The Easter diagnosis

Navigating life during a pandemic tells us some things about ourselves.  

Panic buying tells us that we want things to last. Whether it’s masks, sanitizer, toilet rolls, or whatever, the well-stocked shelves at home give us a sense of self-sufficiency, and order, and the ability to plan ahead. We feel more hopeful and secure to face the future. Social distancing reminds us about our needs for relational intimacy. Separation from people hurts. We feel the loss of presence, and companionship, and support. Wearing masks and constantly sanitizing our hands reminds us of our precarious existence. We’d prefer not to think about our vulnerable and mortal condition. 

If this pandemic reminds us of some acute human needs, Easter speaks of even greater needs.  

Easter tells us about the greatest hope.

Easter tells us about our greatest problem. Jesus’ crucifixion wasn’t merely the result of political expediency and the abandonment of justice. It was the result of our sin. The cross is a penetrating and painful diagnosis of our spiritual condition. Each of us is infected with this most crippling and pervasive of viruses. Sin afflicts everything and it had deadly consequences. Paul told the Ephesians, ‘As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins’ (Eph. 2:1). Sin separates us from God, making us eternally distant from him. The magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice speaks of the magnitude of our problem.

Easter tells us about the greatest love. God doesn’t want us to be spiritually distant from him. The gospel tells us that God didn’t isolate himself from us. Instead, Jesus became vulnerable, not just exposing himself to our sin and brokenness, but bearing the full affliction of it himself on the cross. John’s Gospel famously says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

Easter tells us about the greatest hope. Jesus’ work on the cross was effective in treating our sin, and his resurrection shows his power over death and authority to give life. He is the great Physician and Healer of our souls. We can have life that lasts; a sure and certain hope for the future. The moment we succumb to our mortal state, we will be ushered into God’s holy presence to dwell with him, healed, restored, and perfected. Peter says, ‘In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade’ (1 Peter 1:3-4).

Despite this difficult season, this Easter we have immense cause for thanksgiving, joy, and hope. In Jesus Christ, our most profound needs are met.

When will church go back to normal?

Some of you have asked the question, ‘When will our normal church services resume?’ To be honest, I don’t know. We wait for the current restrictions on group gatherings to end, and for the Anglican Province to lift the suspension on worship services. Whilst we eagerly await to resume our regular ministries, we are also very mindful that in these extraordinary times due caution needs to be exercised. Please keep in touch with church communications as the situation changes and we get close to resuming our normal services.

In the meantime, we continue to seek to grow in our faith in Jesus. We do this through exercising our spiritual habits and encouraging one another. It’s wonderful to hear about our groups’ meetings online and the good responses to our online services. One new initiative that we are planning after Easter is a weekly Morning Prayer Service at 8:30 am on Wednesdays via Zoom. Please see the ‘What’s On’ page of the church website for details.

I pray that you have a blessed and restful Easter, as we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection.