From the Minister
Now the Green Blade Rises
One of the exciting things about moving to a new house is waiting to see what will emerge in the garden in the course of the first year. ‘Don’t rush into making lots of changes,’ said a wise friend. ‘Just wait-and-see what happens!’ And so we have. Even before Christmas, shoots were appearing with the promise of spring flowers. This seemed very early for new growth, and, sure enough, those green shoots have now vanished under a blanket of snow and ice. But they are still there, and we continue to wait, patiently (well, fairly patiently!), to see whether they will flower as daffodils or something more unusual and exotic.
A blast of winter chilling the green shoots seems an apt image for experience since mid-December. We were expecting a gradual relaxation of restrictions, and what actually happened was tier four and lockdown three. We were hoping for a chance to reconnect with family and friends over Christmas but we were struck instead by a new strain of COVID-19 with its attendant surge in cases, hospital admissions, and deaths.
Now we are chaired by the steady roll-out of the vaccine, protecting the most vulnerable in our society and increasingly available to the population at large, but anxiety is persist and the warnings from the politicians and the public health experts remain grim. Will schools be back on site after the Easter holidays? We hope so! And will we be able to celebrate Easter in our church buildings? We hope so! But we don’t know. It’s as if an Arctic blizzard has struck our hopeful green shoots, bearing them in the snow.
But the shoots are still there. Just as the seasonal rhythm endures, so do human resilience and hope. For Christians, these qualities are undergirded by the loving presence and purposes of God. From mid-February until early April we travel through one of the most testing seasons of the Christian year, walking with Jesus to the wilderness and then treading with him the road to the cross. The six weeks of Lent remind us not only of external temptations but also of the in the struggle with identity and vocation. Holy week shows us that renewal for the world comes at a tremendous price. Jesus gives his life to make a new life possible for us.
Right at the centre of the Easter story there is a day-long pause. After the drama of Palm Sunday and the rollercoaster of Holy Week, after the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, everything stops for twenty-four hours. For the first friends of Jesus, Holy Saturday wasn’t a chance to draw breath before Easter; it was the end of the story. In the light of the Resurrection, we know differently. Good Friday is still the darkest of days, and waiting is still desperately hard, but we wait in hope. We know, sometimes against all that our immediate thoughts and feelings tell us, that Christ is risen, and that’s life, light, and love are stronger than darkness and death.
Last Updated: 1 March 2021
- 197 High Road
- East Finchley
- N2 8AJ
020 8444 2016