Does ‘Good Friday’ mean anything significant to you apart from it being a day when the banks are closed?
And is the Easter weekend just an opportunity to have a couple of weekdays off work, meet up with the family (weather permitting!), and eat more chocolate than is good for us? Is it a sort of mini-Christmas, but lacking the build-up and glitter which marked the last big holiday occasion three months ago?
The answer is a resounding NO for Christians, who believe that God, creator of the universe, the wonders of nature and every human being, entered the world as a baby named Jesus Christ 2000 years ago on the first Christmas Day. Good Friday provides a solemn contrast as we remember that 30 years later Jesus suffered a cruel death on a wooden cross because he challenged the authority of the Jewish leaders of the day by placing love, forgiveness and service to others above status, privilege and ritual. But then came the great surprise. Easter celebrates his rise to life again a couple of days later, demonstrating to everyone who believes in him that beyond this world there is a much more wonderful time to come.
Just as spring is a time of new life all around us after the bleakness of winter, Easter Day is a joyful confirmation by a God of love that there is life after death. Does it mean that to you?
By Tony Kendall, Church in the Woottons