Some travelled across countries to preach the gospel, some became religious or hermits and anchorites in order to spend all their time in prayer— for the world. Others like David and Cuthbert would spend hours up to their necks in freezing water in order to discipline and strengthen their spiritual lives in their fight against the powers of darkness.. Many millions—yes millions– have been martyred for their faith. An adventure to be a Christian—yes but not its not always a comfortable one. Was it Teresa of Avila who said “Lord no wonder you struggle for followers—look how badly you treat them”.?   ! !

I am not suggesting that as we profess our Christian faith we search out dangers and persecution but it is worth considering just how seriously do we take our faith, how far do we resist the call of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. Do we ignore that gentle nudge in to giving our time and effort on the Church Committee, or what about that nagging feeling that we could be up there leading the worship? And what about the thorny issue of our financial giving? No onder our communion service speaks of a “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” . And if our lives do not have some sacrifice somewhere, somehow, then just how deep is our commitment to following Jesus?

At Eastertide we see the story unfold once again. Of how, God, in his great love for us, sent his Son Jesus to show us how to live our lives, how to engage with our Heavenly Father and how to relate to each other here and now. He showed us the Way and died on the Cross to show us just how far love can take us. On Easter Day we celebrate when he rose again., overcoming all that’s bad in the world and in our lives and even death itself. “death hath no more dominion over him”. It is a story to hearten us and give us hope and strength in this world in which we live, and the lives we are called to live. As I read about the Saints I am reminded who it is that they are following—of their dedication and commitment yes, but ultimately of Jesus Christ who showed us the way to live—and die—and who rose again.

Christ Is risen Alleluia!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen!

Canon Pauline