Assistant Curate’s letter: May

Happy Easter to you all. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

As I write this, the sun is shining and birds are singing. There is wall to wall blue sky and children are outside playing in the warmth of this April morning. We are so fortunate to have land that we can access so easily and to enjoy the diversity of His creation.

One of the weeks of the Lent course that was run in both Wick and Thurso explored Orthodox theology and our role in that. Being part of the created cosmos and seeing God in all created things. We learned about the art of iconography and one person’s discovery that she could pray an icon into existence, using her paintbrush. Another week, we explored how to use a finger labyrinth and how that can be used to still our hearts and minds and focus on God.

We have explored and discussed deep and meaningful quotes by some of our earliest theologians and practised different ways of connecting with God. All of which are provided to help us determine how each of us as individuals connects with God on a deep and personal level. Because there is no ‘one size fits all’ in the journey of Christian discipleship. So it is with our journey with Christ as we lead to the Cross and reflect on our part in that story.

This, combined, with my questions for previous letters, “Where do our priorities lie?” and “where does our future lie?” gives us a springboard to launch into the post-Easter future. What lies ahead? The easy answer is that the liturgical year of the church is already mapped out for us. We begin to look to Ascension Day and Pentecost. However, how do we use what God has provided for us in terms of ministry and mission in and around Caithness?

I was very aware, in running the course on Christian Spirituality and Mysticism of just how much spiritual hunger there is in Caithness. The course in Thurso was held in the Community Caféon Harbour Road in Thurso and that allowed various people to come to the course who would not have attended otherwise. What other opportunities do we see around us, but don’t necessarily think are relevant to the Church in Caithness? We can no longer think of the church continuing as it has done for decades, Now is the time to think outside of the box. What initiatives have you seen elsewhere that might, given the very specific geographical nature of Caithness, work in reaching out and spreading the Good News of the risen Christ? 

Can we choose intentionally to be as radical as Christ? N. T. Wright wrote: “If someone in the first century had wanted to invent a story about people seeing Jesus, they wouldn’t have dreamed of giving the star part to a woman.” In a heavily patriarchal society, no thought was given to a woman being party to the first resurrection appearance of the risen Christ (John 20:16-18). If you read from Luke’s Gospel, the men thought an idle tale was being told to them by the women (Luke 24:11). These were the women who stuck with the Lord through thick and thin, who catered for his needs, who were there at the cross, and who had the courage to go to the tomb with spices on the third day to prepare his body for burial. They were not expecting to see the risen Christ, but they did. And they went and told the others. 

My point is not to raise one gender up over the other, but to ask where you might have seen, noticed or thought of a way in which to reach out to others that you have then put aside as being a nonsensical idea. I would like to know what those ideas are. We are the church in Caithness, as a corporate body, but we are also individually searching for God on our own spiritual journeys. Different viewpoints and different ideas carefully and respectfully shared enrich our journey together as we search out radical opportunities to be a witness and light to the many different nationalities that we meet every day in Caithness.

We meet in Christ’s name. Let us share His peace.

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