Springtime, Easter-time – two hopeful words that belong together. Whether you look at Easter in a heavenly way or in a more earthy way, we can see how actually, heaven and earth meet in the hope of new life ‘out there’ in nature, and ‘in here’ within our hearts. As we all celebrate longer, brighter days we do so alongside people who look to this time as the dawning of the new life following the resurrection of Jesus and the discovery of the empty tomb at the dawn of that first Easter day.
I found this little poem in a children’s book of poetry:
The winter branches were bare and grey
But now the blossom is white,
And Christ was hung on a tree to die
But God has put all things right….
This will mean different things to different people, but to me, it speaks of the hope I am talking about – having a reason to believe that all things can be put right – in the end…
There have been some dark, confusing and sad headlines hitting the news recently – and I am sure all our prayers go out to everyone who is affected by the traumas and troubles of life, that comfort, strength and hope falls upon them.
Of course, some of the news we hear about is fake – it seems to be the order of the day recently, doesn’t it? The news is either not true or has been bent out of shape – sometimes it’s hard to know who and what to believe. Is it true or not?
This is something I honestly grappled with for years around this time of year. Did a human called Jesus die and miraculously come back to life again on the third day – really? People have put forward theories over the years to disprove the story – perhaps the body was stolen – maybe Jesus fainted on the cross and revived in the
tomb (mind you, I don’t think the Romans would leave many crucifixions unfinished…)
Perhaps Jesus didn’t exist at all – (although there is a lot of evidence for the existence of Jesus outside the Bible – more so than Julius Caesar, and we believe Caesar existed don’t we?)
Whatever our belief about it all being true or false, perhaps the thing to focus on is to ask ourselves ‘what does the idea of believing that someone died and rose to new life do for us as we live out our lives today?’ And that brings me back to this word ‘hope’ – such an anchor word, that speaks of purpose and meaning to things even when it doesn’t seem to be so – that speaks of a bigger picture than the one we can see with the human eyes we are born with. Hope speaks of something more…
As a matter of interest, we hear that the disciples of Jesus were a little sceptical and unable to make a true commitment to get alongside him at first, and they also let him down left, right and centre, especially at the time when he needed them the most – what a wild mixed bunch they were… It was only when they encountered the risen
Jesus that it all fell into place – when they started to get a glimpse of what Jesus had been trying to tell them and show them – and it was then that they truly made their commitment to follow him and all that he stood for. This commitment helped them to see the world with new eyes and live in the world in a new way, thinking more about
others and how they could add some more goodness to the world – making a difference to the communities around them, especially to those who were struggling. It was literally a transforming experience that gave them a new start despite all the messing up that had gone on before.
That is what having faith that the first Easter Story is true has meant to me – it has brought a purpose and hope that I didn’t always have, and a foundation on which to build a way of life that thinks about caring for others as others care for me and a way that is encouraging in the tricky times and relatively peaceful and happy in the ordinary times.
Whatever your faith or non-faith in the Easter story, I wish you a blessed and happy time this Easter with family and friends – and that the springtime hope of new beginnings surrounds you and lightens your days.
Love Rev Jacqueline
We give thanks for new beginnings and new life.
May this Easter journey lead us on
to love and light
peace and hope
and the joy of caring and sharing.
Read more clergy letters.