As Easter approaches there is much to celebrate and great news to share! I confess to finding the struggles of contending within the Church of England and leading our response to them a great burden. I am sure that for many of us there are far deeper and more painful burdens to bear. It may be ill health; it may be broken relationships, or it may be continual battles in our lives of seeking to live for Christ in a workplace and community that is increasingly challenging. How are we to respond?
The message of Easter is so filled with hope that it is my prayer that we can spend some time simply enjoying being Christians with the wonderful message of the resurrection firmly in our sights and hearts that are thrilled by the unbreakable love with which God holds us, his mighty, death defeating love. Let us dwell on the joy that these promises bring to us “Brothers we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 5:13-14. Fellow brothers and sisters who have died in Christ, will be brought with Jesus when he returns. Our griefs will be transformed on a day of great joy. We will see them in their resurrected glory just as we enter ours. “…our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body”. Philippians 3:20-21. The body we are in now will be transformed into an immortal body like his. This gives great endurance in suffering pain. And then in our battle with sin, “we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2. How wonderful that we will be perfectly like Jesus in his goodness. We can look forward to the day when he will wipe every tear from our eye and all the suffering of this world, frail bodies, the effects of sin, death itself, is transformed. “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5. How much we need to be nourished in the wonderful hope and privileges we have. How can we do this? Do consider reading the book “Passion – How Christs last day changes your everyday” by Mike McKinley. A great encouragement. Do consider coming along to our Maunday Thursday Service in the John Owen Barn for Holy Communion and reflection on his death. Do think of how you can spend time in prayer and celebration of Easter as a family. Death has lost its sting because Jesus has taken it for us! So, Paul says, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord for you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain” 1 Corinthians 15:58. Of course with such hope, it gives us even more motivation that others should hear the good news of Christ so that they may believe it for themselves and be with us in that new world. Do invite people to our Easter services, maybe join us at the school services to help welcome people and use all means, books, dvd’s, tracts, that by God’s grace, we may save some!
With much love in Christ, John.