Vicar's Bit April 2018

Easter – God doing God in a new way

Vicar’s bit Revd John Longuet-Higgins


It’s Easter. Alleluia Christ has risen! At momentous memorial moments God does himself in a new and startling way. And when God does himself (or reveals himself) in a new way, God expects those of faith to respond in a new way.


A momentous memorial moment for Abram and Sarai was when in their old age (Sarai was a hundred), God promised them a child who would be a blessing to all nations. And to mark the moment God changed their name to Abraham and Sarah. Their response to this covenant was to laugh. “A baby at 100 years! Ha ha!”


Christ reborn from a grave, following a tortuous death, is certainly a momentous memorial moment, when God does himself in a new and startling way. The response of the faithful at first call was a cry of fear. When Christ said, “my peace I give you, my peace I leave with you”, fear turned to astonishment and blessing. Here at Easter was Abraham’s blessing for all nations, a blessing which comes to us by faith in the living God.


A momentous memorial moment is when God gives us a covenant or promise. The old covenant was in Abraham, the new covenant, the Easter covenant, is in the risen Jesus. We the faithful are called to respond.


How? Not by the way we did in the past… Paul in Romans 4 says we must let go of the law as the way to salvation; let go of repetitious former practices, legalisms without any life in it. No, we respond by faith. Trusting God will teach us new and living ways, Easter ways of doing God together.


A sign of Easter in our benefice is the Messy Church movement. On May 2nd at Staunton and Corse we are doing church in a messy way. Messy church is messy because that is the sort of church a child and parent feel most comfortable with. Crafts activities, food and informal worship. It is a way of forming relationships. “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you” says the risen welcoming Lord Jesus’.


This momentous memorial moment, this new beginning, in God’s grace we are hoping to grow midweek in our three primary schools, starting with Messy Church at Staunton and Corse School on Wednesday May 2nd. And with the “Faith in our schools, World Cup initiative” at Hartpury School on June 13th, over this summer, we truly are setting out in new and living ways with the risen Jesus.


However, the most dramatic Easter initiative is going to be the “Family Development Minister” initiative. It is the dream of employing a “Family Minister” around which our schools and family ministry can grow in our Benefice. For this to happen we are needing some seed capital. Following the start of Messy Church on May 2nd, there is a invitation to you to come to the Rectory 3-5pm on Saturday 5th May. We want to find 30 people able and willing to give £100 a year for three years to this initiative. We know that when we can raise 1/3rd of the cost of a Family Development minister ourselves, then we can find charitable trusts who will support us with the further 2/3rd we need.


Here is a momentous memorial response of faith to God. To the living God who is doing himself in a new way at Easter.


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