Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Letter April 2014

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

– 1 Peter 1:3

Dear Friends,

Easter is late this year, and this ‘movable feast’ is quite a reminder of the national church’s involvement in the history of our nation. The formula for deciding when Easter is, is rather complicated, I understand. I did once try to use a chart in a Prayer Book to work out the right dates, and I got it totally wrong!

Rather like Christmas, Easter presents us with certain opportunities. We do have a ‘Good Friday’ service at Morton. This gives us more time together to focus on Calvary’s Cross, which must always be a good thing. Of course, nobody is obliged to gather on this day — the only day we are obliged to gather is on the Lord’s Day. We should be constantly reminding ourselves that every Sunday is ‘Easter Day’ because it seems quite obvious that the biggest single reason the New Testament Church met on the first day of the week was because it was the day when the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead!

Looking at our text for this month, I was struck by those two words ‘living hope’. The Resurrection of our Saviour is what gives us this hope. It isn’t a vain hope, nor is a possible hope, but it is a living hope. That is, it has a vitality, a vibrancy, a certainty to it which is unique. Our hope is not based upon words in a book, or ideas of men, but upon a person — Jesus of Nazareth, who is the God–man, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We know that He died, and that He lives. As Christian Gellert wrote and John Lang translated:

Jesus lives, and so shall I.

Death! thy sting is gone forever!

He who deigned for me to die,

Lives, the bands of death to sever.

He shall raise me from the dust:

Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

We have a living hope in a risen Saviour. Nothing and nobody can take that hope away from believers. Why not? Because He lives! The God–man has defeated death and vanquished sin and He reigns forever. We know His presence and power by the work of the Holy Spirit, and eternal glory is before us — we have no grounds to despair. Of course, we can’t all be ‘happy all the day’ — if we’re honest, life is hard sometimes. But we do have ‘living hope’ every day. Rejoice!

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