The season of Easter usually occurs when Spring begins to flourish all round (at least in this part of the world). Easter, like Spring, is a time that is rich in signs and symbols. Many of these signs are a fusion between pre-Christian spring-time festivals and the celebration of Easter. There are a rich variety of signs and symbols in a church building: holy water symbolising baptism, candles, bread and wine, the cross. Like hot cross buns, some of those symbols we have all year round because in the church we remember Christ constantly, certainly every Sunday; every Eucharist (or communion service) is a little Easter.
Perhaps the most telling sign is the one that’s most difficult to depict: the empty tomb, the absence of death. That absence, like the absence of the corpse, is ambivalent. It embraces both confusion and hope. Nothingness rests where death once lay. In that nothingness we feel the work of God; we don't see God, or touch God, it’s more like a whiff of where God has been.
We may feel cynical about the signs of Easter in the commercial world, but it’s a world we are a part of. Society may deal with Easter in a way that perhaps misses the point, but nature with its signs of spring, with its promise of growth, of light, offers a taste, sight and smell of resurrection. Nature's changes, its swings from hot to cold, from dark to light, and everything in between, is an indication of how creation is unpredictable. It’s my belief that God is unpredictable too, occurring in unlikely places at unexpected times. The Easter season celebrates the God of surprises; it’s my hope that you may be surprised by God’s love this springtime.
Revd Steven Rothwell