The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

Associate Rector   

The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 01689 852843

Assistant Priest  

The Revd.

Bill Mullenger

020 8462 9624


April Leader

On 16th December 1656 a certain James Naylor was convicted of Blasphemy by the Second Protectorate Parliament and sent to the pillory. Subsequently a hot poker was driven through his tongue and he was branded with the letter B for Blasphemy. His crime was that in October that year he had, as a devout Quaker, ridden into Bristol crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ and affirming the divine light of Christ in all people. Notwithstanding the historical tensions between the Puritans and the Quakers this seemed a particularly brutal and unnecessary punishment against a harmless man whose beliefs posed no real threat.

Yet, this is what happens time and time again, hatred turns to attack, intolerance wins, evil kills, that which is good is deemed a threat. Like Naylor, Jesus was a victim of both civil and religious injustice and hatred. Pilate was frightened, weak and self serving, he gave into the clamour for Jesus’ death when he himself realised that Jesus was harmless and innocent. Ironically it was religious people who thought they were performing God’s will who had Jesus crucified. Little did they know that through his very death God’s love and forgiveness would be shown to triumph over their hatred and evil and indeed over all hatred and evil, even if they can hold sway for a time. In wanting to destroy and stop Jesus, Jesus became the most followed and widely loved person in all history. As the civil rights activist Medgar Evers, (who was himself assassinated in 1963) said, ‘You can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea.’

The idea of Christ is love, the ‘Word’ that was in the beginning, the intelligence that governs and holds the entire universe together. When I see the tender care that a husband gives to his wife who has Alzheimer’s; that is the love that cannot be killed. When I see the grief of a widow for her lost husband; that is the love that is felt to never die. When we struggle to forgive, or to emerge from the hurt and hatred of others; that is the place of the cross, our cross.

Why is it that the cross of Christ still speaks to us? We need look no further than what we know and experience of love. The absence of love and kindness in the world results in crosses and as we love we learn that sacrifice and love are inextricably link together. To love is to give, to love is to die to self, to love is to forgive and to be forgiven, so that deep eternal love may have the chance to live and grow in us. The death and resurrection of Jesus is then the pattern of all reality. James Naylor was indeed right, we are all filled with divine light, but can we know it?

Christ is Risen! Happy Easter!