A New Creation: our task is just beginning
The imagery of ‘urgent activity’ fills the Resurrection account in John’s gospel. We hear how Mary runs to tell Peter and John what she has discovered, and in their turn, Peter and John run to the tomb in order to see for themselves what Mary has in her confusion found. There is plenty of energy all around, things need to be done, and challenges met. I wonder if we, having connected with the action of that first Easter morning, can tap into our own urgency and find in our response to the amazing news of the resurrection a new drive. Can we discover a new motivation to spur us forward in our efforts to build up our parish as a beacon of Christian hope and love here in Wollaton? There is much to do, and now that we have some financial resource on which to build up our facilities, can we work to shape our community into an even more missionary one, one which offers an opportunity for all to feel involved as part of the body of Christ; part of his ‘New Creation’.
We must of course recognise the source and foundation of what we are about to embark upon. Our lives are centred on and in Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord, and it is this fact which must feed our ambition. What we do, we do for others, what we create, we create in order to make the gospel present in peoples’ lives, what we build, we build in order to offer a centre of worship which expresses our joy and our thanks that God, in and through his son Jesus Christ, has come amongst as one of us, to teach us, to guide us, and to show us the path to life. This means that we need to think carefully about how best we can achieve these goals, whilst still seeking to create something beautiful and expressive; a space which allows people to explore the mystery and joy of God’s creation, within the context of their own experiences. It is a real challenge, one that will require all our skills, energy and enthusiasm. But let us not be daunted by the challenge. Let us see in this challenge a real opportunity to make a difference. On the day of the Resurrection, the new creation began – the stone which was rejected became the cornerstone – and as we embark upon our building, we do so with that cornerstone as the essential, indispensable rock without which we will never succeed.
So we must begin with the words and deeds of Risen Jesus in our hearts and on our lips. We must allow them to fill us and be the inspiration which galvanises us in the work ahead. The risen Jesus will speak to us in the gospel as we hear his call to spread his word and his love, and to make his kingdom present. Let us do so with our hearts open to receive his message of compassion and mercy, of peace and justice, of consolation and hope, and let us take up his invitation with renewed eagerness and passion. We must respond like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, with hearts that burn for him. If we can, then we will achieve so much for our community and the people we serve as it grows and matures.
Over all of this we must, as St Paul tells us, put on love. Unless we do it for love of God and neighbour it will have no value. We can have the most beautiful of buildings and the most modern of facilities, but they will simply be empty vessels, clashing cymbals and booming gongs if at their heart there is a void. It is the structure that is our parish community, the members who come each week to be feed with the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation that will turn these buildings into the living breathing Church that Jesus called us to be.
May God bless us in the work ahead. May the power of the Risen Lord raise our hearts and fill us with his energy as we set out on the task before us.