Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has produced a human tragedy that we haven’t seen since the Second World War. One of the shocking things for me is that millions of Russian people actually believe Putin’s rhetoric spewed out mindlessly through his propaganda machine. When this is all over, it will be very difficult for him to hide the evidence of numerous atrocities perpetrated on the innocent victims of war. In the middle of all this mess, stories have been emerging about the way Christian Churches in Ukraine have been reaching out to those in need with medicines, food and shelter. And many Russian Orthodox priests have made a stand against the war, at the risk of their own lives.
When times are tough, we look for solid, unchangeable things to base our lives on: the love of those closest to us, good friends, work which satisfies and fulfils us. These give us footholds when our world is rocking: anchor points that help us through the challenges of life – illness, redundancy, bereavement, debt, broken relationships and more. The Christian faith is based on the death and the return to life of Jesus, and Easter is the time that the Church marks these two pivotal events in world history. Christianity is less about religion, with its rules and rituals, than about relationship – a vital, living, two-way friendship with Jesus. Not a long-dead figure from a dusty book, with no relevance to our lives today, but someone who knows us inside out, yet still loves us, and longs for us to become the people we were made to be. The one who said: “I am the resurrection and the life…” (John 11: 25).
But is it true? Did it really happen? The evidence is compelling:
- An empty tomb
- Countless appearances of Jesus, referred to by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8
- A reborn and revitalised group of followers, once living in fear of the Roman authorities, suddenly and inexplicably prepared to face death and persecution because of what they had witnessed.
- A rapidly growing Early Church, charted through the book of Acts, leading to a global Church of billions around the world today.
If Jesus is alive, it changes everything: our attitude to life and death, our past, our present – and our future. It means death is not the end, and there is a life that last forever. Life wins! It means we can know the Creator of the universe, and live life as He intended it to be lived.
Join us this Easter to celebrate the most amazing news of all: Jesus is alive today and loves you more than you can imagine!