In a few days Christians all over the world will celebrate Easter. Already the shops are full of a variety of Easter cards, many of which are decorated with beautiful pictures of eggs, bunnies, churches and spring flowers. I offer you instead this lovely photograph of St Martin in the Woods with its lovely Daffodils in the church garden.
I love daffodils when they grow in gardens, hedgerows and beside the roads, though they can be disappointing as a cut flower since they rarely last long. I love the tall straight stem and bud of promise, the emerging yellow, cream, white or even orange flower, so full of promise at all stages of it’s development. I especially love the centre trumpet which as I look on seems to trumpet and pronounce that Spring is here.
Easter is for us Christians a time of new life. After the austerity of lent as we forsake our earthly desires, pray and prepare ourselves Easter we come to, what for me is the most difficult week of the year. Holy week, in this week, the week before Easter, we read the scriptures, pray and reflect on the ultimate sacrifice of Good Friday.
In John chapter 15, verse 13 JESUS says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (NRSV). For me my Saviour’s love was even greater. On the first Good Friday he died for his friends and followers, but I believe he also died for me, over 2000 years before I existed. I believe he lay down his life for me even before I knew him. Like the daffodil, sending its message of hope of spring through the trumpet of its flower, I want the world to know that Jesus died for each one of us, long before we existed so that we can have hope in eternal life.
After the sombre reflection of Holy Week and Good Friday we come to Easter itself, when to quote Luke (Chapter 24 from verses 1-12 [abridged])
When they came to the tomb…… they found the stone rolled away…but when they went in they did not find his body. … Suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them…. and said to them “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee that he must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.
To me, and Christians the world over, this is the central message of the Gospel; that Christ came into our world to save people like us by living, not as God, but as one of us; that he allowed his fellow humans to kill him in a terrifying and cruel manner and that that after three days God the Father raised him from the dead so that we might live, in the eternal trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As we see on the beautiful spring flowers that show us there is new life in the world around us, as the daffodil trumpets its hope and beauty in the newness of spring, let us remember that God offers us new life, through Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit this Easter and for all time.
If you want to celebrate Easter in one of our local churches, here is a link to Churches Together in Chandlers Ford Churches Together: Chandler’s Ford with local church details. You will be assured of a warm welcome!
Have a truly Blessed Easter
Rev’d. Christine Whitehead is an assistant Curate in the Parish of Chandlers Ford.
Pictures taken by Christine 24th March 2017.