Does it ever seem like we have more to be fearful of these days? We hear and see stories of people acting in ways that show mistrust and misunderstanding, and we may feel unsure as to how to respond in the best way.
At times like this, I think of Easter. You may think that’s very strange if you only consider Easter to be a time of giving and eating chocolate and hunting for eggs. For Christians, Easter is so much more than that. Easter gives Christians both hope in the face of fear, and a blueprint for how to act and live when the world around you seems to be working against you.
The Easter story is one of hope. Jesus and his followers are pursued by powerful people who seek to oppress and oppose them, even using violence. In fact, that pursuit ends with Jesus being punished as a common criminal because he refused to change his ideology of inclusion and equality. His punishment, crucifixion, was not special or unique; Jesus suffered the same fate as thieves and traitors.
What makes the Easter story amazing, is that Jesus did not try to fight violence with violence; he told his followers to put away their swords, and to love their enemies and do good to those who hate them. These were not just empty words for Jesus–he lived by them, and he died by them.
Fear and violence are not negated by more fear and violence, but only by love and understanding. For this reason, I think that Easter offers much more than Christmas, embodying such a rich lesson in how to live in our changing world. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but the depth and power of Easter is what gives Christmas its meaning and hope.
I do hope that as you take some time to be refreshed over this holiday period, you will reflect on the power of love, understanding and forgiveness in this broken world. Our Family Service at 5pm this Sunday will explore these themes as well, so please come along and join us in the Chapel of St Francis and St Clare.