It’s Easter Sunday and I am looking out at the snow here in North Wales. The past week of snow and cold in the UK has been truly breath-taking in its beauty, but it has also served to remind us that the world is still a place of pain and suffering. A number of people have died caught up in the worst March snowstorms in living memory, while nature itself, battling to welcome in Spring, has been ravaged and left stunned. My brother has lost a number of lambs over the past few days, as they froze to death in his field, while a friend of his fared much worse, losing over 100 sheep and lambs in one day. Furthermore, for most of us at least, the suffering which has resulted from the recent weather pales into comparison to the countless tears of pain, illness, and grief which echo daily throughout the world. Easter Sunday certainly doesn’t erase our passionate cries of ‘My God, why have you forsaken us?’
The resurrection of Jesus almost 2000 years ago does, however, still bring amazing, new hope to our feelings of hopelessness. After all, this wonderful event, which not one of us will ever be able to truly comprehend, guarantees both resurrection in this life and the next. ‘Every man dies, but not every man really lives’, asserts Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
In the context of this life, resurrection is when God redeems even the most dreadful situations. From stormy beginning, life bursts forth. Without winter there would be no spring, without rain there would be no growth, without crucifixion there would be no resurrection. Easter Sunday holds on to the fact that morning will break through, no matter how long, and no matter how dark, is the night. Many of us will, in time, be liberated from our present darkness, whatever we are going through personally, and find ourselves transformed in the light of the new day. ‘The cross we bear precedes the crown we wear’, claimed Martin Luther King.
When it seems to us that there really is no light at the end of our earthly tunnel, the resurrection still guarantees us hope in the next life. Easter Sunday reassures us of the sure and certain hope of eternal life. No matter what their theology, the contemplative thinkers all agree on one thing – that, in the end, all will be well. Although everything is a mess, in the context of eternity, all is well.
In Oscar Wilde’s poem ‘The Doer of Good’, Christ sees a man crying at the roadside and recognises him as someone who, a few days earlier, he had raised from the dead to live this life again. He naturally asks him why he is crying. ‘I was dead once, and you raised me from the dead;’ he answers, ‘what else should I do but weep?’ We live in a beautiful and uplifting world, and we should always value the wonderful gift of life, but Oscar Wilde’s tale still expresses something of the wonder of the next life. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”’ (Revelation 21:4-5).