Dear Friends,
It is a day in March, in what is usually considered to be the season of Spring, however there is snow on the ground, the skies are leaden and the scene in my garden is decidedly monochrome! A few daffodils had the temerity to flower recently and they are bent over by the cold and the snow, their colour barely visible. Somehow, Spring (which seemed to have started a few days ago) is now a long distance away, and the promise of light, warmth and renewal seems a hollow one at a moment such as this.

 

Fast forward a week and what a contrast! There is bright sunshine, the day is comparatively warm, and the snow is but a memory. The handful of daffodils, formerly bent over and weak, now stand tall and proud once more, and have been joined by many times more! Elsewhere, a heather is in bloom and the currant bushes are just starting to come into blossom: indeed the first of the battalion of insects that will be attracted to them has arrived! New life and hope are bursting forth once more.

Well we have certainly seen the extremes of Spring already this year within the a short period in March, and that change in emotions too. As we come to Easter we may reflect on the dramatic changes witnessed by the disciples too. There was the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to the acclaim of the crowds; there was the heady anticipation of what was to come, that was seemingly dashed to pieces by the events of Thursday night and Good Friday. Suddenly the future was very bleak for the disciples: the light, colour and vibrancy brought to their lives by Jesus, seemingly snatched away.

However from the depths of despair came the most amazing news: Christ was alive again. Suddenly the World, that had seemingly become cold, monochrome and grim, was alive with colour, joy and the warmth of God’s love: the most amazing thing had happened and death itself had been confounded. That news, that changed reality, would drive the disciples to witness for their Lord in new and profound ways – the end had not come, instead it was just a beginning!

So it is with us. There are times in our lives when it feels like that cold, wintery day: troubles assail us and the future looks bleak. Like a lingering Winter, it can seem as if the better times will never come. However the reality is that God’s love is never far way, and its warmth stands ready to embrace us and lead us on. At Easter we see the most dramatic demonstration of that: God’s Way will triumph. Nothing will be able to stop it in the end. It is news that gives us heart and that can inspire us to new efforts. It is news that has to be shared, because it changes us, it changes people, it changes the World!

So let us take heart and go out into the World with that message of joy, renewed and enabled as God’s people, and may the blessings of Easter be with you now and always!

Chris