#4 – what have we learned?
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”Matthew 11:29 NIV
When we pass through the brutal and lonely days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday we come to Easter Sunday and it may seem like all the horror of the trial and the cross are sanitised, washed away in a tide of Easter eggs and celebration. Christmas Day and Easter Day in the Christian calendar are hugely important but on their own they each have less significance unless we remember the life and example in between. We often include a selection from birth, life, example, death, rising and ascension of Jesus in our praise and/or prayers signifying the continuum of love and grace of God. By faith the resurrection signifies the death of sin and opens for every believer the promise of salvation. And yet the celebrations of Christmas and Easter, tugging emotional heartstrings with music, traditional or contemporary can become ends in themselves rather than the way to salvation. Jesus, fully God and fully man lived a sinless life and set the example for us in all the squalor of earthly strife. His whole life showed the height and depth of God’s love and because there was no other way, the enormity of that love was shown on the cross. If we want to take the cross, resurrection and salvation seriously then we have to learn to take the life and example just as seriously.
When the coronavirus pandemic reaches a conclusion there will be enormous relief but a mixture of emotions. There will be those who want to celebrate the return of all they hold dear but many who wish they could be with those they held dear. As the party continues, we would do well to reflect on the facets of human nature exhibited during the crisis and learn personally, as a community, church and nation from what we have seen. We have seen selfishness in supermarkets, in adherence to social distancing, poor judgement and responsibility, exploitation and personal abuse. And yet through the darkness of all that we have seen the selflessness of mutual support (our estate community Facebook page shows people ready to shop and help others), the dedication of public servants particularly nhs and care staff who entered a career but never signed up for this, family relationships strengthened, politicians willing to act together, higher earners ready to become delivery drivers and I am sure you could add to that list.
Through Jesus life, death and resurrection by faith and the grace of God, salvation is assured for all eternity because we have learned from the one who did no wrong, hung dying in our place and rose triumphant. If we could learn from the best of human reactions to the pandemic and retain that learning we could have a new take on life and humanity.
“Because he lives I can face tomorrow; because he lives all fear is gone;
Because I know who holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives.”