Dear Friends

Dear Friends

Written address from our Minister Revd. Bill Bowman

New Life

Easter Sunday this year is on 1st April – quite early in the spring.  Because of our particularly cold winter, the daffodils are a bit late in blooming in our gardens but they are coming out now just in time for Easter.  These spring flowers are natural and beautiful symbols of the new life which is at the heart of the Easter message.

On the road to Easter Sunday we journeyed through Lent which led us to Good Friday and to get to the sunlight of the garden of Resurrection we had to first pass through the shadow of the cross of Calvary.  In his first epistle – the apostle Peter, who denied knowing Jesus on the night of his arrest, writing several years after this denial gets to the very heart of the reason why we call the day Jesus was crucified, ‘Good’ Friday.

“Above all love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

(1 Peter 4:8)

Peter was no casual observer of Jesus; he travelled with him for three years – and in all that time he saw no flaws in Jesus, but rather proof after proof that Jesus was the one the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to – the Messiah.  Nothing less than God in human flesh. Jesus was perfect in love and action; healing, forgiving, kind, compassionate, choosing to face death itself, even the horror of death on a cross in order to cover over our sins with his love.

That quite simply is the Good News of Good Friday – our sins have been covered over by Jesus’ love. As the late Johnny Cash put it in the trailer for his 1971 film of the life of Jesus, “The Gospel Road” – “His darkest day has become our brightest.”

But we can only see the brightness of Good Friday through the window of Easter Sunday.  Jesus’ resurrection is the certain proof that Good Friday was a victory and not a defeat.  In the first three months of this year, sadly, I seem to have conducted more funerals than in most previous years. A prayer I use at funeral services beautifully encapsulates the hope, assurance and promise of both Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

“God our Father, we thank you that Jesus came to die for us and rise again. His cross declares your love to be without limit; his resurrection, that death itself is defeated. By his victory we are assured of the promise that you will never leave us or forsake us; that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, can ever separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.” (URC Service Book)

Happy Easter!!

Shalom,

Bill

Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

Although Easter is not until 1st April, the month of March contains two very important Sundays in the Lenten Season – Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. At first, apart from both being Sundays there doesn’t seem much connection between these two dates in the Church’s year. But there is a connection and the connection is … Continue reading Why did Jesus have two donkeys?

“Thank You” letters

By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will be just getting underway. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters. Mainly to several kind elderly aunties who had sent me Christmas … Continue reading “Thank You” letters

Bah!! Humbug!!

“Bah!! Humbug!!” These words we associate with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol”.  This expression and calling someone a “bit of a Scrooge” are commonly used idioms to describe people who don’t enter into the Christmas celebrations with much enthusiasm. Odd as it may seem, in days gone … Continue reading Bah!! Humbug!!

Truth

It is 100 years ago this year that the United States entered the First World War on the Allied side. It was a US Senator, Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) of California who in 1917 observed “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Ironically Johnson died on 6th August 1945 the day the Allies dropped the … Continue reading Truth

Sukkot

We celebrated harvest at Emmanuel a little earlier than usual this year and I am grateful to everyone for their part in making it such a joyful celebration. In early October in the Jewish community another harvest festival called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew, takes place. This is a week-long festival whose … Continue reading Sukkot

New Year?

September is the month of beginning again. Schools return, university terms start as do all the host of church and secular activities that take a summer break. September to me always seems a more sensible time to celebrate New Year than 1st January which was the date the Romans chose and we have followed on … Continue reading New Year?

The King’s Cave

During our recent holiday on the beautiful Isle of Arran among the places of interest Marion and I visited was what is known as, “The King’s Cave.” This is a cave where it is said in the year 1306, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, fleeing from the wrath of England’s King Edward the first, had” … Continue reading The King’s Cave

Politics?

As I write the General Election is over by less than a week and the Prime Minister is in the process of putting together an agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to secure a parliamentary majority going forward. Needless to say the two sides don’t agree on everything and a compromise will have to … Continue reading Politics?

Fake News

Dear Friends, I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that this month, on Thursday the eighth, we have a General Election and all the main parties have been, for what seems an age now, wooing us for our votes. It is certainly not for me to tell you for whom to vote … Continue reading Fake News