Vicar’s Reflection: Sunday 9th April 2017, Lent 6, Palm Sunday
Undeserved suffering is an obvious theme for Easter. Holy Week begins on a high note with Jesus, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, a symbol of peace, rather than on a war-horse. But what happens next? There is a descent into darkness – betrayal, cowardice, conspiracy, torture, moral failure, execution -all visited upon an innocent man. His suffering clearly undeserved. The deep question is whether all this was an incidental failure, a ‘series of unfortunate events’ or did these first Easter events expose a structural flaw in humanity? Yes, undeserved bad things do happen to innocent people, as witness the flooding of our neighbouring town of Edgecumbe this week. However, it would be wrong to ignore that there are structural or big-picture issues that bring such suffering. Such as: was it wise to build a town on an earthquake fault, beside a river on a low-lying area on a flood plain? You can see how the innocent can become entrapped in structural failures not of their own making. The work of Jesus as Saviour was to bring to the surface those deep-seated faults in humanity, and to apply God’s remedy: servant leadership, unconditional forgiveness, kindness and generosity, sacrificial love. As we make Jesus our Lord and Saviour; and allow his message to sink deeply into our hearts and minds; we find the means to redeem suffering and turn it to good, as many in the Eastern Bay are doing now.