May letter 2017 - Steeplewood

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From Rev. Laura
An early morning meeting in a garden, a long afternoon walk, a surprise late night visit to a locked room, a breakfast barbeque on a beach, a disappearing act on a hilltop. It sounds like a mixed bag of events, but they share a common feature – Jesus.

Not just Jesus, but Jesus who had been dead, and was now alive. They share another common feature too – people who found it hard to recognise Jesus.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I met a group of people I’ve known some years, people I was even expecting to meet, but I still took a second or two to recognize them, because they were dressed for a wedding rather than in their work clothes!

If just the way someone is dressed can slow down me recognising them, how much more if the person I met were someone I knew was dead because I’d watched it happen and seen them buried?

Of course they found it hard to recognize Jesus – they were no less intelligent, nor more gullible than we are, and they knew that dead people stay dead. But not this time!

Easter, like Christmas, is a season: there’s a lot of focus on the ‘main’ day, but the churches’ celebration stretches much further. Easter season lasts 50 days: 40 between Easter Day and Ascension when Jesus physically left the earth. During those 40 days, many people met Jesus in many different circumstances, and the Gospel writers wrote about some of those meetings. They didn’t write in ways to make themselves look good – they were honest about the doubts and difficulties.

But in the end, those people who met the alive-again Jesus were so convinced that they were prepared to go through any persecution, and to die rather than deny what they had seen. They knew Jesus was alive. They knew this world is not the whole story. They knew their sins were forgiven. They knew they were accepted by God. And they knew nothing was going to take that away from them.

Take a good, hard look at the Easter story – and when you do, I pray that you will find that same knowledge, and be able to say, with the church throughout the centuries, “Alleluia, Christ is risen!”

Rev. Laura Dalton, Rector
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