On Sunday 12th April we will celebrate Easter. This year though, our celebrations will be very different from usual! We won’t be
able to gather together in Church. We won’t be able to celebrate the Eucharist together, and, although we will have an Easter
Candle, it won’t be lit until we are able to do it as one Body, meeting in St Mary’s.

It is important, possibly even more important than usual, that we do celebrate the Easter feast this year.

The first Easter came as a shock to the disciples. They had seen Jesus betrayed and arrested. They themselves had deserted
Him in His hour of greatest need. After Jesus’ arrest on the Thursday evening, the disciples had gone into hiding, waiting for the
Roman soldiers or the Temple police to come looking for them. They remained hidden during Good Friday. They would have
received reports of what was happening to their friend and master: His trial in front of Caiaphas and then Pilate; the death
sentence and then the six long hours as Jesus hung dying on the Cross.

Finally, they would have heard the report of the women who had accompanied Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea as they laid
Jesus’ broken body in the tomb.

Their hopes and dreams had ended on Good Friday. The victory of evil over Jesus seemed complete and irreversible. When the
disciples woke in the early hours of the first Easter Day, their thoughts would have been how to pick up the threads of their old
lives, their lives before they had met Jesus.

Then came the first strange reports of the empty tomb. The disciples had no expectation that Jesus would rise from the grip of
death. they didn’t know what to make of the stories, until Jesus himself stood among them.

In that moment defeat was swallowed up by victory and hope put an end to despair. And for the past two thousand years the
Church has proclaimed the victory of Christ. We have proclaimed the good news that in Jesus life and love have triumphed once
and for all.

We still live in a world where evil and despair have great power. We still live in a world where violence and death reign. But the
resurrection of Jesus on that first Easter day is God’s promise that their time and their power is limited.

Our world is still broken and fallen. It is not the world that God created it to be, but in the resurrection of Jesus we have the
promise that one day our world and we ourselves will be healed, that every broken heart will be mended and every tear will be
wiped away. Easter is the promise of the victory of life and love and hope and joy. It seems to me more important than ever that
this year, in the face of the crisis that is gripping our world, we celebrate and proclaim this victory.

May the risen Christ fill you with hope and joy this Easter and for ever,
Amen
Thought for the Month