I love Easter! I love the drama of the liturgy in church that moves us from death to life, despair to celebration; I love the way the church comes alive with flowers and beauty and life – almost as glorious as the returning warmth and splendour of Spring resplendent with birdsong, green growth and flowered magnificence; and I love the precious Easter Day gathering of my family – drawn together around a feast to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection – even though this year, with Covid restrictions still in place, our feast will be somewhat different.
On reflecting on the joys of Easter it occurred to me that Jesus’ first disciples and followers were a family of sort. They had spent three amazing years together growing through so many challenging experiences and trials – no wonder then that they were so lost and devastated at Jesus’ death. Some of us who have lost close loved ones will know something of what that feels like and particularly if that loss occurred in the last year when grieving has been made all the harder. Such shocking loss and accompanying deep grief and confusion makes the subsequent transformation of those first disciples all the more incredible!
That bereft, afraid, confused, and anxious ‘family’ of Jesus suddenly changed into a confident, brave, joyful and dynamic movement that shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with all who would listen – anywhere! How did this happen? Well when you think about it there’s really only one way – they met with the risen Christ, just as they said they did (however hard and difficult we may find that to believe!), and that meeting completely transformed them.
I still encounter people today who have been transformed by the risen Christ – a mum who through coming to church has laid aside the bitterness and anger of years; a youngster who tried to commit suicide, but whose life was turned around after finding out she really is loved; a drug addict who through being given a second chance is now an evangelist.
The risen Christ still transforms lives today, but just like 2000 years ago he still needs the help of his ‘family’ to do that. You are Jesus’ family called to live out the Easter faith of moving from death to life and making people feel ‘loved as they are’. This Easter I encourage each of you to reflect on how you are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, so that others might be filled with something of the love, joy, hope and new life that he came to offer to every single one of us.
Yours in Christ