Some may be shocked that a TV interview in which Stephen Fry described God as “utterly evil, capricious and stupid” has been shortlisted for an award that recognises excellence in religious broadcasting. Others may not be so surprised.
The news from Belgium is so sad. Many are outraged that the people of Belgium have experienced a dreadful terrorist attack in the name of Islamic extremism.
Is this what God approves of? Is this the kind of behaviour that is justified to bring about his rule?
We might wonder with Stephen Fry just what kind of God we are dealing with?
Before we point the finger, we should remember that so called “Christendom” has inflicted religious violence of its own in the past.
Wars and inquisitions were a regular expression of misguided and perverted faith, without doubt a far cry from the teaching of Jesus Christ who taught us to “love our enemies and bless those who persecute us.”
Christians believe that Jesus is the foremost expression of God and his love. They believe he was God in human form and through him we see what God is really like.
When violence was inflicted on him without just cause he did not retaliate in kind, but with love and forgiveness for his torturers and murderers.
Not just the words of Jesus but his deeds tell us what God is like.
On Good Friday, Christians from every church in Buxton will unite in following the cross in a walk of witness.
The walk will start at St. John’s Church at 11.30am, stop outside the Opera House and Turners Memorial and then proceed to Spring Gardens. They will also be handing out Hot Crossed Buns to passers-by.
We invite you to join us as we walk, talk and have a short service on the way.
In the light of the Belgium atrocities, Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury, said: “Once again we see the contrast between the vain efforts to terrify through indiscriminate murder, and the call of God to be those who show mercy, who seek peace and pursue it.”
The cross stands to remind us both of the historical act of Jesus’s crucifixion and the ongoing message that God loves and forgives and that we too should be people who love and forgive.
The cross gives us all a second chance. We are not ashamed to invite you to gather round the cross that brings life out of death.