River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Rector's Letter

May 2002

Practice practical love

May is still in the season of Easter. There's hope and there should be optimism. But optimism is hard to sustain. The Easter break is long gone and any excitement over Easter Eggs is forgotten as quickly as the stomachache.

The events of Easter can all seem so far away, from a different time and irrelevant to today. Events, like fashion, can date but with people its different. The humanity of the people in this and other ancient stories are always contemporary. People can't be dismissed as easily as stories. The person that always strikes me from the Easter story is Mary of Magdala, Mary the prostitute who became Jesus' follower. Mary, distraught, goes to the tomb to tend Jesus' body, to make it decent for burial and probably to say her own final good-byes. Mary gets to the tomb and finds the body gone. Imagine how she must have felt. Imagine turning up to view a member of your family after they have died only to find that someone has stolen the body. Mary must have been frantic. She probably hadn't slept much since Jesus' arrest 2 days earlier. Bleary eyed and tearful she notices someone. She asks if they have taken the body. Then one word from Jesus risen from the dead, "Mary." Mary recognizes Jesus' voice and flings her arms around him. People are people, how would you have reacted? I suspect that Mary wasn't all that different from you or I.

The events might seem strange but the people in them are not. This is a story of love stronger than death: Jesus' love for his friends and for all people and the way that love can transform a person's life. Mary is broken but with one word from Jesus the world is perfect again. It may sound over the top but love is like that. Love isn't logical. It is far more real than logic because love lives in the now not in the imaginary future or the gone forever past. Love is powerful. Love changes everything. But love can't be defined or explained on paper. Love can only be experienced.

Love is the message of Easter. The story hidden between the printed lines of the Bible. So lets live the Easter message because our world needs that message as much as it did 2000 years ago. Our world needs practical love, the sort of love described by St. Paul when he wrote, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13 verses 4-7 (NIV) Just think what a better place this would be if everyone lived like that!

Happy May,

Revd Nigel Tuffnell

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