1 April 2015
There is no other day to compare with Easter Day. It is a time of great joy, the climax to weeks of meditation and prayer and self-denial. The long theme of preparation in Lent comes to an end. All our hopes and happiness come from what happened on that first Easter morning. The stone was rolled back, the grave was opened and the tomb was found to be empty. Jesus Christ had risen from the dead and nothing would ever be the same again. Early on the first Easter morning the power of God was revealed to a disbelieving world. Death is conquered. It was an event which not only altered the past but also shaped the future. It would be a mistake to think of the resurrection as an event in the past. Nothing can ever be the same again. God reverses our expectations, the impossible becomes possible. As a time of celebration, Easter stands out from all the conflicts and turmoil of our broken world. This is what makes Easter the greatest occasion for the Church and for the world. All our hopes for the future stem from this one event in our history. Easter announces that there is a way forward out of darkness. Easter announces that transformation is possible and that change can take place in our lives.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead affirms that death is not the end for us. There is a life beyond our mortal life in this world. Our existence is not limited by the cycle of birth to death. Easter is a turning point which invites us to live in an entirely new way that goes beyond the limitations of this world. We are challenged to become part of a new creation, inspired by the life of God. But, life depends on how we look at it. It can be seen as an empty tomb, full of bitterness and confusion or it can be seen as full of joy and hope. The gospel captures the excitement of the disciples on that first Easter morning. It gives us a glimpse into their new found happiness as they hurried to spread the Good News. Easter has burst into our world, the world of space, time and matter, the world of real history, real people, and real life.
All our hopes and happiness come from what happened on that first Easter morning. By God’s power, the stone which sealed the tomb where Jesus was laid is rolled back, and the grave found to be empty. Jesus Christ has risen triumphant from the dead and, because of this, nothing could ever be the same again. Pain, despair, and misery, were pushed into second place as a whole new future, a future full of hope and the happiness of eternal life, was opened up for us beyond the grave. By Jesus’s victory over death for humankind, God has made his love for us absolutely clear.
The disciples’ hearts were full of happiness at being God’s people. Let us too feel this sense of joy in our lives. Easter life is about the joy of new life with God. Let us rejoice as we realise that we are not walking along the path of life alone. God is us with us at every point of our journey. Through Jesus he is there assisting us, encouraging us, and strengthening us for every task in life.
Easter is all about newness of life in Christ. The challenge for us is to appreciate God and all that he has done for us. It is to see his plan in the ordinary everyday events which surround us, and to place our faith and trust in the ultimate goodness of his purposes. The challenge is to open our hearts and minds to the risen Christ by allowing ourselves to be sent into the world to proclaim the Good News of this new life and new creation to all people.
God our Father, may the joy of Easter penetrate our hearts and minds and bring us closer to you. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
With every blessing this Eastertide.
1 November 2014
I am very pleased to introduce myself to you and I very much look forward to meeting you personally. I was educated at King Edward’s VI School, Lichfield, and for 15 years followed a career in Banking before becoming a Reader in 1987. This was a change of direction that came about gradually - there was no sudden “conversion experience”. I trained at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and was ordained in Worcester in 1992. I subsequently obtained a BA at the Open University, and an MA in Pastoral Theology at Birmingham University in 1996, followed by a Ph.D in Theology in 2000.
My ministry began in the largely rural diocese of Worcester. I was assistant Curate in the Worcester South-East Team from 1992-1995 and also a part-time Chaplain at St.Richard’s Hospice and at RNIB New College, Worcester. In 1995, I became Rector of Ripple, Earls Croome with Hill Croome and Strensham, and in 2000 I also became Rector of Upton upon Severn and The Church of the Good Shepherd, Hook Common. The churches, and the communities which each served, were very active and mixed, and I enjoyed the predictable and unexpected challenges and demands of parochial ministry in both town and country; this included developing new patterns of lay ministry and fundraising for a significant medieval church. I was also privileged to work ecumenically as a member of the Upton upon Severn Local Ecumenical Partnership from 1999, becoming its Chairman in 2005. From 1997-2005 I was Rural Dean of Upton, and Chairman of the Worcester Diocesan House of Clergy from 2002-2005. I was appointed an Honorary Canon of Worcester Cathedral in 2003. In 2005, I moved to Cornwall to become Dean of Truro and Rector of St.Mary’s Truro where I began working with new colleagues and many different groups of people within the Cathedral and across the diocese of Truro, all of which I enjoyed.
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