Jesus, the Stubborn Loaf: Still rising

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’re going to get to the end of the story of the Devil wears Prada, or at least the point at which the film ends, but first I think an explanation or two might be required:
Perhaps it was a typo, he meant to write risen, but missed and got rising instead.  No.  Rising is correct.  We like to say ‘He is Risen’ on Easter morning as if it has all come to an end somehow, as if this was what we were waiting for. (Oh sorry, it’s the chocolate that we have been waiting for, i’m so sorry Mr Cadbury have we knocked off your copyright?)  It is finished, it is finally over, we can stop fasting and go back to normal.  Phew, thank goodness for that!  Normal service will resume shortly.  But those words ‘it is finished’ don’t belong on Easter morning, they belong on Good Friday when Jesus was still on the cross dying.  So if ‘it finished’ on Good Friday, why do we then wait until Easter Sunday?  Because although the task is accomplished, the journey is not complete, and neither is it complete today.  Therefore – Jesus is still rising.  Bread doesn’t always rise the same way, sometimes it is stubborn, depends on the time of the day and a whole number of other things. Don’t get me started on bread rising!  Easter is not a day or a point in history.  It is a state of mind, much like glass half full or half empty.  Are we people for whom Christ is rising or are we people for whom the journey is now over?  The resurrection of Jesus, who was in human form the Christ, the chosen one of God: didn’t happen at a given point in time.  That part of the story we are still all caught up in.  There are echoes of this throughout the gospel stories and in the book of the Acts of the Apostles.  And throughout our history after that death on the cross, there are moments of resurrection when we see the Christ rising.

And the story of the Devil wears Prada is also one of death and resurrection.  Andrea took a job working for a fashion magazine.  A job she neither particularly wanted, nor cared about, but one which hundreds of other might have wanted.  She gets drawn into the whole world of fashion, embroiled in its seductive charms.  As her career takes off her personal life falls apart.  Andrea’s relationships with her boyfriend and other friends melt away as the job and career takes her off to Paris for fashion week.  And this is where we left her, making the choice of which road to follow.  She follows the fashion parade to Paris and indulges in all of its delights.  She dies to one life and is resurrected into another, and yet it is not quite what she expected.  She is adored by a thousand camera lenses and yet there is nothing here that can really tempt her any more.  As Andrea and Miranda ‘the boss from hell’ drive to yet another glamorous gathering, Miranda suggests that this life is what everyone wants – that everyone wants to be probably quite literally – in their shoes.  Andrea realises suddenly that she does not want this at all.  She realises the world into which she has been drawn and the life which she turned away from.  So she throws her phone into a fountain and walks away.  Once again she has died and is rising to a new life.  Andrea was able to choose, to see the oppressive situation she was in and to turn away.  It took her some time to see the truth, but then doesn’t it always?  So it is with the Christ and so it can be with us.  Like a stubborn loaf on a cold day the rising continues waiting for the conditions to be right.  The times we see the Christ rising most often is when people come together to overcome oppression or to stand against domination be it physical, emotional or financial.  To stand together in solidarity against such systems that abuse power is to stand in a moment of the Rising Christ.  ‘It is finished’ cried Jesus form the cross, and at that very moment began the next chapter of the story, the one which involves us bringing in the kingdom of Christ Rising to new life.

Forget the box, I want what’s inside!

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Early on Easter morn, just before dawn, as the chorus of birds are beginning, all over the land children rush down to the breakfast table to see how much chocolate they have conned various relatives into buying this year! Later that afternoon, cardboard and foil wrappers litter the living room floor, discarded in favour of the sweet brown delight that lurks within each one of them. Do we blame them? Well no, because we were once like that with chocolate smeared grins of satisfaction and who are we to deny the innocent pleasure in chocolate! Chocolat is such a beautiful film, delightfully acted and directed, beyond that it is also a great film for Lent and Easter, so this year I have been telling the story Bit by bit each week until today, the day of the great unveiling. The chateaux with the dominating Mayor pitted against Vianne and her chocolate! Well it is no contest really, the, cold, heartless, unwelcoming Mayor or the chocolaterie with the hospitality, welcome and love? No contest really, I’ll take the contents of the box. The church and Mayor offer so much on the outside, but underneath the veneer, there is an emptiness, no love or compassion is shown here. No wonder the villagers one by one desert the Mayor in favour of Vianne. She has the contents aplenty and is generous with them, where is Christ to be found? Where there is love of course! The film ends on Easter day with a joyful resurrection as the villagers begin to realise there is a better way and they have been missing out. Forget the box, this Easter I’ll just take the contents please!

Resurrected – Paper

Poo Paper Cover

This is the message printed on the back of our Easter Service books, hot off the press today!!

Well, at least one person found it amusing when I wrote it, we’ll have to wait and see what the general consensus is.  (The paper is covered in plastic, so no contamination is possible)  You too can do this: www.creativepaperwales.co.uk