Julie Knight
19th April 2019
Good Friday Sermon

How many of you are wearing a fit bit? How many steps have you walked today already? It is said the journey of a thousand miles only begins with one step. If you think about it, we are climbing steps, using lifts and going up and down escalators all day. Here in Redhill we have a wide range to choose from, go in the belfry and you can take your pick steps, escalators and lifts abound in equal measures to take us where we want to be it up or down. So is our life everyday we move on sometimes stepping up and sometimes down, we all have good times and hard times. Tears and laughter.

The thing with stair cases is that when you start out on them you cannot always see where you are going to end up. If you take a lift in a destination unknown to you, you don’t know what you are going to come out onto. These steps we are using for our stage today don’t stop at that top point but continue around the corner, you can’t see it, most of you will know it’s there, but the rest of you will have to trust me! It was Martin Luther King Jr who said ‘Faith is taking the first step when you cannot see the whole staircase.’ I wonder how many of us if we knew the twists and turns in our life would be willing to take the steps, or how many times we would like to use the escalator or lift to zip passed certain points in our life.

Our readings today acted out on these very steps show the story of the last days on this earth of an extraordinary man, Jesus Christ who, unlike us, knew every twist and turn that his life was going take, knew where his staircase was headed yet still choose the path that lead to the cross.

We laid stones to remind us of Jesus being betrayed by one closest to him. And learned how one of his disciples scared to step out with Jesus denied knowing him not once but three times. We heard how he was questioned by Pontius pilot. How the crowd sentenced him to death. How he carried his own cross, was nailed to it was given vinegar to drink and finally declaring “It is finished” he died. We placed the shroud on the cross. Then the petals representing the un-ceremonial quiet burial.

It’s an old rugged story really, certainly not a pretty one, some may wonder why we want to share it. But is it not in the most rugged and worn stories in our life that often we find out who loves us the most? The thread running through these passages is one of love, it’s about Jesus overwhelming love for this weary world that he willingly sacrificed himself with arms nailed to the cross but outstretched as if embracing all in his love. Taking on all our sin means today we can receive his forgiveness and healing touch.

The fantastic thing about this story is that it does not end there, on that cross, or in the tomb, for those outstretched loving arms overcame all. On Sunday the churches of Redhill will be proclaiming the Glorious rising of our Lord. Come, step inside learn what happened next, I promise you its extraordinary, all are welcome!

So, when you are buying your Easter eggs later today and have cause to use steps, lifts or escalators. Take a minute there, pause and remember that on the cross Jesus took one giant leap of love for us all. But we only have to take one small step of faith to experience that rich love which is un measurable, unconditional and with arms outstretched is available to us all.