I am writing this on a glorious sunny Bank Holiday afternoon with signs of new life all around. The vicarage apple trees are full of blossom, the bluebells are out and the birds are singing in the sunshine.
At St John’s, we have just finished marking Lent during which we spent time reflecting on the Wondrous Cross and what it means. We then contemplated the enormity of what Jesus did for us on Good Friday and have just celebrated the joy of his resurrection on Easter Sunday. This is not the end of the story, in fact, the Easter season has only just begun and will take us through to Ascension and Pentecost when we will remember that Jesus ascended to heaven and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to live in all believers.
Although Easter is rightly a day of joy, it was not seeing the empty tomb that Sunday morning that transformed Jesus’ disciples. In fact, it left them rather confused and amazed because despite all that Jesus had told them before he died, they understandably did not believe that he had risen from the dead. It was spending time with their Risen Lord that enabled them to understand what Jesus had done and it was the coming of the Holy Spirit that transformed them so they had the courage and ability to tell others the good news that Jesus was alive.
Jesus is alive is the reason that Easter is full of hope. The empty tomb is the proof that Jesus is who he said he is. The empty tomb is the proof that death does not get the final world and that the love of God wins. The empty tomb is the guarantee that we can enjoy new life with Jesus. If we want to truly experience the joy of Easter and the new life which Jesus offers, we need to meet with the Risen Lord, spend time with him and ask him to give us the fullness of life which is possible because the cross was not the end of the story.
‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ 1 Peter 1.3
with love and prayers
(the picture is a painting from 1988 by Josef Zacek)