Faith Matters by Robin Gurney, of Churches Together Leighton Linslade...
This coming Friday will see the largest annual gathering of the town’s Christian Community as they join together in a march of witness and a short service at the Market Cross in the High Street.
The reason for this show of commitment – it will be Good Friday, the day when the world’s Christians remember the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, crucified by the Roman colonial authorities on a hill outside Jerusalem.
I find it quite shocking that 2,000 years after this horrific event that crucifixions should be back in the news, allegedly one of the ways that the self-styled Islamic State in Syria and Iraq are executing people they don’t like or who are not followers of their brand of Islam.
When Jesus was executed so many years ago crucifixion was a common sight in and around the ruling power’s administrative areas. It was probably then the most common form of execution.
Jesus himself was hung between two other men. Some commentators estimate that on his journey to Jerusalem Jesus could have passed up to 600 crucifixions by the roadside. Rebellion was always just below the surface at that time and the brutal authorities felt obliged to stamp on it. It is, of course, from this horrific event that the universal emblem of the Christian Church emerged – the cross. A simple symbol made from two pieces of rough hewn wood.
What those powers could not foresee is what happened on the third day after the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
Christians will celebrate that this coming Sunday, Easter Day. The stone that sealed the tomb where the body of Jesus had been placed was miraculously rolled away and Jesus was resurrected from the dead. This central event of the Christian faith has been challenged time and time again but all who have tried to find a flaw in the basic story have failed. The town’s Christian witness in the High Street this year will be lead by the Rev Father John Danford and other members of the town’s clergy and lay leaders. The service at 11.15am will last not much more than 30 minutes, so come rain or shine no one will be subjected to inclement weather for long. Why not come and join in. You will be witnessing to the story that changed the world.
One procession will leave from the Baptist Church in Hockliffe Street at 10.45am making its way down West Street to the bottom of Bridge Street where it will link up with the second stream of marchers coming from St Barnabas Church, Linslade. And then on to the Market Cross.
This gathering is devoid of any of the denominational differences that still divide the Christian Churches. Those differences are put aside in a spirit of common worship. In recent years Good Friday processions have become a feature in many, many towns and cities across our land. Baptists mix with Anglicans, Roman Catholics with Community Churches, Methodists with Pentecostals – all witnessing to the same thing... a living faith in a crucified and resurrected Saviour.