Moderator recounts the living experience of Easter
Published on 17 April 2019
As Christians across the world prepare to mark the death and resurrection of Christ, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Susan Brown, writes about the living experience of Easter.
Easter is where faith, for me, really hits home.
It is a time of year when I don’t so much preach as make room for the story to unfold and to tell itself.
Reading the Gospels using more than one voice, using silence and choosing music as well as words and actions carefully, the powerful message of Easter is able to speak for itself far better than my ruminations on it ever could.
Getting up early, as many congregations do, to experience the sunrise on Easter Sunday morning is something I find incredibly moving - and the 60-70 people who gather on Dornoch beach each year seem to feel the same way.
There is something about reading the tale of how the women got up early to visit the tomb as you actually stand in the cold of the early morning yourself, that helps you to put yourself in their shoes.
Then, as the sun breaks the horizon and the darkness is both brightened and warmed, there is that wonderful sense that all is not lost: that the hope and promises of the risen Christ are real and as real in 2019 as they were all those years ago.
The impact of that morning, however, can only be understood in the context of facing up to the horrors of Good Friday. It is the Friday that gives the Sunday perspective.
A few years ago I, along with the children in Dornoch, “buried” an ordinary bright yellow balloon on Palm Sunday in a cardboard box, which we sealed (and better sealed) with tape.
We wrote on the top of the box: ‘Not to be opened until Easter’.
On Easter Sunday, the box before us, I asked the children what we might expect to find inside. They reckoned that the balloon would be a bit sorry for itself and deflated.
We then opened the box and as we did, a now helium-filled yellow balloon with a smiley face immediately broke free and soared (on fishing line so that it could be retrieved afterwards) towards the ceiling.
It might have been a bit corny but the point was that, against all the odds, miraculous things can happen. Things beyond our imagining.
Easter does exactly that. It goes beyond our imaginings – and more besides. Easter talks of the reality of death… and of the reality of life beyond death.
It talks of hope where there is no hope.
It points to possibility where there seems to be none.
What better message could we hear right now, as individuals, as a Church, as a nation and as a world?
Easter is about the God who is with us.
A God who can see a way forward when we cannot and who sees for us all, through all his Son endured, a future that is eternal.
Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!