Thought for the month

Thought from Sainthill - April 2021

I didn’t listen to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s American interview, nor to all the ‘vox-pop’ after. But I did read the Queen’s statement. I was struck by the fact that it opened with ‘saddened’ and closed with ‘much loved’.
Anyone who has experienced the swinging pendulum of blissfulness and brokenness that is ‘family’ will appreciate those words. They are words also which fit this time of year: Holy Week and Easter. God knows those feelings; they weave through history and through the Bible: he is saddened by his human family, yet we are still, every single one of us, much loved.
It is hard to fathom the sadness of God, as his much loved children turn from him and choose life with self at the centre, and with all the consequences of that choice. Hard to understand too that we are still much loved; so much that God sent his Son, part of himself, to stand with humanity and suffer the full force of our choices. He experienced the worst, but his death on Good Friday is hugely more significant than a hasty and unjust execution. Christians believe that on the cross Jesus pays the debt, takes the punishment, buys us back (no single metaphor says it all!). Basically: he dies in my place.
But that is not the end: God is stronger than death; he did not leave his Son in a tomb. Easter celebrates Jesus alive; the sadness of God is overwhelmed by his joy in the newly opened way to restoration for us all, the much loved. He invites us to follow him, because now we can, in this life, where there is still much to sadden as well as to enjoy, and into a life beyond, free of sadness.
Though the King is saddened by his family, we are all -all- still much loved, and so forgiveness, reconciliation and new life are an ever-open invitation.  

Happy Easter! With my good wishes and prayers,

David   (Minister, Sainthill Baptist Church. Telephone, 260071)