Nigel Uden, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, shares how reading fuelled a rediscovery of the real song of Easter
This is Holy Week – the week of weeks. Throughout my ministry, Holy Week has been preceded by a season of slightly anxious wondering about what to say around the events of Calvary and the empty tomb. Always, some reading helps.
This year, I was assisted by a senior colleague offering a comment upon the sermon I had preached at a funeral. I had suggested that the empty tomb was crucial as an image of God’s reliably resurrected love, for the deceased and for those who mourn. I suppose I was saying that, in the inextinguishable light of the empty tomb, those who had sought to defeat that love were seen to have been foiled. Concerned that I was understating the cross, my correspondent reminded me of the work of Scottish theologian PT Forsyth, who 110 years ago published The Cruciality of the Cross.
After a journey out of more liberal thought, Forsyth wrote:
Only if [we] hold that in the atoning cross of Christ the world was redeemed by holy God once for all, that there, and only there, sin was judged and broken, that there and only there the race was reconciled and has its access to the face and grace of God – only then [have we] the genius and plerophory* of the Gospel. Continue reading
In May, the Revd Nigel Uden will preach at Guernsey United Reformed Church in the Channel Islands; Thaxted URC, Essex; and at the South West Hampshire Group, in Southampton. He will also attend the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly.
Derek Estill will preach at Christchurch, Hitchin, and at Rutherglen URC, Glasgow. Mr Estill will also attend a church-related community work meeting at Westbury Gardens URC, Blackburn, and a meeting of the URC Trust, London.
Both moderators will attend Mission Council (from 13 to 15 May, at High Leigh Conference Centre, Hertfordshire) and a meeting of the General Assembly arrangements committee, London.
Derek Estill, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, on Lent, and his other commitments in March
During Lent, I often need to take time to consider my own spirituality. This year, in addition, and mindful of needing to try and make a difference, I signed up to one of the ‘Living Lent’ campaign challenges by giving up meat during Lent. Led by the Joint Public Issues Team (Jpit), Living Lent, as many of you will know, is about creating a climate of change.
This Jpit initiative is a great way of catching people’s imagination to be a catalyst for action in changing our climate meteorologically and spiritually. So far so good – I am managing to keep myself focused on both these objectives.
Standing with Muslims
Did you take the opportunity to have a look around your local mosque on national Visit My Mosque Day (3 March 2019)? I was able to go to a mosque not far from the church I am a member of, with friends. During my visit, I was able to affirm and say to local Muslims that though we have real differences, we have a lot in common. Building good community relationships by finding out a little bit more about each other, and non-Christian faiths, is a good thing to do. As we know, Jesus was clear about reaching out to all communities and is a prefect role model for us in this troubled world. Such interfaith experiences help me to build confidence in speaking to others about my own faith, and I know that people from other faiths appreciate that. Continue reading