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Thought for the Month  by the Reverend Anthony Smith, Priest in Charge

Recently, some of us in the Riverside Parishes have been reading a book together about how Christianity has shaped our culture. In the ancient world, people believed that some people are worth more than others, that slaves belong to their owners, that there’s no point looking after people at the bottom of society, and that the past was better than the present. But that’s not what we believe. We believe in equality, freedom, compassion and progress. Why? The answer in the book: our modern values come directly from Christianity. (If you want to check out the book, it’s by Glen Scrivener, and it’s called, The Air We Breathe.)

But there’s something very strange about saying that Christianity has shaped the modern world. Right at the heart of Christianity is a man on a cross. Christians claim that the man on the cross was and is the Son of God. Now, if you were going to invent a religion, never in a million years would you think of encouraging people to worship someone on a cross. Being crucified was the most humiliating thing you could possibly imagine. No self-respecting deity would sink so low!

But there’s no doubt that, at some point in the past, people started to worship a man called Jesus, who they said had been crucified. Why would people do something so strange? Something must have happened. But what? What happened?

The answer that Christians give is that Jesus came back to life again, and that he’s alive today. Only someone who is alive can transform the world and transform lives.

If you want to encounter the risen Jesus for yourself, why not give church a try? It might be the best thing you’ve ever done.

Revd Anthony Smith, Priest in Charge
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