Bishop Martin’s interview with James Marston
Wednesday 17th April 2019
Easter is the birth of the new realisation that death is not the end, and that evil and human self-centredness are overcome by the love of God revealed in allowing Jesus to be killed by the very forces he was opposing. His resurrection is the vindication of goodness and love, and the church started to share this message and way of life, with Easter as the event that started it all.
During Easter I pay very particular attention to the journey with Jesus through Holy Week, the week leading up to Good Friday and then Holy Saturday. This is the most important week in the Christian’s year, and I try to make as much time as possible to reflect on and participate in the events of each day. Good Friday church services are searing and powerful as they take you to be with Jesus on the Cross. Then there is the strange emptiness of Holy Saturday, a time of waiting and wondering.
The first Easter service I attend is the incredibly powerful and moving “Easter Vigil” service that happens either Holy Saturday night or before dawn on Easter Day. It is a service which begins in the dark with bible stories about how God’s engagement with human beings led to Jesus and his death and resurrection, and then a small bonfire is lit, where the new fire symbolises Jesus coming back from the dead, and the congregation with accompanied by a great deal of celebratory noise light their own candles and celebrate the first Easter eucharist.
Easter is a time when people may ask “how can I get to know God?” and I would suggest three things:
1) Talk to people they know who are Christian and ask them about their relationship with God, and how they came to have that relationship. Take your questions too, and if they can’t answer them ask them who else you can ask.
2) Read a book – or more – of the New Testament, starting with one of the Gospels. Many people start with Mark’s Gospel because it is regarded as the first to be written down, probably about 70AD, is the most direct in its language – and the shortest!
3) Pray, I would say, simply place yourself somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, and quietly say in your heart, or out loud, “God, I want to know you, please help me to do this” and maybe say silently or out loud, why you want to get to know God. And sit still just letting what you have said be – God will answer in God’s way and in the time that you will later realise was the best time for you to receive that answer.
This is an edited version of an article appearing in the East Anglian Daily Times dated 11 April 2019.