It’s very easy for us to be on auto pilot as Christians especially as we approach the major festivals such as Christmas and Easter. All the more reason then that we find new ways to engage thoughtfully with the Bible so that familiar stories regain their freshness and impact. I want to suggest two different ways to do this.
Saltmine: “Darkness Falls”
We have had several visits over the years from the Saltmine Theatre Company. This year they are coming to St. Nicholas Thursday 13th March for a performance at 8pm at the Church. Tickets are available from the Church office. “Tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, John finds himself breaking rocks alongside killers and thieves – but John has a secret, John has a story and John’s story will change everything”. My hope is that this performance will enable us to look at John’s gospel in a fresh way so that we are able to be challenged and encouraged in our Christian faith.
Tim Chester: “The Glory of the Cross”
I have been reading Tim Chester’s latest collection of reflections for Lent taken from John. There are many thrilling sections which opened my eyes to the riches of the gospel. For example, on page 105 he reflects on Pilate’s statement to the crowd as Jesus is presented to them during his trial, “Behold, the man” (John 19:5).
"When Pilate has Jesus wheeled out before the baying crowd, his words
unwittingly sound a prophetic note: “Here is the man!” God created Adam –
or “man”, which is what “Adam” means – to rule over his world, to exercise the kingship of God. God created man on the sixth day. Now John describes the
events of Good Friday – the sixth day of the week. Let us make man, God had
said – a man to “rule”. Now Pilate says, “Here is the man”. Here is the man to
rule in the way mankind has failed to, in the way you have failed to; here is the
King to restore God’s kingdom."
What a wonderful truth to be reminded of as we see Jesus the perfect man preparing to rule through the cross.
So as you prepare for Easter this year please don’t turn on the auto pilot! Find ways to re-engage with the gospel story, whether through Saltmine, “The Glory of the Cross”, or through other means. Let us take time to savour who Christ is and what He has done for us once again so that we will be filled with awe and wonder as we consider the cross and resurrection.
(Rector, St. Nicholas Sevenoaks)