I hope you all had an enjoyable Easter and aren’t suffering from chocolate poisoning or hot cross bun overload.
It’s always such a joy to spend time with the grandchildren and it was wonderful to see their faces when they saw their Easter eggs which of course I’d carefully selected – one was in the shape of a Star Wars character, one in the shape of a birdhouse complete with chocolate chicks and another in the shape of a football – none of which had anything to do with Easter. According to the papers that manufacturers aren’t calling these chocolate delights Easter eggs anymore – not politically correct any more, evidently. Oh dear.
My younger grandson has discovered the art of being delighted when he’s given anything, his excitement and joy is so refreshing. On his 5th birthday at the end of February he opened each present carefully and his face lit up as shouts of “Oh Wow! Look at that, it’s perfect, thank you!” erupted from him. It was so uplifting and we all felt that the presents we’d bought were really appreciated. It was lovely. If only we all felt this delight about the gifts we receive. His older brother finds the whole present thing much more difficult and is almost embarrassed when he’s the centre of attention and has to open presents, which is a bit sad as it’s his birthday on Sunday. What do you buy a 13 year old that’s going to produce an “Oh Wow!”? I have no idea.
We are now into the Easter Season and I’d like to think that we’re all grateful for it. This year Easter seemed particularly poignant and if we allow ourselves to follow in the footsteps of Jesus throughout Holy Week it really brings the whole story to life and we can get caught up in the drama – which, I admit, can be a harrowing experience. This year it was made even more difficult by the bombings in Brussels and the realisation that this is what the refugees from Syria are trying to escape from. For them events like the bombings in Brussels are intolerable everyday events.
Although we know the conclusion of the Easter story I still find it very moving, but on Easter Sunday I have a sense of a new beginning, possibilities that things could be better, much better, that there is hope of redemption and new beginnings for us personally and for this confused world in which we live. That thought made my mind turn to prayer.
On Easter Sunday in our service we shout or sing “Alleluia” with great gusto, many times – “Praise be the Lord” in response to what we feel God has done for us.
It’s so easy to take things for granted isn’t it? Just to accept the gifts we are given with a shrug and a mumbled thanks without thinking about the effort that the giver has gone to secure the gift. It may not be quite what we wanted or something a bit weird – like the bagpipe-shaped bottle stopper Tony was once given – but someone has thought of us.
We may not be able to understand very much of what happened on the day when the tomb was empty, and yet somewhere deep within us we know there is a deep truth that was released that day. However, one thing is clear: no one has gone through so much to bring us the gift of new life and new relationship. If we take it for granted we miss so much for this is the perfect gift.
So we thank you for all the many gifts He offers to us and to the church. “Praise be the Lord!”
Enjoy our beautiful spring my friends, with its promise of warmth and new life.