In bible study tonight, we read through the preamble and the crucifixion narrative in Matthew’s gospel – my very patient group put up with an hour and a half of looking at the different segments, and thinking about who was there, and what was going on.
It’s not completely unlike a season of 24: so much changes between the eating of the passover, and the next sunset.. a dubious trial, a number of gatherings, a great injustice… and something highly significant, at least for Christians.
I’ve had a succession of unusual Easters in the last few years (for example, the highly busy easter 2007). This is the first time for many years that there hasn’t been a wedding to go to, and we don’t often have 4 days off in a row, so we decided to go to Christchurch in NZ to visit jordan and channah.
Good Friday morning we went to our usual church. It was a standard evangelical morning service: hymns, sermon, prayers, bible readings. We visited my parents, then headed home for lunch, which was shared with an old youth group leader of mine, and some other visitors. Then we were off to the airport. Friday night we flew over to NZ. I spent the whole flight reading an article by Don Carson that our lecturer recommended we read a few times so that we understand what’s being said. I think I need to read it at least once more, but there was a sense of accomplishment in finishing the article at least!
Saturday, we walked into St Andrews church, which is probably the most famous church in Christchurch. Nothing church-y was happening there, it was just a place to go and be a tourist, but it reminded me of the church I went to when I was in london. Lots of history (it’s a little over 150 years old), and a “religious” feel to it. There was even a little chapel off to the side where you could take communion at a certain time of day.
Sunday, we went to church with Jordan and Channah; their church meets in a school hall, and the sermon wasn’t anything to do with easter!
I know it’s not cool for reformed Christians to talk about ritual as a part of worship, but surely the church calendar is there for some reason? I think that Easter is something that the Anglicans are doing correctly when they make a bit more of a big deal of it: it’s not just an extra church service to go to, there’s a reason to keep coming back, year after year, to the same story, and remember the events of that weekend.
I had a great time seeing NZ, but I’m hoping to be more reflective at Easter next year, to make sure I spend more time reading about and praying to God.