Week & Easter message
At Leytonstone High Road Methodist Church, together with
representatives from Churches Together, I have to say I’ve had a really blessed
Lent, and I’m looking forward to Holy Week. For the past five weeks the
different churches have been meeting together in a small group using the York Course material. This year the
theme has been ‘Daring to see God now’ and
has focused on Mark 1:14-15 (the Good News proclaimed by Jesus at the start of
his public ministry).
Our communities within the London Forest Circuit are
constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons – stabbings and youth violence
against youth. About 20 years ago Local Authorities started withdrawing funds
for youth work. Those of us engaged in youth work at the time warned that this
was short-sighted, and false economy. Sadly, and sure enough, it gives me no
pleasureor satisfaction to be proved right.
With the absence of youth workers, youth clubs,
youth centres and youth officers, it seems young people are lacking the positive
mentors, safe meeting/gathering spaces and sense of belonging. They have turned
to gangs and other groups for these aspects of growing up and youth
development. Here they are being required to do horrendous acts of violence in
order to belong, or, ironically, carry weapons in order to ‘feel safe’.
This Holy Week and Easter – what’s the Good News
for these young people and their families? Does the One who was subjected to
violence ‘for our sake’ have anything to say to them? What might resurrection
look like for them, their peers, and our communities? We are desperate for a
solution to this epidemic of violence affecting our communities; we pray
regularly for solutions to this crisis. I believe God is saying ‘Be the answers
to your own prayers – use what I’ve given you’.
As London Forest Circuit, we’ve been blessed with
12 amazing premises to serve as bases from which to minister to our
communities. If each church was to run a youth club once a week – different
days, times, activities – maybe we could restore the message of Easter and be
Good News for those young people and our communities. If we can’t do it on our
own, maybe we could do it in partnership with other churches, agencies, faiths
with similar visions. Just a thought!
So, as I continue my reflective journey to Easter
Sunday, I can’t help feeling sorry for those who are not able to take part in
any mid-week reflections during Holy Week. For them, there is a move from the
‘Hosannas!’ of Palm Sunday straight to the ‘Alleluias!’ of Easter morning, with
little or no time for the depths of the days in-between.
So thank you to all who have and will help me and
blessed me with your presence and prayers this week; it will add renewed
confidence and gratitude on Easter morning, when I join the church universal in
Lord is risen!
Have a blessed Easter.
Rev Tony Malcolm,