A View From The Vicarage - April

Dear Friends

Redemption and Resurrection 

As I sit down to write this, the world is beginning to come to terms with the ramifications and repercussions of yet another mass shooting of innocent civilians.

Another name has been added to that catalogue of horror which stretches from Columbine to Dunblane via Beslan and Hungerford to Paris and beyond.  The fact that the latest atrocity took place in New Zealand’s Christchurch makes this latest incident even more horrifying.  Fifty people killed in two attacks at mosques in Christchurch.  In a country where 48 people were murdered in the whole of 2018.  That ghastly statistic reminds us of the fact that anybody, anywhere, any when can become the victim of the murderous hatred and violent thoughts of others.

Since the appalling incidents in New York and Philadelphia in 2007 we’ve become almost immune to reports of Islamic fundamentalists and radical muslims proclaiming violent “Jihad” at any and every non-muslim.  Yet the attacks in Christchurch were not by muslims but upon muslims;  men, women and children, many of whom had sought sanctuary in New Zealand, attending Friday Prayer in two mosques in the city.

The only legitimate response to such violence and barbarism is surely complete and utter revulsion.

Murderers remain murderers whatever perverted logic they need to defend their acts of violence and barbarism. 

Terrorism needs to be condemned whoever or whatever is the reason behind it. 

As I sit at the desk writing this, my eyes are drawn upwards to the battered crucifix which stands above it.  On it, of course, is the image of a body tortured and bruised to the point of death.  Christ hangs his head not in shame but in death.  As I look I am reminded that at the heart of Christianity is the love of a God so passionate about all of his creation that he was prepared to become part of it in order to redeem it to a better position.

The Christ we Christians acknowledge and worship died an excruciating, humiliating and barbaric death.

Hanging on that cross he was still able to forgive those who had tortured him and promise the repentant thief “today you will be with me in Paradise.”

I am convinced that all of those who were killed in Christchurch on Friday have been similarly rewarded.

But let’s not forget that Christ’s death and resurrection was for all people in all places and at all times.

All of us whoever we are, whatever we have been are equally welcomed into the Kingdom of God.  Even criminals who commit the most abhorrent crimes are still capable of forgiveness and redemption but only in the eyes of God rather than the court of public opinion.  So, as we prepare to follow Christ through his passing and death, let’s remember and hold before God all who suffer through the actions of others and those who commit or permit acts of violence that they may know and feel Christ’s power to save, heal and forgive each and every person who truly and honestly owns up to whatever evil it is they have committed.

With that I’d like to wish a happy, blessed and joyful Easter to you all.

Christ had died, Christ had risen, Christ will come in glory.


Ben Griffith