As I sit down to write this, it’s obvious that there is change in the air. After what has seemed, for many of us, to have been a very long, bleak and dark winter, there are definite signs of spring if we look for them. The days are noticeably longer, trees and plants are starting to grow, and the sun’s rays even have some warmth to them. These small, yet significant changes remind me that new life is on its unstoppable way.

Looking back over the last twelve months, we can reflect that we have been living through momentous, historic times. While there has undeniably been much suffering and hardship, as spring arrives this year it seems as if it is bringing life, hope and optimism along with it. As I write, infection rates are dropping while vaccination rates are soaring. Our country’s schools are, once again, filled with the sound of children learning.

As Easter approaches, I am struck once again by God’s promise of new life, and the certain hope that it can give us. After the darkness of the cross, where Christ breathed His last, Easter Sunday sees Jesus rising from the tomb, defeating death and sin forever. And this moment in history gives us hope – not only for tomorrow, but forever. The new life surrounding us this Easter signposts us to the new life that awaits us if we accept Christ’s forgiveness, mercy and grace.

This “hope” I have mentioned is strange. Normally, when people say the word “hope”, it is used to indicate a dreamy desire for better days. For the Christian, “hope” is the confident belief that God is faithful and that He will complete what He has begun.  Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow  weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Looking back over the difficulties of last year, how many of us can see that God has given us the strength to bring us through some very dark days?

So, as we wait in certain hope for a brighter tomorrow and as we celebrate the risen Light of the World, let’s be joyful. Let’s joyfully thank God that He loved us first, and loved us enough to send His son Jesus to die in our place. As we emerge from lockdown, blinking in the light, let’s joyfully reflect the hope we feel to others who need it.

My prayer for us all is that we know our hope in God to be an anchor for our souls, firm and secure. And, through whatever lies ahead, that this hope gives us the strength to keep going. Whatever the rest of this year brings, may we all be filled with hope, peace and love. Because He is risen.  

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Rob Joyce is one of our church elders.
Taken from the latest edition of our bi-monthly church newsletter.