Parish of St Matthew the Apostle,
Douglas, Isle of Man
Father Tom ponders …… Christ is risen - Alleluia!
Enter a Church on Easter Sunday and you are immediately struck by a different atmosphere. Weeks of purple are replaced by white and gold. The lily takes pride of place among the flowers. A huge paschal candle is prominently on view and the font brims with water. And there’s an Easter garden with an empty tomb.
Easter is about light, water and life. The fire that was lit at the Easter Vigil to illuminate the darkness of night and the paschal candle are eloquent reminders that those who walked in darkness now can journey on in the light of Christ. We no longer stumble along, prey to every evil and danger. We see things in a new light.
The water symbolises not only the fact that in baptism we are cleansed from our sin but also that our thirst for God is fulfilled by our faith in Jesus. Easter responds to our longing for meaning in our cluttered lives and it points the way to beyond the mundane. Its music fills the hole created by our yearning for something greater than ourselves, for someone who can bring us to fruition, for a saviour and redeemer.
So the vital signs of Easter proclaim new life. But it’s not simply the life that our world has become used to; it’s life to the full. Easter raises us up to enjoy a life that stretches us in mind body and spirit and that beckons us to eternity. For Easter life is eternal life and we enjoy it on both sides of the grave.
And all of this is because Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection is at the heart of our Christian faith. As St Paul says, if it didn’t happen then we are all wasting our time. An ancient Easter hymn reminds us that sheep are ransomed by a lamb, that an innocent man has served our sentence to reconcile us to the Father and that life’s own champion is slain but only to reign.
The resurrection proclaims God’s glory and power. Our alleluias on Easter Day attest to the fact that life can never be the same for us again. Our human existence is radically transformed by the victory that Jesus won against the powers of darkness in our lives. We have been bought back. We have been saved from ourselves. We have been given the chance to live life to the full. This day was made by the Lord; let us rejoice and be glad!
With my love and prayers for a truly blessed Easter,