Reflection for the Week
29th April 2018

Hidden in Christ

On holiday in Scotland recently, we were walking along a marshy reed bed. Except for the reeds and coconut scented gorse bushes, it was a fairly bleak place. The wind blew in from the sea bending the reeds inland.
As we walked along we walked by a hawthorn tree, bare and dead... or so it seemed. This was a silent place, except for the sound of birds, and one such bird was singing loud and shrill from the branches of the hawthorn tree... a male chaffinch.
I’m glad of the chaffinch, because his call caused me to stop and look into the tree more closely, at which point I noticed that, despite being to all intents and purposes dead, without leaves in bud... the tree was in fact clothed in life by mosses and lichens, so it appeared alive.
Looking at the tree, I was reminded of a snippet from Paul’s letter to the emerging Church in the City of Colossae... He wrote “So, if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (Colossians 3: 1 – 4)
I’ve always found mosses and lichens quite fascinating and beautiful somehow... growing where almost nothing else can. Seeing that tree clothed... hidden... in mosses and lichens, things quite alive, caused me to think about that snippet and the mysteries of faith, life and death. 
Perhaps when we believe in Christ it’s as if, although like the tree we appear to be dead, we are in fact like that tree, clothed... hidden in something alive. We are hidden in Christ, in whose life we are therefore made alive. When God sees us, God sees Christ because we are hidden in Christ. So, even when we are dead it is as though God sees us as the risen, living Christ and because of that... like the tree we are made alive... clothed in Christ. 
I thank God for the call of that chaffinch, who made me stop and think.

Revd. Janine Atkinson

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