The long dark nights and the stark, bare landscape of winter, often result in a tendency towards sadness and perhaps even pessimism. This state of mind is fed by a media that constantly holds before our eyes events that are cruel and tragic, without point or justification. The headlines seem determined to send us into terminal hopelessness, as we contemplate the daily catalogue of crime, war, poverty and anticipated disaster, be it drought, avian flu, shortage of energy supplies or any other anticipated apocalyptic scenario.
The advent of longer days, the first spring bulbs and the greater warmth of a spring sun put a spring in the step and hope in the heart. The return of new life and hope in the cycle of the seasons is matched in the Christian calendar with the birth of an even deeper hope. Jesus Christ who was acclaimed by many as Godıs special agent, as Godıs Son, had been crucified. After his crucifixion, Jesusı body was buried, and with it the hopes of all those who believed that God himself had come amongst them and drawn near to them in a way they would never have believed possible. Good had been defeated by evil, God had lost his battle to reach to out to sinful human beings, to restore them to a close relationship with himself and to re-create them in his own image and likeness.
But Easter day dawned, the tomb was open, the body nowhere to be found. God had raised Christ from the dead, an act which declared once and for all that good cannot ultimately be defeated, that God is not the loser but the conqueror. It is that conviction that gives us hope not just for eternity but also for the present. Christıs resurrection means that he is present in this world, by his Spirit, and that he can bring new life and new hope even in the darkest times. This conviction enabled Jesusı disciples to break out of their locked room and out of their fear to proclaim his victory and to invite others to share it. Hostility, persecution, hardships of many different kinds could not quench their faith and hope. Hope or despair, darkness or light, good or evil? The death and resurrection of Jesus brings a new perspective from which to view our own situation and that of the troubled world in which we live.
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