Hallelujah! or Alleluia! Praise the Lord! Today is the greatest festival in the church’s year. Today we celebrate Jesus Christ’s rising from the dead. He put an end to death itself. On the third day from his death some of his followers returned to the tomb and found it empty. The second day had been the Sabbath when it would have been against religious custom to make such a visit. This extraordinary event caused shock and grief: Who had taken the body? Where was it? Bit by bit different groups of Christ’s followers reported having seen the ’Risen Lord’; many were, naturally, sceptical – ‘doubting’ Thomas for example, until he met the Lord and exclaimed: ‘My Lord and my God’. (See: https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2017/04/193967/what-is-easter-spiritual-meaning). Mary Magdalene was apparently the first to find the empty tomb, but there are also reports of other disciples coming to look, and of Jesus accompanying two disciples on the way to Emmaus and then sharing a meal with a group of disciples (see: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24%3A13-35&version=NIV). He commissioned his disciples to go out to all nations and baptize believers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. By dying, Jesus broke the power of sin and death. Through him, our sins can be forgiven. Good news indeed!

What is the significance of some of the customs associated with Easter – eggs, roast lamb for Easter Sunday lunch, rabbits and so on? (See: https://www.whyeaster.com/customs/foods.shtml )

Easter eggs: in some traditions, no eggs would be eaten during Lent. The last eggs were eaten in the Shrove Tuesday pancakes, so eating eggs marked the end of the Lent.

The Easter Lamb: Easter falls in early Spring, round about the time when lambs are born. The religious tradition of the Jews saw the lamb as a sacrifice for people’s sins and wrong doings, and this was therefore appropriately applied to Christ’s death for us. He is often referred to as The Lamb of God (in Latin: Agnus Dei).

A short prayer for Easter:

Christ, you are risen from the dead and we may rise with you. May our life never deny this eternal life, the peace and hope of joy. Praise and glory to the God of life who is stronger than death. Alleluia. Amen.