Easter Sunday Message from Rev Sue Murray – 4th April
Last year I had the privilege of visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem – the alleged site covering the two areas of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
I say ‘alleged’ because no one knows for certain where these events actually happened, just that they did happen. As you may imagine this Church is a very popular site to visit for pilgrims and tourists alike.
Our party had just arrived when the security people ushered us all out again. A suspicious bag had been found. Our Palestinian Christian tour guide obviously thought that this bag was just that, a bag, and instead of leading us safely away, encouraged us to stand as close to the closed door as we could. As soon as the doors opened, he rushed us through the foyer to the small chapel that housed the place of resurrection so that we could view it immediately.
The chapel itself was very ornate and whether you believe this is the actual place of resurrection, or it is the more aesthetically pleasing (to the western eye) Garden tomb nearby, or somewhere else entirely now lost to time, there is no denying that in this place over many centuries the prayers of Christians have been lifted to heaven in thanksgiving for Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
For Christians the declaration that Jesus is alive, that Christ is risen, is the very core of our
faith. Without it, then all our hopes are but dust.
This is the second Easter Day where we have not been able to mark and celebrate the core of our faith – the resurrection of Christ to bring forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
But - just as the true location of the place of resurrection is unimportant compared with its actual occurrence - so too Easter may be marked and celebrated wherever we might find ourselves this year.
My prayer is that we may be together once more but, if we are not, the promise of Christ still remains. Jesus is alive, Christ is risen.
So, let us live as resurrection people – those who believe in forgiveness following repentance, and hence offer it to those around us too.
Let us live in love, for that is what pleases our Saviour - and let us celebrate Easter in thanksgiving and with hope for the future that Christ died to bring us all.
Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
God the Father
by whose love Christ was raised from the dead open to you who believe the gates of everlasting life
God the Son
who in bursting from the grave has won a glorious victory give you joy as you share the Easter faith
God the Holy Spirit
who filled the disciples with the life of the risen Lord empower you and fill you with Christ’s peace
The blessing of God Almighty the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always.
Photo credits (windows): Rev Sue Murray