Dear Friends,

I am writing these words at the end of a day of contrasts. Early this morning, I set out on my journey in the cold and fog, as I made my way, cautiously, to my destination. Late this afternoon, I journeyed back along the same route in sparkling, warm sunshine, glad to experience the early signs of Spring. In many ways March and April can be months of surprising contrasts. During March our journey through Lent and Passiontide continued, but the glory of Easter will burst into new life as we travel through month of April.

A friend was recounting her visit up Farnhill Pinnacle, near where I used to live, highlighting a walk up through the woods. With the pinnacle in sight, my friend had been particularly struck by the final stage of her journey. On one side of the path there was an expanse of grey-black burnt moorland. On the opposite side there was a blaze of colour: the yellow of the gorse and the purples of the heather.

Perhaps this contrast could be illustrative of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The barren, lifeless expanse evokes a sense of the suffering of Jesus upon the cross. The yellow and purple carpet of plants cries out about the joy of the day when God raised Jesus from the dead.

As my friend noted, the path clearly separated the two different sights. What her eyes took in depended upon the way she was facing. She could angle herself so that she could see either only one side of the path or the other, or so that she saw a combination of the two views.

We encounter many contrasting experiences in life. Some are extremely traumatic and sad. At such times all can appear dark and desolate. The message of Good Friday is that God, through Jesus, has entered into that kind of experience and continues to share in the pain and suffering of individuals within his world. Other occasions are full of joy and celebration, of life and colour. These are echoes of the wonder of Easter Day, when Jesus, through his resurrection and the power of love, overcame evil and all that seeks to destroy life. God shares with us in these moments of great pleasure when we are glad to be alive. However, perhaps generally, we live between the lows and the highs and the scenery appears to be a blend of bad and good. In those times too, God walks with us as our companion and offers help along the way.

Obviously, I do not know how life feels for you at present, more like a Good Friday, or an Easter Day, or somewhere in-between. However, like the apostle Paul, I trust that there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God. So, this Holy Week and Easter, I hope and pray that you will know something of God’s loving presence, however bad or good life seems to be.


Every blessing,