Paul’s Easter Letter

Dear Friends,

As we prepare to journey with Jesus through another Holy Week and Easter, we do so aware that our world desperately needs to experience some resurrection life of its own.

Our planet home continues to groan, feeling keenly those hurts we’ve inflicted upon it over many generations but seem so unwilling to seriously address. With countless wars and conflicts raging around the world, peace feels like a distant dream. At home there are so many signs of division, and growing numbers of people are struggling to make ends meet.

As much as we’d all love to be able to wave a magic wand and make everything better, life has taught us that that’s never going to happen. And though some would perhaps claim otherwise, Jesus’ own death was clearly not a wand-waving exercise on God’s part either. If it had been, the world today would surely be different to the one that it is – a world crying out for transformation.

The story of scripture suggests that God’s approach to transformation is incarnational. In other words, God seeks to bring about change from within and entrusts much of the task to human beings – by which I mean, people like you and me. That’s why Jesus calls people to follow him and invites them to share in his work. And it’s why, having shared the highs of a unique mountaintop experience with his friends, he then sets his face towards Jerusalem and leads them into places of difficulty and danger, hurt and pain. That’s why he speaks about the cost of following him. All of this suggests to me that, if we want to see change in this world, we need to work for it as well as pray for it. And that means starting from where we are – the place that God has called us to embody and reflect God’s love in.

As we head towards Easter and beyond, both as a church community and as individuals, may these words of Ruth Harvey, the leader of the Iona Community, inspire us in our working and assist us in our praying. And, in their light, let us re-commit ourselves to following Jesus’ way of love and to participating in God’s work of transformation. The world needs us.

Take us on our journey
from where we are to where you want us to be;
so that we become a community
where all are welcomed and no one is excluded,
all are valued and no one is made to feel inadequate,
all are forgiven and no one is ashamed to belong,
all are encouraged and no one is too hurt to come among us.

Lead us on our journey
from who we are to who you want us to be;
so that patience is built into us,
kindness is assumed in us,
gentleness is part of us,
compassion flows from us,
truth is second nature to us,
and the commitment of love is part of us.*

With every blessing,

**from ‘Lead us on a journey’ in Eggs and Ashes by Ruth Burgess & Chris Polhill (eds.) (Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, 2004) © 2004 Ruth Burgess & Chris Polhill but these words © Ruth Harvey*