St Andrew's Church, Chelmsley Wood

Easter Sunday 2020

11 Apr 2020 • From the Rector

Easter is a time when we celebrate the victory of the impossible.

For three years the disciples had spent most of their waking time with Jesus. They had lived, worked, walked and eaten together. As they had listened to his words they had caught his vision; the promise of a better future; the hope that life could be different. It all centred on Jesus; he made it all make sense; he made it possible. It was all about Jesus; his values; words; actions; his ability to connect them with a divine beyondness that brought God into the now; the here and the present.

But when Jesus was arrested the disciples had wobbled, doubted and then fled. When they watched his execution from a distance and saw him die, sadness; disappointment and hopelessness flooded in. The emptiness of what might have been lay like darkness over them.

But on Easter Sunday the impossible happened; death turned to life; darkness became day; the hope that had been lost was found again; fear became joy. Jesus was alive; Jesus is alive. The world was remade; good won over evil; life won over death.

In the northern hemisphere the Easter story is celebrated in spring time. As the Earth turns towards the sun plants that looked shrivelled and dead through winter bud into life. And so we celebrate Easter with images of spring; symbols of life and birth: eggs decorated and made from chocolate; yellow chicks and Easter bunnies all photographed against a backdrop of daffodils.

But the images of the Jesus story are more complex; harder for the children; an instrument of execution and a rocky tomb. We hold onto them not because of their prettiness, but because their grittiness reminds us of an enduring reality. In God’s story the impossible triumphs; the sceptics were proved wrong; shattered dreams are restored; death does not have the last word; there is no final curtain.

We retell the story of Easter to remind us that it sums up and connects with our lives too. Our disappointment; humiliation; sadness; frustration and darkness is reframed and remade into hope, optimism and future by Jesus who makes all things new. We relive the story of Easter to remind us that God is not light years away reclining in icy silence hardly aware that we exist other than to express occasional disapproval. He is here with us; humiliated, betrayed, spat on and brutalised; torn by fear; bleeding into our dust.

Easter is about the possibility of being fully and wonderfully human. In the person of Jesus, God shows us what might be and plants himself alongside us to help us make it happen.

Easter is a time when we celebrate the victory of the impossible.

You can read the whole story of Jesus coming back to life as told by St John in his Gospel here.