Pastoral Letter for the Month
March brings breezes sharp and shrill,
Shakes the dancing daffodil
- so goes a long forgotten nursery rhyme. It is also the month when we start to see the earth re-awakening from its winter sleep - new shoots appear on plants and as the month unfolds, the trees develop a haze of light green as their leaves unfurl. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful Mother Nature is - we plant our bulbs in the autumn, sure in the knowledge that they will come up in the spring, despite whatever the winter weather has thrown at them. I am sure we have all seen television programmes where a desert is shown, then the rains come. 'Fast-forward' and the desert is transformed in no time at all. We accept the changing seasons as a matter of course and do not always fully appreciate the marvel, wonder and beauty of God's world. He is always making all things new and giving us new opportunities each and every day.
Where does Easter fit in all this? In this day and age with church attendance being at an all-time low, it has become yet another annual event dominated by consumerism and celebrated with Easter bonnet parades, oohing and aahing over cute pictures of chicks, lambs and rabbits, eating chocolate eggs, and taking the opportunity to enjoy a long weekend. There are many people, I am sure, who rejoice in the idea of having a holiday from work, but haven’t got a clue as to the real reason why.
But for Christians the world over, the dramatic events of the weekend - the Last Supper and then the betrayal in the garden on Maundy Thursday; the trial and crucifixion on Good Friday, then the discovery of the empty tomb on Easter Sunday itself, are times of deep reflection, sadness and then ultimate rejoicing. The symbol of our faith - the Cross - so simple, yet so powerful, stands 'empty to the sky' giving us reassurance of Christ's everlasting presence and His triumph over death.
Springtime is a time of new growth for the earth, Easter is a time of new hope and opportunity for each and every one of us.
May God's blessing be with you all this Easter.