Easter 2018

Easter 2018: “You had to be there!”

Easter image


YBA Executive Chair Liz Allen writes: "Has a friend recounted a humorous story of something they’ve experienced but you just didn’t ‘get it’ … you couldn’t see what was so funny? Sometimes the other person may say: “Ah well – you just had to be there!” Hearing the story of another’s experience is not always enough for the listener to understand.

Last summer I experienced the total solar eclipse in the USA. “Awesome” is a much-used term (especially in America). The whole phenomenon was filmed by NASA and shown worldwide on TV … but, I have to say, even that didn’t do it justice … you had to be there to experience, appreciate, realise the full impact!

CommunionOn the first Easter morning, the women discovered Jesus’s empty tomb … they surmised His body had been stolen. Peter and John went to see for themselves and they believed (but didn’t yet understand). Mary Magdalene stayed, weeping, at the tomb and only realised she had met the risen Christ when He spoke her name. Those returning to Emmaus did not recognise Jesus until He broke bread with them. Other disciples (fearful of persecution) believed when Jesus entered their locked room and showed them the scars of His crucifixion. Thomas finally believed only when Jesus graciously invited him to not just see, but to touch, the physical wounds in His hands and side. Thomas really had to be there!

What is your experience of the crucified, risen and ascended Jesus? Have you met Him in your confusion; because of a miraculous act; through your tears; His voice speaking your name into your very soul, perhaps as you pray or worship, or in times of anguish; exploring the scriptures; at the breaking of bread; in the midst of persecution or the whirlwind of your doubts and unbelief? In all these times and places, and more, Jesus is with us by His Holy Spirit.

Maybe you’ve been a Christian for a long time? Perhaps there is a danger that familiarity breeds, if not contempt, then apathy or indifference as we hear again the recounting of the story of the passion and resurrection? I love the words of the song ‘The Wonder of the Cross’, by Vicky Beeching which includes the lines: “Though my eyes linger on this scene, may passing time and years not steal the power with which it impacts me … the freshness of its mystery”.
GolgothaThe song goes on:
'May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the cross
May I see it, like the first time – standing like a sinner, lost
Undone by mercy, and left speechless … watching wide-eyed at the cost
May I never lose the wonder, the wonder of the cross'.

As we celebrate Easter, my prayer for all of us is that we will experience our awesome God in ways that will leave us changed, inspired and ready to go out as His ambassadors … His hands and feet … taking the good news to a needy world. For their sake … we have to be there!


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