Published by Tim Cockell on Sat, 13 Apr 2019 16:06

Easter is late this year – almost as late as it possibly can be. The date of Easter is different every year because of the way it is calculated with its relationship to the Jewish Passover celebrations and the phases of the moon.  In case you didn’t know Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the 21stMarch.  Simple, eh?  But along with the complexity of calculating the date of Easter comes the complexity of understanding Easter.  

Having had several weeks of preparation through Lent, we now begin to look in expectation to Easter and for the joy of celebrating again the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  But before we get there we have to go through the roller-coaster of feelings that come from walking the way of the cross with Jesus, as we follow all the events leading up to his arrest, trial and crucifixion.  

One of the difficult things for us to grasp is that Jesus should need to die upon the cross in order to bring us salvation.  The language of sacrifice is not one that we easily understand in our day and age.  In the course of my ministry I have come across many people who have found this particular part of Christian teaching quite difficult.  It does seem odd that on the one hand we refer to God as loving and all-embracing and on the other talk about him sacrificing his Son for our sins on the cross.  How do we hold these things in tension?

One way of doing this is to look carefully at the context for Christ’s life and death.  He came to a people and a culture that understood the language of sacrifice.  A major part of Jewish religious practice at the time was geared around the sacrifice of animals by priests in the Temple. This was done for such things as purification for sins or thanksgiving for the birth of a child.  If then, the people to whom Jesus came understood this language of sacrifice, the only way that they would begin to understand who Jesus was and what he came to do would also be through this same language of sacrifice.

Because these things are a bit alien to us we can often shy away from having to think about them.  But they do help us to understand more, perhaps why Jesus came and died for the world and that might help us to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus more fully on Easter Day and through the weeks that follow.  

I hope that you will be able to join us for our Holy Week services as together we walk, watch, pray and follow the journey that Jesus takes to the cross and the Resurrection beyond.  Details of our Holy Week and Easter services are printed elsewhere in this magazine.

Wishing you every blessing at this most special of time of year.

Tim

 

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