Easter message – A love story in many parts

28/03/2024 by Newman Staff

A love story in many parts: Good Friday & Easter Sunday

Have you ever been in love?

This might seem a strange question to start an Easter greeting with but for me the Easter story is all about love. Not romantic love rather the love that does the hard yards, that endures, is faithful, gives relentlessly and has scars that both last and heal. For me Easter makes sense because I believe in a God that loves me unconditionally and that I seek to love wholeheartedly in return. It is a love that is generous and forgiving.

How does this makes sense of Good Friday, a day when our Christian Churches remember the death of Jesus, by nailing to a cross? This is a violent death of a peaceful man who makes no defence other than to affirm the truth of what is presented to him as an accusation – yes I am the Son of God. Jesus offers no other words of self-defence or justification. He does not meet or match the anger, slander or malice of his accusers. Rather by the end of that day he offers forgiveness and understanding as he prays ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

This prayer of forgiveness, is a prayer of love, realising that what so often happens when we are frightened and swept up in the justification of the crowd is that we lose our compassion, empathy and wisdom. The consequences of this for Jesus is his death and burial; for his followers is grief and loss of hope; and each year for our Christian communities an invitation to remember and re-visit these feelings as markers of the implications of love and loss.

However this is not a pointless death of a good man nor the wallowing in pain or suffering and this is where this love story changes. For following the commemorations of Good Friday, Easter Sunday brings with it a new dawn, a fresh hope and a renewal of life. For we are surprised, shocked even that Jesus rises from the dead and appears to many. It is this that offers the possibility of hope in the midst of pain, the trust that even in our darkest moments life and light can emerge and for those of faith that there is life after death – that death is not the end rather a change and an invitation to believe in things visible and things invisible.

This Easter in a world where we see so much pain and suffering, may the love story of Jesus who suffers on the cross, who seems passive in the face of accusation and violence and yet who endures to rise and bring new life and fresh hope, bring to all the promise, hope and invitation to hold on, to trust and to work for a life built on forgiveness, understanding and love.

For my part, it is this love that I believe in unconditionally and that calls me to live in hope, in faith and in love.

Happy Easter