It’s the season of Easter and we miss the daffodils. Still we’ve got this tree outside our windows just where we eat so we can hardly complain about the lack of yellow flowers! I’ve had a short spell in the garden this morning which has been therapeutic. The lack of sleep the last few days is still to catch me up I think as I was up before the alarm this morning – unusual on a school day!
I found that in Holy Week I was able to enter into the story of Jesus’ last week a little. I like having the ability to make enough time to enter into these things – what gives me the ability is that it’s part of my job to do it so I make the effort because I aspire to do my job well, but of course I would recommend it for anyone who wishes to follow Christ. Easter Day seems to me so much more joyful and more meaningful somehow when you’ve taken the time to go through Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. In the same way, Pentecost seems more fulfilling and meaningful when you’ve taken the journey with the early disciples through the shock of repeated appearances of Jesus after Easter, accompanied them to Jesus’ Ascension, and then hung about waiting for his Spirit for a week and a half. We’re with Thomas behind locked doors next weekend, then my favourite, on the Emmaus road, before we turn to readings thinking about who Jesus is, before he is taken from us, lifted up into heaven. Accompanying these readings we have a series from Acts, launching straight in, funnily enough, with three weeks of readings from the events on the day of Pentecost before we get the stoning of Stephen – a poignant reading for me, and then Paul preaching in Athens using as his sermon illustration an altar he’d seen dedicated to ‘An Unknown God’. By this time the gospel readings have come round to looking forward to the Spirit coming.
In order for that to happen Jesus must go.
The ressurection could not happen except Jesus first die and the disciples be left in disarray. The Spirit will not come until Jesus in physical manifestation is taken away. They seem to take the second removal of their saviour a little better than the first. One can get accustomed to disarray – come and work in the church and see! No. I mean that it’s possible to understand and trust God in such a depth that when he feels far away our hearts are no longer as troubled as we were earlier on in our journey with him. Take it steady. Walk with him. God runs when he rushes out to welcome you home but the normal way of faith is to walk with God.