It’s that time of year again. Spring. And for clergy, April brings Easter and the APCMs. “The what?” I hear you ask.
Annual Parochial Church Meetings include reports from the different groups in the church and elections to the different roles such as Churchwardens, treasurers and PCC secretary. These are important roles and I would like to thank those who have worked so hard in these ways this year.
APCMs are important, but not a life and death issue. Church life should be full of joy and enjoyable. There is usually a laugh or two at the APCM and they give gratifying possibilities of heckling vicars – always fun - amongst the routine business.
Easter is also full of joy, a celebration of new life that is a matter of life and death. This is especially noticeable as we have had more funerals in the first two months of the year than in the whole of last year.
Easter is celebration of the death and return to life of Jesus of Nazareth. ‘We celebrate his death’ is an odd phrase, but an apt one. His death is an undisputed fact of history. His resurrection is, I think, the most plausible explanation of the facts. It is the interpretation of whether that death has any significance for the rest of us that is a matter of faith.
‘1 Corinthians’ is a letter from a converted Jew called Paul and it gives us the facts.
“3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,and then to the Twelve. “
The author is reminding them of the known facts. They had met Cephas (another name for Peter) and he points them to the scriptures (literally the writings – by which he means the Old Testament as we call it). It means that God gave the explanation in advance -” He died for our sins”
Easter is a great celebration and a time to renew faith. Our hymns give thanks to God for Jesus’ death and our joy in his resurrection. In the central acts of faith, Baptism and Holy Communion we associate our life with his death and return to life. It’s our way of saying “me too, please God”
Rev Bob Clucas