We are a friendly Christian church, based in the small town of Neston, Wirral, Cheshire, midway between Liverpool and Chester.
On a patch of grass near the manse, someone took the trouble a few years ago to plant many daffodil and crocus bulbs, which bloom every year and bring great joy to those who walk past and see the vibrant yellows, whites and purples. I’m so glad for the person who did that, because it shows that people care, that they want to bring joy to others, and that the beauty of spring is important in the cycle of life.
The promise of Easter, always a cause for hope, is particularly poignant this year, a year when perhaps the whole world has had to act as one like never before, and find its way through the loss and fear to a place of light, life and colour – and it’s been quite a journey!
The image of the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance shows powerful forces at work, as God acts to bring about new life even in the midst of what was believed to be death, and the empty tomb near which were found the angels tells us to focus on the hope that God alone can bring: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
The shock and surprise felt by those who first found that the tomb was empty has repercussions down the centuries, as people have tried to deal with the difficulties of life by finding comfort in this image of resurrection, but tied in with it, right from the start is the early witnesses not being sure what had happened, or what to believe. It was only as time went on that things started to fall into place and the purposes of God became clearer.
For us now, this spring, we are playing a longer waiting game; waiting to see what is going to happen with the virus, the vaccine, with society and with the world, and at the moment, the darkness seems to be all around. Let’s not forget though that there are chinks of light, and just as the plants begin to grow and regrow in the darkness, so we will grow up again and feel the sunlight of resurrection all around us.
One of my favourite Easter hymns is “Now the Green Blade rises” – with its haunting melody and acknowledgement of the reality that there are dark and deathlike times, which sometimes we have to go through - but out of those we have these words of promise: “Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.” We’ve learned again recently that love is the most important thing, so when we get the chance again we will hold our loved ones close and give thanks for second chances.
Yours in the service of our Lord,