FOR many it’s a time for family get-togethers, not to mention chocolate, but here the Bishop of Sheffield reminds us what Easter is really all about and why it’s a time for celebration.
Sheffield is teeming with life this week. The trees are in blossom. The parks are full of people. Children are running in and out of the fountains in the Peace Gardens. The chill of winter and deep snow seems a distant memory.
If you hold the two pictures of a cold winter and a warm spring in your mind, that will give you some idea of the difference between Good Friday and Easter. Jesus Christ lived the best life it is possible to live.
On Good Friday we remember his death on the cross.
Many of our churches are stripped bare. Our prayers are solemn and quiet. We give thanks for the good news that our sins can be forgiven. But our celebration is quiet and still.
But the grave could not hold Jesus. On the third day he rose again. His tomb was empty.
He was seen by many witnesses.
Ever since Christians have experienced his presence and his life in powerful, life-changing ways.
That is why on Easter Day our churches explode with life and colour and celebration.
Jesus is risen.
Death has been conquered and cannot hold us.
His life overflows into our lives now and for all eternity.
Winter is over and Spring has come.
My Easter celebration begins on Saturday evening outside Sheffield Cathedral when I light the Easter Candle from new fire in a brazier.
This Easter, I will be baptising seven adults and confirming twenty four people who are celebrating their new life in Christ.
After the service, to celebrate this explosion of new life, we let off fireworks from the Cathedral roof.
It’s an amazing sight.
But more wonderful still is the great good news that Jesus is risen from death and death has been conquered.
A very happy Easter to you and yours.
Bishop Steven Croft.