Rector's Blog

Easter Message

Luke 24. 1-12 

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 

Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened

A recent survey found that when asked about the most common British traits people cited talking about the weather and drinking tea as amongst our most prominent attributes along with a love of curry and …queuing.  For some inexplicable reason us British don’t seem to mind queuing, we almost seem to enjoy it – as long as it’s fair.  Queue jumping is one of the things we hate most. But we don’t seem to mind waiting.  And we are now at the end of a period of waiting: we have just passed through the season of Lent and our waiting is now over – Jesus Christ is Risen

The church year unfolds with the seasons.  It seems particularly fitting to celebrate the Resurrection in spring when the days are getting longer, when our gardens are emerging from their rather sorry winter state and we see green shoots appearing.  But Easter is not simply a time we mark the cycle of the seasons.   Easter is not merely a spring festival. Easter is the day that Christians announce to the world that Jesus of Nazareth died and rose again. He is alive now.  He has conquered death.

Jesus’ death and resurrection changed the world forever so that nothing can ever be the same again.  Early Christians understood this to mean that the End Times were almost upon them. They lived each day in the expectation of Jesus’ return.  But as the years passed and Jesus did not return the way the early Christians understood the Gospel began to be reinterpreted for a Church who seemed to be in for a long wait.  The queue we are waiting in seems to move very slowly.

So what difference does the Easter experience make to us who are living in a world where we see hurt, pain, poverty, injustice and suffering? Especially this year as we see war raging in Europe. Yet for all that we constantly see glimpses of the time when all tears will be wiped away.  We see people of extraordinary courage, of extraordinary compassion. We see how people came together over the last few years in the face of the pandemic.  We see people who are not willing to let past hurts and betrayals eat away at them. They are saying yes to life and to living. Think of Elizabeth and Fernando Jimenez whose forgave their daughter’s killer and helped him build a new life. Or Gavin Power, the young man in Northern Ireland whose father was killed in a sectarian murder but who forgave his killers. I think of my own father, a Japanese Prisoner of War, who never held on to hatred of the Japanese people. These people, whatever their faith, signpost us to the Kingdom of God.  And that journey to the Kingdom means leaving our past hurts behind. 

Paula Gooder in her Lenten book “This Risen Existence” reminds us of C S Lewis’ famous Christian allegory, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.     When the mythical kingdom of Narnia is under the spell of the White Witch it is always covered in snow. It is, we are told, always winter, never Christmas.  Never Christmas. That might seem an odd way of putting it. After all Christmas falls in the middle of winter.    Should it not be always winter but never spring? But in the story the first evidence that Aslan is returning to Narnia and the White Witch’s hold over the frozen country is losing its grip is the sight of Father Christmas.  Then the snow slowly begins to melt and finally spring bursts into bloom.

We are living in the thaw.  On Easter Day Christians announce: “Jesus is Risen”.  He is alive. Death is defeated.  We have not yet experienced the completion of God’s promise, but we do see glimpses.

We are living between the events of Easter Day and the End Times – but we are not simply in a long queue, passively waiting for something.  We are living in the thaw and we have the power within us to make melt the ice around us by our actions, by the love we pour out to others in our daily lives. 

We are called to actively go out and proclaim this Good News – in what we say, in what we do and the love we share.

 Someone described this Resurrection life as “the world as it should be… in direct opposition to the world as it is”.  The men in white who meet Mary Magdalene and the other women at the tomb ask them “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!”   The women did not wait at the tomb – they went back and told the others what they had seen.

As Christians, we need to go out taking our message of peace, truth, sharing and love.  Jesus’ death and resurrection changed the world forever so that nothing that happened since can ever be the same again.  Jesus Christ is Risen and because of that we can live our lives in the expectation that the world can become the world that it should be not simply the world as it is.  

Rev’d Andrea Jones, Rector, St Deiniol’s Church