Message from the Minister, as published in our Church magazine, The Survey, Easter 2017

Dear Friends,

I don’t know about you but I am finding it more and more difficult to discover the truth in everyday events. As citizens of the UK, we are invited to have views on a variety of subjects and to vote on issues but very often without the appropriate information to make a properly informed decision. The referendum last summer was a fine example of politicians on both sides of the issues being “economical with the truth” - an example that speaks of the way in which facts and figures were not just distorted but manipulated out of any relationship to what was actually going on!

What is even more disturbing is that when someone has put out “fake news” – to use the current term for not telling the truth – the person in question does not apologise for his/her misleading statements but shouts even louder that s/he is not being listened to and, when he/she is presented with overwhelming evidence that completely contradicts the position they are taking, makes some comment to the effect that it really FELT that that was the way things were!

What is also frightening is that public service broadcasters like the BBC, which once had a reputation for integrity, aware of the political winds of the day, are no longer the impartial sources of information they once were. It is becoming harder to discover the truth as it might actually be.

The Easter story seems relevant in our present political climate. Then, the enemies of Jesus went out of their way to present Jesus as an extreme political radical - what we might refer to today as a terrorist! It becomes clear to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, that the accused prisoner before him has been set up in some way and all the gospels narrate the different attempts he made to thwart their ambitions for this Galilean’s death. Only John records that he asks that most basic and fundamental of questions, “What is Truth?” Finally, when Pilate tries the stratagem of inviting the crowd to release the man whom their political and religious leaders want executed – the cry goes up, “Crucify Him!”  The chief priests and leaders of the people lead the call for “Away with him!” and “We have no King but Caesar!” according to John’s account. I am just fascinated with the way in which they were so determined to be rid of the Man from Nazareth that even the hated and despised Romans were preferable to Him!

We know and understand the truth of that situation from our perspective but it is a chilling reminder of the extent to which people will go and the lies they will tell to achieve their ambitions. You could say that it was the desire for control that sent our Lord to the Cross. It was lies that nailed him to that now sacred tree but it was also the means by which the divine dealt with that sinful human nature that placed him there. There is still hope when truth is denied for eventually it will come out. After all this is God’s world and Easter is coming!

Yours in His Service,

Robert Bebb

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