Dear brothers and sisters,
As most of you will know, I have recently moved here to Cinderford and also have a new job – serving you as vicar of Cinderford with Littledean. The move for me is to a new area that I know very little about. I did not know people in the area before arriving here and I have never stayed in the area on holiday. Church has always been an important part of my life and, obviously, I have also moved churches. New house. New area. New job. New church. I don’t think a new start could be much more dramatic!
We are approaching Easter. Easter is about new starts, new life, new birth. This is often symbolised with images of eggs and chicks. We give and receive Easter eggs and maybe cards with pictures of spring sunshine or newborn chicks. But Easter isn’t really about eggs or chicks. It’s about Jesus! The real reason that we think about new life at Easter is because Jesus, who was crucified on that first Good Friday, rose to new life on the first Easter Sunday. This is not just a wonderful story, it’s an historical fact. Jesus’ body was never found and his resurrection never disproved. This was despite the best efforts of the mighty Roman Empire and the committed and powerful Jewish leaders to destroy the early church and discredit their belief. The early disciples were changed from a frightened and disillusioned group to men who stood up against the authorities and eventually gave their lives for what they believed – for what they knew to be true – that Jesus came back to life on Easter Sunday. New life for Jesus leading to new life in his disciples. New starts that make my recent changes seem trivial!
The impacts of what happened that first Easter are still relevant today. When Jesus died and rose, he did it for us. He offers us new life, eternal life, with him; life that starts now, but continues beyond this life. Now that is worth celebrating!
I hope you have a wonderful Easter. I hope you get to eat some Easter eggs – but not too many! I hope you enjoy a break from work and some quality time with family and friends. But more than all of this, I hope you spend some time thinking about the real meaning of Easter, Jesus’ resurrection. I hope you spend some time thinking about the possibilities of a new life for yourself, starting now and continuing into eternity. If you would like to talk about Easter or anything else, I would love to meet with you – please get in touch.