As your locum, I wish you all the joy and peace this Easter season brings. Together we thank God for the gift of our faith and for the fellowship of our church here at St Martin's. Today in church, we reflected on what Jesus asks of each one of us in this holy week, as he comes to take our sins to the cross with him, and to rise again as the Son of God.
The reflection below, entitled 'Some Mother's Son' reminds us of Christ's amazing love and forgiveness, and has been written by one of our own church members.
"Oh, I remember it well, the day my son was born. Aye, it's as if it was yesterday. Mothers always remember though. Huh, unlike fathers!
I was just fourteen when he was born. But with a good man and a young son tae care for, I grew up quickly. I knew he was special right from the start. He was such a bonny wee bairn, wi' the brightest eyes that just looked straight in tae your heart. I know all mothers think their sons are special. But ma little darling really was a gift from God.
My man chose the baby's name, but between you and me, I had ma own name for the bairn. I call him Jay. Just Jay. He'll always be ma beloved Jay.
Here in Galilee, life was hard for a poor peasant family like ours, but Jay had a life full of love and laughter. He learned quickly. He was always full of questions that we didn't have answers tae. But that didn't stop him asking!
We used tae take him down to the shores of Lake Galilee tae watch the fishermen casting their nets. An' he would wander in the hills as a young lad, and talk to the shepherd boys about their sheep and lambs. We even took him to Jerusalem to the synagogue. And he seemed to feel at home there.
Four years ago, as a young man, he left home and went on the road with twelve others. He didn't come back, but oh the tales we heard about them. They were always the talk of the village. Folk from far and near followed them to hear about a God who loves us all like a father. And tells us to love one another. There was talk o' miracles when sick folk were healed and were blessed.
Oh but I missed him. Well as a mother yoursel' I'm sure you'll understand. But one time, we heard he was in Jerusalem for the Passover. I begged ma man to take me there, and he did. We arrived on Passover night. I stopped every Galilean we met until we had news of Jay. We heard that he and the others had gone to prepare a meal together in an upper room. And praise God, I found the room! Oh but it wasnae ma place as a women, even a mother, to go in, so I waited and waited outside. You can imagine how I felt. And then he came out. My heart missed a beat. But he didnae see me. I rushed forward. "Jay, Jay" I cried. He stopped. But he didnae look round. Why did he no come to me? Oh, he was a man now. Maybe he'd forgotten his boyhood name. So I shouted his birth name even louder:
"Judas, Judas!" He stopped dead, then slowly turned to look at me. Oh I hardly recognized him. His poor face was wracked wi' pain. The life had gone out of his eyes and tears were rolling down his cheeks. "Oh Judas, my beloved son. What's wrong? Come tae your mother" I sobbed. There was silence. His head dropped. He turned back and walked away. I never saw my son again.
Some say he's dead but we never found his body. Some say he was robbed for silver coins. May say he just couldn't live with himsel' for some terrible deed he'd done. We'll never know the truth... but I'll always remember that look in his eyes, that heart-breaking look.
I heard his master had been arrested. And that Jesus was to be crucified on Calvary Hill. Part of me wanted to go see Jay's master for one last time. But I was too afraid... too heart-broken... too ashamed that the rumours about my Jay might be true.
I met someone recently who'd gone to Calvary that day when the master was crucified. The man told me that at the end Jesus cried out "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!"
I take every day as it comes now. Life's hard. But each morning, I thank God for his son, Jesus, our saviour. Christ showed such amazing love and compassion that he died that we might live.
And when we fall, he gently lifts us up in his arms, and forgives us, just as he forgave my Jay."