20 April 2011
From darkness to light - an Easter letter from Steve Clifford
Shame to glory. Despair to hope. Darkness to light. The Easter story is a tale of two halves. And we know this because we have the luxury of knowing how the story ends.
But in those dark hours and days following Jesus' death, his disciples - those who had given up everything to walk with him - thought it was all over.
This motley crew who had been right there when Jesus told his parables, turned water into wine, preached good news to the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead, were suddenly plunged into disillusionment. Gripped by fear, they scattered, each finding his own hiding place.
They thought he was the Messiah, the Holy One of Israel who would defeat the Romans and establish his throne in Jerusalem.
They had hoped for so much.
In that moment, what the cross represented to them was disappointment and failure. And all of a sudden, they had lost that sense of community, the unity that had characterised their daily lives.
But praise God there is a second half, that the Easter story doesn't stop on Good Friday, that on Easter Sunday our saviour is risen, the stone rolled away from the tomb. Thank God that unity is restored as the disciples emerge from the shadows of the cross to the glorious hope of the resurrected Christ. Thank God that these disciples - these fishermen and tax collectors - their disappointment gone and their hearts stirred, go on to change the world. Together.
And thank God that today we, as an Alliance of Christians who worship this risen Christ, through him can see our lives and communities transformed.
Sometimes we too despair. We experience dark days, disappointment and disillusionment. But this Easter, let us celebrate the way the story ends - in hope, new life, and transformed communities.