Calvary Redeemed (CGI by the author)
The Case Rests. (A reflection prepared for ‘our’ parishes for Easter 1)
At this time of the year, as we reflect on the Easter story and the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus to his disciples and followers, I am reminded of an incident from our days living and worshipping in Billericay, a commuter town in mid-Essex. It had been a village when we had arrived some 20 years prior to this occasion but was being rapidly urbanised because of its direct rail connection into London. (Does that sound familiar?)
Because the community had grown so fast, we had a large church fellowship with a considerable number of young families, so there was a steady stream of mums and dads wanting to bring children for Baptism. For this reason, and to take some of the burden off the team Vicars, there was a programme of visits by small teams of lay people to families who asked for Baptism. The programme was called ‘Good News Down The Street’. Pam and I were both among those trained to make the visits though we always participated in different visiting teams.
On this particularly memorable occasion, the team I was engaged with were visiting a couple with two children: dad was a police inspector and mum was a full-time mum with very lively children whose lives had to rotate around dad’s somewhat erratic hours. We had reached the stage in the course where we were to read the Gospel passages which talk about the resurrection. In our pre-visit meeting for prayer, one member of our team of three was VERY anxious about needing to ‘explain’ the differences in the Gospel accounts. As the team leader, I had to work out how to address this concern, which I did by inviting that team member simply to pray for us all, whilst I would speak about it with the couple. To be honest, I didn’t quite know where to begin, so I started off with something like, ‘We have to recognise that some people find it very difficult to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus because the various authors tell different stories...’
To my amazement, and consternation, dad threw back his head and laughed! I will readily admit that I had no idea what to do next and my companion who had been so anxious looked deeply troubled. Mum looked anxious too, but only for a minute. Dad stopped laughing and quickly explained. ‘Oh Trevor’, he said, ‘I’m a Detective Inspector: no two witnesses ever tell the same story of any incident - unless they’ve collaborated beforehand to contrive an alibi’.
I almost felt ashamed that I had never thought of linking the reports of the Resurrection of Jesus with the consistent theme of the many TV detective series I had watched!
Thank you Steve! Your professional understanding helped me enormously - and the family proved one of our most loyal over the following years.