“The rain, it raineth every day, on the just and unjust fella,
But more upon the just, because the unjust pinched the just’s umbrella.”
I am not sure why that little verse suddenly came to mind - possibly because, as I write, it is supposed to be “flaming June” outside and the sky is thick with black clouds threatening rain. It is hardly a consoling verse, echoing more the verses in some of our Psalms that complain loudly to God about wicked people flourishing happily, whilst good people suffer.
There is a lot of fear and uncertainty in the air at present. The terror attacks in London and in Manchester, in which totally innocent people (including children) lost their lives are making people very angry. “Why” they ask,” should these wicked terrorists be allowed to attack at random, leaving good, honest, peace-loving people dead, maimed, traumatized and afraid to go out of their homes?” Britain has one of the best security systems in the world, yet even we cannot protect all our people 24/7.
There is also a lot of tension following the General Election. There was a good turn-out to vote but a highly unsatisfactory result, demonstrating a lot of division and confusion amongst our population. We wonder if there is really any leader strong enough to draw our nation together, get us safely through Brexit and protect us not only from terror attacks but from those policies which lead to terror attacks.
We all admit that, just as rain will come, even at the most inconvenient times, life is not fair and that bad things happen, to good and less-good people alike. What is really galling is when the good seem to be suffering more than the bad because the bad have no scruples (“the unjust pinched the just’s umbrella”). Surely there should be some reward for goodness and, likewise, some punishment for evil?
I have no quick and easy answers. All I can say is that I would rather be the mother of a victim than the mother of a terrorist; I would rather be able to find the strength to stand up for what is right than be able to get away with doing wrong; I would rather live as a Christian, even if all the people who keep telling us we are deluded turn out to be right, because I have more faith in Christ’s ways of love and forgiveness than in the ways of greed and power struggles
To be “Easter People” (the theme of our services through the summer) is not to live only in the joy of the resurrection but also to have lived through the pain and injustice of the crucifixion. When Jesus came back from death, he still had the marks of the nails in his hands. He had faced evil, endured evil and overcome evil - the hard way, which was the only way. His resurrection appearances were not “all singing and dancing” but standing alongside friends who were struggling with fear, doubt and discouragement.
To be Easter People means facing, enduring and overcoming evil as Christ did - with love, with forgiveness and with the power of God. We are called to be hope for a world in which there are far too many unjust people seizing protection from the just. We are called to live by different rules and standards - those of Christ himself.
So have a good summer and I hope you find comfort and inspiration in “Easter People.”
With love and good wishes to you all,