As I look back to Easter’s past, Easter Sunday has always been a day of celebration. One of my earliest memories of Easter morning was walking in the mist to St Catherine’s hill on the edge of Guildford the town and listening to the minister start the service with the words ‘He is risen’ and all the adults responding, ‘He is risen indeed’. However, every year I attended the early Easter sunrise service in Guildford I did not see the sun rise.
I also remember an Easter morning in Milford, going to a small mound called heaven’s gate where several of us gathered and I said those words ‘He is risen. Everyone replied ‘He is risen indeed but still no sunshine.
Last year was very special as I was given the invitation to speak at the Easter morning Churches Together service at the most easterly point in Lowestoft. That morning we arrived in the dark to worship and celebrate that Jesus died and rose again. The song below We will rise was sung by the Salvation Army who created a flash mob and worshipped using sign language.
There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well.”
Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead.
And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise, I will rise.
That morning I saw the sunrise.
In my late twenties I had an opportunity to visit Israel and many of the places we read about in the Bible. Most of the time it felt as if wherever Jesus walked we ran. However, there was moment of quiet reflection when we visited the garden tomb. I went inside a tomb and there was nothing inside.
As I reflected in the empty tomb it reminded that of the song that says ‘You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart. With a quiet prayer and a tear in my eye I left the tomb feeling a peace of mind as I came out into the sunshine.
This minister’s letter is my own reflection of Easter days past and I look forward to Easter days in the future. The good news is that every day is a Salvation Day for all who believe Jesus is their Lord and Saviour.
Roman 10 v 9 says, ‘If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’.
Blessings from Revd Ian Forsyth