Superintendent's LetterApril 2021
I hope this finds you and your family safe and well in this Easter season.
This Easter we heard John’s account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 20:1-18) which reveals that Easter joy was not immediate. Mary Magdalene found the tomb open and rushed to tell the other disciples fearing the body of Jesus had been taken. Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved found the cloths in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped lying in the tomb, but they didn’t find Jesus. Mary, Peter and the other disciple are left wondering what has happened. There is reason to hope that Jesus has been raised from the dead, but there is nothing concrete. They are left with some hope but also questions, confusion and anxiety.
It was only after the two disciples had left that Mary looked into the tomb. She found angels sitting where Jesus had been placed; they asked her why she was crying. Having responded she turned around and saw a figure standing there who also asked her why she was crying. When she replied the person simply said ‘Mary’ – and everything changed. Suddenly Mary was filled with joy and excitement because she knew that this was
Jesus, her Lord, risen from the dead. Seeing and engaging with the risen Jesus filled her with joy which she then shared. How Jesus was raised from the dead remained a mystery, but it was enough for her to see and know that Jesus was risen and alive.
We find ourselves in a time of transition as Covid restrictions continue to ease and some churches re-open or open more fully for communal worship and other activities. I wonder whether we can truly feel Easter joy and find ourselves with the hope but also the questions of the empty tomb without the joy and confidence of seeing and knowing that Jesus is risen.
The coming weeks and months may well bring a mixture of emotions, feelings, questions and concerns. We can begin to see family and friends again and enjoy activities we have missed for many months. In this beginning is the hope of better things to come. Yet, we may also find ourselves coming to terms with what has been lost and what has changed. We don’t know what the future holds for us and we don’t know what we will find as we come to terms with the impact of Covid upon our lives.
The uncertainty we face may make us excited, anxious or a mixture of both. Covid has so disrupted what was familiar and comfortable that we know whatever lies ahead will be different, giving us opportunities to engage, relate and assess our vision and mission in new ways. Yet, we may find this future disturbing when we may long for the comforts of the past. I pray that in time we may come to know the joy, peace, excitement and hope of our risen Lord in our midst as we journey together through this time of transition.
In facing the excitement and anxiety of this time we may find that the Methodist Way of Life a helpful framework to anchor ourselves spiritually.
Details about the Methodist Way of Life are in this month’s Spotlight article.
Finally, I write this letter in a time of national mourning following the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip. We join our prayers for Her Majesty the Queen and her family in the prayer offered by the President and Vice President of the Conference.
We give thanks for the long life of Prince Philip, for all that he has contributed to our nation and beyond, and for his support of our Queen. We pray that he will be at rest trusting in the grace of God.
We remember before you Her Majesty the Queen and her family praying that they will know your comfort and strength in the days to come.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.