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Minister’s letter Spring 2017

Minister’s Letter
Dear Friends,
A good method to learn about someone’s tastes, is to look in their shopping trolley, when you meet them at the supermarket. Another way to learn about them is to have a look at their bookshelves to see with what they feed their minds. These are certainly ways to learn about their mind and body. However, getting to know their soul, when it comes to faith is another matter. Spiritual reading can help, and learning about another person’s favourite Bible passage, is a must. So, what is your favourite Bible passage? I’m always keen to know. And, as it is only fair to answer my own question, I can say without a doubt, that mine is from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 24 verses 13-35; the account of when Jesus appeared to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus.
There are various wonderful aspects to this early Resurrection appearance on Easter Day. The first is how they do not recognise Jesus as he comes alongside them and engages them in discussion. The failure to recognise Jesus, in spite of all he was teaching them, continues until he breaks bread with them at their meal. The mystery, suspense and surprise of this story, are what makes it special for me. That Jesus is beside them as they go along, without them knowing his identity. As we travel along during this Eastertide and any time, whenever and wherever we are, we should be open for the possibility that the stranger in our midst could well be God, or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit in disguise; testing what we know and understand about our Saviour and Lord, and the significance of his death and resurrection to and in our lives.
There is just as much scope for variety and interest when we ask someone about their favourite hymn. So, what is your favourite hymn? I’m always keen to know. I am aware that many of us have more than one favourite, so I invite you to compile a list of your top ten. What would make it into your list? You could even have the luxury of having a seasonal list to avoid a conflict between Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. And as this is an Easter edition of our magazine, let us concentrate on Easter hymns. When I Survey The Wondrous Cross is definitely high among my favourites, along with Thine Be The Glory.
And, to add to them I would have to include In Christ Alone. All three of those hymns, although very much about Easter could be sung at any time of year, partly, because they are so popular, but more importantly, Easter is so central to the Christian faith that it defies being confined to just one time of year. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the essence of our salvation. They are what the Christian faith is all about and why it is crucial that each one of us own the
story for ourselves. And so, my challenge for you this Eastertide until Pentecost and beyond is to study the scriptures to find your favourite passage and understand why it is so. And, search your hymn book, and go online too, so that you can know your top ten hymns and why each one has earned its place in your heart. There may well be a Songs of Praise service when you need to provide a hymn with your story, and a reading with your thoughts about your faith in Christ Jesus our Saviour and Lord. Or, even as you travel along life’s highway, you might meet a stranger who asks you about your relationship with and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

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