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THE VICAR [Ernest Hepworth] WRITES

Dear Friends,
I went to look at an exhibition the other day. It was a very good exhibition put on by our own County Primary School here in Barton. The subject of the exhibition was the Humber Bridge and I think the children and their teachers had covered almost all the various aspects and background to the Bridge. As I said before, it was very good indeed.
This exhibition set me thinking afresh about the world in which these children are growing up and as a Christian and ordained minister within the Church of God, about another Bridge, this time a man, Jesus Christ.
You don't have to be very observant or an avid reader of newspapers or watcher of the T.V. to realise that there is something very wrong with society. Society is sick. The world as well as being a very lovely and wonderful place is also a very sad place, with oppression, injustice, cruelty, violence, greed, prejudice, bribery, corruption, the disregard for the sanctity of human life, promiscuity, sexual deviance, excessive abortion, vandalism, bad manners, foul language, and so forth. It has always been, but today it is brought into our homes by the media and there seems to be a hardening of people so that they regard this as the norm.
Man is alienated from God, his creator. What can the Church do and say about this?
Two events which we celebrate this month are at the heart of the Church's answer as they are at the heart of the Bible's answer. The two events are Good Friday and Easter Day, the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary and his resurrection from the dead.
God has provided a bridge across the chasm between himself and rebellious and hardened man. Jesus Christ is God's free gift who comes not to judge but to save, not to destroy but to recreate. Jesus Christ, God's son, entered our world, became a human being, lived our life and then died our death that we might be forgiven and live. In those hours of agony on the Hill of Calvary, in a way that we can never fully understand "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself".

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Through the death of Jesus a bridge was laid and a new and living way opened into the presence of God. When a person turns to Christ in repentance and faith, the barriers between them and God are removed and friendship is restored.
But this is not all. For Jesus by his death on the cross is also a bridge between person and person, race and race, nation and nation.
As you kneel at the foot of the cross arid stretch out your hands they touch other hands, hands of those also kneeling at the foot of the cross and you realise that we are both sinners, both loved by God and we have nothing over each other.
In all this I write as though this one event in history is contemporary as though it is for now. Of course I do! On Easter Day we shall be rejoicing at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Jesus, The Bridge between God and man, and man and man, is alive. He is our contemporary and comes to us today by the Holy Spirit, His Spirit. In this wonderful but sick and sad world he stands in the midst and says, "Peace be with you, my peace I give you." In Him is the hope for our world. In Him is life for now which is eternal and which even death itself can never overcome.


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