Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wishing everyone who reads this a happy Easter

I am writing this in the early evening of Maunday Thursday, just at the start of the central weekend of Easter.

Like, I suspect, a great many people who have not yet gone on holiday I have been having a thoroughly wretched day: half the company seems to have gone on leave and the rest are frantically trying to complete various projects that have to be done before Easter or before other people disappear for their own holidays and getting anything done seems quite impossible.

Just after I finished work for the day, in a thoroughly black mood, my state of mind was lifted when I dropped my car in to a local garage to sort out a minor matter and the people there were so incredibly helpful that I finished on a high note after all. (I can strongly recommend the garage concerned, by the way – it was Coach Road Motors in Whitehaven.)

In a funny way this said more to me about the real spirit of Easter than any number of Easter Eggs or fancy clothes – I was feeling down and lifted by the consideration of another human being. And that is what Easter is really about – a message of hope in the darkest of circumstances.

It is very easy for us in a society whose culture is overwhelmingly shaped by Christianity, but where Christian festivals can become more social than religious affairs, to take Easter for granted and forget how powerful the message of the first Easter was. The disciples thought they had seen everything they had believed in and hoped for destroyed, and the saviour who they had hoped would bring peace and justice was killed in a particularly horrible way. Yet in the Easter story, from the blackest despair and disaster God’s power brought hope and a new future.

To everyone who is reading this and is a Christian, may the love and peace of the risen Christ be with you this Easter. To anyone who is reading this and belongs to another faith, I hope your God may be with you this weekend. To anyone who is reading this and does not have any religious faith, I hope that you can still share this weekend in something of the happiness which Easter brings to believers.

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