It is a tradition that our Minister writes a letter every month which is printed in our magazine, "The Messenger". Here's John's letter from the current edition.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..." 1 Peter 1:3
The school system in a large city had a program to help children keep up with their school work during stays in the city's hospitals. One day a teacher who was assigned to the program received a routine call asking her to visit a particular child. She took the child's name and hospital ward number and talked briefly with the child's regular class teacher. "We're studying nouns and adverbs in his class now," the regular teacher said, "and I'd be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn't fall too far behind."
The hospital program teacher went to see the boy that afternoon. No one had mentioned to her that the boy had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upset at the sight of the boy she stammered as she told him "I've been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs." When she left she felt she hadn't accomplished much.
But the next day a nurse asked her "what did you do to that boy?" The teacher felt she must have done something wrong and began to apologise. "No, no," said the nurse. "You don't know what I mean. We've been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday his whole attitude has changed. He's fighting back, responding to treatment. It's as though he's decided to live."
Two weeks later the boy explained that he had completely given up until the teacher arrived. Everything changed when he came to a simple realisation. He expressed it this way. "They wouldn't send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?"
Simply put, the boy's hope had been renewed.
And also simply put, that is what Easter does for those who will put their trust in Jesus; it renews their hope. It renews hope that it is God, not evil, who has the final word in the Easter events. It renews their hope that death is not the end. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the reading above makes clear, God has given us a new birth into a living hope.
Easter Sunday then offers a hope transfusion to all who would believe. May you live fully in this hope.
With every blessing.