Saturday, 04 December 2021

However you mark it, have a hopeful and happy Easter

IN 2009 the BBC produced a critically acclaimed two-part film called The Passion.

IN 2009 the BBC produced a critically acclaimed two-part film called The Passion.

Starring James Nesbitt as Pilate (along with his caustic Irish brogue), it was an adaptation of the story of the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.

The part of Jesus was played by Joseph Mawle, an actor who lip-reads due to a severe hearing impairment he sustained as a result of labyrinthitis.

The lip reading might account for the intensely focused way Mawle attends to each character and situation as the dialogue and action unfold, from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (celebrated on Palm Sunday) through the Last Supper with his disciples, to his betrayal by Judas and his arrest, torture and death on the cross.

It’s a great film and highly recommended - and the whole thing can be watched free on YouTube.

Christians believe the story of Jesus’ Passion, albeit with its dark and shocking elements, has a happy ending, which offers to include everyone.

It’s a story the churches will have been re-enacting in a number of ways this week as Easter fast approaches.

Hope and new life are not just themes for the churches though. Perhaps you watched Mary Berry, the famous Great British Bake Off judge, in her two-part programme about food and faith, Easter Feast.

In part one she turned up with a cake at Lambeth Palace and had tea with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The more cynical among us might have thought at first it was a little contrived: the Archbishop looked at the cake and asked her, “have you made that?” to which she must have been sorely tempted to say, “no, I bought it at Lidl…”

However, their tea took on a more serious note when they both shared how the Easter story had brought hope when tragedy struck their respective families.

Both had lost a beloved child in car accidents, so faith and bereavement were topics about which both Mary Berry and Justin Welby were able to speak from the heart.

It was a courageous thing to share and brought the relevance and power of the Easter story right into the present day.

As an idea, resurrection is powerful enough, but if the resurrection of Jesus did really physically happen, the implications are incredible.

The promise is that whatever depths we fall into, no place is finally dark forever. Death itself has not had the last word.

However you engage with the story of death and resurrection this Easter, whether by attending church, listening on the radio, watching Easter food shows on TV, or simply enjoying the spring holiday with family, have a hopeful Happy Easter.

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