The Paper March 2014
When in an argument with friends or family, and maybe you are right but the other party does not want to give in, the old adage says – “do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” There is a turning point between justice and grace – between holding-on and giving-in! Justice demands that the “right” answer is acknowledged by all parties – grace allows that one party might give in for the sake of peace. Relationships thrive not because the guilty are punished, but because the innocent are merciful. Bridges are built when both parties reach out towards the middle; they are generally not just built from one side. If a bridge is to be built the offending party needs to acknowledge the offence that has been committed, and the offended party needs to forgive.
Here it is Easter again. Easter is the holiday at the tail-end of summer - the last break before the winter starts to set in. As such many try to get away and enjoy a few days off from normal routine. To many people these days Easter is the Season of the chocolate eggs – a figure of new beginning; and we think of fertility (again new life and opportunities) through the Easter Bunny – all of which are more akin to the emerging spring of the Northern Hemisphere than the encroaching winter in the south. But the thoughts are still there!
To Christians Easter is a time of building bridges. In the Christian faith it was the time when God reached out to forgive people for the wrongs they have committed either by choice or through human frailty. He has given us a framework of right and wrong in Life’s Handbook – the Bible. Those who acknowledge that their life is not as it ought to be, and seek reconciliation with God, will start building from the other side. In our life situations it is the strong who must make the first move to build the bridge, so too it was the Creator who made the first move at the first Easter.
Easter is a core time in the Christian Faith. It is the time when Christians believe that Jesus was crucified and rose again. There is a large volume of secular evidence to support this claim, but predominantly Christians believe it because it is in the Word of God. Easter is the time when Christians think about the fact that God reached out to build a bridge so that we can communicate with Him. We don’t know exactly the process of how this works, but the bridge is there for us to seek to complete from our side. Those who are Christians have experienced in their everyday lives an inward conviction and feeling that the things recorded in the Scriptures, which have been believed for generations and handed down to us in our society, are true. For sure we have the right to question the events and the process, but it would seem that today many people dismiss the authenticity of the importance of the original Easter on the grounds of thinking that we in our generation are more enlightened than those of the past, and think that we may know better. But the process of Easter is about building bridges and reconciliation – this has not and will not change.
The content of being a Christian may change from generation to generation but the process remains the same – putting faith and trust in something that we believe is bigger than ourselves, and which is by nature beyond our comprehension.
We would like to invite you to visit us, or a Church in your local Community, to reflect on the events of Easter and to think about how something that happened almost 2,000 years ago is still important today. See Church Notices in this Paper for times of Meetings at the Christian Israelite Church at 196 Campbell Street – we have been in continuous service there since 1853 meeting the needs of people in a changing society.
Rodney Gray – Pastor Christian Israelite Church, 196 Campbell Street, Sydney (www.cichurch.com or visit cichurch.blogspot.com.au)