The Nene Crossings Benefice

Fr. John writes..............

Dear All

Its been a long and sometimes troublesome journey this Lent, as we have explored Reconciliation. Troublesome, because for many, myself included, it touches raw nerves. There is something very practical about the challenge of Reconciliation. We can’t keep it on a purely theoretical basis, nor can we just look to talk about our Reconciliation to God alone. Time and time again we keep having thrown at us that Reconciliation is about our relationships with others. And that is when it gets up close and personal, you might say Jesus tells us to love our enemies. That is hard enough to begin with, but the question comes in Reconciliation, who exactly are our enemies? That was the question behind the story of the Good Samaritan. At times and places the enemy are clear to see, they might wear a different uniform or salute a different flag… yet even such formal enemies, can kind of be held at arms length, as in our heart of hearts we know it is impossible truly to bracket everyone of a certain nationality, or language or race or religion all together…. but what about the folk we just disagree with or dislike in our everyday lives, maybe we have never actually used the words enemy about them, because they have by words or actions, deliberately, or maybe not, caused us hurt. In many ways this is the real difficulty and very real place where Reconciliation touches us.

Our disagreement could be minor or major, and the consequences could be minor or major too. Indeed, just because the argument was over something minor, the colour of the back stairs curtains, whether tea or milk goes in first, doesn’t mean that the consequences are minor too, indeed I wonder if sometimes we tailor our memories to magnify the difference to justify the consequence.

Family rifts have begun on minor things…. the generations long war between Lilliput and Blefuscu in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was over which end of a boiled egg should be broken open. It was a satire on the way minor disputes had led to war in the Europe of Swift’s day. But somehow in the minds of the protagonists the issue had taken on vast importance. So I guess be very careful as to how you open your Easter Eggs lest you cause offence. Do we slip into that thinking ourselves?

Yes, it takes two to tango and one message from our series is that Reconciliation cannot be done on your own… there is a risk therefore if you offer to reconcile that it will be thrown back in your face. But that should not stop us taking the risk that it will not.

The Easter story is the story of God taking that risk. Firstly God took the risk that Jesus might not have accepted the challenge, remember he sweat blood over the issue in Gethsemane. Secondly, Jesus took the risk, what if the cross had not worked? What if there was no Easter Sunday after Good Friday?

I am reminded of Aslan’s words in the film The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, after being chided by Susan and Lucy for making them cry over his death, when they think he knew he would be resurrected anyway Aslan says “But no one has ever dared try it before”.

Our joy at this Easter time is because it did work, and the first step of reconciliation, between God and humanity has taken place, that next step is in our hands, to take just as big a risk, to be reconciled with others.

Alleluia Christ is Risen

He is Risen Indeed