Rev. Marian Dixon's Letter (our locum Minister)

Dear Friends,

As I write we are five days into the Easter season and already the joy and celebration of Easter Sunday seems a million miles away, and I’ve volunteered to write the May letter instead of Val.  Help, what to write about?  The deadline is Sunday and I haven’t finished the service for Sunday yet!  Then I remembered an Easter several years ago, when, immediately after the final Easter service at a church in Newcastle, Andy and I left on a ‘flying’, (I should really say biking, but it doesn’t sound as good!) visit to Brands Hatch.  We travelled part way on the Sunday and completed the journey early on the Monday morning. We, like thousands of other bikers had congregated there to watch the professionals racing.  The weather was fine, the track and teams well prepared and the racing was exciting, in fact, I think it’s true to say, the record crowd enjoyed the day, Andy and I certainly did.  As the crow flies it’s about 320 miles from Newcastle to Brands Hatch, but a million miles away in any resemblance to the images I had left behind.

I had shared in a dawn service beside the Tyne, I’d led worship and sang, along with many people, the joyous resurrection songs, but as I reflect on those couple of days away I wonder how relevant our celebrations were to the thousands of ordinary folk gathered at Brands Hatch on the Monday. There were many parallels in the two. People were up at the crack of dawn to get to the circuit, as many people were this Easter Sunday to welcome the risen Christ at dawn. There was a sense of eager anticipation as the preparations were made for each race, similar to the anticipation of Easter morning.

The thrills and spills of the race are paralleled by our realisation that the celebrations and thrill of Easter Day are only possible because of the spilled blood of Christ on Good Friday. In the applause and presentation of the winner I can recognise the joyful singing as we, along with millions of others, welcomed the risen Lord on Easter Day. Then we left, to go to our own communities, leaving behind for a while those with whom we had shared the experience.
Maybe the message of our Easter celebrations was, in theory, a million miles away from the thousands gathered at Brands Hatch, but I’m sure many Christians were there – not least the Christian Bikers Club – who in their own way witnessed to the Risen Christ; certainly quite a few saw the message on my jumper.
As we move on from the joys of celebrating Easter, I hope that each of us can remember we are called to witness, in the community in which we are set, to the love of God, as we know it in Christ Jesus; by our words and actions we show that love. Whilst our experiences in church may seem a million miles away from the experiences we have as we share life in our community, the message we have is universal. Let us all try to live and share the joy of knowing a risen Saviour in every part of our lives.

Every blessing