A Vicar Writes: April 2017

I have to say I’m looking forward to the next few months, I love the season of Spring for numerous reasons. Firstly, it means light nights. There is something wonderful about the light nights, they bring with them endless opportunities to do things in the evenings. For me, as a biker, that means plenty of opportunities to venture out for an evening ride (diary permitting!) It also means sunshine (hopefully). The sun brings a completely different feel to everything, suddenly things seem better when the suns out! It also brings heat, I love the feeling of a spreading a warmth that soaks through your body as the sun beats down, bringing with it the chance to wear shorts and T-Shirt. I love wearing shorts, for some reason it reminds me of holidays and that feeling of freedom. Basically I think Spring brings the feel good factor!!!

Spring also brings Easter and I also love Easter, it’s my favourite Christian festival, possibly because it doesn’t carry the same pressure as Christmas but in reality, the significance of Easter, for me, is far greater. We have the wonder, difficulty and depth of Holy Week to journey through before the joy of Easter day.

I want to briefly pick up on three words from the opening paragraph that tie in with the message of Easter.

Light: As the light breaks forth from the opened tomb we are reminded that Jesus is the light of the world, John’s gospel reminds us that ‘the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it’. (John 1:5) Even the darkness of sin and death could not overcome the light of the world. The reality of Easter is that Jesus, the light of the world, offers to shine his light into our lives, to shine into those dark areas that trouble us, to be our guide, to light our paths and to lead us into a true relationship with the father.

Opportunity: Easter brings with it the opportunity of new beginnings. As you are aware, the Easter Egg is a popular gift given at this time of year; the egg symbolising new life, new hope. The wonder of Easter is the message of new life and new hope that is only found in Jesus Christ. Even in the final moments of his life, the criminal dying on the cross alongside Jesus is offered forgiveness, life and hope, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43) What an amazing opportunity to offer ourselves afresh to God, to commit ourselves to his service and to receive a hope that lasts into eternity.

Freedom: Easter carries with it lots of images; the cross, a horrific instrument of torture, one on which criminals were often left to rot as a warning sign to others. Not so the cross of Jesus, his cross is empty! The tomb, once a person’s body was placed inside the tomb it was sealed shut, not so the tomb where Jesus lay, the stone has been rolled away and the tomb is found empty. The message of the empty cross and the empty tomb is a deeply meaningful one. It brings forgiveness, reconciliation and ultimately salvation. When we have accepted the truth that Jesus died in our place for our sins and have asked the Lord into our lives to be our saviour, our inheritance, like the criminal on the cross is guaranteed, and those same words that Jesus spoke, he also says to us, ‘that we will be with him in paradise’ and with that message of salvation comes freedom. For the first time, we can really live life to the full as God intended. Free from guilt, free from shame, free from striving on in our own strength,

So this Easter may you experience the feel good factor! May you be free to live in the light of Christ, may you make the most of every opportunity to live and speak for him and may you experience the freedom that a saving knowledge of Jesus brings. This Easter may you experience the joy of the Risen Lord Jesus!

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