We are in the season of Lent. Looking forward to and planning for Easter. What a year it has been since we last celebrated Easter. What does the future look like and what do we have to look forward to?
For many, Easter often appears as a blip in the diary offering some respite from the busyness of life. During lockdown life for many has been on hold; so what do bank holidays and holidays mean when there is no travelling or social mixing? Will Easter be just another day passing unnoticed or will all that has happened cause people to think more deeply on its significance?
We in the church aren’t very good at explaining the significance of the major Christian festivals. We often speak of them in isolation; Christmas day, Good Friday, Easter day are inseparable. I’ll go so far as to say; without Calvary, Christmas has no meaning and without Christmas what’s Good Friday?
I realise that mentioning Christmas in February isn’t really the dun thing but…. To understand Good Friday, we have to understand what was happening on that first Christmas. To make sense of them, we need to understand one is the reason for the other. Jesus came to die. This tells us much about the God we worship. From before creation, the first Christmas and the first Good Friday were in God’s diary.
If we are able to grasp even a little of the significance of Christmas and Good Friday, we may experience something of the awe summed up by Charles Wesley when he wrote:
“Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made man.”
When we allow the tinsel and glitter of Christmas to obscure the real message of what happened; we hide the truth of Calvary and the Resurrection. Together, they bring hope into a troubled world and light into the darkness of fear and anxiety.
I don’t know what the future looks like nor do I know what we have to look forward to. But we know the one we can trust whatever that future brings our way. We know he is to be trusted, He is faithful, He is true.
If four times more people are logging on to watch church services on the internet than even attended services prior to lockdown, then they are looking for something or someone. We know the one they are looking for, even if they don’t know it yet.
To paraphrase Romans 10:4
How will they know the one they need when they haven’t believed in him?
And how can they believe in him when they haven’t heard of him?
And how will they hear about him if no one is prepared to tell them?