As we’ve travelled through Lent the days have been lengthening and the sun has been strengthening. The weather has been beautiful, the spring flowers are blooming, the birds are singing and once again we can venture out and enjoy the warmth and walk in the light. As buds burst into new leaf we find ourselves caught up in, and a part of, this newness of life and feeling of a world restored. The darkness and cold is receding and the light is returning. The circle of life is turning and creation is responding powerfully.
We move towards the great celebration of Easter and the promise that life is eternal and hope is re-awakened. Personally I would hate to live in perpetual winter – like in C.S Lewis’ book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ where it is always winter but never Christmas. There is something very symbolic about spring isn’t there? Without spring we would remain in the darkness of winter. Without the resurrection we would remain in the hopeless darkness of Good Friday. It is a sign that we are to seek out God and make room in our lives for his Spirit. We need God’s presence and power – without which we would perish.
At Easter there is a turning point for all humankind, for a new order begins. God has conquered the power of death and sin, we are set free from their captivity. Light shines in the darkness and in Christ we are offered life eternal. This should be a season of rejoicing.
Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote ‘Let him Easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us’. We should truly take to heart the words of St Augustine: ‘We are Easter people: Alleluia is our song.’ The stone has been moved away and the light of hope shines in resurrection.
Sometimes our lives can be difficult and our outlook dark and bleak. We can get caught up in our inner world where we can find pain and sadness. It’s hard to escape from our inner selves and look outside and beyond; it can be like a prison. But that is what the life story of Jesus of Nazareth shows us – it involves us in a bigger picture, a much bigger picture. It takes us out of ourselves and encourages us to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there is hope, that things can change in unexpected ways and that we are not alone – even in the tunnel.
We approach our Easter Celebrations via a route that seems bleak and unrelenting and yet on Easter morning we are faced with something so surprising and life giving that hope is re-awakened. The crown of thorns is transformed and adorns the head of the Son of God, the Lord of life, the Lord of peace, and the Lord of love (see hymn 255: Crown him with many crowns) There are many things which we don’t understand intellectually but that doesn’t mean we can’t know them in our hearts. We may never know how it happened on that morning so long ago but we can know that it did happened and take heart.
I look forward to sharing Easter with you this year – but don’t forget that our Easter Morning Celebration service starts at 9.30am! (all Easter service details are on the online calendar)
Shalom my friends.