By the time you read this we’ll be into Lent and beginning to reflect and prepare ourselves for all the emotions that it, and the season of Easter, brings with it.
I know for me this year, as I hear and read those familiar Bible passages, it will have a very different feel. That’s because, as many of you know, I’ve just got back from my first visit to the Holy Land where we mainly visited the areas around Galilee, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Already I’m noticing the difference as I read and study the gospels. Suddenly, they’ve become more alive now that I’ve visited some of the places and sites where these events took place.
However, the purpose of the trip wasn’t just to visit the holy sites but to learn more from the local people about what it’s actually like living there on a daily basis. So while we were there we heard from various groups of people looking at the situation from differing positions and faith viewpoints but all sharing a common desire to live in peace and harmony together. Among them were an inspirational group of young people at Bethlehem University who left us all full of hope for the future.
And that’s the Christian message, isn’t it? The good news we have to share. We live as Easter people, but as we journey through Lent each year we remember what it cost the Lord Jesus Christ - who died and rose again so we might have that hope for the future. Hope of an everlasting life lived with him. Good news indeed!