This weekend we will be eating large quantities of chocolate eggs, bunnies and almost any other shape that you can imagine. It is all a rather strange but enjoyable phenomenon, because it is Easter.
In Scotland we celebrate this festival, along with Christmas as great family occasions and excuses to, well, eat just a bit too much. But Easter is a major Christian festival that has been celebrated from the earliest days of our faith, nearly 2,000 years ago.
As churches move through the seven days up to Easter we retell the story of Holy Week, when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem in triumph for the Passover, a charismatic rabbi and healer, loved by the crowds. They greeted him with palms laid before him and shouted, “Hosanna!” Later that week, Jesus ate the Passover meal with his friends, washed their feet as a sign of his love, and shared bread and wine as a remembrance. He was then betrayed later that night in a nearby garden, arrested, mocked and whipped, then condemned by the Romans to die. The crowds that had adored him now shouted, “Crucify Him!” He was killed on a cross, a shameful death for rebels, escaped slaves and criminals. His body was buried, the tomb sealed with a massive rock.
That story, as told in scripture, films and TV is one of the best known stories ever told. But what it means for Christians, and for all people, is that there is hope, even in the hardest of times, that all will be well. Our chocolate eggs are a reminder of the stone rolled away from the empty tomb, the bunnies and flowers are signs of new life and new beginnings, a sign that death was not the end of the story for Jesus. We value this life and this world: Christians have the belief that Easter is a sign of that life! Whatever our faith position, Easter is a wonderful way to greet the arrival of spring and the good possibilities in our lives.
So this Easter, on behalf of all the Christian churches and communities of Cowal, may you have God’s blessings and have a wonderful season of hope, love and new beginnings.
Dean Andrew Swift
Scottish Episcopal Church
Printed 30 March 2018