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New Beginnings

The End.

Two small words that can bring about an enormous emotional reaction in us. I wonder what your response might be? It might be an image or an experience or even just a sense activated by these words.

And yet life is full of beginnings and endings, it’s one of life’s certainties.

I discovered that a fresh start is a process. A fresh start is a journey – a journey that requires a plan

— Vivien Jokotade —

There are occasions when we have time to see an end coming, time to plan for the eventuality and build around us a scaffold of support and care. There are other occasions when that time is non-existent and we contend with the end abruptly, not able to access resources that might help us.

I wonder then how we might plan for the abrupt ending? It might be we ask ourselves now, today, what is it I need when an ending comes my way? Are there people or activities who are able to be part of the scaffolding that might keep me upright? Why not spend a few moments reflecting on this and making a little plan.

This week, as Christians, we reflect on the week leading up to Easter. A celebration of life in all its fullness. A celebration recognising humankind being reconciled once again to our Creator, our Maker.

But this wasn’t the first time God had acted upon a plan to reconcile humankind. The bible is full of stories of God’s creation being reconciled and going away. We read in Matthew 23:37, “...I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” God longs for us to be reconciled.

I’m curious as to which part of this Holy Week, this lead up to Easter Sunday, a celebration of new life might resonate with you most?

  • Maybe the woman who anoints Jesus with expensive perfume (Matt 26:6-13), rebuked by the disciples she hears Jesus claim that “wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
  • Maybe hearing of the Passover when Jesus says, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover meal with you.”
  • Maybe when Jesus finds himself alone, isolated in the garden of Gethsemane, the disciples unable to stay awake he declares, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 26:39)
  • Or maybe at the cross when “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46)

In John’s recount of the resurrection morning we read of Mary Magdalene, standing outside the empty tomb crying, questioning where they might have taken ‘her Lord’. At this moment she sees angels in white and they ask her “Why are you crying, who is it you’re looking for?”

“Sir, if you have carried him away, please tell me where you have put him.”

Jesus says, “Mary”.

In that moment, she recognises him. It’s in the intimate act of hearing her name the connection is found.

The gospel means that every small story is part of a sweeping story, every ordinary life part of an extraordinary movement. God is busy making all things new, and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has opened that work to everyone who wants in on it. The church is not a group of people who believe all the same things; the church is a group of people caught up in the same story, with Jesus at the centre.

— Rachel Held Evans (Inspired 2018:157) —

We will all have our stories of new beginnings. The fear, excitement and anticipation all wrapped up together. As we build our personal scaffolds around us to help us with the ending, why not allow this Easter week be a time of reflection on how your story reflects Jesus’ affect on your life, and how this fits in with the ‘extraordinary movement’ of God.