Easter messages to the people of Coventry and Warwickshire have been sent from the Bishop of Coventry (the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth) and the Bishop of Warwick (the Rt Revd John Stroyan).
We eat 80 million Easter eggs every year and we buy almost 10 billion hen eggs – real eggs! What’s great about Easter eggs is that they remind us of real eggs. A real egg is something hopeful: new life can break out of the dark place inside.
There are dark places in our lives: when things go wrong; when we hurt; when we try to hide, when we lose someone we love. Sometimes it looks like there is no way out – the darkness has won.
At Easter, we give each other eggs as a sign of hope, a sign that new life can break out of the darkness. When we give someone an Easter egg, we’re really saying: hold out hope! The darkness has not won.
God brought new life into the world at Easter: Jesus rose to new life out of the darkest place, the tomb of death. The darkness had not won. God gives us hope: this new life is for all of us.
What if we gave Easter eggs more often? Not chocolate ones, but real ones – what if we gave each other hope? By helping someone not to despair; giving someone a fresh start or a second chance; forgiving when things go wrong, being a friend in someone’s loneliness.
Will we be Easter people? Will we be people who give others hope? If we will, lives can change – and we will find God changes us, too.
Some people think that Easter is only about the Church. It is not. It is about God and it is about the world and every human being of every race and culture. It is about God’s unconditional love for each one of us whatever the state of our lives. Some people think that the Good News of Easter is only about an historical event some 2000 years ago or that it is only about a future event, what happens when we die. It is not. God wants us to know his love and his presence with us now. The Easter message is that Jesus is alive and with us now.
Some people think that the Christian faith is only about a moral code or only about signing up to a set of beliefs. It is not. It is so much more than this. It is fundamentally about a relationship with God. Jesus speaks words of forgiveness on the cross to the world and to each of us. But love cannot compel love. We can’t order someone to love us. God gives us the freedom to ignore him, reject him or respond to him in faith. But whatever we do, he goes on loving us. It is when we respond to God’s love, when we take that step of faith, that we can discover a new dimension to life and a love that never lets us go.
The love God has for us he wants us to share. This love, is always ‘outward bound’. It is to be given away freely. When we love others, when we serve the needs of others, we ourselves receive so much back. There are so many inspiring examples of love and service all across Warwickshire as people support and help one another and especially those in the greatest need. To be fully human we all need both to love and to be loved, both to serve and to be served. May we grow in that love and service and may we know God’s love for us here and now. Happy Easter!