Easter! The Right festival at the Right time
In July last year you surprised Teresa and I with a celebration of 20 years ministry here at St.Bs, and the calender is slowly creeping towards 21 years. It doesn’t seem possible and it feels nothing like as long as that in real terms. But I must say though that my physical body does often remind me that a lot happens physically in 21 years, energy levels, sporting prowess, memory levels are not the same as they were, and with that awareness it would be foolish to deny how vulnerable we are as human beings.
As I write this letter we are of course in the middle of the Corona virus pandemic, and this reminder of our frailties is becoming clearer and shouting louder every single day. There is an understandable fear and concern too as the news seems to get worse by the moment and no antidote has yet been discovered.
I believe though that the imminent arrival and celebration of Easter is coming at the right time for us to look seriously at the weakness of our human bodies, bodies which we feed, pamper, expand, shrink, obsess over and consider that there is more to being human than what we can see, taste, touch and smell. We are spiritual beings and it is our spirit that is offered the opportunity to exist beyond the weakness of our physical shells.
At St.Barnabas we have been looking in our sermons about how the Bible blows away the idea of people in heaven sitting on clouds playing harps. How it talks about an existence where there will be no more crying or pain, and where followers of Jesus can enjoy new resurrection bodies.
The Easter account of Jesus’ death and resurrection is an amazing visual aid of what all followers and disciples of Jesus can experience for themselves. Jesus said this in the Gospel of John Chapter 11 “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” This is why the message of Jesus is called “Good News”.
Over the centuries the church as an institution has lived, breathed and had its being in the belief that Jesus did rise from the dead with a new transformed body. But at other times it has hidden the truth of Jesus behind rules and rituals, power and politics, and to all intents and purposes has conducted itself as though Jesus had never risen at all.
If ever we needed “Good News” we need it now. We sing a song of worship at St.Barnabas called “Jesus Hope of the Nations”. I urge and encourage you in this real time of uncertainty to find out what this means for you and your family’s life and find assurance in a world of fear.