THE blossoming of our trees each year can be overlooked, but we would do well to spend a moment thinking about the re-generation of nature.
It represents not only newness but also growth.
We have not experienced this spring before, and our lives are in a different place from last year. What has happened in that last year?
How have we grown? The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus is also an event that can be seen as both new and capable of helping us grow. It remains new, because it is a divine event outside of our time and therefore able to touch any of us at any time. His rising from death helps us make sense of the death of our loved ones. It can give us hope that we shall see them again. It gives us a bigger picture to think about than just our ordinary daily lives of work, home and play. It helps us grow in our trust that almighty God remains looking after his world even when so much of our ‘news’ is of individuals making a mess of their own lives and other people’s.
But for some the Gospel accounts of the resurrection do not seem believable.
And yet if we read them carefully, they are full of the sort of detail that you might want in an eye-witness’s account. Two cloths that had wrapped his body, carefully folded and put to one side.
The soldiers, unable to account for what happened – or were they embarrassed by being asleep on duty?
Thomas not believing until he was able to touch Jesus. Eating sardines for breakfast on the beach at Galilee. If we are to try and believe in Jesus, we must allow him to be bigger than our unbelief. We might like to re-read the Gospel accounts and ask ourselves if they are credible.
And if they are true, then what might that mean for the way I look at life?
Do my loved ones who have died live on with Jesus in some way? Will I have an experience of Jesus when I have died? The Gospel accounts witness that Jesus showed himself to people over a 40-day period.
They speak of thousands of people seeing him. Bearing in mind that many people had seen Him before, are they likely to have been mistaken in recognising him after he had risen? The difficulty we might have is in trying to recognise him today in Littlehampton in 2014. We might make a start by re-reading the Gospels and by looking at the lives of people with faith.