May - A New Beginning
On Easter Day it was wonderful to see St Oswald’s Church full again for our Easter celebrations. Our readings included Isaiah 65. 17 – end. “For I am about to create new heavens and the new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating”. Our theme that day was ‘A New Beginning’.
When the women went to the tomb of Jesus with spices to prepare Jesus’ body for a proper burial, they went knowing the feelings of utter defeat and devastation. All their hopes were confounded by the events of the last few days and of course the crucifixion. Jesus was indeed dead! Yet when they got to the tomb everything changed. From shock and racing minds, they are then assured by two men in dazzling clothes asking them “why do you look for the living among the dead?”. He is not here, but has risen. (See Luke 24. 1–12).
It began to dawn on them and they remembered his words that he would rise again. A new day was dawning indeed, a new beginning was dawning! Could it really be that Jesus had risen from the dead? Over the next days and weeks it becomes evidently clear that Jesus was alive.
Many people have no problem with Jesus having lived and been crucified; dead and buried. Resurrection, however, changes everything.
From Jesus being a good man, a good leader, or a spiritual guru, he becomes someone different. He becomes the saviour! The one who brings us back to God not simply through some religious or spiritual experience, but the fulfilment of prophecy and of God’s desire to make all things new. God creates in the sacrifice of Jesus and his resurrection, a new heaven and a new earth – perhaps the one that Isaiah talks about.
Paul too considers this new beginning, where everything changes – indeed where we are changed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”!
Knowing this, we do not have to remain in our ‘sin’ (a way of describing our separation from God). When we come to accept the living resurrected Christ as Lord, we have a new beginning. We become part of this new creation, this new heaven and new earth which God considers to be a delight and the people God delights in. (Isaiah 65. 18-19). And as we move toward Pentecost, remember too that God wants to enliven us with his Holy Spirit, equip us with spiritual gifts and build us into his new church to serve God in and through our lives, living lives to his joy and glory. With Easter greetings – He has risen, he has risen indeed. Alleluia!
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