April 2017 letter to the Parish …

 

from Fr Darren Collins on the Easter story …

In some stories, hope is wrapped up in the obvious and tangible elements of the plot, but other times hope is revealed through a surprise ending or a twist, giving new life to the story in fore-shadowed glory.

The Easter story is a vivid example that things aren’t always as they seem.  In a way, Easter is a celebration of the greatest story twist  in history, one that’s so subversive it changes everything for all time.  It’s easy to gloss over the Easter story, we’ve heard it so many times, and forget the surprise and shock of the resurrection.  It’s easy to read through the Gospels without that ’aha’ moment it really delivers.

We have the privilege of reading the     resurrection into the teachings of Jesus, we know how the story ends, but for the disciples, the moments before the resurrection were steeped in fear, darkness and confusion.  For the disciples, the resurrection provided an incredible twist that made the story come alive in a new way.  Past  experiences began to make clarion sense.  It changed everything.

Eugene Peterson explains it like this in his book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places;
“The Christian life begins as a community that is gathered at the place of impossibility, the tomb.”  The scandalous plan of God, revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus, reveals to us that what we see is not all there is.  Easter tells us that a man convicted is not guilty, that a cruel instrument of torture and death is really a symbol of remarkable hope and grace;  it also tells us that an empty tomb is what we should have expected all along.

On the surface, the story of Easter reveals a plot, by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, to take down a rebel once and for all.  As Jesus is handed over to the authorities the picture that’s painted is that Caesar is king, his kingdom rules and the Roman cross would have the last say.  Even homeless peasants with an unusually        impressive following and a supernatural track record would be trumped by the empire for rebelling.

The path to the cross was a willing          conviction accepted by God in the most subversive act on Earth, a conspiracy to take on the sin of the world and launch a counter-kingdom that would overthrow every worldly empire.  Not by violence or brute force, but by love and sacrifice, through Christ.

In St Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he tells us that with each step, Jesus was making a public spectacle out of the pseudo powers and authorities and that, with the cross, he was triumphant.  What looked like defeat was actually ultimate victory.

The churches of St Etheldreda and St Luke in Hatfield are steeped in English history, but they are not museums, they are meeting places for thriving Christian communities.  The congregations range from babes in arms to grandparents and we aim to cater for all needs.

If you like a quiet traditional service, then why not come to the 8am service at St Eth’s?  The 9.30am at St Eth’s is also traditional, but is accompanied by magnificent and innovative hymns and musical pieces as directed by our Director of Music.  We also have an ’all age’ service on the third Sunday of the month where we are joined for the whole service by the children of our Sunday School. 

Those that get up later on a Sunday might prefer to attend the 11.30am service at St Luke’s, a smaller, but very welcoming and friendly congregation.

Sunday school meets in our church hall at 9.20am in term time offering a small Christian lesson for the children, followed by a creative activity.  The class then join the main congregation at St Eth’s for Holy Communion.

We are a friendly all inclusive Parish and also offer a range of study classes and social events, but most importantly a very warm Christian welcome to all.

Why not sign up to our monthly magazine, Refocused, and keep in touch with what we are doing?  Email: linda.barnard3@btinternet.com 

photo-of-church

A virtual tour of St Etheldreda’s Church

Travel up inside our clock tower (see above photo) through the bell ringers chamber, past our carrillon above the bell ringers, and enjoy a panoramic view from the top of the tower.  From the highest point in Hatfield you will see for miles:  east, west, south and north.  Look out for the numbers 1,2,3,4,5 in the bottom right hand side of the screen which allow you to step up to and through the various levels of the tower, side swipe at any level for 360 degree views.  You can join the tour here.