An Extended Easter
The Season of Easter continues up until Pentecost (formerly known as Whitsun) in the Church, though many forget this after the initial celebrations on Easter Day. Throughout the first two-thirds of this month, therefore Christians will continue to celebrate the gift of new life.
One of the greatest messages that comes from the Easter story is that the possibility of new starts is always available. The disciple Peter learned what this meant when he was given a new task by Jesus, even after he had failed him so badly by denying him three times before the crucifixion.
There are all sorts of reasons why a new start might be helpful. Perhaps our lives feel as if they are in a rut; maybe we are burdened by guilt for something we have or haven’t done; possibly we feel as if our life is going in the wrong direction and we need to take a different pathway. Or it could be that a relationship has broken down or we are having to learn to live without a beloved partner, relative or friend who has died or we feel lonely or our ageing body means we have to begin to look at life in a different way.
The Easter story holds out hope that things can be different. The image of God overpowering death through the resurrection is a vivid one, from which those who believe take heart. Resurrection is at the heart of the Christian faith, but it is not always easy for people to believe in it, until they have experienced the abundant life God gives for themselves.
In God’s kingdom, what counts are characteristics such as life, mercy, joy, justice, peace, care for others, generosity, kindness, loyalty, dignity, forgiveness and so on. Most people believe in these values, even if they are not practising Christians. If we all managed to live with them at the heart of our lives, the world would be a much better place.
Many of these are what enable people to take hold of a new start when they need one, either for themselves or when they walk alongside others in need of beginning again.
Can we offer that hope to someone today? Can we allow ourselves to believe that we can begin again? It’s not always easy but it’s never tool ate while we still have time left to us here on earth.
With best wishes