FAITH IN THE COMMUNITY: Easter brings us new life and new hope

by the Rev Andrew Sheard, rector, Warblington-with-Emsworth
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Recently, I got a disappointing Christmas present from my sister – a few dry and lifeless looking seeds in a small cardboard box. Not very impressive!

However, they came with an instruction sheet about watering and burying them in cold earth. It transpired she had set up a competition between in our family - who could grow the tallest sunflower from this tiny quarter-inch seed?

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Well, I like a competition and being on the south coast gave me a bit of an advantage. From that tiny seed grew a six-foot high sunflower – 300 times taller than the original seed! Not so disappointing after all.

The sunflower grown by the Rev Andrew SheardThe sunflower grown by the Rev Andrew Sheard
The sunflower grown by the Rev Andrew Sheard

In the week leading up to Easter, we see what appears to be an unimpressive end to the life of Jesus. He had promised so much, with compassion for the vulnerable and healing of those who were broken physically and spiritually.

But all that goodness was snuffed out by powerful people who had him executed to protect their own interests. An disappointing end, or so it seemed.

However, three days later the tomb he was buried in burst open. His followers claimed that he appeared to them alive, and no authorities were ever able to disprove his resurrection. No one ever produced a dead body to quash this new movement we now call Christianity.

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Can a dead man become alive again? It seems unlikely and yet in nature it happens around us every year, as Winter turns to Spring with seeds like mine bursting into life. Can death lead to life and hope spring from despair?

Disappointingly, today it still seems that evil overcomes good. We can still see lives that are destroyed by powerful people determined to protect their interests and maintain their status. It is tempting to despair.

But the Easter story offers us hope that, thanks to God, good will always overcome evil in the end and even death can lead to new life.

Jesus speaking before his own death predicted this when he said “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”


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