Timothy Radcliffe, in his reflections on the last words of Jesus from the Cross, asks why as a society we are so lacking in trust. Those of us fortunate to live in Western Europe are the generation who have known greater safety, greater freedom and greater wealth than any that have gone before, yet we are prone to act out of fear. Radcliffe suggests that is because we want to have greater control over every aspect of our lives and when we don’t get it we panic.
That bad things happen is a fact but it is a matter of choice whether we allow those things to determine who we are and how we live. I had the privilege of being in the congregation for the Good Friday vigil with the churches of Cumnor and then leading worship on Easter Day at Windsor. Both occasions were opportunities to think about the choices we make and our need to own them. Easter is about new beginnings and the determination to choose hope over fear. Mary, Peter and the disciple that Jesus loved all had to come to terms with their loss and despair in order to be messengers of hope to others. Easter is less about the mystery of an empty tomb and more about trusting God to fulfil the promise of a ‘new heaven and a new earth’.
As individuals, as local communities of faith and as the United Reformed Church it is time we started living as if we believed that God will keep the promise and choose to live by hope and leave fear behind at the foot of the cross.