Pastoral letter for October from John Gordon
Yesterday after Church, we sat on the beach in Morecambe enjoying the sunshine and watching the large crowd of folk who had come into Morecambe for “Vintage by the Sea”.
As we relaxed drinking our coffee a stranger approached us and offered us a free ice cream. Surprised by this random act of kindness we gratefully accepted this gift. Receiving and enjoying the ice cream allowed us to remain a little longer on the sun-drenched beach. What was the motivation of this stranger to offer us this gift we will never know.
The Church celebrates Holy Cross Day on the 14th September. According to tradition, first mentioned by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in 348, Saint Helena, nearing the end of her life, decided under divine inspiration to travel to Jerusalem in 326 to excavate the Holy Sepulchre and attempt to locate the True Cross. A Jew by the name of Judas, aware of the tradition concerning the hiding of the Cross, led those excavating the Holy Sepulchre to the spot in which it was hidden.
From the Gospels we are familiar with the words of Jesus: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The point of taking up our own cross is not simply self-sacrifice; in doing so, we unite ourselves to the sacrifice of Christ on His Cross. The moment of Jesus’ death on the Cross opened up the gate of salvation for all humanity. The Cross is a life changing symbol.
As I sat on the beach with our daughter, I encountered a small unexpected encounter with generosity. We were presented with something that gave us joy. The Cross is also a gift that works in many ways. It speaks of God’s presence in the midst of life’s challenges. It speaks to me of love and obedience. It is also a challenge to recognise that we are part of God’s creation.
How can we use the Cross to transform our understanding of God and ourselves?
With every blessing!