John Rackley is a very very recently retired (he retired today) Baptist minister. He's just started blogging. I think ge will be worth reading. Here he offers some reflections on episode 5 of the third series of Rev.
The church is getting better about observing (or recovering) lent. There are number of resources, ideas, possibilities for people to engage with intentionally (or half-heartedly) over the 40 days.
There is little or nothing for the 50 days of Easter.
How do we live Easter or to use Wendell Berry's wonderful phrase 'practice resurrection'?
Easter tends to pass us by.
We get to to the summit of resurrection day and then drift along until Pentecost, or maybe Ascension.
What are Easter habits?
Lent is hard work, should Easter be a rest? After all, the disciples went fishing or at least were fairly quiet until Pentecost. Should Easter be a break (many clergy often need one), and then at Pentecost, when we pick up the work of again, (empowered by the Spirit)?
Its easier to preach Lent, than it is to preach Easter, or that is it what it can feel like.
As we gathered this morning at around 5.30am looking out to the North Sea, I asked those gathered what was their earliest Easter memory. It is my hope that for our children, it will be getting up for the sunrise, to look for its coming and then as it appears sharing in words of scripture and faith, and then sharing breakfast. This year, both our children were present for almost all our services - Last Supper meal, 3 hour Good Friday service, Easter sunrise and the later Easter communion service. I'm not suggesting they were dutiful disciples (they are 4 and 1), but hopefully they witnessed something of what it means for their parents, and the church, to be Christian. (Before the comments appear, of course being Christian is much more than attending worship, but I don't think it is less than that). As they grow up with this experience of story and faith, it will, hopefully (again), offer them faith-full and faithful ways of believing, speaking and living Christian.
It might of course work the other way, but to only offer them a sanitized sentimental neutered experience of the gospel (the easter egg hunt with Jesus squeezed in) is to suggest we don't quite believe it ourselves or that we think faith can be something other than cross and resurrection. I love this narrative of Easter morning from Ben Myers, it gives me hope.
I was inspired by John Bunyan Baptist Church, Cowley, Oxford, who have made several church crosses over the years, who I think, in turn, had been inspired by the famous Maria Gomez Cross to create a cross for Belle Vue Baptist Church. Over the last two years, one of the church members at Belle Vue, slowly and patiently, created our own cross, which we dedicated yesterday during our Palm Sunday service (with some liturgical help from Sam Wells, St-Martin-in-the-Fields). It will now been on displayed to all those who enter our buildings from the church and beyond.
I've been involved in setting up a contemporary stations of the cross, which we've called Easter Icons, eight times over the last decade - first in Bunyan Baptist Church, Stevenage and more recently at Belle Vue Baptist Church (see here for previous years). This year for the first time we are setting up in a more public space. From tomorrow, you can visit Easter Icons: a pop-up installation in the Royals Shopping Centre in Southend-on-Sea. This has been instigated by Hannah Bucke, the town centre Methodist minister, and a joint project between a few of the Methodist and Baptist churches in the area. Looking forward to seeing what kind of response it gets.