Rev Dave’s Easter Message 2023

Easter – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Christmas is great but Easter is AMAZING! It is the time of year where not only on Easter Sunday but for the season of Easter up until Pentecost we proclaim each and every week in church with great joy in our hearts: “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”

This ancient greeting sums up what we celebrate this Easter Sunday, the joy of Christ risen and alive in our midst. Psalm 118 says “This is the day the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad”. This then is the Joyful Good News that we should be glad of – Christ by his death and resurrection has conquered sin so we may live. The Resurrection is the foundation and cornerstone of our faith. As St Paul says to the Corinthians if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and our faith too is in vain.

Easter Sunday is such a joyful day – in church we have party poppers, we shout for joy as children of God, celebrating the wonder of the empty tomb. But my joy of Easter Day is not the only thing I find wonderful about this season. It begins on Ash Wednesday and comes to it climax and fulfilment on Easter Sunday. Party poppers in church may seem irreverent but it is the because of the journey through Lent and Holy Week done properly that allows that joy to eventually burst forth.

It begins as we sit in awe of God’s forgiveness for each of us on Ash Wednesday as we quietly remember those things that separated us from God that leads us into a time of reflection as we journey through Lent. Then the wondrous events of that first Holy Week. The Triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as we cheer ‘Hosanna – the King has arrived’. The intimate moments with Jesus and his disciples at that Last Supper where those final instructions are given to continue to break bread and share wine in remembrance of him.

And then Maundy Thursday, as we strip the church and leave in quiet contemplation for prayer and the Easter Vigil where we once again recall God’s story – in our story of salvation. Good Friday with a sense of foreboding as we once again grasp the magnitude of what Jesus took on himself from each one of us – our sin and shame and judgement. The glimmer of hope seemingly extinguished that perhaps we don’t quite grasp because we already know that more is to come. Trying to understand how the finality of death must have felt for those first disciples – they hadn’t grasped that this was the plan, that Jesus would return. The liturgy of the Word re-enacts that story and so leads us to that first Easter morning as the women arrive and wonder why the stone is rolled away and the tomb is empty.

Because of the journey we can go from wonder, to reflection, to contemplation and the sombreness of Good Friday. It is this that leads to the joyful celebration of the risen Lord in our midst as Jesus offers Himself anew in the Holy Sacrifice as we share at the communion table on Easter Day. We do this in a spirit of thanksgiving to God who gives His own Son to die in order to rescue us from the slavery of sin.

Please do join us as we journey through Holy Week this year as we share together as a benefice. Details of all our services can be found in the magazine.

Easter Day is a time for party poppers because we live as people deeply touched by the resurrection and proclaim: Christ is risen, Alleluia! May our encounter with the risen Lord on our journey of faith touch us deeply and transform us as Jesus did for His Disciples. May the resurrection lead us to be the best version of ourselves; committed to live out our Baptismal covenant. When we live the new life of the resurrection, we become the best version of ourselves. We become what St Augustine referred to as an “Easter People”, a people transformed into disciples and stewards who commit to give their time, talent and treasure in witness. My prayer for you this Easter is that you live as joyful people deeply touched by the resurrection and proclaim for yourselves: Christ is risen, Alleluia, Alleluia! I wish you all a very happy Easter.