From the April Grapevine

 From this month's Grapevine,

 our parish magazine.

Copies available (50p) at the back of church or why not have it delivered every month?

See Susan Warrington or contact the church office.

A letter from Canon Rob McLaren

The Easter message can be summed up in 4 simple pictures. What Jesus did in the first Holy Week, and what it means for us, can be understood  In 4 polnts,    We can have a tendency to make the things of God more complicated than they need be. So it is good to be helped to see things clearly  and simply, which was Jesus' way.

First, the heart which tells us 'God loves me'.

Why did Jesus choose to face cruel torture and a drawn out public execution? Because it was saying 'I love you'.    Why did Jesus determinedly   head for Jerusalem, knowing that the authorities were hatching plans to get rid of him? Because Jesus was ready to count the cost of saying 'I love you'.

God wants a relationship with all of us people he has created.   He loves us with a sacrificial self-giving love and nothing we can do will change that. God loves us and the events of the first Easter show the depth of that love.

Second, the cross which says “I have sinned.”

When I got answers wrong In my schoolwork, the teachers used to mark  them with a cross.   It is a sign that says I've got things wrong.   In schoolwork it is no good carrying on as though I've got everything right, if I haven't.    I needed the teacher to show me where I'd gone wrong and how I could do things differently.

Jesus does this for us. He shows where we've gone wrong In God's eyes. It is no good carrying on as though it doesn't matter.    It does. It matters so much that Jesus chose to die a difficult death in order enable us to be put right, and given a fresh start with a clean slate.

Third, the cross which says 'Jesus died for us'.

The shape of a body with arms outstretched and legs together is the Christian cross, the Easter cross.   Jesus was crucified  like so many others whom the Romans decided  to make a gruesome example. And yet his death was different.  He did it for others.

It is us who live the life which God gives us as though it is ours to use as we wish, Instead of a gift from God to be  used in his service. It is us who deserve   to lose the   life we've   been given   when   we Ignore the clear   purposes   of the giver.     It is us who deserve   the death  penalty for our sin.    And yet Jesus, who deserved   no such death,   chose to face it, so that   we could escape it.    Jesus  died so that we can have eternal life.

Fourth, the question mark says 'I need to decide to  live for God'.

On the third day after his death, Jesus rose to new life.   Through   his death and resurrection,    Jesus has now made a way for us to have a relationship    with God.    But it does not happen automatically.      We need to respond and keep responding.

The response includes us accepting   that we have sinned and asking for God's forgiveness.     And you deciding   to live the rest of your life for him.

New life is a theme   of Spring   time.     What   seemed   dead in mid­ winter   now shows itself to be  full of growth   and vitality.      What a turnaroundl     Our gardens are transformed.

New life is the polnt of the 4 polnts.    What Jesus did In the events of the first   Easter brings new life for those previously   spiritually   dead. Lives are transformed.     The  power which resurrected   Jesus, enables us to  be born again.

Three out of four isn't good enough.    Follow through   all  4 points to know   the amazing   life-transforming    joy   and hope which   the first Easter brings.

Yours  in Christ,