Last week I went to a packed meeting in the Town Hall about the proposals for more housing in Caerleon. Concern was rightly expressed about the pressure that is already placed on the roads and inadequate bridges of Caerleon by the volume of traffic that passes through here daily. A few days later Paul Murphy M.P. expressed what many of us have been feeling for years, that the M4 as we know it has long ceased to be a motorway and its unfinished state adds to the stupidity of imposing more traffic on Caerleon.
When you add to the packed roads, the frenzied political activity of a forthcoming general election, you will probably realise what it was like in Jerusalem at that first Easter. From Palm Sunday to Good Friday the inadequate roads were crowded with pilgrims and the political scene was sensitive to say the least. Pontius Pilate had moved his headquarters from Caesarea to the Temple precincts to supervise the law and order that he meant to maintain. Caiaphas, the High Priest, was there to ensure that Jesus would not bring the Temple too much to the attention of Rome. Caiaphas knew how to rattle Pilate’s cage when it came to getting collaboration.
People haven’t changed much and to add to the frustration, the national Rugby squad has been disappointing its supporters. It’s a pity that the Welsh side left it so late to show what they could really achieve, but their victory over Italy will have prepared them for their encounter with South Africa and their visit to New Zealand!
When we hear in the Gospel for Easter Day that “the disciples went back to their homes” after seeing the empty tomb, it sounds like an anti-climax after all the agony and suffering and the great victory of Easter. What the Gospels go on to tell us is the account of the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection to his disciples and friends. If we read on in the New Testament, we are told how the encounters with the risen Jesus prepare his followers for his Ascension and for the great gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the inspiration to lead the rest of their lives in a way that would not have been possible without the Resurrection.
It is always good to see so many people at our church services on Easter Day and to celebrate the great victory of our Lord’s Resurrection at the real Lamb and Flag. It is an anti-climax if we just go back to our homes afterwards, wondering if we shall be singing the same hymns next year!
Our faith is much better fed by real life experiences than by intellectual arguments, and the experiences of that first Easter brought about the birth of the Christian Church, a highly unlikely development in the political circumstances of the times. If we can only follow through to Pentecost, we might even face the All Blacks! A joyful and happy Easter to you all!
Your friend and Vicar