Jenny’s letter 31st March

Dear Friends,

‘Alleluia Christ is risen’, the minister says. ‘He is risen indeed. Alleluia’ the congregation reply. So is the response that we share on Easter day and for the seven weeks after that form the season of Easter in the church’s calendar. Just as lighting the centre candle on the advent ring at Christmas fills me with excitement, I never cease to have a child-like joy at these Easter words. Part of the reason is of course that we save the words for a special festival.

When I was little, for a while, I tried to recreate Christmas every day. I would sneak upstairs and find the decorations and get them out. I loved Christmas and I didn’t want it to end. My dad had to explain to me that part of the reason it was so special was that it didn’t happen every day. To my parent’s relief, I soon stopped trying to decorate everything after school. 

Another thing that was true when I was small was that you could only buy Easter eggs at Easter. That included Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. Now you can get eggs for about four months and Creme Eggs all year round – and they are smaller!

Times change. People change. But the truth at the heart of Easter is the same yesterday, today and forever. Christ died for us because of his great love for us. Christ defeated death so that in the face of something that still scares people, we have hope. This life has joyful moments, if we are willing to seek them out, but when Christ comes again, we will have no more pain, no more tears, no more suffering.

Through faith in Jesus, we are promised eternal life in a world that is perfect just as God intended. We are also promised a different way of responding to the world we are in now. When we move forward in faith, we do not tackle life’s struggles and difficulties alone. We have Jesus with us and we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Hard stuff doesn’t stop but we are better equipped to go through it. 

At the heart of Christianity is Christ’s death and resurrection. Anyone who has ever worked with the Samaritans will tell you that one of the important and protective factors that a person needs to move forward in life is hope. The resurrection gives us hope. Where some may put their hope in winning the lottery, Christians put their hope in Jesus.

The world is broken, people suffer, and awful stuff happens. I am thankful that the gift of faith which I have received enables me to navigate difficult times with a profound sense that in the end, all will be well. This is not always an easy road to travel but the longer I have lived the more I see and experience the truth of it. 

There is one other significant difference between the celebration of Christmas and Easter. Christians are sometimes referred to as an ‘Easter people.’ Every Sunday we celebrate the joy of the resurrection. We are reminded that we have been called into faith so that we can go out and ‘Shine as a light in the world, to the glory of God the father.’ We get to celebrate weekly. Sometimes I think that we forget that. 

Whether you have been able to come and be part of the Church this Easter Sunday, or for a variety of reasons have stayed at home, I pray that you will hold fast to the hope that is set before us. 

May God bless you richly. Alleluia Christ is risen … 

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