Friday, 15 March 2013

Easter Thought for the Day

I have recently been asked to provide a short Easter message to be recorded for the Talking Book for the Blind. So here, for what it's worth, it is:

As we have just recently learnt of the election of a new pope—Pope Francis 1st—I thought it appropriate to quote one of his predecessors Pope John Paul II. He once said:

“Do not abandon yourself to despair. We are the Easter people and allelujah is our song.”

What Pope John Paul II is talking about here is summed up in one simple word. 'Hope'. What would we do without it? Fiodr Dostoevsky the great 19th century Russian novelist agreed and wrote that “to live without hope is to cease to live.” But where do we find hope in the world today?

Certainly the great financial institutions which once promised us much—and lent us still more—now demonstrate all too accurately the truthfulness of Jesus’ teaching where he warned that if we store up treasures on earth then there’s is always the danger that they will get eaten away whether by “moth or rust” - or this case the deep dark hole which is the current recession.

And what about successive governments and political promises? All too often these are as empty as so many bank accounts here and elsewhere.

No. Hope must rest on something more substantial, more trustworthy, more enduring and less self-serving. Enter Jesus. He once said: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.”

As words on a page it is easy to consign them to the past. To the days where those feet did in ancient time walk upon the earth. In the flesh they perhaps made more sense for there was Jesus—larger than life, gentle, caring and compassionate, with a love that left no-one out of its embrace. And a presence that said all these things and more. But now? All that is surely gone? Snuffed out and ended before it really got going. And if he stayed dead—then his word and his promises would indeed be as empty as the cross from which his blood stained body was lifted and laid gently and reverently in a borrowed tomb.

But now we have Easter and the Christian message that you can’t keep a good man down—still less the Son of God. For on the third day he rose again and appeared to some weeping women. And then a group of his disciples and finally, according to Paul, to 500 brethren all at one time.

So the Jesus of the past has now become the Jesus of the present. And through his resurrection he is with us now.

So whenever we feel the creeping despair of living in a time when the ground seems no longer safe beneath our feet, remember Jesus. And put your hope in him.

“Do not abandon yourself to despair. We are the Easter people and allelujah is our song.”

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