Thursday, 7 March 2019

Making connections

"I know just how you feel". No you don't, you've no idea because you've not experienced what I'm going through!

A rough hug around my shoulders without words [tigers excepted] might be from someone who understands what it's like. Sometimes our connection with others is incredibly strong, at other times we just don't know what they are going through. This is true of amazing celebrations, and also of ghastly trauma.

Because Jesus was a man, some have argued that only men can be priests. He was a carpenter, murdered aged 33, never married, and was circumcised as a baby. So does that mean priests must be good with wood, have short careers, be of Jewish stock, and be celibate? Of course not. I was honoured to have the first woman ordained as a priest in Salisbury Cathedral as a colleague.

There are many connections can we make with Jesus' life. For 30 years he lived an ordinary life, apart from an unusual fascination with the teachings of those in Jerusalem Temple. His teachings are in ordinary language, usually illustrated by everyday occurrences: finding things, losing things, sorting out values, sowing seeds, family events, and so on. In fact his listeners complimented him on using language they could understand.

He never grew old, and was strung up on a horrific Roman gallows at the age of 33. Nailed on that cross he knew what it was to be trapped in a body, unable to move. Those with strokes or other disabling events or diseases can relate to that. He was a strong man, but sleep deprivation and torture weakened him so much that he was unable to carry the cross-beam to the crucifixion site. Simon was compelled to carry it instead, and in so doing carried out one of the greatest acts of worship ever.

Jesus never married or had a family, so there are areas of his life which might not link directly to our experience. However, he got caught in a 'domestic' between two sisters. He related well to children, and treated them with huge respect. These are examples which may give us indirect links.

The real thing is that God, who created and sustains the universe, became like one of us and knows what it is to be human. That's one reason why the cross is so powerful a logo: love and suffering intertwined, access to God's amazing gift of forgiveness.

So, Happy Easter!

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