At my church (Tamworth Elim) we have begun a 5 week journey towards Good Friday and Easter. Our family services seek to balance the demands of younger families and lively children with times for reflection and consideration of the deepest mystery of grace expressed in the passionate love of Christ.
In parallel I have been privately exploring the profoundly Jewish context of Passover and the foreshadowing of God's gift of salvation contained within the history of the people of Israel and the Exodus.
Jesus was a wholly Jewish man, his story is told (by and large) by fellow Jews. The understanding of his death and resurrection is explored by that most Jewish of evangelists - Paul (previously known as Saul), once a thoroughly fanatical Pharisee.
Jesus tells his followers that he has come to fulfil the promises of the Old Covenant, not to do away with it but to wholly realise it, and so rescue not just the Chosen People but all mankind through all of time.
In the hurly burly of a contemporary family church service it can be hard to dig deep enough into the Easter story to explore and weigh these significant truths but thankfully our church also organises small group discussions across the community each week, where the headlines from Sunday can be reviewed and debated in detail.
I am deeply thankful for both church "together" and church "at home" and for the friendships formed over many years through which has been forged my spiritual family and my faith of both head and heart.
My poem this week is taken from my book "Start to Finish" The Books of the Bible in Poetry. It is the poem written for Matthew's Gospel and reflects upon the relationship between the story of Israel and the revelation of God in Christ.
Born in David’s city
Of David’s line
Fulfilment of ancient promises
Stumbling block divine
To people weary of waiting
Turned inward to proud and pious law
In vain pursuit of “your way”.
Lies concealed In grace,
By which the self same law
Is made irrelevant
And sin and death disarmed.
This former tax collecting follower
To bring good news to man.
From the book Start to Finish - The Books of the Bible in Poetry by Martin Wild (c) 2018