As I was writing my Rector’s report for Oake, I indulged myself and looked back over the 17 years I’ve been Rector in the benefice. I listed my highlights and realised just how many things had changed over that time; the old village hall was demolished and a new one sprang up, the school kept its old building but added a new one, the church took out pews in the south aisle to create a bright and flexible space, the cedar tree fell in the storm and a beautiful sculpture was created, the altar was stolen and a marvellously crafted altar now stands in St Bartholomew’s. From the old, from the tired, from the broken and the hopeless, something marvellous and maybe even better, can come. I’m sure as I write the reports for the other parishes I will discover the same….the old gives way to new, as we move with the times, and, in Christian terms, as we try to listen to God and are prepared to trust the next part of the journey to a God who says “Behold I make all things new!”
The message of Easter is like that – from death comes life, from despair comes hope, from hopelessness comes miracle, from betrayal comes forgiveness. Just when we think we would like to give up or cannot see a way forward, we can be surprised by joy.
I have found that the best way to really experience the full message of Easter is to immerse yourself in the lead up to it – to come to the Holy week meditations, the Passover Supper, the walk of witness and Easter day itself. Of course there might be reasons why you can’t do everything, but there’s a wealth of opportunity to dip in and out. By experiencing Holy week – you go from high to low, from low to high: from Hosanna to Crucify! From the cross to the empty tomb.
May you have the chance to experience Easter in its fullness so that however you are feeling, that message of Christ’s triumph over death will be real for you.