from Revd Jane Wild
You will be reading this letter at Eastertide when the whole Church acclaims ĎHe is risen! He is risen indeed!í My prayer is that is a very real experience for each of you and your loved ones. And that through that acclamation you will experience the greatest gift of all, the Love of God.
I am writing though in early March. Right now, the world seems an even more uncertain place than in the recent past and I have no way of knowing what circumstances will prevail in April. They will, I pray, be better than now as I view the distressing images before me.
Many of you will have seen photographs of small groups of Christians continuing to meet for worship in Ukraine. You will have seen pictures of damaged buildings and of remarkable places of worship open to attack. The desperation of the people in Ukraine mirrors the anguish and hopelessness of too many people throughout the ages, not least the followers of Jesus in the days after his execution. The first disciples hid away seeking safety, just as many are doing now in Kyiv and elsewhere.
Those who have been close witnesses of war and devastation sometimes make observations which stop us in our tracks. I recall a war correspondent, Christine Lamb, who wrote ĎIt is in the darkest skies that you find the brightest starsí. The people she met in the extremes of her work, she was reporting, restored her faith in humanity. It is that humanity and Godís relationship with it which is at the heart of the Easter story. For whatever occurred that first Easter it was the restoration of the faith and confidence of the followers of Jesus which was the miraculous outcome of those events. And it is the restoration of the faith and confidence of disciples today which continues to tell the eternal truths.
Easter is about Godís gift of new life to everyone. Of course, we use symbols to help us celebrate the mystery and will do so again this year, but Easter is about much, much more than those symbols. It is about an eternal Love which goes beyond anything we can imagine. A Love which restores our confidence and enables us to continue witnessing to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. A love which excels all other gifts from God and elsewhere. It is this love which is the source of new life.
In the last few months I have been thrilled and excited not just by the evidence of new life emerging in our gardens and countryside but by so much in our Church. We have missed many things during the period of the pandemic and, in so many conversations, I hear people rejoicing at what is being rediscovered between us as we meet again, not just what can be restored but what can be created anew. Our prayer must be that what is true here in Fulwood is true throughout the whole of creation.
What will matter more than anything though, in our homes, in Church, in our communities and, yes, internationally, is if we experience once more that assurance of Godís eternal love for women, men, children and the whole of creation which emboldened the first disciples and then the early Church. This Easter, we at Fulwood, are going to try to present the new potential they experienced in a different way so that our minds and hearts may be refreshed by the Love of God.
One of the most ancient symbols of Easter is the butterfly. They have been used as symbols of the resurrection for generations. Emerging from the darkness of the chrysalis, the caterpillar is transformed into a glorious butterfly. The challenge we face, as individuals, as Church, and in our communities is to transform ourselves into butterflies which reflect Godís glory both now and into eternity.
It is we, the recipients of the greatest gift of all, Godís love, who must continue our journey towards The Kingdom of God. Whatever our circumstances, whatever our means, it is our responsibility to respond to the Love of God in the same way as the first disciples as they learnt of the empty tomb and met the resurrected Christ for themselves.
May God be with you in your journeying at this time.