The Revd Kevin Watson, Moderator of the General Assembly, reflects on ‘love so amazing, so divine’ this Easter – and always
I can certainly understand Cuthbert needing to get away from the responsibilities of his ministry to spend time just with God, in prayer and reflection, Bible study and fasting. All my life the Lenten journey has, for me, been a very personal and individual one. Brought up in the Methodist tradition, the preparation for Easter actually began at new year with the awesome Covenant Service, in which we invite God to take our lives for his use.
I would use an old Methodist hymn: ‘O the bitter shame and sorrow’ the last line of each verse inviting us deeper into a personal relationship with Jesus. The first verse ends: ‘All of self and none of thee’ – I could confess this. The second verse: ‘some of self and some of thee’ I could acknowledge but verse three challenged me with: ‘less of self and more of thee’ and I never got to pray honestly the last verse: ‘none of self and all of thee.’
It has been a journey on my own with Jesus – how close to the cross dare I come, how much do I trust God to be with me on that journey, and can I give my life to the one God who has given his life for me? It is a journey of discovery of God’s grace that God loves ‘even me’ – ‘even me’, as well as the millions of brothers and sisters God also loves, and ‘even me’ so selfish and self-centred. This is also a very evangelical discovery, for even as I rediscover: ‘Love so amazing so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all’, then I yearn that everyone will also know the same relationship with God, what it is like to be loved by God so much that they can give their lives to follow the risen Christ.
Here is a cross I made, comprised of precious pots and trinkets to represent all the material things in life that we rely upon, become obsessed about having, even worshipping them. But during Holy Week I smashed them into pieces, bringing them all to the cross on Good Friday: ‘all to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all.’ On Easter Sunday, the whole cross, symbolically carrying all our sin, was painted gold to reflect the victory of God’s love over that sin. There we lay our burdens down, leave them behind and are able to go forward in the same faith of which Paul can attest: ‘May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.’ (Galatians 6:14 NRSV)
And now a blessed Easter journey with the risen Christ!