And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.    1 Corinthians 13:13

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

Easter is central to the gospel. It is the time of year when we remember the triumph of Jesus over sin, death and Hell. On Good Friday we remember the blood shed for us so that we might go free. On Easter Sunday we remember the glory of the empty tomb. Yet this Easter is like no other. Never before have God’s people not gathered on Easter Sunday. For centuries the Church has gathered on Sunday morning to announce to a sleeping world that “Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!” Though we may be apart from one another and locked inside our homes let’s not forget that Jesus was not locked inside the tomb, nor was he locked in death; instead, he burst forth in glory to set us free! 

I wanted to take a brief moment to write to you at Easter to encourage you to remember the words written at the top of this letter.

Faith

In these dark and difficult days we can be tempted to spend all of our time focused on the news or various social media. We can be tempted to fall into despair as we watch bustling cities become eerily silent or when we see our leaders hospitalised due to this virus. We can also be tempted to doubt that God is present or that He cares about what is going on in our world. The Bible says something completely different. We are reminded that we are not on our own. We are reminded that our God sits on the throne. We are reminded that he works every evil out for good. Many are already writing about how we can understand this. I’d encourage you to look to John Piper’s book online called Coronavirus and Christ which is available from www.desiringgod.org and also as an audio book. 

Hope

Easter is about hope. The Apostle Peter tells us that we have been born into a living hope, a hope in Jesus and in his resurrection. Hope is not foolish and is never shameful. Peter encouraged his readers during the darkest and toughest moments of persecution that the early church suffered, and his words still ring true today. We can hold fast to the truth that in the depth and darkness of Good Friday God does His best work. He rescues us and redeems us. No matter how dark the world may look we have a God who is wrapped in unapproachable light and when we put our hope in Him, He will not abandon us. 

Love

1 Corinthians 13 reminds us of what love looks like. It is stripped away from romantic sentimentality and is shown to be the most important. Why do we love? Because He first loved us and gave himself up for us. The Church of Jesus is meant to be a community of faithful love inside and outside church walls. I want to encourage you all to continue loving each other: by phone calls, letters, chats through the window or across fields, providing for each other’s needs and, most importantly, by praying for each other. We have a very simple (yet difficult) command to follow: “Love one another”. May we do so now more than ever.

Your Pastor

Richard

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