By FATHER HAYNES HUBBARD email@example.com
Father Haynes Q Hubbard is the St Vincent’s Anglican Chaplain for the three congregations in the Algarve. He lives in Luz with his wife and three children.
I teach Religious Knowledge at one of the local international schools every other week.
I was there the other day, and we were going over what we had been learning about these past few months. We had started with the Christmas story, gone through Epiphany and the gifts from the wise men, through some of His miracles, and we were making our way, along with the church, to the final confrontation on the Cross. In Church, we call that battle Good Friday.
“Why call it Good Friday when it is the day Jesus dies?” came the very good question.
I likened it to a visit to the dentist. It is going to hurt, I hate the thought, but the end result is a healthier set of teeth.
The event of the Cross, so horrible and – messy, is necessary if things are ever going to change.
Christians believe that the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross was the sacrifice necessary to make humanity right with its maker. God’s justice is so absolutely ‘just’ that it cannot simply be wished away: not even by Him. Therefore it needs to be met. By whom? You? Me? We would hardly measure up. But Jesus, we had been learning in class, did.
And so He accepted a fault which was not His, that we might have a glory which is not ours.
That is the poignant ‘Goodness’ of Friday. Someone takes the blame for something He did not do. That we might receive second, third, fourth chances at making things right. With one another, and with God.
This all might sound tremendously pious and utterly useless. It might. But we have discovered, in our Churches, that it is not so. It is real, inspiring and motivational. It pushes us to be more than we are, because we are. It forces us to seek to forgive others, because we have been. It drives us to look for good in those around us: because it has been found, in us.
Easter is the Day we recognise that, far more than Easter Eggs and Easter lilies: Goodness has been found in us. A people set free in Jesus. A people released from fear. A people prepared to face the challenges of a world ravaged with fear and apprehension with confidence and certainty in the One who has set them free.
I only heard him preach once, and never had the chance to worship with him on a regular basis, but I am sure there is something of what I say here which echoes Pastor Peter Sluimer’s ministry among us in the Algarve these past 25 years. While Vale Judeu is blessed with Mark and Judith, they will surely, with the rest of us, miss Peter and Marianne’s faithful witness, and tremendous devotion to sharing, teaching and living: this freedom we have been offered. Through the gift, and sacrifice, of Jesus Christ on the Cross, risen and glorified, that we might be too.
May God continue to Bless Peter and Marianne, and all of us, as we join in thanksgiving this Easter Season.