Flowers, blossom and trees bursting into new life,
It is warmer weather and longer days.
Birds build nests
Chicks and lambs are born
And bunnies hop along.
Hope springs eternal
In the heart of those who long
For something better.
Water bubbles up from beneath the earth
Clear, fresh and sparkling in the light.
Spring points us to Easter
The source of New Life and the Light of the World.
Spring cleaning of house and home
But what about the heart?
Lent leads to Easter – Resurrection and new life.
New starts, regrets put behind, a new leaf turned over
Forgiveness and Hope of a better tomorrow.
I wrote this as a response to a bit of ‘market research’ when preparing an assembly for years 9 and 10. I asked some pupils and two members of staff what came to mind when they heard the word Spring, and also Easter. I grouped the responses and did a spreadsheet with the following results:
Spring is a season bursting with energy. As winter ends and spring begins, we see new life. However, the trouble is that flowers bloom – but then they die. Chickens grow up – but then they get eaten. And rabbits can grow up to be pests who eat a farmer’s crops.
We call the day that Jesus died, Good Friday. What’s so good about a man being unjustly executed in the most horrible way? His followers must have been devastated. Not just that their friend and teacher was dead. But all their hopes dashed too. They had thought that he might just be the Messiah, the one who would free their people from Roman occupation. More like Bad Friday.
And if we stopped just at the Friday, it wouldn’t be good. But two days after Jesus’ death, the disciples found the tomb empty. Jesus wasn’t there.
Christians believe that Jesus had come back to life. Over the next few weeks, he appeared to several people, once even to a group of 500 people. They all seemed convinced that he was actually alive. Christians believe that after these appearances, Jesus was taken back to heaven.
Since the resurrection of Jesus 2,000 years ago, millions of people have become followers of Jesus and his followers, the church, grew and influenced societies, even whole cultures, claiming to represent the message of what this man Jesus was saying. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus has changed the world.
Christians believe that through his death and resurrection we can have new life. We can get all our sin and messed up bits of our lives sorted out, forgiven and a new start. A spring clean for our lives.
We also believe that our lives should follow the example of Jesus in that we should love and care for others, helping to turn their bad days to good days.
The prayer of St Teresa of Avila sums it up well:
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
No hands, no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which Christ looks out his
compassion to the world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.
How are you going to do some good today? How are you going to bring hope to someone else? Is there something you need to have a fresh start with? A new beginning?
My thoughts are reflected in two prayers that I found in a book ‘Resourcing the Christian Seasons’ by Nick Fawcett.
Lord God, we thank you for this day –
a day which brought hope after despair,
new beginnings from what had looked like the end of everything.
Teach us that the truth of Easter goes on being true today and every day,
your invitation to start again constantly extended,
your gift of new life always open.
so, trusting in the future, may we rejoice in the present,
and celebrate each day that you give us. Amen
When we are feeling dejected, down and sad we can come to God and ask him to turn our bad days into good days. We can bring to him in prayer those who suffer and ask for new life for them.
you turned the darkest of nights into the brightest of days
through the resurrection of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Come now into our darkness,
into the night-time of suffering and sickness,
of doubt and despair, of hurt and heartbreak,
of injustice and evil, of violence and hatred, of fear and death.
May your new day dawn here,
and the light of Christ blaze to your glory,
as we share his resurrection life,
and rejoice in the victory he has won.
In his name we pray. Amen.
I hope that sharing this assembly with you has helped you to think through what we all know: Easter is more than eggs and chocolate – I hope you have a good Holy Week to help you celebrate and experience God’s blessings this Easter.