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Dear Friends,

At this Easter time there will no doubt be those who give chocolate eggs, send Easter cards adorned with rabbits and daffodils with no reference at all to the resurrection of Jesus. This is of course the most important Christian Festival of the year and you will have seen from the pew sheet and Parish Magazine that there has been an extensive programme throughout Holy Week. In addition, as part of “Love Tenbury” the Easter story was celebrated with the choir from the Tenbury Primary Academy taking part. We can take great comfort that in our three Primary schools, Tenbury, Burford and Clee Hill, the real meaning of Easter is explained to the children.

Whilst the Easter story is of the very essence of Christianity there is no doubt that for many it is an act of great faith to accept the biblical accounts as true, after all we weren't there we only have the sacred texts written many years after the event to guide us. For the many who find this challenging we might reflect upon the disciples. After the women returned from the tomb there was great confusion and disbelief. Perhaps the women had seen what they had wanted to see! But when they told the disciples “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” Luke 24:11.Thomas who is so important in the story says what many would say, I will not believe it until I have seen it with my own eyes. And it is described so clearly John 20: 24-28 how Thomas was convinced. But what of the passage John 20:29 “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” Does this speak to you? If we had seen with our own eyes how easy it would be to believe. Indeed when Jesus arrived in a closed room there were disciples who it is said “and some doubted”. We should take heart I believe, that if the followers of Christ who lived with him and saw him perform miracles and had him before their very eyes found it difficult to accept, then no wonder this is a challenge for those of us reading an account of this some 2000 years later. It is indeed an act of great faith to believe this story.

And thus at this very special time we have space to reflect and come together as church taking encouragement from each other and reflecting upon the Passion texts. Faith rarely just happens, so often we need to work at it in prayer, reflection and church and thus I pray for your and my own growth in faith for “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed