I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Easter.
Easter is the most joyful season in the Christian year. It’s a season of rejoicing that lasts in the church for a full forty days.
We celebrate because we believe Jesus died on the cross, and came back to life on Easter morning.
This might seem a strange thing to believe, especially in these days of scepticism, science and medical knowledge.
It flies in the face of all our understandings of how our bodies work, and of the finality of death.
Through the years people have offered all sorts of theories – perhaps Jesus didn’t die after all, and was just unconscious; perhaps it was all made up as a strange kind of propaganda.
But nonetheless, as Christians we hold that Jesus did die, and that, through the power of God’s love, he did rise from the dead.
And even for those who might struggle with the idea of a dead man physically coming back to life, the message of Easter packs a punch. Because behind the story lies a deep conviction that nothing in the world is more powerful than love – not even death itself.
When we say on Easter Day, ‘Christ is risen’, what we mean is this: There is no hurt on earth that can’t be healed; there is no wrong in your life, or in our society, that can’t be forgiven and transformed; there is no brokenness that can’t give way to new life.
As Christians our core conviction is that destructiveness will never have the last word.
Even though it can look as if violence or anger or hatred has had its way – and it certainly looks that way when Jesus is lying dead in the tomb – in the end love and life prove to be indestructible.
So when I wish you a ‘Happy Easter’, I am trying, maybe in a clumsy or not too clear way, to offer you hope.
I am expressing my conviction that the hurts in your life can be overcome; that even if you are feeling tired or jaded or disillusioned, nonetheless the potential is there in you, for you to experience new life and new love.
So Happy Easter, to you and to those you love. Do drop by your local church any time over the next few weeks and share in the Easter celebrations – you will be made most welcome.
From the Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, Bishop Christopher