From Revd Martin Allwood in Yorkshire:
How time flies! March has passed, Spring is officially here and as you read this Easter will be upon us. I pray that the meaning of Easter, that of hope, joy and the promise of an eternal relationship with our Creator, will remain with you and inspire you in the months to come. We wish all the best to our school children and teachers during their brief Easter holidays. May you have a relaxing time, returning safely to school with the start of the new term.
God bless, Martin
An Easter Message from Bishop Martin
At the heart of Easter is the possibility of new life following the resurrection of Jesus from the dead following his crucifixion.
Easter is about new life and the possibility of new life in every aspect of our lives and the life of the world. The Resurrection of Jesus assures us that the new life we see around us, in individuals and communities, is part of what is permanent in the world. Those experiences of goodness, of life, of joy, all these positive experiences have a permanent value, made certain for us in the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus coming to life shows us that death is not the end, and so our experiences of death, the little deaths in our lives, the discouragements, the setbacks, even the tragedies, are never the last word. The end of the story is that goodness will always win out.
Which is what the Easter egg is about. The tradition of Easter eggs seems to go back to the third or fourth century, originating apparently in the area around what we now know as Iraq. The empty egg would be decorated to be a symbol of the empty tomb or the egg itself decorated to be a sign of new life.
This tradition spread across western Christianity and then of course at some point we turned it into chocolate since we like to turn whatever we can into chocolate!
But today people in different parts of the world continue to decorate real eggs and egg shells. I remember as a youngster engaging in the often messy exercise of blowing eggs before we painted them. Every year my family sat down on Holy Saturday and decorated a great number of eggs, surrounded by bowls of coloured water and aided with the judicious use of wax to create patterns.
Easter is not just for Easter day, though, but year round. Every Sunday is a reminder of the resurrection of Jesus, and a reminder of the gift of new life, of life out of death in whatever form and context.
We see those experiences when we put ourselves in places where we can share the challenges and struggles that people face in their lives. Offering to be alongside, to walk with, those in need, whether through family, a local community group, in a school, or a range of other organisations, is one way we will encounter the presence of God in people’s lives, bringing new life, bringing hope.
It is because of Easter that we show and share the love of God in our care and reaching out to others. That of course becomes not just an experience of new life in them, but in us to as we see God’s love at work.
+ Martin St Edmundsbury & Ipswich
REFLECTION FOR EASTER 4
Some people say that faith is a crutch for the weak minded.
In a world when a person is poisoned in an English city, where there are chemical attacks on civilians in Syria, where there are killings in our capital, our faith can take a severe bruising.
How can we live in the Easter joy when there is so much hurt and suffering in the world?
How do we love with actions and truth when there is so much division and hatred?
There Is no simple, off-the-peg answer to ‘How?’.
But we do live in the Easter joy, we do love with actions and truth because Jesus has laid down His life for each one of us.
Because this is love, not that we loved God but that He first loved us.
Because God so loved the world …
Faith is not a crutch for the weak minded, for if our faith is to be true, we must engage, struggle, wrestle with living the ideal of love to which we are called, in the reality of the world in which we live.
Jesus Christ is calling, calling in the streets,
‘Come and walk faith’s tightrope, I will guide your feet.’
Listen, Lord Jesus, let my fears be few;
Walk one step before me, I will follow You.
Hundred River & Wainford Benefice