We need resurrection hope in testing times
Philip Young reminds us that God’s love is there for us, and that the Easter message is one of victory over death.
If you have faith in a loving God, then these are particularly testing times. The Coronavirus pandemic is shocking us all.
There are no easy answers as to why God has created our world in the way that he has. There is so much that can go wrong. War, famine, pestilence and pollution are all various ways of bringing about the one thing that human beings probably fear most, and that is death.
The message of Holy Week and Easter is a message of victory over death and the hope of a new beginning. Can this message give us hope in these challenging times?
Death is a problem for us and yet, when we are born, the only one certain fact about us is that, at some point, we are going to die. The death rate eventually is 100%. If our faith is relevant, then it has to face the difficult issue of our mortality.
The wonderful news about Holy Week and Easter is that Jesus endures the most shocking death of crucifixion to show us that death is not the end. It does not have the final victory. On that glorious day nearly 2,000 years ago Jesus rises from the dead to give us all hope that death is just a new beginning.
The story of Good Friday and Easter Day is so relevant to us in our present difficulties because it does not shy away from the problem of death.
Jesus would have known Psalm 23 very well and it must have been a help to him. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Jesus’ love for us, shown on the cross, helps us to see that God is with us through the difficult times and through our own death. This was the most terrible time for Jesus and on the cross, he shouts out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46)
As we face the bereavement and grief that Covid 19 is bringing upon us we might well feel like shouting out too that God has forsaken us. Yet our faith assures us that God’s love is there for us through the darkest valley of death.
Our faith shows us that the light shines in the darkness and that the darkness has not overcome it. Our faith shows us that love is stronger than hate, that love even overcomes death. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
I am not suggesting that the weeks or months ahead will be easy. They will be distressing and difficult. To grieve the death of loved ones without being able to be with them in their final hours is unbelievably cruel and sad.
I am suggesting that human beings need not fear death as it does not have the last word. Goodness and love are far more powerful than disease and death.
We are witnessing the great goodness of human beings who are putting their own lives at risk in order to care for others. The doctors, nurses and key workers who are keeping the supply chains going are heroes.
There is certainly a huge amount to give us hope because we see people coming together for the greater good. This makes me optimistic that people are basically good, made in God’s image, with love pulsing though their beings.
That’s what resurrection hope looks like!
Happy Holy Week and Easter.
The above image is courtesy of pixabay.com
Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, and now lives in Felixstowe. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. In June 2017 he stood as an Independent Candidate for the General Election in the Suffolk Coastal Constituency. He is now Associate Priest at St. John and St. Edmund in Felixstowe and a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at email@example.com. Philip is developing a new website www.revolutionoflovenow.com.
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