Bishop Andy’s Written Easter Message 2015
The lead-in was almost as good as the event itself. The reporter stood near Stonehenge and excitedly described how our forebears might have viewed the recent eclipse – a portent of doom, perhaps, when a King’s reign would dramatically come to an end. Alternatively, a good sign when a new King would be born and better times lie ahead?
We now know that eclipses, for all their beauty and wonder, have a solid explanation in the cycles of planets and moons around us. We don’t tend to run for cover when the latest celestial event happens. That doesn’t mean, of course, they can’t be used dramatically to signify something important.
It’s interesting that the Bible describes the moment when Jesus died as the time when the sun disappeared. The author wasn’t terribly interested in the science of it all, but rather what it symbolised. Interestingly, he describes just a few pages later something equally extraordinary when tombs flew open and dead people walked. It sounds like something from a Hollywood movie.
So, what’s the point? The point is the writer wants us to see that something hugely significant did happen when Jesus died and that what happened next would change the world forever.
If the first Christians were right about Jesus – that somehow God was on the cross, sharing a human death and then living a new kind of life, you can see why they were prepared to leave everything to make this good news known. Nothing has changed since then save the millions who have discovered God with them in their darkest places - God meeting us still and then lifting us from the dust to new life and new trust. And this offers hope to everyone and especially to those who feel desperate, the poor, the lonely and the bereft.
The memory of the eclipse will soon fade, I suspect, but the hope of resurrection life endures forever. I hope some of it reaches you this Easter. Go well and God be with you.