Experiencing Easter all year round

I wonder have you heard of the expression ‘Easter People’? The phrase ‘Easter People’ comes from the Christian belief that the benefits of Easter are not just for Easter, but can be experienced at any time in the whole the year! So, what does it mean to experience Easter and be a Christian?

When it comes to Easter, there are some lovely things that give us some clues about the message of Easter…..the lighter mornings, the spring flowers and of course the chocolate Easter Eggs we all love so much…at least I love them!  We often think of these things to say Easter is about ‘New Life’, but what kind of new life? There is of course a tremendous depth to Easter which is hard to put into words, but here are a few bible verses which I hope you might feel helpful to reflect upon, and let speak for themselves:

 “He is the atoning sacrifice (meaning ‘propitiation’ from the Book of Common Payer) for our sins.” 1 John 2v2

 “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53v3

 “For the son of man did not come to serve but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4v25

How are these verses to be experienced personally? God in himself, through Jesus on the Cross, ‘atoned’ (took the punishment and paid the ransom price for our sins) so that we might be justified before God ‘just-as-if-I’d’ never sinned in the first place. This is the message of Good Friday, which Christians celebrate at Easter and we can benefit from at any time of life. Where does the resurrection come in? After all the sin of our lives is taken away on the Cross, the resurrection is then receiving all that is good as a present. Easter is the experience of the ‘divine exchange’: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”2 Cor 5v19 “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3v18

How might we imagine this and so to experience it? The pictures above depict the answer. The treasure of a new life from God is exchanged for the rubbish in our own lives. As is told in the Pilgrim’s Progress story, the burden of sin and guilt we carry falls off our backs and rolls away, and in return we are given a new life and a new start.

So, how might we take the step of receiving this Easter Experience and be a Christian? The apostle Paul gave the answer: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10v9

In summary, even though Easter celebrations might be over for another year, the message of Easter is that the benefits of Easter are there all year, and you can become a Christian at any time!

With my prayers for April.

Revd James HuntRector St Peter’s and Blessed Mary

27th March 2024

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