East Finchley Methodist Church

From the Minister
A New BeginningPost it Minister

Martin Wellings

About this time three years ago, I bought some Easter cards and matching fridge magnets with the message 'A New Beginning'. I thought that the cards and accompanying poster capture the message of Easter and also expressed our hopes for better times as we emerged, slowly, gradually, and nervously, from the sequence of COVID lockdowns and began to establish some semblance of normal life. At best, they represented an affirmation of faith and hope; at the very least, they offered a splash of cheerful colour in gloomy times.

Easter Cross

Three years later, I think we are still coming to terms with the consequences of COVID-19. During the pandemic, a speaker at an online webinar commented that after a crisis, 80% of things revert to what they were before and 20% change. I don’t know where those numbers came from, or whether they are accurate. But a lot of things have resumed, more or less in recognisable form. We can meet for worship. We can sing. We can share the Peace and share bread and wine in Holy Communion.  We can cross the threshold of our own homes, and those of other people. We rejoicing all this, and in the buoyant atmosphere of Wesley’s and the toddlers each Thursday, and in the audiences who gather each month for our wonderful Live Music concerts.

I’m aware, though, that confidence has been shaken. Fragile individuals and organisations have not always bounce back. Patterns and rhythms have not always recovered, so across the Circuit, congregations remain depleted in many places. And, of course, we are affected by the social and psychological effects which extend well beyond the Church.

For a much longer than our COVID recovery – for the best part of 2000 years – the friends of Jesus have proclaimed a New Beginning in a world in which old realities seem very strong. Central to our existence as a church is faith in the healing, redeeming, life changing and world-transforming love of God, focused in the person, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. At Easter we declare that Christ is risen. Every Sunday, we mark the anniversary of the Resurrection by keeping the Lord's Day. Sometimes this may seem not only counter-cultural but also counter-intuitive, because the forces that conspire to put Jesus to death are still alive and well in our world;  nationalistic bigotry, misplaced religious zeal, state-sponsored violence, and old-fashioned power politics. To assert in the face of events in Ukraine, and Garza, and Yemen that Christ is making all things new takes a fair amount of faith and courage.

And yet, in the light of the Resurrection we make precisely that claim. The Gospel stories are very honest about the reaction of the first friends of Jesus to events of Holy Week and Easter. They were thrilled by the response of the crowds on Palm Sunday and then puzzled dismayed by Jesus' apparent failure to seize the initiative and make the most of his brief burst of popularity. Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane found the disciples running for cover and Peter denying in the strongest language that he had ever known Jesus. The news of the Empty Tomb was received with bewilderment and disbelief: it was only when they met the Risen Christ that the clouds lifted, and the light of faith was rekindle. And even then, questions remained

Easter does not require us, like the character in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, to believe six impossible things before breakfast. We have minds to think and question, and hearts to feel. But the testimony of the Church and the witness of our own experience to the Resurrection enables us to approach the half questions with faith and hope, and to continue to live in the light of Easter's New Beginning. Happy Easter Easter! 

Yours in Christ, 

Martin Wellings.


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Last Updated: 16 April 2024

  • 197 High Road
  • East Finchley
  • London
  • N2 8AJ

020 8444 2016
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