Vicar's Letter April 2017
Easter falls in the middle of this month.
For Christians, Easter is about life – the resurrection of Jesus which conquers death and brings hope. Many other people, however, celebrate with eggs and chocolate, a bank holiday and perhaps a family get-together, even if the religious aspects of the season pass them by.
Whatever their faith or lack of faith, most people want to live a good life, and Easter can be a time for us all to think about whether the way in which we live is life-enhancing or life-denying. Every day can be seen as a new chance to choose which of these two paths we are going to take.
A life-enhancing approach is about making the most of every day. People who live this way are the ones who bring joy to others, who act out of love and service. They see the good things in life and revel at the beauty of creation. They live loving lives and look beyond their own needs and desires.
The life-denying people are only concerned for themselves. What they value tends to be the material – money, a fast car – and their time is usually taken up doing things for themselves. They pick holes in everything and always see the worst in people.
Of course, most of us fall into both of these categories at different times in our lives, even from day-to-day. Perhaps the message of new life at Easter can prompt us to look at our lives and reflect on whether we can be life-enhancers more of the time. Some people find this easier than others – sunny personalities and optimists tend to be better at enjoying life than pessimists – but all of us can make life better for others and ourselves by choosing where our priorities lie.
In the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 30.19) Moses urges the Israelites to choose life – for him that meant loving God and following God’s ways, which includes, of course, caring for and serving others.
I have loved some of the suggestions that 40acts has offered for generosity in Lent. For instance, keep a helpful thing on you at all times e.g. trolley coin, tissues, locker money and be prepared to give it away; swap some screen time for quality time with family or friends; live your day normally but look out in particular for those who need help, for instance carrying a heavy shopping bag; leave a chocolate bar as a gift for someone to find.
We all have a choice about how we live. People often give up things for Lent; perhaps this year we could think about taking something up for Easter. In fact, why wait till then? Every day can be a new beginning. And even small acts of kindness can make a huge difference to someone else’s life.
With best wishes, Sarah