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April - May 2015

posted 8 Aug 2015, 23:38 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 8 Aug 2015, 23:47 ]

Dear All,

This week has come the sad news of the death of Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite authors. I'm aware his books are rather like marmite – you either love them or hate them. I have the vast majority of his 'Discworld' series on my bookshelves. His books are thought- provoking even if you don't like science-fiction. Terry Pratchett is known to have had a questioning faith, and that comes across in his writing. One of his best books on religion is a book called 'Small Gods'. It talks about how gods – or God – can become so encapsulated in the process and routine of religion that the process becomes the object of belief, not God himself. Where the ritual becomes the focus, the faith can die out.

Churches can become very good at holding on to the ritual, the building, the routine of faith. Very good at focusing on the details. Chairs and pews and hymn books and what order of service is best. Perhaps because it's easier to focus on the small things rather than the big questions of faith. And we're approaching one of the big questions of faith. Easter. The death and resurrection of Jesus. As Christians, we believe that Jesus was the Son of God. That he was sent to earth to help us, to teach us, to spend time with us. That he was accused of crimes he didn't commit, and was put to death on a cross. But we also believe that he rose from the dead, and is with us now. All for love. Something that is so illogical and counterintuitive that we struggle to understand even as we believe. Yet as Christians this is a central point of our faith. I wish I could explain it logically. As a scientist it would make my life so much easier. I know from experience that I belong to a loving, generous God. I know the story. Yet there is a yawning, yearning chasm between logic and my reality. I must have faith, because faith is what allows me to believe the unexplainable.

For the world outside the church, we're coming up to the season of Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs. To the long Easter weekend, a time for celebrating with family and friends. And often that is what is remembered, not the source of Easter itself. There is nothing wrong with Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs – so long as we also remember the story and the reason for the eggs. The eggs are a symbol of resurrection. An egg looks from the outside as though it is a stone – cold and hard . Yet inside an egg the promise of life is held.

This Easter, when you celebrate, when you eat your Easter eggs, search for the life inside your faith. Hold in your mind that promise of new life and new hope. Remember that there is always the possibility of joy and peace.

I wish you that hope, peace and joy this Easter. With every blessing,

Vittoria

Rev'd Vittoria Hancock