Easter message from Reverend Andrew Hiscox

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be apparent to all. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’. Philippians 4:4-7

This year we are able to gather again to celebrate Easter in a way which we have not been able for the last three years. It is a cause for celebration and thanksgiving. And as we remember together once again our Lord’s dying and rising in glory, we find the Easter message as relevant today as it was to the first followers of Christ two millennia ago. After that first Good Friday, the disciples were consumed by grief. And we too have ‘mourned with those who mourn’ during the worst of the pandemic, now in its third year. We too have lost loved ones and had our community life curtailed. There are times when it has felt like it is still Good Friday for us. And we continue to uphold those in prayer for whom their own Good Friday is a very real and brutal experience, like those suffering in Ukraine.

The disciples were also consumed by grief and sorrow, so much so that they hid themselves away in fear; but it was at that moment that Christ appeared and drew alongside, to strengthen their faith (Luke 24:36). So it is in these difficult times, we also have been able to give witness to our Lord walking with us and strengthening us. There have been so many ways we can trace the Lord’s hand at work in our parishes: through the continued growth and outreach of our churches, through prayer and reflection, through our Lenten study groups, through music and our ecumenical worship, and through the many gracious acts of others. Thank you for all the ways you have contributed to this and most recently, for your abundant financial generosity in helping to bless others when we raised over £10,000 for our Ukraine appeal.

I want to encourage you to take hold of hope for what the Lord is going to do in us and through us in the future, as we move on to Easter Sunday. Whilst there is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday, the Christians gospel is the good news that God our heavenly Father can bring light out of the darkness, even the most dire of situations, as we continue to place our faith and hope in Him. The images of the resurrection we glimpse in everyday life, like spring new flowers bursting into bloom from seemingly dead bulbs, remind us that it is the same risen Christ who draws alongside us to offer us new life and hope, because he holds our future. ‘Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your entire spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.’ (1 Thess 5:24)

Wishing you every blessing this Easter season,

Rev’d Andrew Hiscox