Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

Forgive and FORGET

Forgiving is at the heart of Lent. Indeed, it's the heart of being a Christian. There's a lot about sin at this season and by the time we get to Easter we may be ready to forget about sin and forgiveness for a while. But for some people, to forgive and forget is simply too hard to bear. Or is it really the forgetting that's the problem?

Before the War, there was a book about Pontius Pilate. The Procurator of Judaea was by a socialist writer, Anatole France. The story is set in Rome 20 years after Pilate retired. In the park he meets an old friend, Aelius Lamia, who asks him: "Who was that preacher from Galilee, Jesus of Nazareth? Wasn't he crucified in your time, Pontius?" Pilate scratches his head as if searching his mind. "What was his name? Jesus? No I don't remember any Jesus of Nazareth."

You see, he'd forgotten about the crucifixion. Perhaps there were others being crucified at the time. Or was it that he preferred to forget? It's something we can't forget in Church. We remember every time we say the Creed. "He suffered under Pontius Pilate." That's what fixes the date of the Crucifixion for us.

This week the Rev Julie Nicholson just couldn't forget that the July 7 London bombers had killed her daughter. She found that she just could not forgive them and in conscience felt that she couldn't go on working as a parish priest. So she resigned her living. Forgiveness is often treated lightly by the Church and even more lightly by society in general. Even in services, forgiveness of sins is given a light dusting and we need the period of Lent to do the spring cleaning. This bereaved priest is a good example to all of us of someone who takes forgiveness seriously. We need far more people with a conscience like hers.


DURHAM Cathedral celebrates St Cuthbert next Saturday with the Eucharist and procession to the shrine at 11am. …

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