First Word - April


“In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north, But one great fellowship of love throughout the whole wide earth.” The opening words of this hymn seem most apposite at this time as we learn of the awful tragedy that has beset worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand when Muslims were gunned down whilst at Friday prayers. We perhaps take it for granted that we can freely gather in safety in this country to offer our worship in church, synagogue or mosque. The tragedy for New Zealand is further emphasized as it has been a country known for its cohesiveness and freedom from such atrocities. The hymn reminds us as a Christian community that we are called to regard each person with respect; to acknowledge our common humanity whatever our colour, creed or culture. As we journey through the season of Lent we are reminded it was a time of testing for Jesus. Many of life’s twists and turns bring their own challenges and we can feel very alone at times. The hours spent on the cross undoubtedly were the loneliest and most challenging of Jesus’ life but even in that darkest hour he reached out to his mother and beloved disciple to demonstrate his love for those closest to him. The Easter experience from the Last Supper with the disciples – to his arrest and trial – to his death on the cross and his rising from the dead are a demonstration of the lengths that God goes to in order to embrace us with his love. On Easter Day as we proclaim Christ is risen we affirm his love for humanity and his triumph over the forces of darkness and that whatever our differences in culture or faith we share a common humanity created in the image of God. Thus – “In Christ now meet both east and west, in him meet south and north; all Christlike souls are one in him, throughout the whole wide earth.” Fr. Stuart Nairn