A lovely encouraging guest post from Michael Roberts (Anglican Vicar in the Blackburn Diocese)
Earlier this term I took an assembly in one of our schools to explain the communion service. When I finished they asked some questions about communion and then fired away on many questions about Jesus. They asked so many questions that in the end the head had to call a halt. These were thoughtful questions and it was clear that I could not respond with, “Now little children, believe this as I am the Vicar and I am telling you what to believe…..” (At school my brother got into trouble for asking if God exists!) The children, both juniors and infants asked questions about the death and resurrection of Jesus among other things, and from their questions did not want a simplistic answer but a serious one. Too often both children and adults are given simplistic answers or fobbed off with sayings of practical atheism, like, “You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian” or “It doesn’t matter what you believe if you are sincere.”
And so I had to answer questions on the resurrection of Jesus. I knew the silly kiddies’ answers that he came back to life again are both false and help no one, including children, even though it is often given as an answer. Sadly some adults think that is what resurrection is. I cannot remember exactly what I said or how I put it as I tried to make it as simple as possible. I pointed out that Jesus was dead in the tomb and that on Easter the tomb was empty and his body was transformed so was different to his earthly body. (This is what the Gospels say.) I also said it was difficult to understand and that many things are also difficult to understand e. g. breathing or how this computer works. They could see that and found they could think about faith rather than just accept it. (One needs to do both.)
As we considered what we didn’t understand, we could see that God is beyond us so we only partially understand Him. (If you think you understand God, then you don’t!) From there we go to the wonder and mystery of God, who is always beyond us leading us on, but became a human in Jesus to share with us and to die and rise for us. I could ramble on about this…..
So as we come to Holy Week and remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, we need to see that it reflects the wonder and mystery of God and his love for us. We don’t fully understand but each year as every Christian observes both Good Friday and Easter (as every Christian will), we think a little bit more about the fantastic events of Jerusalem. His death on the cross for our forgiveness should make us think of our failings and his resurrection emphasises that death is not the end. It is not the trivial false hope of “s/he has gone to a better place”, but God has raised his Son and we shall be raised too.
This should affect the way we live our lives now, both in our behaviour and our celebration of Easter every first day of the week.