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Dear Friends,

Racial Justice Sunday,was observed on 12-2-23, on the theme of ‘A call to Remembrance: Stephen Lawrence’. Stephen was an 18-year-old student who was studying for his A levels; aspiring to be an architect. Sadly, his dream was unfulfilled, as he was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham, South East London, on the evening of 22nd April 1993. This year marks the 30th anniversary of his tragic, untimely, and unnecessary death. Richard Reddie, Director of Justice and Inclusion, for Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, suggests three Rs  for consideration on Racial Justice Sunday and beyond:

1stly, Remember the importance of racial justice.

2ndly, Reflect on human diversity and thank God for it.

3rdly, Respond by working to end injustice, racism and ignorance through prayer and action.

As we move on from our 2023 Lenten journey, and the crucifixion of Christ, to celebrating the hope of resurrection on Sunday 9th April, what do you make of Jesus and the Easter events? To aid us with our reflection on this question, I am drawn again to Richard Reddie’s suggestion of the three Rs mentioned in the above paragraph – Remember, Reflect and Respond, which I think can be contextualised giving it a wider application for us as followers of Jesus.

As we celebrate Easter day and journey on beyond it, we must Remember the importance of what Christ did – Separated from family and friends Jesus was consistently surrounded by the enemy, and was all alone in the challenges he faced. He had to endure the injustice of being innocent yet condemned to die. Think of the pain, the humiliation and brutal death on the cross. Yet, this is why he came. Remember that he hung and suffered and died not just for us, but also by us, and in solidarity with all broken and brutalised humanity: Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying…he was being wounded by our rebellions, crushed because of our guilt; Isaiah 53: 4-5

We must Reflect and celebrate the fact that we are beautiful in our diversity, for God in his wisdom created us in his image and likeness, as equals. He sent his son Jesus, to come as one of us, to demonstrate his love for all. Jesus not only lived as one of us, he went further by dying on the cross for all the races, to bring about freedom and life to all humanity. Jesus himself says: I come that all might have life in abundance John 10:10

We must Respond to Jesus’ love not passively and cautiously, butactively and courageously, as we work towards enhancing life and dignity for all. We do this,so that others may see and know that we serve the risen Saviour, who is alive and still active in our world. We mustnot be content with what we did yesterday; our relationship with Jesus, is one that should keep on growing. What we do today and our future plans are all important on our faith journey. As the hymnwriter says: my life must show that he lives in me, my deeds, my thoughts, my word must speak of all his love for me. (Simmonds, C, 1964, I want to walk with Jesus Christ).

Wherever we are, whatever we do, may we rise and shine for Jesus

Easter Blessings

Irene John

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