Dear Friends,

I have been reflecting this week on how and why it is that story of the first  Easter can touch us so deeply as human beings. Surely part of the answer is  that the story of Christ’s death and resurrection shines a light into the darkest  places of our human experience – and in doing so gives us a basis for hope  and meaning in this broken world.  

In the recent dramas of floods and storms – as in all disasters – two kinds of stories emerged: stories of tragedy and loss and grief mingled with stories of hope, of marvellous and timely rescues, of small but wonderful mercies, of  help and heroism and compassion. The story of Easter contains all that and  more! For the story of Christ’s arrest and death appears at first to be only one  more example of the the triumph of injustice and violence over purity and love  (Luke 23:44-49); but, in the resurrection, it is all turned on its head (see Luke  24) and what men “meant for evil”, God intended for our good and for the  salvation and healing of many (see Genesis 50:20) 

When Jesus was dying on the cross – a thief dying beside him begged the Saviour to “remember him” when Christ came into his KIngdom. Jesus reassurance to that man was simple, wonderful, amazing and profound: Truly,  I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23;32-43). If we had  looked on the outside at the scene – been spectators to it – we would have  seen only ugliness and violence and despair (Luke 23:26-27). But if we had  listened, we would have marvelled. For in his own agony, Jesus spoke hope  to the sinful and the dying. If there is future hope for a thief dying on a cross –  then there is hope for any and for all, if only we will come to Christ to be made  whole (Matthew 11:28-30). No situation is so black that the He who is “the  Light of the World” cannot bring comfort and hope (John 8:12; Matthew 9:2);  no sin so dark he cannot forgive (1 John 1:9-10; Psalm 103:3).  

On Easter Sunday, the same Jesus who had been laid dead in a tomb on the Sabbath Eve was seen alive by many. He came to his own and showed them his hands and feet (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23). He spoke words of comfort to their sorrow. And they had who wept for sorrow now marvelled for joy (see John 16:20). 

For the Christian, sickness, sorrow, pain, loss, grief and even death are not the end of the story; for in the story of Christ all of our sorrows are bound to  his death (Isaiah 53:4) and all our sins are buried with him in tomb (Romans  6:1-4); and in his resurrection to life, we may also freely share (John 11:25; Colossians 2:11-13; 3:1-4). For Jesus’ life is freely given for all and available  to all who heed his call: Come to Me!  

May we each this Easter see something of the hope that God has given to us all in the resurrection of His Son to life.  

Christ – having died once and for all – can never die again. And if we live in Him, then we also will live forever with Him (2 Timothy 2:11-12).  

May God bless you this Easter!  

Pastor Scott