Weekly Update - 2nd April
Dear sisters and brothers
At various times over the last year I’ve been reminded of an old friend whose husband had to spend 3 weeks away from home just after her last child had gone off to University. After two weeks she phoned a friend to ask if she could come round and have a hug. “The lack of physical contact is killing me”, she said. Many people will relate to how she felt, whether because of the separation caused by the lock-down restrictions, or from other experiences of separation and loss.
On the first Easter morning we read about some women going to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. Their intention was to anoint his body with the spices they had prepared. One gets the impression that these women just wanted to be near to Jesus’ body; to touch it one more time. When Mary finally sees the risen Jesus, the first thing that she does is clasp a hold of him. All of this helps us to understand both the physicality of the resurrection (the risen Jesus had a physical body that could be touched and so shall we) and the fact that the resurrection of Jesus brings to an end all that separates us from one another.
In the last of his famous Narnia novels, C.S. Lewis describes the experience of the children at last finding themselves in Aslan’s kingdom: “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” He goes on to write, “For them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
As we look forward with a degree of hope to the easing of the lockdown restrictions we might be able to understand a little of what C.S. Lewis was trying to describe and what it means to hope in the resurrection. A time when the things that separate us from one another, the things that frighten us and hold us back, the things that make us lonely – a time when all of that will be past and we will be living in a “new normal”. Of course, the post-pandemic new normal will still have lots of difficulties and struggles, but the new normal that Jesus has won for us and promised to us will be entirely free of all pain, tears and sadness. It will be like the difference Mary experienced between walking forlornly to the tomb longing for one more opportunity to be near Jesus and touch his body, to realising that he was alive and would with her forevermore.
This Easter, as we continue to struggle and look forward with some hope, I pray that you would see in the risen Jesus the promise of all he will give to those who put their trust in him. And I pray that you would, like Mary, know the peace and joy which his resurrection brings to us all here and now.
Happy Easter, with love from Sarah and myself,
Rev. Ian Aitken
52 Ashgrove Road West
Tel. 01224 686929
Aberdeen: Stockethill Church of Scotland
Scottish Charity Number - SC030587