Thought for the Month (April 2012)

Dear Friends,

Easter is a worrying time for Gardeners. I have a small garden; it is nothing much to shout about, but it keeps me busy. Together with the usual shrubs and the gaps left for annuals, I have a couple of raised beds for vegetable, beans, carrots and so-on. Easter is a worrying time as I sow the seeds for this year's crops. Will the seeds I sow swell-up and germinate grow? I hope so! But I cannot say that I entirely believe they will.

Belief is defined as the 'acceptance that something is true especially without proof', which is why I plant my seeds in 'hope', which is the desire and expectation that they will grow, rather than the belief that they will; for, at the time of planting, there is no proof that any will germinate and grow at all. I 'hope' that the seeds will germinate and grow. But I know from many years of experience that some will not.

Easter can be a worrying time for Christians. At Easter we must face again the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Easter is the centre of our faith, that Jesus, God incarnate, died on the cross to cancel our sins, was dead and buried, but rose again, so that all who believe in him should not die but have eternal life! Wow! Do I believe this, or do I just hope I do?

Hope is defined as the 'desire and expectation that something is so'. Yes, I can 'hope' that the Easter story is true; that is not too difficult, but do I really believe it? And yourself? Do you really believe it? Belief is the acceptance that something is true even if it cannot be proved. Belief requires a leap of Faith. This is why Easter can be a worrying time for Christians, because the annual celebration of Easter asks each of us to search our hearts, deep down, and consider the true depth of our Christian Faith and Belief.

Of course there are considerable grounds for our Christian belief. There is the growth and life of the Christian Church over the centuries. There is our own personal experience of God's calling to us; and, if we are fortunate, there are those rare, blissful moments when our belief turns to a sure and certain knowledge of God's forgiving love for us. We need to cultivate these moments and pray for them, for if God seems far away from you, guess who has moved!

As the festival of Easter comes round again for another year, let us all try to use this annual occasion to deepen our faith through prayer, and to resolve to live as a Christian should, in full and joyful expectation of our salvation through Jesus Christ into Eternal Life.

May God bless us all this Easter.

Bob Webb

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church